Those of us who own a dog will know that one of the pitfalls of dog ownership is their ability to get dirty and smelly! It is no secret that most dogs can’t resist the urge to jump into the water whenever they get the chance – and the muddier, the better. This raises the question – is baby shampoo safe for dogs?
So, as any dog owner will know, bath-time is simply a part of life when you have a dog for a pet.
Is Baby Shampoo Safe for Dogs
As a general rule of thumb, yes – baby shampoo is safe for dogs. Veterinary-endorsed dog shampoo is a better choice because they are formulated specifically for a dog’s skin. But these can be expensive and harder to acquire.
Therefore, if you get stuck with a dog that gets dirty unexpectedly, it is a good idea to have some baby shampoo on hand at home. Baby shampoo can be easily found in most supermarkets and dime stores.
The reason why baby shampoo is safe for dogs is because it has a very mild formula with a neutral PH. This means that it is neither too alkaline nor too acidic for a dog’s skin, which can be sensitive. Regular shampoos contain too many harsh chemicals that can upset the PH balance of the dog’s skin. This can lead to irritation and discomfort for the dog.
The key to safely using baby shampoo for your dog is to not use too much baby shampoo on your dog. How much you use will all depend on the size of your dog, and the thickness of its coat.
For example, a Husky is a larger breed with a dense coat. Therefore it will need to be thoroughly wetted before applying a small amount of shampoo. Add a little bit more if you need to until a good lather is achieved.
Shampooing Your Dog Safely with Baby Shampoo
There are several things that dog owners need to be mindful of when washing their dog safely with baby shampoo:
1. Make sure that the dog is comfortably and safely restrained, for both your safety.
2. Smaller dogs can be bathed indoors, in baths, or in laundry troughs – this depends on how the owner feels about hygiene! These facilities can always be disinfected thoroughly afterward. Indoor bathing is also a good option if the weather outside is cold. Larger dogs, or dogs who live in a hotter environment, can be shampooed outside on a concrete floor that has good drainage and is near a tap with a hose, with plenty of buckets of warm water on hand.
3. Ensure that the water temperature is just right, neither too hot nor too cold. This is primarily for the dog’s comfort. It is also vital to ensure the shampoo does its job properly.
4. The dog’s coat and skin must be thoroughly rinsed after shampooing, to avoid irritation.
5. DO NOT get shampoo or water in the dog’s eyes, ears, mouth, or nose. This can really harm the dog. It is better to avoid the head, and instead wipe these areas over with a warm wrung-out but moist old cloth with NO shampoo.
6. Dry the dog with some old towels as best you can. Expect that your pet will roll around on the carpet indoors or on grass or dirt if outdoors. This is frustrating for owners who have just bathed their dogs. But it is natural dog behavior to do this, to eliminate excess water. Therefore, the more you dry them off, the better for you both! Make sure you have lots of towels at the ready.
7. The frequency of bathings: dogs do not need to be bathed often. Their skin and their fur are designed to shed dirt for them. The oils in their skin protect them from the weather and irritants. Four baths a year is probably enough for a regular household pet. Obviously, show dogs will be bathed more often. This is unless your dog has gotten itself dirty by rolling in mud, etc., in which case, shampoo as needed.
Now, some of you may be thinking that baby shampoo is well and good for an adult dog, but what about a puppy that has more delicate skin, and finer fur?
Baby Shampoo for Puppies
The short answer is yes, baby shampoo IS safe for puppies. BUT – this depends on the puppy’s age.
There is absolutely no need to bathe very young puppies. Their mother will do a fine job keeping them clean herself by licking them, and they are too young to get themselves dirty anyway!
Once a puppy is old enough to leave its mother, the occasional bath with a tiny amount of baby shampoo is fine. But, only if the dog is very dirty and really needs it! Puppies usually leave their mother at around 8 to 12 weeks, once they are fully weaned and eating solid dog food.
The same rules for safely shampooing a dog will apply to safely shampooing a puppy, but just as you would with a human baby, make sure you are very careful. DO NOT leave the dog unattended, and ensure it is thoroughly dried and warm after its bath.
If your puppy is only a little dusty, for example, a gentle brush with a soft-toothed dog brush is better than a bath.
Puppies are messy eaters, so if your puppy happens to get food on its face and ears at mealtimes, an old cloth dipped in plain warm water and wrung out, no shampoo, will suffice.
Read more about: What Is The Average Cost Of A Husky Puppy?
Is Baby Shampoo Safe for Dogs and Puppies?
To summarize, YES baby shampoo is safe for dogs and puppies. Please remember these take-away points:
- Only wash your dog as required;
- Be prepared with all the necessary equipment;
- Do not use too much baby shampoo!
- Avoid using baby shampoo on the dog’s head (avoid eyes, ears, nose, and mouth);
- Young puppies should not be bathed, and older puppies can just as easily be brushed and wiped with a damp cloth to remove dust and food rather than having a full bath.
- Baby shampoo is safe for dogs and puppies because it is mild and PH-neutral. Baby shampoo is fine if you are unable to get ahold of proper vet-endorsed dog or puppy wash.
- But proper dog shampoo is preferable, as it has been specifically formulated for a dog’s skin PH, which is different to humans.