Can I use human shampoo on my dog? How often should I wash my dog?

Dog Labrador

Does your dog really need their own shampoo? You might think that you already have one that looks perfectly fine in your shower recess. 

Do dogs and humans react differently to shampoo?

Yes. Human skin has many more layers than dogs, and is more acidic with a normal pH balance of 5.5-5.6 compared to dogs whose pH balance sits around 6.2-7.4. While we have 10 to 15 layers of skin, dogs have just 3 to 5, making them much more sensitive and prone to reacting with the wrong ingredients. 

Using shampoo with the wrong pH balance and ingredients that dogs are sensitive to will irritate their skin and strip away the protective oils on their coat. By using products not made for dogs, it may leave your dog’s skin feeling itchy, dry and very uncomfortable. 

In addition to human shampoo being too acidic for your dog, it often contains artificial fragrances that dogs are averse to. 

What’s the best natural shampoo for my dog?

Natural shampoos that are pH balanced specifically for dogs such as Wolfe’s The Wash, are best for maintaining a healthy coat and skin. Finding a shampoo that is formulated with gentle non-toxic ingredients like oatmeal and coconut ensures that the shampoo is suitable for even the most sensitive skin. 

Look for shampoos that are fragranced using safe, non-toxic essential oils that can even promote calm and tranquility – especially important if bath time isn’t your dog’s favourite activity. 

Because dog shampoo is made for use on your furry friend, it’s also designed to be easy to use. Pump bottles can be easiest, so you can squeeze it directly on your dog’s body or your palms with just one hand. And always remember to recycle after use.

You don’t have to compromise on the planet when you’re choosing a nourishing shampoo, either. The Wash is made in Australia and packaged in 100% recycled plastic, and is recyclable again after use. It’s also free from minerals, synthetic fragrances and animal products. 

How often should I wash my dog?

It depends on your dog’s coat type, outdoor activity, and your own preferences. 

You’ve probably seen your dog licking themselves, clearing dirt, sand and debris from their coats. Not only does it release endorphins, but it also means they’re keeping themselves clean. Dogs also have natural oils on their coats that help them stay clean. 

Because of that, many dogs that spend most of their time inside can be washed every month to six weeks, with some rinses in between if they’ve come home from a particularly wet or muddy play. 

If your dog is outdoors often, or its breed is predisposed to an oily coat (including Basset Hounds and West Highland White Terriers), you might want to wash them a little more often to keep any impurities at bay. But always try to let your dog's natural oils do their thing and not wash too often.

Washing your dog is also a great time to give a little loving massage and check for any lumps or lesions underneath their fur. 

Shop Wolfe's natural dog shampoo here.