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Using human shampoo vs. dog shampoo

Everyone knows not to use human shampoo on dogs, right?  But do you know why?  

When clients tell me they have been using human shampoo, I usually went through my spiel of it can dry out their skin and the ph balance is different in dogs and humans.  That was the extent of my knowledge and I was never able to find solid information on the why's of not using human products.  

As many of you may know, my passion is to make dogs better.  Not just the doggies with nerves, or shyness, or fear.  I want to make their skin healthier too.  Many of my clients babies suffer from allergies and their skin shows it.  I worked with a Veterinarian in Pasadena and followed his regimen of skin care and I still use the products he likes to give to his clients.   These products do help significantly but the never completely heal the pet.  My little red flag goes up in my brain and tells me that these products help contain the situation but they do not heal.  Hmmmm....

Enter the seminars at the Pasadena grooming convention.  For the first time, there are veterinarians presenting subject matter that completely drew me in!  Now to answer that question about using human shampoo vs. dog shampoo...

I'm sure many of you have heard that dogs have thicker skin than we do.  While this technically true, it's the epidermis that counts.  Humans have about 25-30 layers of skin cells in the epidermis (the very top layer of skin), while dogs only have 7-12 layers.  Also, human skin is slightly acidic while dogs skin is more alkaline so our products reflect that. 

Let me try to paint this picture for you.  Imagine, our products are slightly acidic and detergent to remove 5-15 layers of our skin to exfoliate and give us beautiful soft skin.  If these same products are used on a dog, it will do the same for them.  It will remove 5-15 layers of skin.  Now, if your dog only has 7-12 layers of skin cells on the epidermis, and you remove those and then some more from the dermis (next layer down), you will be leaving the skin completely exposed to the elements.  It can seriously damage a dogs skin.  Moral of the story? Don't use human shampoo.

Of course now there are professional/pet store brand shampoos to look at.  Although they all have the correct ph for pets, they are not always good for your pet.  If your pet has normal skin then you may be able to get away with a store brand.  I always recommend professional products to wash your pet in.  Yes, they are more expensive but worth every penny.  It's like comparing grocery store chow to premium foods, your dog may survive just fine on the grocery store brand but will thrive on the premium foods.   

Going one step further, if your pet has severe allergies and the skin suffers for it, a regular professional product just wont do.   I can get all sciency on you but that may bore you to clean your baseboards with a toothbrush!  At the grooming convention I was able to get in with two veterinarians! (I'm so exited)  They both gave me their contact information with an open invitation to call them at any time.  I was also able to acquire the products that they not only recommended but they explained in great detail the science behind it.  PLUS all of the ingredients that are in them.  Most of you may not know that pet products do not legally have to list their ingredients.  Most companies don't and we are left trusting and hoping that the products do what they say.  It is extremely difficult for us.  

I have tested these amazing new products on a few of my clients, one in particular is Heidi.  My sweet Heidi is a boxer with severe allergies that have followed her from puppyhood.  Her owners have tried several treatments and vets and end up frustrated with no results.  I have been treating her for about 2 months now with the old regimen.  While she has improved, she is still far from healed and I am not happy.  I don't want to be another person to let sweet Heidi down.  Last week I treated her with my new IV San Bernard products and oh my wow!!!  I am still buzzing from elation on the effect of these products!  Her skin went from red and raw to pink and plump, not to mention my hands were as soft as a baby's bum after treating her!  I have high hopes that these products can help heal her.  The veterinarian and product manufacturer both guaranteed results.  My fingers and toes are crossed!  Like I said before, the science in these products is incredible.  I've been in the grooming industry for 17 years and never has anyone bothered to explain the science behind their products.  A lot of professional products were developed by groomers in their garage.  Not much science there!  I am a little bit of a nerd, yes I admitted it.  

I am taking weekly photos of Ms. Heidi to record her progress.  Hopefully I will be able to share them soon!  

Any questions?  Ask me!!!  I'll talk your ear off.       

27 Comments to Using human shampoo vs. dog shampoo:

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I most certainly will talk about this info having my family & pals. on Wednesday, August 15, 2018 1:56 AM
Why would you use something that you know is not appropriate for something? Same goes with using human shampoo for dogs. I understand that there are dog owners who prefers to save money than buying a right shampoo for their pets. We must think that the shampoo we use have different chemicals than the dog shampoo. We must realize that dogs use it for their whole body, do we even realize how harmful it is for them? Thank you for this post, very informative!

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Everything is separate for everything. So if you try to use human shampoo for your favorite dog. I think by this article we know some dog shampoo. If you use it for your dog then your dog won't face any problem. Thanks :)
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Great Blog Why is dog itching? Itching is a common problem among pets. While it is normal for you to suspect fleas. My Dog itching from some time so I just buy new shampoo from criter from amazon. Shampoo for dogs withy itchy skin
Reply to comment on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 2:16 AM
It seems obvious at first, because dog shampoos are designed for dogs in the same way human shampoos are designed for humans. However, I've been told that because a human's scalp is more tender than dog's skin, some human shampoos can be used for dogs. Just be careful for the ingredient list. After all, some chemicals are bad for dogs even if they're mild when used on humans. To dog owners out there, be careful!
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