Can Humans Use Dog Shampoo Safely? (Reasons Not to Use it)

If you have run out of shampoo, you may think of using your dog’s shampoo. Apart from this too, there are several instances where people wish to use dog shampoo on human hair. For example, dog shampoo contains fewer allergens than human shampoo. Hence, they’re much better for people who are hyperallergic.

However, the real question here is whether or not dog shampoo is healthy for human hair. Well, we have done our research and come up with the answers to your questions, in this article. So, read on!

Can You Use Dog Shampoo on Human Hair?

The simple answer to this question is – yes, you can use dog shampoo on human hair but in limited quantities.

Typically, a dog shampoo consists of different ingredients than a human shampoo. The overall composition is made keeping in mind the need and nature of the dog’s fur. Hence, it’s not really suitable for human hair as our hair requires different types of nutrients and care.

However, if you still want to use it once, you can try it out. But, if you use it repeatedly, you can cause damage to your hair. Here’s why:

Reason 1: Improper pH Balance

Human hair has specific pH requirements when it comes to hair care products. Most hair care products, having an acidic pH between 3.5 and 5.5, are considered beneficial.

But, when it comes to dog shampoo, most of them have a neutral pH between 6 and 7. So, if you keep using dog shampoo, you can affect the overall hair’s pH. This could further lead to problems like dry scalp and bacterial infection.

Hence, it’s safe to say that dog shampoo can do more damage than good to human hair!

Reason 2: Presence of Harsh and Toxic Ingredients

Even though dog shampoo contains fewer allergens, there are still harsh and toxic ingredients present in it.

Most brands manufacture dog shampoo that can help reduce the infection of fleas and ticks. So, the ingredients used here are pretty harsh and toxic for the human scalp.

If you use harsh dog shampoo on your hair, it may lead to a lot of problems, including hair fall.

Reason 3: Extremely Dry Scalp

Many people say that using dog shampoo gives a bouncy and shiny look to human hair. Now, that might be true to some extent. But, after a while, dog shampoo can dry up your scalp due to its pH and strong ingredients.

And well, if you’re someone with a dry scalp, using a dog shampoo is like digging your own grave.

So, refrain from using dog shampoo on your hair as it can lead to a plethora of hair-related issues in the long run!

Can You Use Human Shampoo on Your Dog?

Just like using dog shampoo on your hair isn’t a good idea, using human shampoo on your dog is even worse!

A dog’s skin contains a top layer, also known as the stratum corneum. Another thin layer, the acid mantle, protects the top layer and the skin from bacterial and viral contact. This layer also helps in nourishing and hydrating your dog’s skin.

Hence, most dog shampoos contain nutrients and a pH that can protect the acid mantle level.

On the other hand, human shampoos are more acidic and can disrupt the acid mantle layer. Thus, leaving your dog’s skin vulnerable to infections.

Moreover, human shampoo can also make the dog’s skin dry and lead to constant itchiness and abrasions.

So, it’s best to avoid using human shampoo on dog hair. Instead, try to find a shampoo that is healthy for your dog’s skin and fur!

What is the Difference Between a Dog and Human Shampoo?

As mentioned above, there are several differences between dog and human shampoo. Now, let’s try to understand those variations in detail:

1. Ingredients

Your dog’s coat is quite vulnerable to bacterial infection and even fleas and ticks. Hence, dog shampoo contains various ingredients to combat infections and allergies.

For instance, most dog shampoos for ticks and fleas contain insecticides. These are definitely not found in human shampoos.

Some other ingredients that are only found in dog shampoo most of the time include lactic acid, salicylic acid, aloe, hydrocortisone, or colloidal oatmeal. So, even the best human shampoo lack these ingredients.

2. pH Level

Another major difference between dog shampoo and human shampoo is that of the pH level.

As we already mentioned above, human shampoo is more on the acidic side. Hence, you’ll find that their pH is between 3.5 and 5.5.

Conversely, dog shampoo is more neutral and its pH lies between 6 and 7. This is because a dog’s skin is three times less thick than a human’s. So, a shampoo with more acidic content can harm your dog’s skin in several ways.

3. Cleaning Method

There’s a difference between the cleaning method of both dog shampoo and human shampoo. Here’s why:

When it comes to human shampoo, you’re supposed to massage it over your hair for a few minutes and then rinse it off immediately.

However, most dog shampoo brands suggest that you keep the shampoo on your dog’s coat for a few minutes and then, rinse it. This will help you achieve the maximum results. 

4. Cost

Due to the exclusive ingredients, you will find that dog shampoo is way more expensive than human shampoo.

It’s because dog shampoo costs between $30 and $90 depending on the type and brand. On the other hand, human shampoo costs less, as they start from just $6.

The comparison table below summarizes the major differences between dog shampoo and human shampoo.

CategoryDog ShampooHuman Shampoo
IngredientsMay contain insecticides, and other ingredients like lactic acid, salicylic acid, etc.Mainly contains sulfate-based ingredients
pH levelNeutral pH between 6 and 7Acidic pH between 3.5 and 5.5
Cleaning TechniqueYou should leave the dog shampoo on for a few minutes and then rinse itYou can rinse human shampoo immediately
CostBetween $30 and $60Starting from $6
Comparison of Human vs Dog Shampoo

Can Humans Use Dog Flea Shampoo?

Many people consider using dog flea shampoo to get rid of lice. It’s because anti-lice products and dog flea shampoo have the same ingredients at times.

It’s possible for humans to use dog flea shampoo once or twice at maximum. However, it’s not necessarily recommended for long-term use due to the harsh ingredients and pH level in them.

Also, note that many dog flea shampoos contain ingredients toxic to humans. One such ingredient is pyrethrins.

Pyrethrins are basically a type of anti-flea ingredient in dog flea shampoo. They are a type of natural pesticide that is found in chrysanthemum flowers. Hence, it’s used for pest control in farms and gardens.

The natural pesticide, pyrethrins, is extremely harmful to humans which is why you should avoid using dog flea shampoo. Keep in mind that ingesting even a little amount of it via nose, mouth, or eyes, can cause health risks such as seizures and vomiting. In the worst cases, it may lead to death too.

So, if you’re facing a lice issue, it’s best to consult an expert and stop using dog flea shampoo.

Can I Use Dog Shampoo on My Cat?

If you have a cat and a dog at home, you may wonder if you can use dog shampoo on your cat too. The answer is no, you shouldn’t use dog shampoo on your cat unless you’ve no other option.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why dog shampoo isn’t suitable for your cat:

1. pH Variations

Just like humans, cats also require a shampoo that has an acidic pH. But, as you already know now, most dog shampoos have a very neutral pH.

So, if you use dog shampoo on a cat repeatedly, there are chances that your cat’s fur may become unhealthy. It may also become dry and lose its original shine. Moreover, your cat may also face difficulty grooming and cleaning its fur. This may lead to an increased risk of infections.

2. Presence of Permethrin

Some dog flea shampoos may contain an insecticide, permethrin. This insecticide is as harmful to cats as pyrethrin is to humans.

So, if your dog’s shampoo contains permethrin, you should never use it on your cat. If you do and your cat ingests it, it may lead to health issues like vomiting, tremors, ataxia, respiratory problems, and even death.

3. Presence of Essential Oils

Essential oils aren’t suitable for both dogs and cats. Still, some dog shampoos contain a small amount of tea tree oil to keep your dog’s coat safe from bacteria. But, even a small amount of tea tree oil can pose huge health threats to your cat.

Can I Use Dog Shampoo on My Hair?

You can use dog shampoo on your hair just once. But, it’s best to avoid using it altogether due to the risks of pH imbalance, dry scalp problems, and toxic ingredients as well.

Instead, try to find a shampoo that can fulfill your hair’s requirements and keep it healthy and well-nourished.

Disclaimer: This blog should not be considered as being professional pet medical advice. The content published on this blog is for informational purposes only. Please always consult with a licensed and local veterinarian for medical advice.

About Shaun Clarke

Shaun is passionate about pets and animals, especially dogs, cats, and rabbits. He owns a dog and a couple of cats too. He loves visiting wildlife sanctuaries and shares a strong bond with animals. When he is not writing, he loves to do a barbecue in the backyard with his family and friends.

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