Can I Use Baby Shampoo on my Dog?

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Bath time: some dogs love it, some dogs hate it.

However, for some pups, their experience can be made worse if they have sensitive skin. Just like humans, dogs can also suffer from sore, sensitive skin which requires gentle products that won’t further irritate them. 

But choosing the right shampoo for your pooch can be tiresome. There are hundreds on the market, yet quite often they appear to be pretty similar and often come with a significant price tag attached. 

Dog shampoo should be kind to sensitive skin, and tear-free, which sounds a lot like baby shampoo, right? 

Baby shampoo would be a lot cheaper than dog shampoo – it’s readily available at pretty much every drug store or supermarket. So, can you use it on your dog? 

Yes, you can. In fact, baby shampoo is perfect for pups, particularly those with sensitive skin. It’s generally not recommended to use human shampoo on pets, however, because baby shampoo is so gentle, it’s a good substitute for dog shampoo. 

can i use baby shampoo on my dog

What makes baby shampoo a good alternative? 

As we said, shampoo designed for humans isn’t usually recommended for dogs, and those with specific needs are usually best treated with prescribed veterinary products. However, baby shampoo is an exception, due to its soft, gentle formula. 

 Vets like Dr Debora Lichtenberg have been quoted previously saying “veterinary dermatologists recommend Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo frequently for sensitive dogs. It seems human shampoos are milder than in years past, even for humans.”  

These days, most baby shampoos are safe and mild because they’re free of harsh chemicals. Most baby shampoos contain water, glycerin – which has a smoothing effect – potassium acrylates copolymer (which thickens the shampoo), and sodium trideceth sulfate, which is formulated to act like a low-irritation cleansing agent. 

Usually, baby shampoos have a non-stress PH balance of about 7 and use surfactants, which can be less irritating than other shampoos.

How do I know if my pup has sensitive skin? 

There are a few tell-tale signs that your dog is suffering from sensitive skin or a particular skin condition. It’s always best to seek the advice of a vet before switching to baby shampoo, but recognizing your pet’s signs and symptoms beforehand can help you describe them to the vet. 

One of the most obvious indications is how your pup behaves after bath time – if they are suddenly very, very itchy it’s one of the most obvious indications that their current shampoo might be giving them some trouble. 

However, they may be experiencing worse symptoms than this. You might notice your dog biting their paws obsessively, shaking their head, rubbing their face, and nipping at their body. They may get frequent ear infections, develop hives, skin rashes, and infections, and start obsessively licking themselves too. 

Worse still, if your pooch is very allergic to their shampoo, they might even develop bald patches on their skin, blistery skin lesions, ulcerations, and even severe swelling. 

In the worst-case scenario, your pup could be very, very ill. If they have an allergic reaction to a particular shampoo and go into anaphylactic shock, you should immediately take your dog to the vet. 

Training a Dog with Allergies 

Sometimes, dogs with skin allergies require a myriad of treatments to keep their condition at bay, and therefore, it’s important to train your pup to deal with the treatments that come with such conditions. 

You’ll likely have to change their shampoo and cleansers, but even so, you’ll probably have to deal with a few outbreaks now and then.

You’ll need to train your dog to take the medications prescribed by their vet, and you can do this by training them to play a throw-and-catch game, to take the pills out of your hand gently, or by simply hiding them in their food. 

In the case of topical medications, you also need to train your pup to remain calm. You can stress this to them by providing lots of treats and pats while you’re applying the treatment.  

Your pooch may also have to undergo a skin-scraping test, so make sure that your dog feels safe, calm, and comfortable while they’re having this done. This test should help you get to the root of the condition, or to understand it better. 

Benefits of Switching to a Baby Shampoo 

  • Baby shampoo is mild and gentle and should cause minimal irritation for your pup, particularly if they have sore skin 
  • Baby shampoo usually comes in big bottles, and you only need a little, as it lathers well, so you get more bang for your buck 
  • It’s also way cheaper than dog shampoo and will last you longer 
  • It’s usually unscented and clear so shouldn’t upset your pup 

Things to Consider Before Using Baby Shampoo on Your Pooch 

  • As with any new product for your pooch, you should always check with your vet before switching straight to a baby shampoo.
  • Always check the ingredients before using them. The shampoo should be clear and unscented to minimize irritation. 
  • Use a well-trusted brand that your vet can recommend, such as Johnson & Johnson. 

Final Verdict 

Baby shampoo can be a great alternative to dog shampoo, and most baby shampoos are gentle, clear, and soothing for babies and pups alike.

There are also other benefits to using baby shampoo, such as saving money on expensive dog brands, however, you must check with your vet before switching to a baby shampoo straight away, and it’s a good idea to review the ingredients before using, too. 

While baby shampoos can be great for dogs with sensitive skin, if your pup has a serious skin condition, it’s important that they’re seen by a vet who can prescribe the necessary treatments and medications to help ease your pet’s discomfort and help you get to the root of the issue. 

While human shampoo is usually a no-go for furry friends, baby shampoo is gentle enough for our pups, just ensure your vet gives you the go-ahead first. 

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