GroomingBathing & ShampooIs Baby Shampoo Ok For Dogs? It Sure Is!

Is Baby Shampoo Ok For Dogs? It Sure Is!

Just about every dog owner has been in the situation where they start bathing their dog only to find out they’re out of dog shampoo. You know using human shampoo isn’t the best idea, but then you look over and see that you have baby shampoo.

“Hmmm…” you think to yourself. “I wonder if baby shampoo is ok for dogs?”.

If you find yourself in that situation, we’ve got good news! It’s ok to use most baby shampoo on dogs (although some brands are better than others).

The skin on your dog is completely different than your skin, so using regular shampoo is a big no-no. However, baby shampoo is designed for sensitive skin. This means it has an appropriate pH level. In other words, it shouldn’t cause dryness and dandruff.

With that said, you don’t want to get in the habit of only using baby shampoo on your dog. After all, baby shampoo was designed for babies, not dogs. But on the rare occasions where you find yourself without dog shampoo but need to bath your dog immediately, baby shampoo will do the trick.

Benefits of Using Baby Shampoo

Not only is it ok to use baby shampoo, but there are also quite a few benefits. Here are the four biggest benefits for both you and your dog.


Who doesn’t love saving money? You’ll be looking to spend around 10 dollars to get quality dog shampoo. You can get quality baby shampoo for about 5 dollars…half the price! If you go through shampoo quickly, spending that extra 5 dollars each time can really add up.


Baby shampoo is sold all over the place, including local convenience stores. Whereas quality dog shampoo is usually only sold at pet stores.

This comes in handy late at night when all the dog stores are closed. It’s also convenient when you already have baby shampoo in your house. One less trip to the store.

Keeps pH Level Balanced

The main reason you don’t want to use regular shampoo on a dog is because of pH balance. In simple terms, regular shampoo is too strong for a dog’s skin and will cause irritation, itching, and dryness. You might also notice a loss of color in your dog’s coat.

Baby shampoo was designed for sensitive baby skin and won’t throw off the pH level on your dog’s skin.

Seems to Kill Fleas

Although not proven, a lot of dog owners have noticed that baby shampoo seems to do a better job and killing and preventing fleas than regular dog shampoo.

The reason for this is because baby shampoo is slightly stronger than dog shampoo. The slight increase in strength is enough to strip the oils from the fleas, which exposes their skeletons. This causes the flea to dry out and die.

Again, this has not been proven with scientific research, but several pet owners swear by it. So if your dog has fleas, you may want to consider baby shampoo.

Best Practices When Using Baby Shampoo on Dogs

Remember, baby shampoo was not explicitly designed for dogs. Just because it’s ok to use baby shampoo on dogs doesn’t mean there aren’t rules to follow. If you’re planning on ditching the dog shampoo for baby shampoo, please keep the following three best practices in mind.

Sensitive, Unscented, and Clear

At the start of this article, we mentioned how MOST baby shampoo was ok to use on dogs. However, not ALL are ok.

You want to look for three things on the label.

  1. Sensitive
  2. Unscented
  3. Clear

If it’s sensitive, unscented, and clear, that means they didn’t fill it up with chemicals to make it smell or look a certain way.

In addition to not containing chemicals, it’s important to make sure it’s unscented because your dog probably wouldn’t enjoy smelling like “cool winter breeze” all day.

Don’t Use it More Than Once Per Month

As mentioned previously, since baby shampoo wasn’t explicitly designed for dogs, you don’t want to use it too often. The general rule of thumb is to make sure you don’t use it more than once per month.

This isn’t a problem for most dog owners since the average person bathes their dog once every eight weeks. But if your dog is in the habit of rolling in the mud or getting into nasty things that require a bath, you’ll be better off using dog shampoo.

If you don’t plan on bathing your dog more than once per month, baby shampoo will work just fine.

Extra Effort When Rinsing

If you decide to ditch the dog shampoo for baby shampoo, you need to make sure you put in extra effort on rinsing. Don’t just cover the surface level when rinsing off the shampoo. Get nice and deep into the fur to make sure you rinse off ALL the shampoo.

We like to use a dog grooming glove when rinsing baby shampoo off dogs. The silicon grooves help remove all the shampoo.

As long as you follow those three rules, you should have no issues when using baby shampoo on your dog.

How to Tell If Your Dog Has a Bad Reaction to Baby Shampoo

All dogs are different. Some dog’s skin might handle the baby shampoo just fine, other dogs might be extra sensitive. The main reason a dog would have an adverse reaction to baby shampoo is because of skin allergies. Here are a few signs to look for to see if your dog is having an adverse reaction to baby shampoo.

Itchy Skin

If your dog seems to be scratching themselves more than usual or rolling around because they’re trying to itch their back, the shampoo might have been a little too strong for them.


Dry skin causes dandruff, and the wrong shampoo can cause dry skin. After you bath your dog with baby shampoo, watch for dandruff over the next few days. If you notice some dandruff, it’s best to go back to dog shampoo.

Loss of Color to Coat

If you notice the coat isn’t as colorful and vibrant as it used to be, that means the skin isn’t as healthy as it once was. There can be several things that cause this, but if this started happening shortly after you used baby shampoo, there’s a good chance your dog’s skin is a little too sensitive for baby shampoo.

What Is The Best Baby Shampoo To Use on My Dog?

Johnson and Johnson Baby Shampoo is probably the best baby shampoo for dogs. Not only is it cheap, but it has a reputation of being a very mild shampoo that was designed for sensitive skin.

There are no harmful chemicals or fragrances. The only issue you might run into is if your dog has extremely sensitive skin. However, for the average dog, Johnson and Johnson Baby Shampoo is probably the safest option.

If Baby Shampoo is Ok, What About Regular Human Shampoo?

One of the main questions we get asked after telling people it’s ok to use baby shampoo is “what about regular adult shampoo.” Our answer is absolutely not! You should never use regular shampoo on your dog.

The pH level of human skin ranges from 5.4 to 5.9… Dogs have a pH range of 6.2 to 7.4. This means using regular human shampoo on a dog could wash away the acidic layer of the skin. This will cause extreme irritation, an unhealthy coat, and a lot of dandruff. Never use regular shampoo on a dog.

Is Baby Shampoo The Best Option For Your Dog?

Although it is ok to use baby shampoo on your dog, the answer to this question is no. The best shampoo to use on your dog is dog shampoo. Remember, baby shampoo was created for babies. Dog shampoo was designed for dogs. So the best shampoo to use on your dog is the shampoo that was created for dogs… it’s as simple as that.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use baby shampoo. If you decide to use it, make sure you don’t use it more than once per month and make sure you rinse your dog thoroughly when done.

Keep a close eye on your furry friend the first time you use it. You never know if he will have an adverse reaction.

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