How to Use Human Shampoo on Dogs

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Things You'll Need

  • Dog

  • Dog brush or comb

  • Tub of water

  • Diluted shampoo

  • Towel


Happy Tails Spa warns, "You may not notice the ill effects of human shampoo if used only a couple of times on your pooch, but after repeated use, you’ll start to see."


According to the American Kennel Club, dog shampoos "are formulated to clean and condition the dog's more alkaline skin and hair." However, the AKC says that a baby shampoo or coconut-oil shampoo would be OK occasionally. The AKC also recommends that you do not bathe your dog unless he is obviously dirty or smelly. Over-bathing can be damaging to your dog's coat and skin.

How to Use Human Shampoo on Dogs

You find yourself with a smelly dog and an empty bottle of dog shampoo. However, you do have a big bottle of your own shampoo. For your hair, the bottle tells you to lather, rinse and repeat. Does this apply to dogs as well? You also find yourself wondering if some human shampoos are better than others for your dog's coat and skin. Some straight-forward instructions with a few adjustments and considerations for your dog's more sensitive skin will ensure that your pooch does not become itchy or scratchy due to your corner-cutting makeover.

Step 1

How to Use Human Shampoo on Dogs

Choose your least fragrant, most base shampoo. Use baby shampoo if you have it. Dilute your shampoo at least 50 percent with water.

Step 2

How to Use Human Shampoo on Dogs

To be absolutely certain your shampoo is not too harsh for your dog's skin, do a test patch. Wash a small area of your dog's belly with your diluted shampoo and wait a day to see if any allergic reaction occurs. If there is no reaction, proceed to wash your dog.

Step 3

How to Use Human Shampoo on Dogs

Brush your dog's coat to remove loose fur, dirt and any mats.

Step 4

How to Use Human Shampoo on Dogs

In a tub of clear, lukewarm water, thoroughly wet your dog's coat, making sure to saturate the undercoat as well. If you have a hose, this will work best; otherwise, a plastic cup or bowl will work well for wetting your dog using water from the tub.

Step 5

How to Use Human Shampoo on Dogs

Using a small amount of your diluted shampoo, work a light lather into your dog's fur. Be careful to avoid his eyes.

Step 6

How to Use Human Shampoo on Dogs

Use clean, clear to water rinse all of the shampoo from his coat. Keep rinsing until you are certain all of the shampoo is out of his fur. Once you are certain, you can attempt to towel him dry before he shakes off and sprays water all over your bathroom.