Can You Use Baby Shampoo on Dogs?

Can you use baby shampoo on dogs

Can you use baby shampoo on dogs? Ideally we would not recommend it.

But, in an emergency, they are a lot safer to use on dogs than human adult shampoos.

After all, baby shampoos are a lot gentler than adult shampoos as they are tear-free, fragrance-free, and also pH neutral.

In this guide, we will talk about the reasons why you could use baby shampoos on your dog .

Later on, we will discuss five highly-rated baby shampoos that are best suited for doggy skin.

Just in case you are in a hurry, click on our short summary below to view our top reviewed products for the best dog shampoos for your fur baby:

  1. Our Editor's Pick: Aveeno Baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo
  2. Best Overall: Johnson’s Tear-Free Baby Shampoo
  3. Best Budget: Cetaphil Baby Wash & Shampoo with Organic Calendula
  4. Best Coconut Oil Baby Shampoo: Baby Bum Shampoo & Wash
  5. Best Baby Shampoo and Body Wash: The Honest Company Truly Calming Lavender Shampoo + Body Wash

Can You Use Baby Shampoo on Dogs?

Ideally speaking, you must avoid using baby shampoo on your dog.

But if you have run out of dog shampoo and have to bathe your pet, then baby shampoo is a lot safer alternative compared to adult human shampoos.

Here are the reasons why baby shampoos are safer to use on your dog than adult human shampoos:

Baby shampoos have neutral pH

Most baby shampoos have a pH rating of 7.

This means that their pH is close to the pH of water.

Almost all manufacturers of baby shampoos advertise their shampoos as tear-free.

For this purpose, they have to ensure a pH of 7 or close to 7 for their products.

Human adult shampoos Have an acidic pH

Adult shampoos have a pH close to the range of 5.5 to 7.

This means they are acidic and rightly so, since human skin is acidic.

However, this acidic pH is very harsh on your pet’s alkaline skin. (Dogs have a skin pH that is on the basic or alkaline end of the pH scale).

So, whatever you do, never use shampoos made for human adults on your doggy.

It could lead to many skin issues, including dryness of the skin, flaking, itching, etc.

Many pet owners who made excessive use of human shampoos on their dogs also saw dull coats, hair loss, patchy balding areas, and skin problems like flaking, dryness, and dandruff.

The bottom-line: as far as possible, please use dog-formulated and vet approved shampoos only for bathing your furbaby.

If you must, you can go in for mild baby shampoos that are advertised as pH-neutral or Tear-Free.

These are safe for use on dogs and won’t cause itching, flaking, and other skin issues in most cases.

Also Read: Vet Recommendations to Can I Use Human Conditioner on my Dog 

Why would you use baby shampoo on dogs?

Here are some situations when you could use baby shampoos on your dog:

You’ve run out of dog shampoo

Vets recommend bathing dogs once a month.

So, you have ample time to order/purchase your furbaby’s shampoo.

However, we know how busy life can get and it is quite easy to forget these small things.

If you realize in the midst of bathing your dog that you’ve run out of dog shampoo, then you can reach out for that bottle of mild baby shampoo.

This will help you complete your pet’s bath.

However, please order/purchase your dog’s shampoo as soon as you get a chance.

For bathing a puppy

Most Puppies can safely tolerate baby shampoos that are formulated to be tear-free.

A baby shampoo is pH neutral and won’t impact your young pet’s skin in any adverse manner. It will help maintain the pH on the basic/alkaline scale.

So, you can safely use baby shampoo while bathing a puppy as it won’t inflict too much damage and also won’t lather up too much that it strips off its natural oils.

High-quality baby shampoos are also free from harsh SLS or sodium-laurel-sulfate surfactants which could be very drying for their skin.

Most shampoos for babies are also free from fragrances, colors, dyes, parabens, silicones, phthalates, and other harsh chemicals. This makes it safe for use on dogs with sensitive skin.

When your dog has a skin condition that cannot withstand any harsh products

Some dogs have skin issues like dermatitis, allergies, flaking, itching, redness, hot-spots, and other skin issues.

You must bathe such dogs very carefully to ensure that their already sensitive skin does not suffer from harsh products in shampoos.

Your first priority must always be to use medicated or vet-recommended shampoos made for that specific condition.

But if you are not able to find such a product and have to bathe your pet in an emergency, then you could opt to use baby shampoo to clean your pet.

If your pet shows any adverse reaction like itching, or extreme skin dryness, etc., then please discontinue use right away.

Also Read: Can I Use Human Shampoo on My Cat

How to Choose Baby Shampoo for Dogs?

As stated before, use only vet approved shampoo for your dog.

If you still want to stick to baby shampoo, then look for products with the following features.

(All the baby shampoos recommended below meet these standards.)

1. Tear-free

Choose a tear-free baby shampoo.

Not all shampoos for babies are tear free. SO look for those words on the product-labels.

Tear-free shampoos have special formulations and cleansing structures that are too large to enter the eyes.

This can prevent tearing and watering of the eyes should the lather get into the eyes.

So, always look for tear-free baby shampoos for your dog.

2.  Color-free and fragrance free

Ideally, you might want a baby shampoo devoid of colorants and harsh fragrances.

If you want your pet to smell good, look for shampoos with mild scent.

Make sure you rinse off the shampoo well even if you like its scent and want it to last on your pet’s coat.

Colors and fragrances can be too harsh for puppies and sensitive dogs and can cause adverse reactions in your pet.

3. Phthalate, silicones, sulfate, and paraben-free

Parabens are added as preservatives to shampoos and cosmetics.

They could disrupt hormones in humans and pets.

Sulfates are found in the form of surfactants like sodium laurel sulfate.

These lead to dryness of the skin and coat as they strip natural oils leaving your dog’s skin itchy and susceptible to scratches, infections, etc.

Phthalates are added as gelling and softening agents in shampoos.

They help enhance the shampoo’s spread-ability and also facilitate better absorption.

Although the FDA has approved of phthalates in smaller amounts, it is best not to expose your pet to these possible hormone disruptor.

Silicones are added to shampoos to help seal in the moisture. While they won’t harm your pet’s health, they can lead to product buildup on the skin and coat causing intense itching, irritation, redness, and dryness.

If you want to try using baby shampoo on your dog, we recommend the following gentle baby shampoos:

Best Baby Shampoo Safe to Use on Dogs – 2022 Top 5 Picks

Can you use baby shampoo on dogs

Natural oat extracts in Aveeno help keep your furbaby’s skin and hair clean without stripping off the natural oils.

Its formula is free from parabens, sulfates, and phthalates – making it suitable for puppies and pets with sensitive skin.

Aveeno baby wash and shampoo is also soap-free so it won’t cause pain or watery discharge or tears in your pet.

This shampoo lathers well and also leaves a pleasant-yet-mild scent on your dog’s fur.

Aveeno Baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo with Natural Oat Extract, 2-in-1 Bath Wash & Hair Shampoo for Baby, 8 fl. Oz, Pack of 2

What we like about it

  • Natural oat extracts – clean, soothe, moisturize your pet’s skin
  • Tear-free
  • Soap, paraben, phthalate-free

What we don’t like about it

  • Not for dogs with skin blisters, eczema, or other skin-issues.
Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Gentle Body Wash & Shampoo with Oat Extract, 2-in-1 Baby Bath Wash & Hair Shampoo, Tear- & Paraben-Free for Hair & Sensitive Skin, Lightly Scented, 8 fl. oz
  • 8-fluid ounce bottle of gentle cleansing Aveeno Baby 2-in-1 Bath Wash and Hair Shampoo with natural oat extract to cleanse baby's delicate hair and skin
  • The rich, lathering baby wash and shampoo formula contains natural oat extract, which is known to soothe and nourish delicate skin
  • The formula is tear-free, soap-free, hypoallergenic, paraben-free and phthalate-free. It also rinses clean without drying and leaves behind a light, fresh fragrance.
  • Baby shampoo and body wash is from Aveeno, a pediatrician recommended brand. It is specially formulated to be gentle enough for babies sensitive skin
  • Aveeno baby bath wash and shampoo can be used every day to help keep your baby's skin and hair feeling soft, smooth and feeling healthier
Can you use baby shampoo on dogs

Johnson’s tear-free shampoo has been around for years and years and thousands of parents as well as doctors recommend it.

It is tear-free, very gentle, mildly scented, and won’t dry your pet’s skin out.

This hypoallergenic shampoo is tested by parents and recommended by pediatricians the world-over.

Even vets recommend it for puppy and adult dogs because it is close to ‘water’ in formulation and also close to neutral pH.

Johnson’s baby shampoo gently yet effectively cleans away grime, oil, dirt, and germs to clean your pet’s fur.

It also leaves a mild scent behind on your pet’s skin.

The brand has formulated this tear-free shampoo in such a way that it forms ‘cleansing structures’ that are too large to enter your pet’s eyes.

This way, your pet won’t feel any discomfort should the shampoo-lather get into its eyes.

There are no phthalates, sulfates, or parabens in this shampoo which makes it suitable for delicate and sensitive dogs as well.

Johnson’s Tear Free Baby Shampoo, Free of Parabens, Phthalates, Sulfates and Dyes, 27.1 fl. oz

What we like about it

  • Hypoallergenic, tear-free, free from chemicals
  • Mild and pleasant scent

What we don’t like

  • Takes long to rinse out
Johnson's Baby Shampoo with Tear-Free Formula, Hair Shampoo for Baby's Delicate Scalp & Skin Gently Washes Away Dirt & Germs, Free of Parabens, Phthalates, Sulfates & Dyes, 27.1 fl. oz
  • 27.1-fluid ounce bottle of Johnson's Tear-Free Baby Shampoo for a mild, gentle clean that won't irritate your baby's delicate eyes during bath time
  • Developed with and tested by parents, this nourishing tear-free baby shampoo is mild enough for your baby's fine hair and delicate scalp while being great for kids and adults too.For external use only
  • Mild and gentle cleansing baby bath shampoo is specially formulated to be as gentle to your baby's eyes as water and features Johnson's No More Tears formula. Suggested Age Group: Newborn
  • Designed for baby's delicate skin, this shampoo gently washes away dirt and germs as it leaves hair clean, soft, shiny and smelling baby fresh. To use, wet your baby's hair with warm water, apply baby bath shampoo, gently later, and rinse
  • For over 125 years Johnson's formulas have been specifically designed for baby's unique and delicate skin and hair. Our baby hair shampoo is hypoallergenic, pediatrician-tested and free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates and dyes
Can you use baby shampoo on dogs

Cetaphil tear-free shampoo and body wash is free from colors, dyes, mineral oils, and paraben. This makes it safe for use on dog’s skin.

We love the fact that it forms a lot of lather which easily removes dirt and grime from your dog’s fur.

A large bottle lasts a long time making it economical as well.

This shampoo’s calendula content also soothes and moisturizes dry skin and coat.

Your pet will smell great after bath thanks to its fresh and clean scent.

Cetaphil Baby Wash & Shampoo with Organic Calendula |Tear Free | Paraben, Colorant and Mineral Oil Free  | 13.5 Fl. Oz

What we like about it

  • Gentle, tear-free, hypoallergenic
  • Retains moisture, calendula soothes, heals, and protects the skin
  • Leaves a fresh, clean scent
  • No parabens, colorants, mineral oil

What we don’t like

  • Dispenser wastes a lot of shampoo
  • Some pets/pet parents found its scent too strong.
Cetaphil Baby Wash & Shampoo with Organic Calendula |Tear Free | Paraben, Colorant and Mineral Oil Free | 13.5 Fl. Oz (Packaging May Vary)
  • CETAPHIL BABY WASH & SHAMPOO: This tear free 2-in-1 formula blends into a rich lather to gently cleanse your baby's delicate skin and hair leaving it soft and clean
  • MOISTURIZING: Gently cleans your baby's delicate skin and hair without drying to help retain moisture
  • SOOTHING: Calendula from the marigold flower helps soothe; moisturize and soften sensitive skin while leaving a fresh scent
  • DESIGNED FOR BABY'S SENSITIVE SKIN: Dermatologist tested to be safe and gentle; these formulas are also hypoallergenic and free from parabens; colorants and mineral oil that can irritate baby's skin
Can you use baby shampoo on dogs

Baby Bum coconut-oil shampoo has a mild foaming formula with a fresh tropical coconut scent that leaves your dog smelling great after each bath.

This is a vegan formula free from parabens, silicone, sulfates, and phthalates.

It is safe for use on very sensitive dog-skin too.

Baby Bum moisturizing shampoo is made with sea minerals, banana, and tropical extracts to nourish, hydrate, soothe, and moisturize dog’s skin and coat.

Baby Bum Shampoo & Wash | Tear Free Foaming Soap for Sensitive Skin with Nourishing Coconut Oil | Natural Fragrance | Gluten Free and Vegan | 12 FL OZ

What we like about it

  • Cruelty-free, vegan, gluten-free
  • Safe for sensitive skin- free from drying parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and silicones.
  • Tropical scent.

What we don’t like

  • Too watery
Baby Bum Shampoo & Wash | Tear Free Foaming Soap for Sensitive Skin with Nourishing Coconut Oil | Natural Fragrance | Gluten Free and Vegan |12 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
  • BABY BUM SHAMPOO & WASH. Keeping squeaky clean is super fun with our foaming head-to-toe, tear-free and lightweight foaming wash. The entire family is sure to love our gentle, full body cleanser.
  • GENTLE, PLANT-BASED SKIN CARE. Our plant-based formula contains sea minerals, banana and other tropical extracts to replenish and hydrate all skin types. Vegan, Cruelty, Gluten and Dye Free to meet the needs of delicate baby skin.
  • HOW TO USE. Lather two pumps of our lightweight foaming wash into baby’s hair and skin to gently cleanse fine hair and delicate skin. After bath tine, follow up with our other favorites like Everyday Lotion and Monoi Coconut Balm.
  • FORMULATED FOR OUR RAD LITTLE KIDS. Specifically formulated for kids, toddlers and babies with naturally moisturizing ingredients. Pediatrician and Dermatologist tested. Paraben, Sulfate, Silicone and Phthalate free.
  • TRUST THE BUM. What does that mean? It means trust us, the ones who live on the beach and need products that work on the most intense days in the sun. The simple truth is, when you make products to protect the ones you love, you make ‘em better.
Can you use baby shampoo on dogs

The Honest Company’s Calming Lavender Scented Baby Wash and Shampoo is suitable for delicate skin and won’t dry out your pet’s coat.

 It is safe to use on puppies and adult dogs with hypersensitive skin because there are no sulfates, phthalates, parabens, etc. in it.

Being tear-free, this shampoo won’t harm your pet’s eyes or cause tearing or redness. It soothes and nourishes your pet’s skin without drying.

The Honest Company has used aloe vera, chamomile, quinoa extracts, chamomile, jojoba, and coconut oil in this calming shampoo and body wash.

The Honest Company Truly Calming Lavender Shampoo + Body Wash Tear Free Baby Shampoo + Body Wash Naturally Derived Ingredients Sulfate & Paraben Free Baby Wash 10 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)

What we like about it

  • Tear free – safe for your pet’s eyes
  • Cleanses without stripping off natural oils
  • Hypoallergenic
  • No synthetic fragrance or formaldehydes

What we don’t like

  • Some users did not like the scent.
The Honest Company Shampoo + Body Wash, Lavender, 10 Fl. Oz
  • Made without: Phthalates, parabens, dyes, synthetic fragrances, formaldehyde donors, SLS/SLES
  • Gentle for baby; Perfect for bedtime
  • Dermatologist-tested; Hypoallergenic
  • No synthetic fragrances; Tear-free
  • Not tested on animals; No animal byproducts


Can you use human shampoo on dogs?

Human shampoos are very harsh and acidic for dog’s skin.

That is why, most vets recommend using only pet-formulated pH-balanced shampoos made specifically for dogs.

You can use baby shampoo on your dog because they have a pH closer to the neutral pH of water.

This makes them safer than human-adult shampoos and won’t excessively dry out your doggy’s skin.

Can you use Johnson’s baby shampoo on dogs?

Yes, Johnson’s baby shampoo is a great alternative to dog shampoo in case you have run out.

It is mild, tear-free, and cleans without overly drying your pet’s skin.

We have recommended Johnson’s baby shampoo above which is a good choice for your pet.

Bottom-line: Can You Use Baby Shampoo on Dogs?

Can you use baby shampoo on dogs? Ideally, you should always use only vet-approved dog shampoos and/or medicated pet shampoos (if your pet has a specific skin-related issue) to bathe your dog.

Although baby shampoo is a lot safer to use than adult human shampoos when it comes to bathing your dog, you should never make this a regular habit.

Only in an emergency can you use baby shampoo and that too ensuring that you thoroughly rinse it off with plenty of water.

Always discuss with your vet if any specific skin condition requires your pet to use ph-neutral baby shampoo.

We recommend the Aveeno Baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo with Natural Oat Extract as it soothes skin and coat. It is free from parabens, sulfates, and other harsh chemicals. Aveeno is also ideal for dogs with sensitive skin and is tear-free.

Do check out our other recommendations as well.

Aveeno Baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo with Natural Oat Extract, 2-in-1 Bath Wash & Hair Shampoo for Baby, 8 fl. Oz, Pack of 2

can i use human conditioner on my dog

Can I Use Human Conditioner on my Dog?

natural bug repellent for dogs

Natural Bug Repellent for Dogs