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Is it safe to use baby shampoo on dogs?
Dogs, as popularly referred to, are human’s best friends.
They show a level of loyalty and friendship that is out of this world.
Therefore, they deserve to be given the best of care you can afford as a dog owner.
One of the ways you can provide the best care to your dog is by giving it regular baths (note the word ‘regular’), but should you use baby shampoo on dogs?
Table of Contents
Picture This Scene
It’s time to bath your dog, you’ve finally overcome the arduous task of getting the dog into the tub.
Then, just at that moment, you realize you’ve run out of dog shampoo.
You do not want to go through the stress of coaxing the dog into the tub again.
Therefore, you need to find alternatives.
This search for alternatives births the question, “Is it safe to use baby shampoo on your dog?”.
This article will explain the mechanism of action of shampoos, the types of shampoos (both for dogs and humans), uses of shampoos, and benefits.
How to produce homemade shampoo, factors to consider when choosing a shampoo-type for your dog.
This article will also give different tips on grooming your dog and keeping it healthy and clean.
Shampoo: Mechanism Of Action, Types, Uses, and Benefits
Before the advent of shampoo, we all used bathing soap to wash our hair and body.
This practice was later proved harmful to our hair and hence, the production of hair products like shampoo, which are specialized for washing hair and treating different hair problems.
Nowadays, shampoos are so conventional that having to pick one for yourself, or your pet can be quite a puzzle.
The next section explains that in details:
Mechanism Of Action Of Shampoos
Each strand of hair on the body has a natural, oil-based protective layer that encloses it, which is known as the sebum.
The sebum helps protect the hair from bacterial and fungal invasion, mechanical damage, and gives the hair a natural shiny look.
However, when the sebum is quite abundant in the scalp and hair strands, it tends to make the hair look dirty and unkempt.
This is where the function of shampoo is needed: Shampoos contain molecules with two portions: the water-loving (or hydrophilic) portion and the water-hating (or hydrophobic) portion.
These molecules are known as surfactants, and they exert their function by reducing the surface tension of water, which then allows it to mix with oils satisfactorily.
The hydrophobic portion helps to entrap the sebum in the hair, and water will then wash both the hydrophilic portion and the hydrophobic portion enclosing the sebum away.
Some people believe that there is no reason to use shampoo as regular bathing soap has the same function.
However, one disadvantage of using bathing soap to wash hair is that it strips the hair of its protective layer (the sebum) and exposes it to different microbial attacks and mechanical damage, not to mention the hair looking dull and unattractive.
On the other hand, shampoos contain other ingredients that serve as an artificial protective layer to the hair and still help the hair retain its shine even after stripping it of the sebum.
Therefore, this is why shampoos are more advantageous for washing the hair than regular soap or detergent.
Types Of Shampoo
There are different categories of shampoo, which all cater to varying needs of the hair.
Due to the differences in the chemistry of the hair of humans and dogs, there are also different categories and types of shampoos for humans and dogs.
This section will explicitly explain the different categories of shampoo for both dogs and humans.
Different Categories Of Human Shampoo
Human skin and hair have a more acidic environment ranging from 5.2 – 6.4, so human shampoos are mostly acidic.
The different categories are explained below:
Hair Purifying Shampoo
This type of shampoo is used to remove the accumulation of dirt and sebum in the hair.
They also remove all other kinds of artificial products that might be present in the hair, such as creams or gels.
They contain very harsh surfactants, and it is not advisable to use these types of shampoos regularly as a continual use could cause severe damage to the hair.
It is also known as clarifying shampoo
Just as the name suggests, this is just a regular type of shampoo that can be used daily to provide the hair with the required nutrients to keep it healthy and nourished.
It usually contains natural ingredients and very mild surfactants.
Combo Pack Shampoo
This type of shampoo is combined with conditioning agents; hence, the name ‘combo pack shampoo.’
Most shampoos only contain a low level of the conditioner, and even after using them, you still have to apply conditioners to your hair.
However, these categories of shampoos have an adequate amount of conditioning agents that will suffice your hair in just one wash.
They are also known as 2-in-1 shampoo.
These types of shampoos are only used when your hair has a particular kind of problem.
They contain a wide range of medicinal agents that have different functions such as hair healing properties, scale removing properties, and so on.
Oil Removing Shampoo
This category is just a milder version of the purifying shampoo.
It is also formulated to strip the hair of its oils but in a milder way.
It contains milder surfactants and an adequate level of conditioners.
This category of shampoo is one of the mildest available in the human category.
Due to the tender skin and hair of babies, their shampoos are not as acidic as that of data.
They contain extremely mild surfactants that help to protect the baby’s hair and skin from burns and any other type of mechanical damage.
Different Categories Of Dog Shampoo
The dog skin has a barrier that is tending towards the alkaline region of the pH scale, so most dog shampoo products are alkaline.
Sensitive Skin Shampoo
This category of shampoo is meant for dogs that have allergic skin reactions or have susceptible skin.
It contains mild surfactants that would just remove a bit of the dog’s sebum and not completely strip it of all its oils.
It is also known as hypo-allergenic shampoo.
This type of shampoo is useful for dogs that have tick and flea problems.
They help to eliminate all insects on the dog’s skin once used to bath for the dog.
Some products in this category even have a residual activity that helps to repel fleas and ticks from invading your dog’s skin, and some products can guarantee the residual activity to last for up to 10 days.
However, it should be noted that this category of shampoos does not prevent your dog from getting tick problems but only treats it.
They are also known as flea shampoo.
A most medicated shampoo for dogs is sold as over-the-counter products as a vet usually prescribes them.
They are used in treating different dog skin infections like itchy skin or scaly skin.
They contain chemicals that have medicinal properties and just a mild level of surfactants.
This is the dog equivalent to the daily shampoo.
It gives your dog’s skin the nutrients it needs to keep shining and look nourished.
It also keeps the dog clean
It is also known as general shampoo.
Aloe Vera Shampoo
Categories of shampoo that contain aloe vera as their main ingredient always have a naturally relaxing and refreshing feeling.
They are also recommended for dogs that have sensitive skin as it doesn’t contain any surfactants that leave the dog itching or experiencing allergic reactions.
Coat Fur Shampoo
This category of shampoo contains ingredients that make the fur of your dog to keep shining.
They are mainly used for dogs that have black coats, but they can also be used for other fur colors too.
They are also called black shampoo.
Fox Poo Shampoo
This category of shampoo is used for dogs that have a nasty odor that originates as a result of them rolling in the dirt too much.
This category of shampoo contains different types of fragrances, so you should stay away from them if your dog is allergic to fragrances.
This category of shampoo is made for dogs that do not like taking baths. This category of shampoo does not need water to get your dog clean.
All you need is just to get a few drops on the spot you want to clean, rub on the dog’s fur, and wipe off with a towel.
This category is also known as waterless shampoo.
Additional Ingredients In Shampoos
Apart from the main ingredients (surfactants, fragrance, etc.) that have been listed above that are contained in shampoos.
There are also a few ingredients which although do not contribute to the cleaning prowess of shampoo.
They are included for other purposes
Lather Shampoos are quite famous for their ability to foam very quickly.
Even though it does add anything to the cleaning power of a shampoo, lathering is something most people enjoy while using shampoos.
Hence, it is usually included in shampoos
Protective agents many shampoos contain sunscreens, which help to prevent your dog from getting sunburns.
Other protective ingredients found in shampoos include antioxidants and UV radiation shielding agents.
Recipe For Homemade Dog Shampoo
During emergency periods, when you run out of dog shampoo, and you need to bath your dog, you can quickly resort to readily available homemade ingredients to make a single-use shampoo.
An example of one such recipe is below:
- One-half cup of water
- One-half cup of baby shampoo
- One-half cup of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- Foaming bottles or flip-cap bottles to dispense
With this simple recipe, you have your shampoo ready, and you can bath your dog with no stress.
Factors To Consider When Choosing a Shampoo For Your Dogs
Due to the wide variety of options of shampoos that are available, making the right choice could be quite a strenuous task at times.
However, if you just consider a few factors relating to your dog, you could make your task so much easier.
Examples of such factors include:
Dog’s Skin Condition
The condition of your dog skin is an essential factor in determining which type of shampoo you will buy for your dog.
A simple illustration: if your dog has sensitive skin, you should get a hypo-allergenic shampoo.
Seek Professional Opinion
You can seek the advice of your dog vet to determine the type of shampoo to buy.
They are more experienced in this field and will be able to tell better what type of shampoo will suit your dog and also recommend a good brand to you.
The disposition of your dog to taking baths is also another essential factor to consider.
If your dog doesn’t like taking baths, then you consider getting a waterless shampoo.
You should have an amount of money budgeted to spend on your dog grooming.
The money available should also influence your choice of shampoo to purchase.
If you have a shortlist of shampoos already which you want to pick from, you could decide on which to use by reading through customer reviews on their sites or online stores.
This could help you decide on which one has the suitable cleaning prowess from your dog.
After considering all these factors, you should be able to get the right choice of shampoo for your dog.
Why Is Regular Human Shampoo Not Suitable For Dog Skin?
This is a very popular bone of contention among many dog owners, especially when they just need to give the dog a quick bath.
The reason is this: Human skin and hair have a mantle barrier (sebum) that has a pH that is tending towards the acidic range (5.2 – 6.4).
Hence most hair and skin products for humans are mostly acidic (which includes shampoo)
However, the sebum for dogs has its pH range to be more alkaline (5.4 – 7.4). Hence, the skin products for dogs are more alkaline.
It should be noted that just a one time use of regular human shampoo on dogs would not do any damage. However, continued use will cause your dog a world of discomfort, which will lead to your dog manifesting symptoms like itching, dry skin, and refusal to take baths.
The concept of dog grooming is an extensive topic that involves many practices all aimed at jeep in your dog clean and in good condition.
One of the popular dog grooming techniques is bathing your dog.
Getting your dog to take a bath can be an arduous task to carry out. However, there are a few practices that can help you calm your dog in preparation for the bath. Examples include:
Ensure The Bathtub Is Clean
You wouldn’t take a bath in a dirty tub so, ensure the tub you would use to bath for the dog is washed clean before getting the dog in for a bath.
Entice The Dog with Treats And Pats
Another way to ease your dog towards getting baths is regularly drawing its attention with treats and calming it down with pats.
This will help put the dog in a relaxed mood for the bath and show less resistance towards taking a bath.
Always Take Note Of The Environmental Conditions Before Bathing Your Dogs
You would not want to give your dog a cold bath in a chilly environment or a hot bath when it is quite sunny.
This will leave your dog in a world of discomfort, and it would not be enthusiastic towards future baths.
Other grooming techniques that you can use in keeping your dog clean and healthy include:
Brushing And Coat Care
One crucial aspect of brushing is getting the dog used to getting brushed and touched.
The frequency of brushing depends on the type of hair the pup has.
The process of brushing should be started by pulling the dog’s hair, squeezing its tail, foot, and toenails, the insides of its ears.
These activities are all observed to make the dog more comfortable with getting touched and also to complete its sensitization process. Another way to make the dog feel endeared to the process is by giving it treats to reward its cooperation.
Before using any type of grooming tool on the dog, it should be allowed to play with the instruments, touch it, feel it and get accustomed to it to prevent the dog from getting frightened by the instruments.
Dogs with different quantities of hair require various equipment and frequency of brushing. For dogs with short and small hair, they can be brushed two to three times a week.
Dogs with medium hair can be brushed four to five times weekly, and the instruments to be used will be more sophisticated compared to those used on short-haired dogs.
Those with long hair should be done daily.
This will help prevent their body hair from tangling frequently.
You could also trim it down if the ear is getting into their eyes ears and nostrils to prevent the dog from experiencing any discomfort.
This is important as long nails prevent the dogs from walking correctly, and the nails can borrow into the skin and cause pain and infection.
The only part of the nail to be trimmed is the part that curves over.
If the nails are not too long, a simple toenail trimmer can be used.
However, if the nails are quite long, nail grinders are more appropriate.
There are living tissues in the nail which should not be cut as this will bring immense pain to the puppy.
These tissues show a red coloration beneath the nails.
Trips To The Vet
As you know, a vet is a doctor for your pets.
There’s virtually no better person to give you advice about your dog’s health than your vet.
The vet will carry out different tests on your dog to ensure it’s in good shape.
If there are also any vaccinations that the dog needs to receive, the vet will give as required.
Whenever your dog seems to be showing any irregular symptoms, a trip to the vet will help diagnose whatever the problem is, and the vet will recommend the appropriate medications to be used.
All these points above show why regular trips to the vet will only optimize and improve your dog’s lifestyle; hence, this is a habit that must be imbibed.
Is It Safe To Use a Baby’s Shampoo On Your Dog?
Unlike regular human shampoo, baby shampoo is quite milder in action.
This is because the skin of babies is more tender and is not as hardened as the skin of adults; hence most of their products are also more alkaline, which will suit the skin of a dog better compared to adult shampoo.
Baby shampoo is safe to use on dogs.
Due to the slightly alkaline nature if baby shampoo, they can be used on dogs’ skin without any causing any damage.
Another reason is that most baby shampoos are made not to cause tears even when they get into the eyes (i.e., tear-free).
This is a bonus for using it as it will reduce your dog’s resistance also if the shampoo gets into their eyes.
However, the baby shampoo could still contain some additional ingredients that could damage your dog’s skin if continued use is tolerated.
Therefore, it is advised that baby shampoo is only used when there is no other alternative.