Resources for parents to get through the challenges.

  1. Home
  2. Parenting

Can Humans Use Dog Shampoo And Vice Versa?

It’s understandable to assume that shampoo is just shampoo, regardless of what type of shampoo it is. This leaves most of us wondering if humans can use dog shampoo, especially whether humans can use flea shampoo.

Some parents swear that this is a wonderful treatment for lice. If your child gets fleas in their hair, it does make sense to use flea shampoo. However, this is not a good idea.

Shampoos are designed specifically for the person or animal using them. If humans use dog shampoo or dogs were to use human shampoo, it sets the stage for future health problems because those shampoos were not designed to be used by them.

It’s vital to learn the difference to protect both your children and your animals. 

What Is The Difference Between Human And Dog Shampoo?

Humans have a higher Ph balance on their skin than dogs do. This means that our skin is more acidic than your puppy’s skin. In addition to this, everyone’s skin has a top layer that is usually called the “acid mantle.”

This helps protect the skin from viruses, bacteria, parasites, etc. When we take a bath or bath our dog, this is washed away. Because of this, soaps and shampoos have special ingredients, such as lotions, to protect the skin while this layer restores itself. 

The ingredients in human shampoos are more acidic. This helps to protect our skin adequately. It maintains the natural Ph balance that we already have. This is essential to protect the skin while the outermost layer is not working effectively. 

Dog shampoos have more alkaline because dogs have a higher Ph balance than humans do. The higher Ph balance means that their skin is not acidic. Instead, it is neutral.

Dog shampoo is specifically designed to have ingredients that mirror the Ph balance dogs already have so that it can effectively protect the skin after their outermost layer is washed away. 

shampoo aisle

What Happens If Humans Use Dog Shampoo?

Even if you know that you shouldn’t use dog shampoo, sometimes it smells good, and you don’t realize you’re out of shampoo before you jump in the shower.

If that’s the situation, put your hair in a bun and wash it another day. Using dog shampoo, even if it’s just once, can cause many more problems than it’s worth. 

It Disrupts Your Ph Balance

First, this shampoo is designed to have a neutral Ph balance, not the acidic one that you need. If you use it, you can upset your own Ph balance, even if it’s just one time.

This will not only cause dry skin. It can leave you susceptible to bacterial infections wherever the shampoo is used. If you use it on your body, you can get a bacterial infection on your skin.

You can also get a bacterial infection on your scalp. Bacterial skin infections should be taken seriously.

I had a bacterial skin infection from tanning once. Half of my body was covered in tiny infected pimples. Not only did it look disgusting, but it was also painful and itchy. I wound up wearing hoodies in the middle of summer. This was only a mild infection. They can be much, much worse. 

You Absorb Toxic Ingredients

Dog shampoos are all comprised of different ingredients. Some may be geared more towards making your dog smell wonderful and be gentle because of how sensitive a dog’s skin is.

However, at the same time, they often contain chemicals that are designed to ward off fleas and other pests. While mosquitoes might stay away for a couple of days, the level of chemicals that is absorbed into your skin.

As a result, it is enough to make it worth it to run to the store to grab a bottle of your shampoo. 

It Can Dry Your Hair Out

Some dog shampoos might result in bouncy hair, but those with harsh chemicals, such as flea shampoo, are going to cause a significant amount of damage to your hair.

Chemicals of any kind, from lice shampoos to hair dye, damage our hair. The more chemicals in dog shampoo, the more damage it will do. 

Mild cases will resolve themselves in a couple of weeks. More severe cases can result in the hair breaking off. My hair was severely damaged from dying it, and I just had to cut it to chin length three months ago.

This was because half of my hair broke at that length, and it needed to be even. It’s not worth the risk to use dog shampoo because you’re out of shampoo. 

girl holding dry shampoo

Purchase Dry Shampoo Instead

I always have a bottle of dry shampoo on my vanity, just in case. If we’re out of shampoo, I have to run out the door and don’t have time for a shower, or there’s a family emergency, my hair still looks wonderful.

To use most dry shampoos, you simply spray it into your hair (make sure to use a light amount, or your hair will look greasy). Then, run a brush through your hair to mix it in.

Your hair will look freshly washed in under one minute. This is the brand that I use, but any brand will work.

Can I Use Dog Shampoo To Treat Lice?

This is a common myth. It stems from the ingredients in dog shampoos, particularly flea shampoos. Some of the ingredients are the same as the ingredients in lice shampoos.

However, you still should not use dog shampoo to treat lice. The ingredients are used at different ratios, so it might not kill the lice. Also, dog shampoo should only be used on dogs. 

Cheap Lice Solutions

Most people opt for flea shampoo because it’s cost-effective. If you have waist-length hair, it can cost a lot of money for those little lice shampoo bottles. This is even more expensive when you have an entire house to treat.

However, there are plenty of other cost-effective solutions that don’t involve using flea shampoo. Instead, opt for an electronic nit comb (this helps drastically), baby oil, or call your local health department.

They usually give out lice shampoo for free or a discounted rate.

can dogs use human shampoo

Can Dogs Use Human Shampoo?

Because of the different Ph balances, dogs can not use a shampoo that is for humans. This shampoo has a lower Ph balance, which makes it more acidic.

In addition to that, dogs only have two protective layers on the top of their skin, while humans have around seven. This makes them more vulnerable to how acidic human shampoos are. If you use human shampoo on dogs, it can have disastrous effects. 

It Destroys The Acid Mantle

When you use a shampoo with a lower Ph.D. content on dogs, it not only washes away the acid mantle but destroys it. Because of this, it takes longer for it to restore itself to normal after a bath.

After the tiny layer of protection that the shampoo provides is gone, the acid mantle will still not be there. This results in your dog having no protection against outside factors.

Instantly, they will be more likely to have problems with parasites, bacterial infections, and other skin concerns. 

Human Shampoo Gives Dogs Dry Skin

When we use human shampoo on dogs, the different Ph balance is known to cause dry, flaky skin. Dry skin can make dogs uncomfortable, resulting in scratching and digging at themselves.

This is especially dangerous to dogs that do not have the acid mantle on their skin for additional protection. As they scratch at patches of dry skin, dangerous bacteria, and harmful germs can get into their skin, resulting in bacterial skin infections. 

Human Shampoo Can Be Deadly For Dogs

Some things that we enjoy, like chocolate, can be deadly for dogs. This is applicable to ingredients in shampoo as well. For example, some shampoos contain tea tree oil, which can be toxic for our furry friends.

Human shampoos always have a long list of ingredients. If “fragrance” is included, this is often an umbrella term that is used to cover hundreds of ingredients that are used to make the shampoo smell better.

Because of this, you never genuinely know what you’re putting on your dog.

Baby Shampoo Cannot Be Used On Dogs

Most dog owners know, or learn, that human shampoo is too harsh for the thin skin that dogs have. It can irritate their skin so bad it can cause lesions. This leads to the question of whether baby shampoo can be used on dogs.

While baby shampoo is gentler and has fewer toxins, it is still too harsh for dogs. This is because it is designed for humans and the Ph level for humans. This makes it too harsh for dogs. 

What Can You Use To Wash Dogs Without Dog Shampoo?

If you’re out of dog shampoo, but your dog is dirty, you do have one better option than the rest: water. Washing your dog with just water will do nothing for the smell, but it will help rinse away dirt and mud.

Then, when you have the time, pick up some dog shampoo for the odor. This is the safest option for dogs.

Final Word

While it can be tempting to resort to dog shampoo when you’re out of shampoo and vice versa, this is never a good idea. It’s also not a good idea to do it once as a lice treatment.

Instead, opt for dry shampoo, water, and safe methods to guarantee that both you and your dog are healthy.