Can I Use Baby Shampoo on My Dog?

For some of us, life isn’t complete without our four-legged companions. But when you have a dirty, smelly dog, that’s problematic. There’s nothing worse than having your dog spread nasty grime throughout the house.

That’s why regularly bathing your dog is part of any responsible owner’s schedule. While we all probably know that shampoo formulated for dogs is best, sometimes life gets in the way. If you have it lying around, you might wonder, “Can I use baby shampoo on my dog?”

can I use baby shampoo on my dog
Can I use baby shampoo on my dog?

This article provides all you need to know to answer this question. We’ll start with a quick answer that summarizes the vital information about using baby shampoo on dogs. Then we’ll dig into additional details like the main differences in shampoos and other useful tips for bathing your pup.

Can I Use Baby Shampoo on My Dog?

We’ve all been there. A nice outing with your dog turns into a difficult situation when they happen to find the most revolting thing around. And somehow, in the blink of an eye, they manage to cover themselves entirely in whatever rancid mess they came across.

When this happens, taking an additional trip to the store or waiting for an online purchase to arrive is far from ideal. You must use whatever is around.

Baby shampoo is known for being great for sensitive situations of all sorts. Of course, baby shampoo is perfect for washing babies, but it’s also useful for people with sensitive skin or other concerns. But can I use baby shampoo on my dog?

The answer is yes. You can use baby shampoo on your dog. While a dog-specific shampoo is best, baby shampoo is not likely to result in serious damage to your dog’s skin or fur.

Because baby shampoo is gentle, it doesn’t strip away all the oils as other shampoos or soaps can. These oils are critical for dogs and humans as they keep the skin hydrated and protect against infection.

It also had the added benefit of being gentle on the eyes. Many shampoos, even ones made for dogs, can be painful when it gets into any eyes. But baby shampoo is made to be gentle and doesn’t cause as much of a problem.

So can I use baby shampoo on my dog? Yes, mainly because it is gentle.

Difference Between Baby Shampoo and Alternatives

Before you head out and start scrubbing away with baby shampoo, let’s discuss how baby shampoo stacks up against the alternatives. This includes regular dog shampoo, human shampoo, and other soaps. 

Baby Shampoo vs. Dog Shampoo

It’s crucial to begin this discussion by comparing baby shampoo and dog shampoo. After all, if we want what’s best for our beloved pets, then using products made for them is likely best.

shampoo bottle
Getting shampoo in an orange bottle.

But what’s the difference? Can I use baby shampoo on my dog, or should I always use dog shampoo?

Baby shampoo works when you’re in a bind. But most experts agree that it’s not for washing dogs regularly.

Dog shampoo is formulated for the dog’s skin and fur. Their pH is slightly higher and more alkaline than human skin. The shampoo made for dogs takes this into account and provides an ideal solution for their makeup.

On top of that, dog shampoo can also come in formulas that are ideal for specific breeds. If you have a very curly-haired dog, like a Goldendoodle, it helps to get a shampoo meant for them. The same is true for the various other types of dog hair, whether short, long and straight, or some mixture. 

That’s why dog shampoo is always the preferred product. But baby shampoo works if necessary.

Baby Shampoo vs. Human Shampoo

Baby shampoo is not like most human shampoos. And those differences are vital when discussing usage on dogs.

different shampoos
Different shampoos to choose from for dog fleas.

Generally speaking, most human shampoos remove a lot of oil. They are made for human skin pH, which is usually lower and more acidic than dog skin.

Baby shampoo, on the other hand, is much more gentle. It doesn’t try to remove quite as much oil and is much more gentle on the skin.

Beyond that, many shampoos designed for humans have other conditioners, fragrances, and products that can cause harm to your dog. Baby shampoo quite often lacks these additions, making it more suitable for washing dogs.

Baby Shampoo vs. Dish Soap

When you’re in a bind, you might find that dish soap is something around. Dish soap has been used on various wildlife, which might cause you to believe it is fine for your dog.

dish soap and sponge
A dish soap can help remove dog smell on your couch.

However, most experts recommend that dish soap should only be used if nothing else is available. And when that’s the case, you still want to dilute it with water and vinegar.

But even with those precautions, dish soap is quite strong. Think about those commercials of it removing all that grease and stuck-on debris from pans. Those might be embellished for advertising purposes, but they show dish soap’s ability to remove oil.

That’s great for dishes. But not for dogs. You want to clean your dog while also leaving some oil behind. This oil avoids dry skin and the many problems that can come from it.

This dryness can cause discomfort for dogs. They also might itch the dry area, which leads to additional damage. Scratching can even cause cuts, opening up a pathway for pathogens and infection.

Tips for Washing Your Dog With Baby Shampoo

If you find yourself in a situation where you think using baby shampoo is your best option, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

bathing a Dogo Argentino
The owner bathes a Dogo Argentino in a bath tub.

The most important is that baby shampoo is not the ideal product. Try not to make a habit out of it. So when you notice that you are out of dog shampoo, use the baby shampoo if you need to, but place an order for dog shampoo, so you’re ready for next time.

Also, make sure to rinse out the shampoo thoroughly. This rule applies to any shampoo used on your dog. You don’t want to leave behind any residue from it. 

Finally, baby shampoo can also be helpful for those times with challenging dogs. If you have some dogs that always seem to get shampoo in their eyes, baby shampoo can be a good alternative as it isn’t as harmful or painful on the eyes.

But hopefully, you can find a dog-specific formula that does the trick instead.

Can I Use Baby Shampoo on My Dog? Wrap Up

At this point, you should know that the answer to “Can I use baby shampoo on my dog?” is yes. But hopefully, you also understand that it isn’t the best product.

Whenever possible, use a shampoo formulated for dogs. It helps protect their skin, retains more oil, and prevents skin issues or infections.