Can You Use Dog Shampoo on Humans?

Is Dog Shampoo OK for Humans?

While occasionally washing your hair with canine shampoo probably won’t do any damage, it’s not something you want to make a habit of. Dog shampoo is formulated much differently than shampoo for humans and it might even wash the color out of your hair if you’ve ever used dyes or any other hair care product.

Some people may be allergic to the type of surfactant used in it. You’ll also want to be careful because this shampoo usually isn’t safety tested as much as human shampoo is.

Government regulations do set some safety standards for pet care products, but they’re nowhere near as strict as those for humans because dogs can usually handle more stressors than people can. As a result, you might be exposing yourself to a compound that humans generally react badly to.

Some dog shampoo contains FD&C dyes, which people might be sensitive to. Other products contain parabens, which are a common allergy in humans.

Polysorbate 80 and 60 are often found in dog shampoos, and these might cause intestinal problems for some people if they absorb too much of them. They’re technically artificial food additives, but they’ve been used as emulsifiers in canine shampoos for some time.

What’s the Difference Between Dog and Human Shampoo?

The pH balance of the surfactant used in the shampoo is usually the biggest difference. According to the editors of Pet Groomer, the natural pH balance of the underlying skin of your dog isn’t close the pH of your own skin.

Dog shampoos are designed to work with skin that’s got a pH of around 7.5, which is close to that of drinking water. Human skin usually has a pH of around 5.5, and that’s considerably more acidic.

Using a product with the wrong balance could theoretically expose your scalp to bacterial infections and might change the color of your hair to some degree. Canine shampoo products are also made to leave far more oil in hair than most people would be really comfortable with.

In some ways, dog shampoos are actually more mild than those designed for human use. Dogs have to have a visible sheen to their coats so that they can stay waterproof, which is something people don’t have to worry about.

What Will Dog Shampoo Do to Human Hair?

Despite what you might have heard, your hair isn’t going to fall out if you apply dog shampoo to it. It might get crinkly, though, especially if you have extremely dry or oily hair.

Some people have reported that their hair has gotten brittle as a result of the different formula used for dogs, which is probably where the horror stories came from to begin with.

Certain people might find that dog shampoo simply doesn’t do anything to their hair, which includes cleaning it. Milder dog cleaning agents aren’t strong enough to strip grease and sweat out of human hair, which makes many people feel like they haven’t even really showered.

Since canine shampoo seldom has the same kind of fragrance that you’d expect from a hair cleaning project, so you might object to the smell. In some cases, there might not even be one at all.

Why Do We Not Use Canine Shampoo on Humans?

Dogs and humans have very different skin underneath their hair or fur, so it doesn’t make sense to use the same products on both. It could even be harmful to use canine shampoo on people, because of the great differences in pH level between the two.

The possibility for an allergic reaction is relatively high and certain people will end up with an uncontrollable itch if they use a canine shampoo. Dog shampoos might even be more expensive than those meant for humans, so it doesn’t make economic sense either.

There are a few products that could be used on both dogs as well as people, though these aren’t normally considered shampoo in the strictest sense. Some people elect to wash their hair with a form of baking soda, which is relatively safe for both humans and dogs when used properly.

Others use a mild form of natural soap, which is fine for people. It should be used with caution when cleaning a dog, however.

Does Dog Shampoo Kill Lice on Humans?

Regular dog shampoo won’t kill lice any more than regular human shampoo will. You’ll need to use a product that’s specifically designed to kill head lice.

Likewise, you need to use special canine flea and tick treatments to kill these organisms on dogs. You shouldn’t ever use a human head lice solution on a dog.

Make sure that any shampoo used for either of these maladies is actually approved for what you’re using it for. If you’re trying to treat head lice in humans, then it might be best to cut the hair close to the scalp to get closer to the eggs.

Shaving itself doesn’t cure head lice, however, regardless of the type of shampoo that you use.

Can You Use Flea and Tick Shampoo to Get Rid of Head Lice?

Canine flea and tick shampoo will probably get rid of head lice, but experts from the FDA have never approved it for this usage. While there is a high probability of it working, using it in this way would have all of the same problems you would have when using any other canine shampoo as a human one.

Head lice are best dealt with by a product that’s specifically designed for use by humans. Conversely, you don’t want to use a human head lice product on a dog even if the dog in question has fleas.

Again, it might technically work, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t going to cause your dog some other kind of harm in the process. Considering the costs involved, it doesn’t really make much economic sense either.

Some human head lice treatments are actually much more reasonably priced than those designed to treat fleas in dogs.