Can I use human conditioner on my dog? This is often something many pet parents wonder about.
The short answer here is no. You must not use human conditioner on your dog as human conditioner isn’t pH balanced for your pet’s skin.
As we dive deeper into this topic, we will also tell you other reasons why human conditioners are not safe nor healthy for your pet.
Later on, we will recommend some fantastic conditioners that are gentle and specially formulated for your dog’s skin. These have received great reviews and pet parents swear by them!
Just in case you are in a hurry, click on our short summary below to view our Top reviewed products for the best dog conditioner:
- Our Editor's Pick: Burt's Bees for Dogs Natural Oatmeal Conditioner with Colloidal Oat Flour
- Best Overall Dog Conditioner: Everyday Isle of Dogs Silky Coating Dog Conditioner
- Best Budget Dog Conditioner: John Paul Pet Oatmeal Conditioning Rinse for Dogs
- Best Natural Dog Conditioner: Bodhi Dog Premium Natural Moisturizing Dog Conditioner
- Best Organic Dog Conditioner: Kin+Kind Organic Moisturizing Conditioner for Dogs
Can I Use Human Conditioner on My Dog?
Conditioners are great: they detangle the hair and they seal in moisture. They reduce frizziness and dryness and also make the hair more manageable and easier to style.
If you want your dog to have softer and healthier fur after bathing, then you are doing a great job by using a conditioner.
However, we are talking about a dog conditioner and not a conditioner meant for human hair.
Human hair conditioners are not suitable for use on pets because they can cause an imbalance in your dog’s skin ph.
Before we discuss this in detail, let us understand what pH is.
What is pH?
pH stands for potential of hydrogen. Thus, the pH of the skin is a measure that decides between the alkali and acidic ratio on the skin.
A pH value of less than 7 is acidic whereas a value more than 7 is alkaline or basic.
Different skin ph. of Dogs and Humans
Human skin has a pH value of about 5.5 which is acidic. This acidic mantle of the skin is important for us to prevent bacterial infections.
Dogs, on the other hand, have an alkaline pH of the skin. It is somewhere between 5.5 and 7.2. They need this alkaline ph. to support healthy fur and coat.
Human conditioners are designed to retain our acidic pH whereas high-quality dog conditioners are balanced for maintaining basic or alkaline pH.
What happens when you use human conditioner on your dog?
We must always consider the pH of the product we plan to use, whether on ourselves or on our pets.
Human products are significantly more acidic than pet products.
Hair care product like shampoos and conditioners made for humans are known to have pH between 3.5 and 6.5.
If the products have pH on the lower end of the spectrum, that is more acidic, then it could totally throw your dog’s skin PH value out for a toss.
In short: even if you use a high-quality human conditioner on your dog, you will still disturb its skin’s pH value.
Your dog needs balanced alkaline pH since an imbalance caused by the use of wrong products can cause the following issues:
Bacterial and fungal infections
When your dog’s skin pH value is disturbed, it could lead to many types of skin issues.
The skin pH value plays an important role in maintaining the protective barrier.
When you use human conditioner on your dog, it could give rise to bacteria and fungi on the skin.
Bacterial infections can stem from scratches or bites while fungi can cause ringworm, dandruff, and flaking.
When the pH balance is disturbed, your dog’s essential epidermal lipids cannot be synthesized normally.
As a result, its skin loses water and dries out. The skin lipid barrier is no longer able to perform its role as a protective barrier.
Your dog could suffer from dry or hypersensitive skin characterized by itching, flaking, and severe dandruff.
With excess use of human conditioners your pet could even develop atopic dermatitis.
Dry skin in dogs can also cause eczema, redness, dry patches, hair loss, etc.
When you use the wrong products on your dog’s skin, you might even end up speeding its aging process.
Human conditioners and shampoos can destroy your pet’s lipid as well as collagen barriers to speed up aging.
In dogs, aging can manifest in the form of dull, dry coat without luster, shine, and softness.
It can also cause tremendous hair fall, patchy hair loss, and bald spots on your pet’s coat.
Can I Use Human Shampoos on my Dog?
The use of human shampoos on dogs is even worse than the use of conditioner on your furbaby.
Shampoos made for human hairs and tend to be even harsher than human hair conditioners. They often contain surfactants, parabens and chemicals which could strip your pet’s coat of its natural oils.
The pH of human shampoos is on the acidic side and it tends to offset the pH of your pet’s skin causing all of the harmful issues we have described above.
Surfactants in shampoos create a foamy lather but when you use that on your dog, you end up doing a lot of damage.
They can cause intensely dry skin in your pet. Your pet might even scratch its skin to the point where it bleeds and leads to blisters and secondary infections.
Therefore, you must never use human shampoos on your dog as they can lead to a huge imbalance in the lipid barrier and even speed up their skin’s aging.
Also Read: Vets’ Answer to the Question: Can You Use Baby Shampoo on Dogs?
Can I Use Baby Conditioner on my Dog?
Baby conditioners are okay to use on dogs in an emergency, but your pet will thank you if you don’t make it a regular routine.
Baby conditioners also have an acidic pH although they are a lot milder than human conditioners.
Therefore, you can go ahead and use a mild baby conditioner to detangle your pet’s coat but we still recommend not making this a habit.
There is a reason why even the AKC recommends using only specially-formulated dog products on your pet.
So, do not take a chance. The use of baby conditioners can also damage your pet’s skin and fur and you would have to deal with unwanted side effects for a long time.
The bottom-line: only if you have run out of a dog conditioner use a mild baby conditioner like Johnson and Johnson but please reorder your pet’s conditioner.
We have recommended some fantastic products for conditioning your pet’s coat in the next section.
Best Dog Conditioner – 2022 Top 5 Picks
1. Our Editor's Pick: Burt's Bees for Dogs Natural Oatmeal Conditioner with Colloidal Oat Flour
With Burt’s Bees, you know you are getting the best of ingredients. Their dog shampoo is formulated with honey, colloidal oatmeal, and beeswax all of which nourish, soothe, and soften dry skin.
This gentle conditioner is also safe for use on sensitive pets.
Being pH balanced, it is tear-free and can be safely used on puppies as well as adult dogs.
What we like about it
- Moisturizes boosts shine, nourishes the coat
- Made using the highest-quality natural ingredients
- Safe, effective, natural for all life stages.
What we don’t like about it
- Needs a lot of water to rinse out completely.
- DID YOU KNOW DOG SKIN DIFFERS FROM HUMAN'S - Dogs' skin is less acidic than human skin, so human shampoos destroy a dog's skin protective barrier, leaving your pet vulnerable to itchy flaking
- NO. 1 PET GROOMING BRAND IN THE USA*-See why millions of pet parents entrust their pet's health and hygiene to Burt's Bees for Pets. This natural shampoo for dogs is no exception
- SOOTHES AND SOFTENS - Burt's Bees Oatmeal Conditioner moisturizes, soothes, softens, and conditions your dog's dry skin and coat
- SUITABLE FOR ALL DOGS AND PUPPIES - This mild tearless shampoo is pH balanced especially for all dogs and puppies
- MADE WITH THE HIGHEST QUALITY INGREDIENTS - All naturally derived ingredients include colloidal oatmeal, honey, and beeswax for sensitive skin
2. Best Overall Dog Conditioner: Everyday Isle of Dogs Silky Coating Dog Conditioner
Everyday Isle of Dogs is a moisturizing conditioner with a mild vanilla and jasmine scent.
Your pet’s coat will feel softer, look shinier, and also be free from mats, tangles, and frizziness.
Everyday Isle of Dogs conditioner is suitable for pets with silky coats as well as short and double coats.
What we like about it
- Deep-penetrating formula which nourishes, soothes, and protects
- Releases dead coats to minimize shedding
- Made in the USA.
What we don’t like
- Very strong scent that caused headaches in some pet parents.
- SILKY COATING CONDITIONER: A deep-penetrating coat conditioner formulated to moisturize, protect, and add shine! Everyday Elements' moisturizing dog conditioner gives the coat noticeable softness, smoothness, and manageability. Natural conditioners like Aloe Leaf Juice and proteins give long and short coats that silkiness you desire, with added shine, fewer tangles, and matting.
- SMOOTHER COAT, LESS SHEDDING: Designed for both short and long-coated breeds! This moisturizing and detangling conditioner helps the coat lay flat and is excellent for releasing dead coat as you groom your dog, reducing excess shedding after bathing. Everyday Elements Silky Coating conditioner is the perfect product for dogs and puppies with fine, silky & tangle-prone hair.
- FRESHENING FORMULA: Invites more cuddles and pets! A clean, shiny, and fresh coat is a good indicator of a healthy, well-loved pup and a necessity for extended cuddle time. Silky Coating conditioner features our signature jasmine & vanilla fragrance and ExtenScent, a natural odor-neutralizing complex that extends coat freshness, leaving your pampered pup smelling their best long after grooming.
- PROFESSIONAL QUALITY: Achieve show-worthy results at home! Everyday Elements is a ready-to-use professional-quality grooming salon collection featuring performance-driven ingredients in high functionality formulas. Hair is bouncy, shiny, and clean; skin is noticeably healthier, without flaking and grime—an award-winning coat from the comfort and convenience of your own bathtub.
- ISLE OF DOGS: We take beauty beyond fluff with premium dog grooming products that promote inner wellness and outer beauty. Rooted in our rich dog show heritage and search for excellence, our proprietary line of canine health and beauty products, sourced and made in the USA, supports a beautifully balanced and joyful life that makes every dog shine.
3. Best Budget Dog Conditioner: John Paul Pet Oatmeal Conditioning Rinse for Dogs
John Paul budget dog conditioner is made in the US using natural botanical ingredients. It is fortified with Vitamin E which softens your dog’s skin and coat and also promotes healthy hair.
It is suitable for sensitive skin and won’t cause any itching. Five conditioning ingredients including oatmeal and chamomile soothe skin irritations and also reduce dryness, flaking, and other skin issues.
John Paul conditioner is tested on humans and is dog pH balanced – so you know your pet is getting the best!
What we like about it
- Soothes, conditions, moisturizes, pH balanced for dogs
- Added vitamin E to protect coats
- Highly concentrated so you need less
What we don’t like
- Contents tend to get congealed after exposure to air.
- Luxurious botanical rinse out conditioner that soothes, conditions and moisturizes dry fur
- Sensitive skin shampoo formula for dogs and cats; soothes and conditions sensitive skin
- Use after shampooing to restore a silky, shiny, healthy feel to your pet's fur; improves dry and wet combing and enhances overall manageability
- Contains five conditioning agents including oatmeal and chamomile
- Vitamin E added to further protect and revitalize skin and fur
4. Best Natural Dog Conditioner: Bodhi Dog Premium Natural Moisturizing Dog Conditioner
The best natural dog conditioner from BODHI dog is free from SLS, alcohol, detergent, parabens, and completely safe for use on sensitive pet’s skin.
It restores the shine and softness, and also detangles matted fur keeping it free from knots and tangles.
Natural ingredients like Jojoba oil, lavender extract, aloe vera, and mineral oil work together to keep your dog smelling great for days after bath.
What we like about it
- Softens and moisturizes
- Great scent although mild.
What we don’t like
- Lavender scent does not last too long.
- BEAUTIFUL SOFT SHINY COAT & HEALTHY SKIN: Our all natural pet conditioner restores softness and shine to your pet’s fur while soothing itchy and dry skin. Our plant based formula helps fur to retain moisture by using the best conditioners found in nature - Aloe vera, jojoba oil and mineral oil. The botanical blend relieves itching, reduces skin redness, increases coat strength and luster, detangles, demats, promotes healthy coat growth.
- FORMULATED FOR SENSITIVE SKIN: Our natural conditioner for pets is 100% detergent free and does not contain any harmful chemicals, parabens or SLS, making it a perfect gentle conditioner for animals with allergies and other sensitivities. Our rich, cream rinse uses plants and natural oils to effectively condition and soothe your pet's skin and fur.
- PROFESSIONAL GRADE QUALITY: Our moisturizing fur conditioner offers safe professional quality for dogs, cats, puppies, kittens, ferrets, guinea pigs, rabbits and horses with normal or sensitive skin of all ages. Our conditioning cream rinse is suited for all types of fur, leaving coats silky and smooth and alleviates itching and dryness.
- PLEASANT LAVENDER SCENT: A wonderful fresh aroma makes conditioning your pet a pleasant experience for you both! Our pet conditioner has a light lavender scent that leaves your pet smelling fresh for days. It is not harsh on your hands and works as aromatherapy for you while bathing your pets because of the natural essential extracts. Your hands will be soft and smell great afterwards too!
- OUR ETHICAL FAMILY COMMITMENT: Proudly made in the USA with locally sourced, sustainable ingredients and animal cruelty free. Our socially responsible packaging is made with recycled materials that are biodegradable and eco-friendly. We are a small family owned business of pet lovers committed to you and your furry friend's happiness!
5. Best Organic Dog Conditioner: kin+kind Organic Moisturizing Conditioner for Dogs
Kin+Kind conditioner for dogs and cats is tested by vets and uses USDA certified organic ingredients. It is free from chemicals like sulfates, parabens, and also GMO-ingredients.
This natural conditioner restores dull coats and imparts a natural shine and softness to your pet’s fur.
It contains coconut and olive oils that replenish moisture and create a protective barrier on the skin. This reduces itching, flaking, dandruff, etc.
Kin+Kind conditioner also contains Aloe Vera to soften your pet’s fur and also reduce itchiness, bacteria/fungal infections, and irritation, hotspots, etc.
It is suitable for sensitive dogs as it is made using hypoallergenic ingredients. You will also love the fact that the conditioner is made in US facilities.
What we like about it
- Softens, imparts shine, and moisturizes
- Hypoallergenic and unscented
- USDA organic and vet recommended
What we don’t like
- Caused matted hair in some breeds having very silky coats.
- DEEP MOISTURIZING CONDITIONER: Our hypoallergenic shea pet conditioner is specially formulated to restore shine and detangle coats.
- NATURAL INGREDIENTS: Our conditioning blend of shea butter, jojoba, and sunflower seed oil nourishes and strengthens the coat, bringing out its natural beauty.
- UNSCENTED: Our unscented formula allows you to mix and match our natural conditioner with any of our natural shampoos without competing fragrances. This conditioner will help repair your pet's coat, leaving it soft and healthy-looking.
- VET FORMULATED: Each and every ingredient, including every essential oil, is vet approved to ensure effective and safe concentrations for your pet. Certified Leaping Bunny cruelty free.
- HAND MIXED IN THE USA: Every kin+kind bottle is lovingly mixed, labeled, and shipped by the hands of our employees paid a responsible, living wage in our certified USDA organic workshop. Our commitment to ethical production ensures that each kin+kind product is made to the highest quality and safety standards right here in the USA.
Also Read: Expert Recommended Tips to Make Your Dog Smell Good in Between Baths
What else can I use to condition my dog’s hair?
Apart from using the above best dog conditioners, you can condition and detangle your pet hair using the following ingredients:
Aloe vera gel
This is a leave-in conditioner
1. Brush your dog thoroughly using a slicker brush.
2. Rub in pure aloe gel in your pet’s coat.
3. Brush again.
4. Allow the coat to dry naturally.
Coconut oil + Oatmeal conditioner
Use this after shampooing while your pet’s coat is still wet.
- Mix ½ cup coconut oil, ¼ ground colloidal oatmeal, 1 tbsp honey, and some water.
- Shake the mixture well.
- Apply it after shampooing and rinsing your dog while its coat is still wet.
- Wash off with water after 10 minutes.
- Let air dry.
How do you make a leave-in conditioner for dogs?
You can always buy leave-in conditioners for your dog but if you want to go the DIY route, here is a great remedy:
- ½ cup aloe vera
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- A few drops of lavender essential oil and tea tree essential oil
- Warm distilled water
- Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle.
- Shake to combine.
- Spritz the solution all over your pet’s coat and brush thoroughly to spread it all over.
- Repeat once a week between baths.
This leave-in conditioner can soften, moisturize, and soothe your pet’s coat while also reducing ticks, fleas, and other issues like dandruff, odor, etc.
Do all dogs need conditioners?
Dogs with very itchy coats and dry skin or dandruff can benefit from conditioners.
If you bathe your pet once a month, you can use a conditioner to soothe, soften, and protect the coat and also impart a shine to it.
Dogs with very silky coats like Yorkshire terriers also need conditioners to prevent matted fur, tangles, and knots.
Can I use human conditioner on my dog? The right answer to this question is NO – because human conditioners can be very harsh and acidic on your pet’s normally alkaline pH skin.
We hope this guide helps you choose the best dog conditioner for your pet.
We recommend the Burt's Bees for Dogs Natural Oatmeal Conditioner as it can soothe, heal, protect, and nourish your pet’s skin and also make it smell great in between baths.