GroomingBathing & ShampooCan I Use Hair Conditioner On My Dog?

Can I Use Hair Conditioner On My Dog?

You should not use human hair conditioners on dogs. Dogs have a pH of 6.2 to 7.4. Human hair conditioner was made for a pH of around 5.5. However, there are hair conditioners that were made for dogs. These will soften the fur without irritating the skin.

If you’re looking to give your dog’s coat some extra shine and get rid of tangles, dog hair conditioner might be just the thing.

Dog Hair Conditioners

Dog owners typically don’t use a conditioner on their dog as often as they use shampoo, so here are some suggestions for canine conditioners.

Store Bought

Although it might seem like a good idea to use human hair conditioner on a dog, it’s not recommended.

Dogs have a much different pH balance than humans, so using products intended for human skin and hair can really mess up both the pH and the skin oils.

There are plenty of dog conditioners on the market that can be used after shampooing.

The conditioner is applied to the wet coat after shampooing and allowed to sit for a few minutes, then rinsed out.

Always do research on the company to make sure they produce high-quality, safe products, and follow the directions as printed on the bottle.

Homemade Conditioners

You can also use coconut oil to soften your dog’s hair. Apply it to wet fur and let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse it off. Coconut oil is great for dogs with dry skin, plus it smells great!

You can also mix some aloe vera with water and spray a bit onto the dog’s coat as a detangler and moisturizer.If used sparingly, it won’t need to be rinsed off, but try not to spray too much onto areas that he’s likely to lick or chew.

Apple cider vinegar can also be used on dogs, either as a rinse after shampooing or in a spray bottle applied to the dog’s skin and fur after bathing.

In either case, be sure to dilute it before using it on your dog. Apple cider vinegar is said to balance the pH on dogs’ skin, as well as giving the fur extra shine.

Why Condition?

Although it’s not always necessary, there are many reasons that someone would choose to use a dog conditioner in addition to shampoo.

Frequent Washing

As a general rule, dogs shouldn’t be bathed more than once a month. Doing so more often can cause dry, itchy skin.

However, sometimes a dog has a condition that requires more frequent washing, such as allergies or skin parasites. This frequent washing can leave the coat looking dry and brittle.

Conditioners can remedy this, adding moisture and shine back into the coat, keeping it healthy and looking its best.


If you have a very active dog with long hair, chances are you’ve had to deal with a tangle or two.

Using a conditioner can help the hair maintain a silky texture that’s less likely to tangle and much easier to comb out.

Remember, the conditioner alone won’t solve the problem. Frequent brushing is a must with long-haired dogs.


Even the best conditioner can’t replace the need for a good shampoo. Here are some suggestions for finding the best shampoo for your dog.

Conditioning Shampoos

Many dog shampoos contain conditioner in them, which removes the need for the extra step and buying an additional product.

Conditioning shampoos will contain words like “moisturizing” and “conditioning,” promising a “silky” coat.

Some work better than others, so be sure to shop around, read reviews, and ask other pet owners and experts for their recommendations.

Although recommendations are a great way to find pet products, remember that all dogs are different, and yours may react differently to a product than your friend’s dog.

With all the products available today, there’s one that’s bound to give you the results you’re looking for. Just be patient and keep trying.

Skin Problems

There are many shampoos and conditioners that can help with skin problems, including:

  • Allergies
  • Skin Parasites
  • Frequent bathing
  • Skin Infection
  • Dermatitis

If your dog has skin problems, it’s worth your time to find a good shampoo that will soothe and heal the skin and relieve itching.

This will result in a happier dog and reduce the need for frequent bathing, which will help his coat maintain natural oils.

Medicated Shampoos

Medicated shampoos are usually used for skin pests like fleas, mites, and ticks, but they can also help with other skin issues.

Depending on the shampoo, the medication can cause dry, itchy skin, which a natural conditioner like coconut oil may be able to soothe.

Check with your vet first, though, in case the oil will react with the medication in the shampoo.

What Causes a Dry Coat?

Although a dry, dull coat may seem like a superficial issue best solved with conditioner, it can be a possible sign of an underlying condition.


A dry, dull coat may be a sign of malnutrition, caused either by a poor diet, inadequate food, or an intestinal parasite.

If the dog is underweight in addition to having a lackluster coat, it may not be getting enough food, or the food it eats may not be getting absorbed properly.

If the dog’s weight is normal, the type of food may be to blame. It may lack sufficient healthy fats, proteins, and other necessary nutrients.

Hormone Disorder

Hormonal disorders like hypothyroidism can cause dry, brittle hair that falls out, as well as lethargy and weight gain.

Fortunately, hypothyroidism is treatable with medication, but it can cause a lot of issues until it’s diagnosed, so call your vet if you suspect hypothyroidism.


We’ve touched on allergies a couple of times already, and how much they can dry the skin. Allergies can also affect the look of a dog’s coat, especially if they get bad enough that the hair starts to fall out in patches.

If allergies are to blame for your dog’s unattractive coat, getting the symptoms taken care of and treating the skin will do more than conditioning the coat will.

Dog Skin and Hair Care

As mentioned above, the health of a dog’s skin will directly affect the appearance of his fur. Therefore, it’s important to do your part to keep both healthy if you want him to have a shiny coat.

A healthy diet and monthly bathing are two of the most important things you can do for your dog’s skin and hair, as mentioned in previous sections. But another simple way to maintain the appearance and health of his coat is grooming.


Grooming your dog regularly will help remove tangles and distribute the natural skin and hair oils through the coat.

It will also help reduce shedding, since the loose hair will be removed during the brushing session rather than on your furniture.

Regular brushing is the best time to check for parasites and other skin conditions such as dermatitis and cysts.

If you’re not able to brush your dog daily, aim for a few times a week.

It Takes More Than a Good Shampoo and Conditioner

Shampoo and optional conditioner play a big part in how shiny and soft your dog’s fur is, but as we’ve seen, there’s much more to it when it comes to maintaining a healthy, lustrous coat.

If you use a conditioner on your dog, choose one formulated for canines that will meet his specific skin and coat needs.

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