Did you know that prolonged use of human shampoo for dogs will ruin their skin? If not, then you better pay attention to the important things I’m about to tell you on using any type of human shampoos on dogs, and what consequences pet owners usually encounter when they do that. Because human shampoo is a cheaper option, a lot of pet owners choose to go this route when bathing their pets, but it’s a dangerous road to take.
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As a pet groomer, bathing and shampooing dogs is what I do on a regular basis. Below, we’ll discuss types of dog shampoos, use of human shampoo on pets, and I’ll provide you some insight and information about why you should never use human shampoo on your canine. I will also share the type of dog grooming products that I use to bathe my dog.
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Yes, dog shampoos can be expensive
It’s true that dog shampoo can break the bank for some pet parents. I’m not the one to spend $15+ on shampoos even for myself. However, that’s not to say I don’t splurge on my dog, because she gets more stuff than I do.
Dog shampoo is like the human stuff, and the same laws apply: if you cheap out, then you’re getting exactly what you paid for.
Plus, if you have a dog with a skin condition, such as sensitive skin, specialty shampoos can be up to $30, if not more. For example, dog shampoos like the Pet Head Inc PH10117 Natural Oatmeal Shampoo are going for the price of around $150.00 at the time of this writing. I just saw this on Amazon. It’s crazy.
However, if you have the money to afford some of these insanely expensive dog grooming products like the shampoo above, then feel free to do so. All the positive reviews are probably right, and I wouldn’t be surprised that for that price, they manufacture the best dog shampoo you can buy.
But most of us pet parents cannot afford dog shampoos for that type of price. However, there’s one option you can consider if you’re looking to have an affordable, safe to use grooming product for your pooch, and I’ll talk about it later. That’s the stuff that I use.
Your dog’s pH balance
Below you can see a picture of a dog’s pH balance.
Your dog’s pH balance is extremely important, and should never be ignored.
Similar to the human skin, a dog’s skin and coat can become extremely irritated and damaged if you ignore their requirements. I will now go into more detail over a dog’s pH balance, as well as the proper number your dog’s skin should remain at.
As you can see above, 7 is labeled at pure water, which is where it stays. However, using human shampoo messes up your dog’s pH balance to a great extent.
A dog’s skin has a balance of around 7.5, while a human’s skin has a balance of around 5.5. Again, pure water is at 7. Human shampoo has quite a lot of acidity in it, which dogs are more sensitive to.
To explain the above canine pH balance chart better, levels from 5 to 6.2 are considered normal for human skin, while dog’s levels range from 5.5 to around 7.5, which is a more alkaline concentration. Humans have a more alkalinity concentration.
If you’re looking for a more scientific argument as to why you should never use a human shampoo on a dog, then you have one: shampoo that is formulated and manufactured for human skin will disrupt the dog’s acid mantle. This creates an area for viruses, parasites and bacteria to go crazy on a dog.
In short, if you use human shampoo on your dog instead of a proper dog shampoo that is formulated for canines, you’re putting him at a higher risk for bacteria that could lead to serious skin conditions, such as a skin infection.
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Your dog will also have problems with dry skin, severe sensitivity, or even both. This will cause your pooch to scratch himself relentlessly, break the skin, cause it to bleed, and, because his acid mantle has been severely disrupted, an infection will break out five times more easily, if not more.
My dog’s coat
For those of you who already know my dog, Anastasia, from my previous columns, you don’t necessarily need to read this part, but I do recommend it.
My dog Anastasia is an Emotional Service Animal, also known as an ESA, which is a working therapy dog. Because she’s in public with me so much, her coat tends to get very dirty. We also spend hours a day at the dog park together, when I’m not writing articles, of course.
You’d think that staying on top of her coat and making sure it’s always clean would be an expensive hassle, because of the prices for dog shampoo these days. That is not the case, however. I spend no more than $5 every time I need to grab more of my secret weapon.
My point is that I get so many compliments on her coat, and I always get questions on how I keep her coat so clean, shiny and always looking good. What I usually tell people catches them off guard, because I don’t use dog shampoo at all.
Even though my dog has a grain allergy, I also don’t use any kind of specialty dog shampoos, regular shampoos or anything related. Most canine shampoos are too hard on my pet’s skin because they upset the dog’s pH balance, but my secret weapon is perfect for her needs, and I’m sure it would be perfect for your dog’s skin, too.
Click on the image to the right to enlarge it. That’s my Anastasia. You can see for yourself how shiny her coat is, and I take high pride in that.
Since I always want to look my best in public because it makes me feel good about myself, and I want my dog to have that same feeling, too.
The way I see it, you could either spend a ton of money on overly expensive dog grooming products that will ensure total coat perfection, or you could just go with one simple trick that literally takes minutes to do during your dog’s bath time. This is all the while without breaking the bank, which is most definitely an important factor for most of us pet parents living on a budget.
My secret weapon to my dog’s coat perfection
Using human shampoo can be a quick fix if your dog needs a bath from, say, rolling around outside, but if you don’t have any proper shampoo, is it really worth the risk to your dog? It’s really not. And if you don’t have any dog shampoo on hand, then my little secret will work.
Surprised? I use baby shampoo with my dog! Yes, it’s technically human shampoo, but for babies. The reason it works is because the ingredients and the effect is completely different from what you get in a real human shampoo designed for adults. Yes, it’s that simple, and it’s CHEAP. You can pick one of these babies in your local store for no more than five dollars a bottle.
How did I come up with an idea to use baby shampoo on my dog’s coat?
Good question. I started using baby shampoo on my canine Anastasia by accident. One day I and my Fido were visiting a friend who has kids. We were all outside playing in his backyard with his kids, when Anastasia decided it’d be a good idea to knock over the bowl of water we left for her, and roll around in the mud she just made.
My friend was giving us a ride home later after his kids left, and I wasn’t about to bring my muddy best friend into his clean car. So, I asked if we could use his bathtub so I could give her a quick wash. My friend also has a dog, a German Shepherd mix, so he has dog shampoo on hand.
However, when it was time to grab the dog shampoo, I ended up grabbing his kid’s baby shampoo instead. Silly me. I didn’t notice until I had finished bathing my dog, and she was already being dried with a towel. Honestly, I freaked out.
I was so worried that I had just damaged my dog’s skin beyond repair. Anastasia also has a grain allergy, so on top of that I was worried that the baby shampoo would cause it to flare up and she’d have to go to the vet. Fortunately, none of that happened!
Once she ran herself dry, I noticed how gorgeous her coat looked. She was sparkling in the sun! My friend and I were pleasantly surprised, so I called my vet to see if this was an okay thing to do.
My veterinarian confirmed that baby shampoo is good to use with dogs, and that I worked myself up too much for no reason. After that day, I have seriously never bought anything else for my dog but baby shampoo, which continues to work wonders: shiny, clean coat and absolutely no damage to dog’s hair or skin.
Now, as I said before, I’m not the one to skimp out when it comes to my dog, but from now on, I use baby shampoo only. It costs less than $5, won’t harm your dog’s skin, and creates a beautiful, healthy, clean coat every time.
This brand pictured above is a Target brand, but you can buy any brand of baby shampoo. I usually buy this one when I’m on a budget, but Johnson’s is also a really good choice. Babies have skin pH balance similar to dogs: sensitive and incredibly vulnerable to any acids and the like, which is why baby shampoo works so well for canines.
If you’re pulling your hair out trying to find a specialty dog shampoo for your Fido that works, and does not irritate their skin, STOP right now.
Go to your local store, grab some baby shampoo, go home, wash your pet, and then come back here and thank me in the comments. Your dog’s coat can be healthy and glowing without you having to break the bank and go overboard with anything. You can either make bath time simple with one solution, or the most difficult time of your life.