Can You Use Adult Dog Shampoo on Puppies?

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You've caught your little four-legged companion nose deep in the trash again and need to wash the ketchup off his puppy nose. Before you douse him with your older doggie's flea shampoo or even your own scented brand, you need to consider a few things first.

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Dog Shampoo

According to PetMD, you can use a regular dog shampoo on a puppy. You do have to stay away from medicated dog shampoo, such as a flea and tick shampoo, as that stuff is way too strong for a little one. If your puppy has skin issues, talk to your vet for shampoo recommendations. Choose a high-quality dog shampoo, as cheaper versions can be too harsh for a puppy and can degrade quickly upon opening them. Also stay away from ones with strong perfume and fragrances. These can irritate sensitive skin.


Puppy Shampoo

Though it's safe to bath a puppy in gentle, non-medicated dog shampoo, a high-quality puppy shampoo is always your best bet. This is a mild cleanser that is specifically designed for a puppy's delicate skin. These will either be unscented or a mild, natural scent, such as oatmeal or lavender.

Human Shampoo

Avoid using regular human shampoo on your pooch. Since human skin and scalp are more acidic than a dog's, these shampoos have stronger pH balancing agents. Dog skin is more alkaline and needs a milder shampoo. Human shampoo stuff can dry out the skin of puppies and dogs, causing itching and irritation. If your little guy starts to scratch at the area, it can also cause skin abrasions where bacteria can start to grow and inflammation can occur.


Puppy Bathing Tips

You should wait to give your little guy a bath until he is 3 months old. Give him a good brushing before you bath him and regular brushing in between baths. This will remove loose hair, dirt, debris and mats from his hair. Use warm water and massage the puppy shampoo into his coat gently. Work your way from his head back toward the tail, massaging him with your fingertips. Rinse thoroughly with warm water from a spray hose or a plastic pitcher. Keep the water away from his eyes, nose and ears -- wash those areas with a damp washcloth. Towel dry him the best you can before he wiggles out to shake the remaining water all over your walls. Offer praise and treats for good behavior throughout the bathing procedure. Keep calm and patient as you bath him. Make this a pleasurable experience for both of you.


By Susan Revermann

PetMD: Maintaining Your Dog's Skin pH
PetMD: Puppy Checklist: Getting off to a Great Start
PetMD: To Shampoo or Not to Shampoo'¦That Is the Question
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Bathing Your Puppy
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Dog Skin Problems
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Grooming FAQ
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Groom Your Dog


About the Author
Susan Revermann is a professional writer with educational and professional experience in psychology, research and teaching. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington in psychology, focused on research, motivational behavior and statistics. Revermann also has a background in art, crafts, green living, outdoor activities and overall fitness, balance and well-being.