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Can I Use Cat Shampoo on My Dog? Here’s the Answer!

It’s your day off, and everything that you have to accomplish for the week must get done today, including giving the dog a bath.

Oh, great, no dog shampoo!

However, you do have almost a whole bottle of cat shampoo, and you’re wondering — dare I?

Can you use cat shampoo on your dog and why?

 

Can I Use Cat Shampoo on my Dog?

You can use cat shampoo on your dog as long as your dog doesn’t have a lot of dirt, oils, or grease on it. A cat’s skin is quite sensitive, so cat shampoo is very gentle and probably won’t do a very good job of removing grime from your dog’s coat and skin, especially if it has a double coat.

Can I Use Cat Shampoo on My Dog?
Can I Use Cat Shampoo on My Dog?

 

What a Cat’s Skin is Like Compared to a Dog’s Skin

A cat’s skin is notoriously extremely sensitive. It is prone to damage, so it doesn’t take much to make a change in its balance.

Cats tend toward hair loss, miliary dermatitis, rashes, scabs, sores, red spots, oily skin, infections, skin tags, lumps, bumps, and tumors.

A cat's skin is highly sensitive, making it more prone to damage
A cat’s skin is highly sensitive, making it more prone to damage

It is easy to upset the cat’s skin pH balance. The skin of a healthy cat has a pH balance between 6.4 and 6.9, and any skin products with a higher pH can really cause your cat to experience skin irritations like itchy, dry, flaky skin.

Conversely, a dog’s skin is tougher than that of a cat. It isn’t nearly as sensitive to skin products.

Dogs have tougher and less sensitive skin compared to cats
Dogs have tougher and less sensitive skin compared to cats

Though dogs can certainly experience skin conditions of several kinds, they are not quite as easily contracted as in cats.

 

Should I Using Cat Shampoo on my Dog?

Yes, cat shampoo can be used on your dog. Using cat shampoo on your dog won’t leave your dog’s skin dry or itchy.

While the pH of a cat’s skin is between 6.4 and 6.9, a dog’s skin’s pH is between 5.5 and 7.2. You will often find, however, that, while the two ranges are quite similar, the pH of cat shampoo is less than that of dog shampoo.

Cat shampoo can be used on dogs; yes, and as a matter of fact, if your dog has unusually sensitive skin, you may come to prefer cat shampoo for your dog.

If your dog gets really dirty, however, cat shampoo isn’t going to do the trick. Often, these products just aren’t strong enough to do a good job of getting your dog clean.

If your dog is dirtier than usual, a cat shampoo won't be able to remove the dirt and grime properly as they're mild
If your dog is dirtier than usual, a cat shampoo won’t be able to remove the dirt and grime properly as they’re mild

This is true mostly because cat shampoo is very mild, often made with soothing, organic ingredients, like oatmeal, coconut oil, aloe Vera juice, and papaya.

They are made with these organic ingredients and fewer chemicals, also, because cats clean themselves much more often, and this way, they don’t ingest so many chemicals.

Even if cats clean themselves, they don't ingest many chemicals from their shampoos as they're made from organic ingredients
Even if cats clean themselves, they don’t ingest many chemicals from their shampoos as they’re made from organic ingredients

Also, if your dog has a double coat, cat shampoo definitely isn’t going to work very well to get it clean. If that’s all you have, you can use it, but it’s going to take a ton of it to get any noticeable result.

Mild dish soap is also great to be used once — something like ORIGINAL Dawn. Others, like Dawn Platinum, are extremely concentrated to cut grease and are much too strong to use on your cat.

Don’t ever use human shampoos on cats, as they contain ingredients that will irritate their skin.

Don't use human shampoo on cats as it contains ingredients that are irritating to the cat's skin
Don’t use human shampoo on cats as it contains ingredients that are irritating to the cat’s skin

Although it shouldn’t harm your dog to use cat flea shampoo on it, it’s not something that’s recommended. Because cats have such sensitive skin, cat flea shampoos are made with ingredients that are much milder than those of dog flea shampoos.

Therefore, your dog probably won’t get the level of protection against fleas (and ticks) that they need from a cat flea shampoo.

Read about how to sedate your dog to cut its nails.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Using Cat Shampoo on Dogs

 

Are there products designed to work on both cats and dogs?

There certainly are shampoos marketed for both dogs and cats. Many are made with natural (organic) ingredients. The problem is that these shampoos must be formulated to be gentle enough for your cat, so they may not be powerful enough for your dog, especially for double-coated ones.

 

Should I use dog shampoo on my cat?

Never use shampoo for dogs on your feline pal. While cats have very delicate, sensitive skin, dogs have more durable skin. Dog shampoos are made to cut dirt, oils, and grease even on double-coated dogs, so they are simply too strong for cats and may severely dry and irritate their skin.


Conclusion On an I Use Cat Shampoo on My Dog

While you should never use dog shampoo on a cat, it is fine to use cat shampoo on a dog — as long, that is, unless he is very grimy, in which case, cat shampoo isn’t going to do a very good job. This is true especially when your dog sports a double coat.