These products should not be used when bathing your dog: they can cause serious problems

Szénási Szimonetta

2024. March 2 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

Proper grooming of your dog's coat is also important from a health point of view. Using inappropriate care products can lead to serious irritation and other problems. We've collected the products you shouldn't use to bathe your pet with.


Bathing is either an exciting activity for your dog because it loves it, or on the contrary: it drives it out of the world. Here’s why it makes a difference what you bathe your four-legged friend with.

It matters what you bathe your pet with!

The importance of pH

There’s a reason why shampoos and other care products are made specifically for dogs: they are adapted to the pH of the animal’s skin without damaging it. The pH scale measures the chemistry of substances. A value of 7 is neutral, less than 7 is alkaline and more than 7 is acidic. While the pH of human skin usually ranges between 4 and 6, that of dogs varies between 5.5 and 7.5, depending on size and breed. Based on this, it is clear that what is right for our skin is not necessarily ideal for dogs.

Soap, shampoo and dishwashing liquid: NO!

Soap is usually alkaline, i.e. high pH, which can disturb the natural acid mantle of the dog’s skin, which has a protective function.

Shampoos for humans are also problematic. One or two sessions are unlikely to cause any particular problems – although it depends on the sensitivity of the dog, but frequent use can make the coat dry and dull. In addition, some additives, such as artificial fragrances or dyes, can cause irritation and allergies to your dog’s skin when bathing.

Human shampoo is not suitable for bathing.

While you wouldn’t think anyone would think of bathing their pet with dishwashing liquid, it’s probably no coincidence that Teri DiMarino, president of the California Professional Pet Groomers Association stresses that these detergents are degreasers that dissolve the oily protective layer of the dog’s skin, drying out the animal’s skin and coat. Their use can also cause skin irritation and allergies, especially if they come into contact with the eyes!

Baby shampoo can be a solution

If you’ve run out of dog shampoo or it’s not available in the shop, baby shampoo can be a temporary solution. They have a neutral pH and do not dry the skin. They work best for hairless or short-haired dogs, longer coats require more special care.

More expensive, but worth it

Dog shampoos are sometimes more expensive than those for humans (although there is a huge variation on the market in both areas, so you can find much more expensive products on the drugstore shelves than those for dogs), but they are still worth choosing. You can prevent the skin problems mentioned above, which can also cost a lot of money to treat, and they keep your pet’s coat nice and healthy. Plus, if you follow the manufacturers’ advice, you’ll use a minimum amount when bathing your dog, so one bottle of shampoo will last you a long time.

The trick is to dissolve the shampoo in a little water before use, so you need much less. To do this, use a separate bottle to squeeze shampoo into, add water and shake well. Spread this mixture on your dog’s coat, wash it through and rinse thoroughly.

It’s worth knowing that there are products available for different coat and skin types, including dogs with sensitive or oily skin. Shampoos are also made specifically for long hair, such as flea control or anti-itch products that are also available. If you are unsure which one to choose, ask your vet or a groomer!

Wipe the coat dry with gentle strokes!

Pay attention to drying too!

It matters how you dry your dog after a bath! Gently soak up the water from your pet’s fur with a soft, absorbent towel. Work with squeezing movements, never rub the animal vigorously, as this may damage the surface of the hairs! It’s like towel drying your own hair. After that use a hairdryer set on low heat to dry the coat completely.

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