Ever wondered why you shouldn’t use human shampoo on dogs?

I have heard this many times " Don't use human shampoo on your dog".  Ever wondered why? Yep me too. This is what I found:

Human shampoo is designed with a pH similar to human skin. This helps to prevent our skin drying out and potentially developing skin conditions and infections.

The problem with using human shampoo on dogs becomes evident when we look at the pH levels of human skin against the pH of doggy skin. You guessed it, they are different!

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What is pH?​

pH is the measure of how acidic or alkaline a substance is on a scale of 0 - 14.  Zero being very acidic while 14 is extremely alkaline. Water has a score of 7 which is classed as neutral.

Our skin has a pH of around 5.5 to 5.6 which is quite acidic. Our dog's skin is much more neutral, with a pH between 6.2 and 7.4.

What does our skin do?

Our human skin protects us from contaminants, bacteria, and viruses.   It is covered with an acidic layer that acts as an additional barrier. When our skin pH changes, this acidic barrier is affected and our skin becomes dry and sensitive and you may experience flaking, irritation or inflammation.

Human shampoo is developed with a pH similar to our own skin and usually includes a moisturizer to further protect our skin from drying out.

What about my dog's skin pH?

Our dog's skin has a more neutral pH. It  also does not have sweat glands  (except their paws) and it is designed to naturally clean itself.  Avoid washing your dog too much as you will be stripping your dog's natural protective oils and you may create an adverse skin condition.

How often should I wash my dog?

Washing your dog once a month is generally recommended but some dogs will need more or less washing depending on their coats.  If my dog has a smelly patch or isn't smelly all over, I will wash the smelly area with a sponge rather that give him a bath. This will remove the smell and prevent overwashing of your dog's skin and coat.

Dog Time talks  about the difference in coats and their washing requirements. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Dogs with an oily coat, like Basset Hounds, may need bathing as frequently as once a week.
  • Many short-haired breeds with smooth coats, such as Beagles and Weimaraners, do just fine with less frequent baths. Short-coated Basenjis are fastidious in their personal hygiene and rarely need a bath.
  • Breeds with water-repellent coats, such as Golden Retrievers and Great Pyrenees, should be bathed less often so as to preserve their natural oils.
  • Dogs with thick, double coats — such as Samoyeds, Malamutes, and other Northern breeds — do best with fewer baths and a lot of extra brushing (which gets rid of loose, dead hair and helps distribute natural oils that keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy).

Why does my dog smell?

Now I hear you all saying, but my dog smells!! Yep many do and there are a few reasons that this may be occurring:

  • Dog's love smelly things and will often roll in or search out everything smelly.
  • Many dog's live indoors now so it is easier to smell them, even if only slightly stinky.
  • Bacteria and infection on your dogs skin will make it smell.

You may see this bacteria or infection as dry, red itchy skin. Perhaps your dog is scratching or uncomfortable. Scratching and itching will make your dog very uncomfortable and unhappy and possible unwell so it is best to get it looked at as soon as possible

So this brings me back to pH and human shampoo. If you are using human shampoo or a product that is not compatible with your dog's skin, your dog's skin will become unbalanced and subject to infection and bacteria and may become smelly.

What doggy shampoo should a use?

Look for a shampoo that is designed for dogs. Try to find a natural product and stay away from chemicals. Added chemicals may have adverse effects on your dog.

One note to make is that pH in dogs does vary between breeds so you may have to trial a few products or find one that has a close to neutral pH.

Here is a product that I found recently and am really happy with it. Read the article here.​

Odie and Cody shampoo is an organic, natural, high-quality Pet Shampoo that does not burn, sting or itch. It is a moisturizing shampoo that will leave your pet feeling great after a bath? The shampoo is gentle, safe and hypoallergenic and can be used on puppies. There are no harmful chemicals, artificial or synthetic ingredients.  

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The shampoo may be more watery that what you are used to because they don't use artificial ingredients to make it thick. It also does not produce tons of foam and that's because we do not use any synthetic ingredients to make it extra foamy.

The shampoo is highly concentrated and a small amount goes a long way. Odie and Cody is a high-end quality pet shampoo with no harmful ingredients. You and your pet will love our vegan, gluten-free biodegradable, hypoallergenic product which is safe for both baby and adult pets.

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Click for the latest prices on Odie and Cody Natural Dog Shampoo

I changed my dog's shampoo and he still smells and itches

Yep... Unfortunately, there are many reasons for an itchy dog. You may need to look at your dog's diet or plants and grasses in your yard. I recommend that you see a vet or doggy nutritionist. 

Try to find a natural product if possible.

If your dog is itchy, try this great natural remedy that seems to works for many dogs. Turmeric has been known to have amazing results as it has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Read the article here and find the recipe for turmeric paste that you can try on your dog.

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