One question we get asked a lot is can you use human shampoo on dogs when it's a sulfate free shampoo or natural shampoo. If your dog doesn't have sensitive skin, as a one off, you're probably not going to cause any serious issues, but long term, you can irritate their skin and strip their coat of natural oils.

Can you use human shampoo on dogs without disrupting their pH levels?

Not long term. Just as humans & dogs have different diets, and humans can make their own Vitamin D but dogs can't (and they can make their own Vitamin C), the pH level of human skin and dog skin is different. The optimum pH level of human skin is 5.5, which is on the acidic side. In comparison, the pH level of a dogs skin can be anywhere from 5.5 to 8.6 (there's varying information online and it changes between breeds) but it's generally around the 7.0 on average.

You may think that picking up a bottle of natural shampoo or even a gentle baby shampoo is going to be soft & gentle on your dog's skin, but it's not. You may think you're doing the right thing and you may never had asked the question ' can you use human shampoo on dogs ' or looked for an answer, but a dog's skin is alkaline, and this makes it a potential breeding ground for bacterial skin infections if the pH balance of their skin is disrupted. The outer layer of their skin becomes dry, and while their skin is thicker than ours, the epidermis (top layer) is very thin and easily damaged.

It's really important with giving your dog a bath that you choose a pet shampoo specifically designed for dogs.

The featured image is my eldest fur baby Jess (now up in puppy heaven with all her siblings), having a really good shake after Carlos from Pamper Dog Wash gave her a bath one day. Yes, we had a good blow dry afterwards, but there's nothing quite like a dog getting that first amazing shake after a bath! The picture of the 3 border collies on the front page of his website are my fur babies too.

How can you protect the natural oils in a dogs coat?

One of the main reasons we want to ensure we're using the correct dog shampoo for our animals is to protect the natural oil that's in their coat and on their skin to avoid skin irritation and potential infections. These natural oils help to protect their skin, and also making the coat easier to groom. Without the protection of the natural oils on the skin, their skin can dry out in either cold weather, dry weather and also indoors in artificial heat when the weather is cooler.

You will know if these natural oils have been stripped away because they will start to get dry and flaky skin and the coat will be dull, flat and harder to get a brush or comb through.

How can you restore the natural oils in a dogs coat if they have been stripped out?

The first thing you can do if you are a frequent bather is to reduce the frequency. Unless your dog is playing in mud or they have rolled in something that smells horrid, longer haired dogs can be bathed every 4 to 6 weeks and it can be extended out up to 12 weeks for shorter haired dogs. If your dog is particularly oily or they're starting to smell, of course, you can do it sooner, but the answer to 'can you use human shampoo on dogs' if your dog has been having issues is a hard and resounding NO.

If you want to replenish oils on your dogs fur that will work their way down to the skin, the best oil for this for dogs is coconut oil. Scoop a small amount in to your hands to start, evenly distribute the coconut oil over your hands and then work the oil through your dogs coat. Don't be too heavy handed. Start out light and if you need to repeat it, wait 24 hours and see how it soaks and through to their skin.