May 02, 2023 7 min read

As a dog owner, ensuring the health and cleanliness of your beloved pet is a top priority. One question that often arises is whether human shampoo can be used on dogs. The simple answer is no, as it can lead to skin irritation, coat damage, and other issues due to differences in pH levels and ingredients.

In this blog post, we'll delve into the reasons why using human shampoo isn't suitable for your furry friend and explore alternatives to keep them clean and healthy.

Why You Should Not Use Human Shampoo On Dogs

dog bath

Using human shampoo on dogs can lead to skin irritation and allergies, coat damage, and changes to the natural oils that protect a dog's skin.

Skin Irritation And Allergies

One of the primary reasons you should avoid using human shampoo on your dog is the increased risk of skin irritation and allergies. Human and dog skin have a different pH balance, which means that our shampoos are not suitable for their more sensitive skin.

For example, a dog may experience redness, itching, rashes, or even hives after being washed with human shampoo or even with something like Dawn dish soap. These adverse reactions can be particularly severe in dogs with pre-existing sensitivities or allergies.

In extreme cases, continued use of inappropriate products can lead to fur loss and chronic discomfort for your beloved canine companion.

Coat Damage

Coat damage is a significant concern when using human shampoo on dogs. The formulations of these products are designed to strip away natural oils and wax that are essential for maintaining a healthy coat in dogs.

Using human shampoo on your dog may lead to dullness, dryness, and brittleness of their fur. The loss of natural oils can also cause an overproduction of oil by your dog's skin as it tries to compensate for the imbalance, which could contribute to a greasy dog's fur and clogged follicles.

Furthermore, irritation and inflammation caused by improper cleansing may result in excessive shedding or even hair breakage due to weakened strands.

Changes To Natural Oils

One major reason to avoid using human shampoo on your canine companion is the potential damage it can cause to their natural oils. Dogs have a unique blend of essential oils that help maintain a healthy skin and coat, protecting them from environmental factors and giving their fur its trademark sheen.

For example, consider how our hair feels after washing with a strong shampoo - squeaky clean but slightly dry. This same effect could occur in your dog's coat if you use human shampoo regularly, leading to dull fur or even irritated skin.

Continual loss of these crucial natural oils might also result in excessive shedding or more serious problems like flaky skin or recurrent infections.

The Differences Between Human And Dog Shampoo

dog shampoo

Human shampoo is not formulated for use on dogs as the pH levels, ingredients, fragrances, and formulation are different from dog shampoos.

PH Levels

The pH level of a dog's skin is generally more alkaline compared to human skin. As such, using human shampoo on dogs can disrupt their skin's natural pH balance, which could lead to irritation and itchiness.

Dog-specific shampoos, on the other hand, are formulated with a neutral pH level around 7 that helps maintain the acid mantle and prevent infections in dogs' sensitive skin.

It is important to choose a shampoo that matches your dog's specific needs and follow usage instructions carefully to avoid any potential harm caused by incorrect use or overuse of the product.


The type of ingredients found in human shampoo can be harmful to your dog. Many human shampoos contain chemicals like sulfates, parabens, and alcohol that can cause skin irritation and dryness for dogs.

These ingredients can also strip the natural oils from their skin and disrupt the pH balance, leading to potential skin infections or other issues. In contrast, pet shampoos are specially formulated with gentle ingredients that are safe for dogs and help maintain a healthy coat.

When choosing a shampoo for your furry friend, it's important to read the label carefully and make sure it is specifically designed for pets.


Fragrances are often added to human shampoos for a pleasant smell, but they can be irritating to dogs with sensitive noses and skin. Dogs rely heavily on their sense of smell and fragrances in human shampoo can cause them discomfort or even headaches.

Additionally, fragrances may contain chemicals that could harm your dog's skin, especially if it is already irritated or damaged. It is best to choose a dog-specific shampoo without any added fragrances or opt for natural fragrances such as lavender or chamomile.


Aside from pH levels and ingredients, another important factor to consider when choosing a shampoo for your dog is the formulation. Dog shampoos are formulated specifically for pets, taking into account their unique needs and characteristics.

For example, dog shampoos may contain ingredients that help detangle fur or soothe itchy skin.

On the other hand, human shampoos are designed for use on people and don't necessarily take into account the differences between human and canine skin and hair.

By using a shampoo specifically made for dogs, you can ensure that you're providing them with the best care possible while avoiding potential problems down the line.

Keywords: Formulation, Dog shampoo, Pet-specific ingredients

Alternatives To Human Shampoo For Dogs

Instead of using human shampoo on your furry friend, there are a variety of alternatives to choose from, such as dog-specific shampoo, KingKanine natural and organic shampoo.

KingKanine Natural And Organic Shampoo

If you're looking for a natural and organic dog shampoo, KingKanine is definitely worth considering. Their shampoos are made from high-quality ingredients that are gentle on your dog's sensitive skin and coat.

KingKanine offers a range of different formulas to suit different types of skin and coat. For example, they have an oatmeal-based shampoo that can soothe dry or itchy skin, as well as a formula designed specifically for puppies.

With these options available, it's easy to find a product that will work well for your furry friend.

Dog-Specific Shampoo

To ensure a healthy and clean coat for your furry friend, it's best to use dog-specific shampoo or a medicated dog shampoo. These shampoos are formulated with pH levels that are suitable for dogs' sensitive skin and natural oils.

They also contain ingredients that cater to different types of coats, whether it's thick or thin, curly or straight.

Dog-specific shampoos also come in different fragrances and formulations that are not harmful to pets when ingested during grooming. Most importantly, using pet-specific products ensures that the acid mantle on their skin remains intact so they remain protected from parasites, viruses, and bacteria.

DIY Dog Shampoo Recipes

If you prefer to make your own dog shampoo, there are a few recipes you can try using simple and natural ingredients:

  1. Oatmeal Shampoo: Combine 1 cup of plain oatmeal, 1 cup of water, and 1 tablespoon of baking soda in a blender until smooth. Add the mixture to 2 cups of warm water and stir well. Use it to lather your dog's coat and rinse thoroughly.
  2. Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse: Mix together equal parts of water and apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle. After washing your dog with a gentle shampoo, spritz the solution onto their coat to help balance the skin's pH level and leave their fur shiny.
  3. Simple Suds: Mix together ¼ cup of liquid castile soap, ¼ cup of distilled water, and ½ teaspoon of jojoba oil in a bowl. Pour the mixture over your dog's wet coat and massage gently before rinsing off thoroughly.
  4. Baby Shampoo: If you’re in a pinch, some human baby shampoos may be safe for dogs since the shampoo is designed to be gentle on sensitive skin.

Remember to always test a small patch on your dog's skin for any allergies or reactions before using any homemade shampoo recipes regularly. Also, avoid adding essential oils as they can be harmful to dogs if not used properly.

How To Choose The Right Shampoo For Your Dog

happy dog bath

To ensure you choose the right shampoo for your dog, consider their skin and coat type, read label and ingredient lists, and consult with your veterinarian - keep reading to learn more.

Consider Your Dog's Skin And Coat Type

Understanding your dog's skin and coat type is essential when choosing the right shampoo. For instance, dogs with oily skin need a shampoo that will help control excessive oil production without stripping away natural oils, while those with dry or sensitive skin require a gentle and moisturizing formula.

A quick way to determine your dog's skin type is by examining their fur closely: if their coat looks shiny or greasy, they likely have oily skin; if it looks flaky or irritated, they may have dry or sensitive skin.

It’s also crucial to read the label carefully to ensure that the product you choose matches both your pet’s specific needs and any restrictions placed on them by a veterinarian.

Some dogs require medicated shampoos due to allergies or other medical conditions which could be exacerbated with an unsuitable bath product.

Read Label And Ingredient Lists

To ensure the safety and well-being of your furry friend, it's essential to carefully read the label and ingredient list when selecting a shampoo for them. Look out for harmful chemicals or ingredients that could cause skin infections or irritations, such as parabens, sulfates, or artificial fragrances.

Instead, opt for shampoos specifically designed for dogs with natural and organic ingredients. It's also crucial to consider your dog's individual needs, like whether they have sensitive skin or require medicated shampoo.

Don't be fooled by appealing marketing claims on packaging - always take the time to investigate what you're applying to your pet's coat and body. Remember that just because a product is labeled as "safe" doesn't necessarily mean it will be safe for all dogs.

Consult With Your Veterinarian

Consulting with your veterinarian is crucial when choosing the right shampoo for your dog. They can recommend a specific brand based on your dog's skin and coat type, as well as any existing skin conditions they may have.

Additionally, if you notice signs of irritated skin, such as redness or excessive scratching after using a particular shampoo, it's essential to reach out to your veterinarian immediately.

Delaying medical attention could make the situation worse and lead to infections or other serious health issues.

The KingKanine Difference

At King Kanine, we believe that your furry friend deserves the absolute best, which is why our King Klean dog & cat shampoo stands out among the rest. 

Our unique blend of six organic ingredients, including coconut oil, jojoba oil, lemongrass, organic aloe vera, olive oil, and rosemary oil, ensures that your pet receives the gentlest and most nourishing care possible. Our hypoallergenic formula is perfect for pets with sensitive skin, leaving them clean, soft, and smelling wonderful. 

As a company committed to the well-being of both your pets and our planet, we proudly offer an eco-friendly and non-toxic solution to keep your dog or cat looking and feeling their absolute best. Trust King Kanine's King Klean shampoo for a superior grooming experience that will leave your pet feeling like royalty.