Find Discounts on Your Favorite pet dog Products and Save Up To 20%!

Let's Go!

Is It Safe To Use Head And Shoulders On Dogs?

We may earn a commission if you click on a link, but at no extra cost to you. Read our disclosure policy for information.

Tim Rhodes

Seeing your cute dog suffer the agony of itchy skin and discomfort can break your heart so much that you can prefer using any treatment as head and shoulders on dogs.

Maybe the reason why it hurts that much seeing your dog suffer from itchy skin conditions is that you know how uncomfortable it can be.

Well, if you’ve no idea how it feels, then know this from today, they feel exactly how you do when you’ve dandruff in your hair, not a good feeling, right?

Of course not, and that’s why you spend your money to buy head and shoulders shampoo to get rid of dandruff.

Table of Contents

Is It Safe To Use Head And Shoulders On Dogs?

Honestly, this shampoo treats dandruff for humans, but have you ever looked at your dog and wondered if it could work for him/her as well?

Or probably you’ve thought about trying to use it on your dog, but you’re still not sure whether it’s safe or not.

Here’s your perfect chance to discover the truth and end your dog’s suffering.

Yes, it’s very safe to use head and shoulders shampoo on dogs but inappropriate amounts that are safe for him/her, as simple as that, so let us learn something more about it.

Moderation Use

Understanding why some drugs or cosmetics may be harmful to an animal requires you to know what the product in question contains, and how the content can affect it.

That means digging deep, looking at the individual ingredients, and determining their effects on the animal in question.

For instance, drugs like Ibuprofen and Aspirin are safe for human beings but extremely hazardous for dogs.

So, even if it hurts seeing your dog suffer, at least it’s better than seeing him/her die, especially when you know you’re responsible for it.

It’s, therefore, very crucial to put that into consideration when choosing any medication for your cute little four-legged friend.

Head and Shoulders Ingredients

This Head and Shoulders shampoo contains different active ingredients, and each of them serves a unique purpose.

But the most useful active ingredient in the shampoo is Zinc Pyrithione (ZPT), and it’s known for a reason.

Although zinc is a useful mineral needed for the maintenance and growth of a healthy body, when used in excessive amounts, it can lead to toxicity.

This condition is referred to as Zinc toxicity and can affect any dog regardless of its size and age.

The symptoms of zinc toxicity include lack of appetite, diarrhea, among others, but the good news is, it’s treatable.

Better yet, the head and shoulders shampoo only contains 1% of Zinc Pyrithione, and that eliminates the possibility of it being harmful to dogs.

And because the component ZPT is the main reason why experts discourage dog owners from using the shampoo, then the answer is yes, it’s safe.

Also, the issue of the appropriate amount is solved, and so you don’t have to worry about it anymore but still stick around to find out more.

What Does The Head And Shoulders Shampoo Treat?

The shampoo can treat several dog issues, and by the way, when it comes to dandruff, the shampoo works faster in dogs than in humans.

The conditions and issues it treats may not be as dangerous, but when left untreated for a long time, they can escalate to worrying levels.

The most common types of infections this shampoo treats are bacterial and fungal infections, seborrhea, and fleas.

Seborrhea (Seborrheic Dermatitis)

According to the MSD veterinary manual, seborrhea is a skin infection or a defect of the outermost layer of the skin.

It happens as a result of excessive production of sebum by the sebaceous glands.

It’s easy to note whether your dog has the infection or not, through physical observation of the skin.

It has several symptoms like inflammation, developing excessive greasy skin, and scale formation on the hair coat.

The disease is classified into two (according to causes) primary and secondary seborrhea.

Primary seborrhea occurs as a result of a genetic disorder and can be inheritable; in other words, it’s an inherited skin disease.

Secondary seborrhea is mostly a result of an underlying issue, which causes loss of hair, inflammation, among others.

There’re several causes of secondary seborrhea, and they include; allergies, hormonal imbalances, internal and external parasites, environmental conditions, abnormal diets, and fungal infections.

The disease is just like the human dandruff condition, only that for dogs, there are other unique symptoms like skin reddening that may not be present in humans.

It affects a dog in two ways, either by making his/her skin dry or by making it oily.

When your dog is suffering from oily seborrhea, it develops skin flakes, which traps the oil, and in extreme cases, the oil can produce a bad odor.

When you wash your canine with the shampoo, the zinc pyrithione washes away the flakes making the itchy feeling disappear, and hydrates the skin.

Fungal And Bacterial Infection

The skin of a dog is sensitive, and it’s prone to bacterial and fungal attacks because it’s a host to such microorganisms.

The symptoms of bacterial and fungal infections include scales, bad odor, and skin reddening, among others.

The microorganisms pose no threat to pups, under normal circumstances until their skins get suppressed.

It, therefore, depends on the balance of the microorganisms on the canine’s skin and its immune system.

When the bacterial and fungi on the dog’s skin increase, it (skin) gets suppressed, and the animal is most likely to be infected.

Most of the skin infections affecting pups are caused by bacteria and fungi so, any remedy that can treat such issues solves the dogs’ troubles.

Canines with a weak immune system are more prone to such infections because their bodies are not strong enough to fight bacteria and fungi.

These infections are not so contagious, and so it’s hard for them to spread from one dog to another, but they keep recurring.

That will happen over and over again until the underlying conditions, like allergies, are treated.

When you wash your pup with the shampoo, its ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and chlorhexidine remove the greasy flakes.


In simple language, fleas are parasites.

Parasites are living organisms that depend on others(their hosts) for food.

In this case, fleas suck blood from canines and live on their fur and skin, causing a lot of discomfort and scratching.

If you see your pup scratching, the first thing you should check is whether the pup has fleas even before thinking about a veterinarian.

That will save you money because if you find out that your dog has them, you can use cheap remedies like head and shoulders shampoo.

Choosing the right remedy, however, is not that simple because fleas have a short life cycle.

The signs and symptoms that show your dog has fleas include hair loss, biting at the skin, and severe scratching, among others.

For you to get rid of fleas from your pup, you need to break their life cycle, which requires you to understand it in detail.

Fleas life cycle

A flea has a four-staged life cycle; egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

For the whole cycle to be complete, it takes a few weeks or even months, depending on the environmental conditions surrounding them.

The first stage, egg, starts when a mature female lays its eggs.

A single flea can lay an average of about 30 eggs per day.

The tricky part is that their eggs can survive anywhere, not just on the body of their host, even on carpets and other hidden surfaces.

When they lay their eggs on the dog’s fur, it is possible to drop them off when the dog is moving around.

When that happens, the eggs get distributed all over your house, and even in the pet’s cage.

The duration of time the eggs take to hatch is equally short because it takes as little as two days to two weeks for them to hatch.

Again, that depends on the environmental conditions, the more favorable, the faster they hatch.

The second stage is the larvae, and this takes about 20 days.

The third stage is the pupa, otherwise known as the cocoon stage.

The cocoon helps the pupa to protect itself from unfavorable environmental conditions and also to hide until a potential host is detected.

The last stage is the adult phase, where a mature flea emerges and starts feeding on its host.

After a few days of feeding, the adult starts laying eggs, and the process continues.

Fleas Elimination

From this cycle, it’s easy to note that washing your pup just once cannot eliminate fleas because there may be immature larva in cocoons.

The secret is washing your dog occasionally throughout the year; it works.

The shampoo paralyzes the fleas a few minutes after washing your dog, and that gives you a chance to wash them off your pet’s fur.

Repeating this several times a month for some time will break the life cycle and eliminate the fleas from your pup completely.

Now that you’ve seen how useful the head and shoulders shampoo can be, it’s time to know how to use it effectively on your dog.

How To Use Head And Shoulders On Dogs

Using the shampoo effectively will help you get rid of yeast infections, seborrhea, and fleas, but there is a step by step process of doing it.

You may decide to do it your way, but you’ve to make sure you use it well, else the shampoo won’t be effective.

The very first thing to do is to establish whether your pup’s issue is rectifiable using Head and Shoulders shampoo.

You can do this by physically observing your dog and determining whether he/she has fleas, or dandruff, or even whitish flakes.

If you don’t find any of the above, consider going to the veterinarian to get your pup checked.

That is because this shampoo cannot treat internal issues; it can only treat external ones.

Now, assuming you’ve found out that your little four-legged buddy has fleas in his/her fur, this is how you use the shampoo.

Step 1: Choosing A Bathing Place

Well, the first and the second step can be interchanged depending on what you see fit for you and how your dog behaves when you’re washing him/her.

If he/she doesn’t like being wet, then this should be the first step.

You’ll find out why in the next stage.

So, in this stage, you choose the bathing place, then you make it safe for your pup.

Ensure the footing is stable enough for him, to prevent him/her from falling when bathing.

That is important because the shampoo is harmful to his/her eyes, so you have to make sure it doesn’t get anywhere close to the face.

Ensure the water is not so cold, and still not so hot, it should be warm to make the dog as comfortable as possible.

Step 2: Brush Him/Her

Brush your pup gently without hurting him/her loosening all mats in the fur.

The reason why preparing the bath place should be the first step is because if you brush your pup first, and he/she doesn’t like water, there’s a possibility of him/her running away.

But if you prepare the bath place first, after brushing, you start washing the dog immediately so the chances of hiding away from you will be minimal.

Consider using different brushes like bristles and slicker brushes for you to reach the dog’s coat and make it smooth and soft.

Brushing the fur will help the shampoo to reach the coat and paralyze the fleas, and even remove the flakes.

After brushing and ensuring there are no mats left, and the coat is smooth, take the dog to the bathing place.

That takes you to the next step.

Step 3: Wash Your Dog

Get your dog into the bathing tub and make the dog wet; you can use a pet sprayer or any gadget of your choice.

Again, avoid spraying the dog above the neck, especially not in the face.

Make sure the dog is thoroughly wet before applying the shampoo because this will make it work well.

Then use the head and shoulders shampoo; use your hands and fingers to spread the shampoo all over the fur.

Make the shampoo saturate the dog’s fur completely, and note that it depends on your dog.

If it’s long-haired, you will need to do more than just rubbing the fur because the shampoo needs to reach the dog’s coat.

All this time, avoid the face and keep a clean cloth nearby for wiping, in case the water accidentally splashes on your pup’s face.

It’s not only because the shampoo irritates the eyes, but also because dogs don’t like it when their heads are wet.

So, this will also help you to keep the canine calm.

You have now saturated the dog with shampoo, give it time, like fifteen minutes, twenty-five at most.

Step 4: Rinse The Dog

Using clean, warm water, rinse your dog until there’s no shampoo left on the dog’s fur.

You can use a sprayer to spray water on the dog, but you have to make sure the shampoo is no longer visible on the dog’s coat.

Still, you can opt to use your hands and a container to pour water on the dog while using your fingers to rub the fur.

There’s no amount of time set for this step; you only need to do this until the water gets clear.

Note that the reason why it’s good to rinse the shampoo off its skin is that it can cause more irritation if left on the dog’s coat.

You don’t want to make things worse for your pup, thinking that you’re helping him/her.

Step 5: Dry Off The Canine’s Coat

You get to choose how you dry off your dog’s coat.

You can use a towel, a soft one, or you can use a drier, the goal is to make the dog’s coat dry.

When using a drier, you have to take care and keep it at a distance that would burn the dog’s fur or coat.

After drying your dog, clean all the surfaces with shampoo drops.

Remember to keep your shampoo away from the dog to prevent him/her from licking.

And now you can let your pup air dry on itself.

Benefits Of Using Head And Shoulders

You already know how to use head and shoulders shampoo; now it’s time to find out its benefits.

The functions of the head and shoulder shampoo are just the same as the benefits.

In other words, treating seborrhea, yeast infections, and removing fleas from dogs can be regarded as functions, and benefits of shampoo.

The second benefit is that it is multi-purpose because if you buy the shampoo and use half of it on your dog, the remaining half can help you get rid of your dandruff as well.

It’s cost-effective in that you get to eliminate fleas from your dog’s fur at an affordable price.

Reasons Against Using Human Products On Dogs

There are several arguments against using the head and shoulders shampoo on dogs, but some of them are subject to moderation.

The reasons include the following.

Canines’ Skins Are Sensitive

The skin of a dog is more sensitive than human skin because their skin has fewer cells than the latter.

A dog’s skin thickness is around five cells, while a human skin thickness is around 15 cells.

A human skin, therefore, can withstand far much worse conditions than a dog’s skin, so you have to be careful not to use head and shoulders shampoo too many times.

Canines’ Skin pH Levels Are Different From Humans’

The pH of human skin is about 5, while the pH of a dog is about 7.

Studies have shown that moving from one pH level to the next, changes the pH 100 times more or less.

Meaning, if a product, say (x), has a pH of 6 and another product, say (y) a pH of 3, then product (y) is 300 times more acidic than the product (x).

So, you should avoid using human products on your dog because dog products have a pH level that balances with their skin’s pH level.

However, the head and shoulders shampoo is not too concentrated to cause alarm.

Don’t use the shampoo so many times to wash your dog, only a few times a week, probably two to three times.

Can Be Harmful To Young Dogs

The skin of a puppy is more sensitive than the adult’s, and so, you should not use the head and shoulders on puppies.

Final Thoughts

Yes, it’s safe to use Head and Shoulders on dogs, but with moderation.

As seen in this article, all the reasons against using head and shoulders shampoo can be rectifiable.

First, about sensitivity, you only need to make sure there is no shampoo left on the dog’s coat when rinsing it, which solves the problem.

Secondly, the difference in pH should not worry you so much because the head and shoulders dandruff shampoo has a pH of 7.4, which balances with the pH of a dog’s skin.

Finally, being harmful to young puppies, you only have to make sure you don’t use it on them.

That shows you that the benefits of the shampoo outdo its side effects, so if you have a dog and you wanted to end his suffering, then go ahead and use the shampoo.

As long as you don’t let your dog lick it, and it doesn’t get into the dog’s eyes, then your dog will be safe, after all, every dog lover wants to see their dog happy and healthy.

In a Hurry?

Take a look at the most popular and trending pet dog products.