Issue 30: September 10
dhn_askmax2Dear Max,

I am a 1-year-old yellow Labrador retriever. I am quite adorable, if I do say so myself. I am also filthy since I just chased a tennis ball in the mud for an hour. I need a bath, but my owner does not have any doggie shampoo in the house. Can she just use human shampoo to bathe me?

–Hair-Brained Scheme

Dear Hair-Brained Scheme

It sounds as if this is a real emergency! Go ahead and use a mild unscented baby shampoo, preferably one for sensitive skin, this time. You should use this only in emergency situations when dog shampoo is not available.

There are many reasons that human shampoo really should not be used on dogs:

  • Many human shampoos are heavily fragranced and are produced with a variety of soap and detergent-like materials. They may strip natural oils from canine skin and can be corrosive, irritating, and intensely dehydrating. Some dog breeds have notoriously sensitive skin, allergic dermatitis, and other dermatologic conditions, and the application of human products can cause allergic reactions, hives, itching, and even secondary infections in these dogs.

  • Dogs and humans have different types and numbers of skin cells and fur/hair content with different chemical and pH balances. Dog shampoos are created for dog fur and skin, and human shampoos are created for human hair and skin. A reason why humans should not use dog shampoo on themselves. Accordingly, they should not use human shampoo on dogs.

  • It is very easy to accidentally get shampoo in your dog’s eye during a bath. Most human shampoos are not formulated to be tear-free, with the exception of baby and children’s shampoos, and can be exceedingly harsh on canine eyes, resulting in eye irritation and injury to the cornea.

I hope this information is helpful. Please make sure that your mom keeps some doggie shampoo in the house for future dirty dilemmas. Good luck cleaning up!

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