We pet owners try to make sure we have all bases covered and have our pet’s health and personal needs taken care of at all times, and that includes having the pet version of many of the things we ourselves need: from food to blankets to medicine.

Our pets also need bathing from time to time, but what if we find we’ve run out of our go-to dog or cat shampoo and need a quick fix? Let’s take a close look at a couple obvious alternative options we may have on hand – baby shampoo and adult shampoo – and whether either of these are safe to use on our fur babies.

Is it OK to Use Human Shampoo on Pets

This is actually kind of a trick question. If by human you mean regular adult human then the answer is actually no.

Adult human shampoos are overly acidic for both cats and dogs, even shampoos that are non-toxic and made with organic ingredients. Both humans and pets have something called an acid mantle that protect the top layer of the skin. The pH balance in humans is different in humans than in pets and shampoos formulated for humans have a higher level of acidity.

If you use human shampoo repeatedly on your pet, not only will it lead to dry fur and irritated skin but it can also dissolve your pet’s acid mantle, leaving the outer layer of skin vulnerable to disease bacteria and other harmful things.

But what about baby shampoo?

Can I Use Baby Shampoo on My Puppy

The short answer is yes – although it’s not ideal.

Baby shampoo however is formulated for much more delicate skin than regular adult shampoo.  Also, it’s designed to have the same pH level as our eyes, hence the term “tear-free”, which happens to also be a pH level that is more compatible with our dog’s pH levels – somewhere around 7.  For reference the adult pH level ranges from 5 to 7.

Babyology baby wash on pet

For this reason, using baby shampoo on your pet is an acceptable option for those who happen to be out of pet shampoo. Be sure to only use a very small amount of baby shampoo when washing your dog or puppy to avoiding over drying or irritation.

Can I Use Baby Shampoo on My Cat

Yes, although just as with dogs and puppies it should only be used exceptionally when there is no cat shampoo immediately available.

Baby shampoo is gentle enough that it can be used on your cat without causing damage and will get the job done. Keep in mind that cats are naturally very fastidious and good at cleaning themselves and so will only rarely need a bath.

The typical pH level of a cat is around 6.5 which is similar to the pH level found in baby shampoos.

Other Uses for Baby Shampoo

Even though baby shampoo is not ideal for pets there are certainly other ways you can put it to use! Baby shampoo is great for removing the grease and grime out of make-up brushes, hairbrushes and combs and you can also use it to cut grease on dishes and even clean windows. 

Other uses for baby shampoo include polishing chromes and other metals (mixed with baking soda), removing make up, and washing delicate laundry items.

In summary:

  • While adult shampoo is harmful for pets, even if it has organic and all-natural ingredients, skin and fur baby shampoo is an appropriate short-term alternative
  • Dogs and cats have a different pH balance from humans and so a typical human shampoo will upset your pet’s pH balance and cause skin irritation as well as remove their acidic mantle over time, leading to serious problems
  • Using baby shampoo on cats and dogs is appropriate occasionally because it is specifically formulated for sensitive and delicate skin and therefore is not as acidic
  • In any case it’s necessary to have a good pet shampoo for regular use. Baby shampoo should only be used as a quick fix and when you do use baby shampoo on your pet, be sure to use a tiny amount
  • There are plenty of alternative uses for baby shampoo including cleaning both your home and personal items as well as laundry.