Can Humans Use Dog Shampoo Safely?

If you’re wondering whether you can use dog shampoo on humans, be reassured that you’re not the only dog parent who has had this doubt.

Applying dog shampoo to humans’ hair isn’t recommended, but there are some exceptions.

That’s why to avoid any serious problem, you should carefully take into consideration the type of shampoo and the type of hair and skin you have before applying it.

Can You Use Dog Shampoo On Human Hair?

Using dog shampoo on humans is not a good idea, because dog shampoo is made to answer the specific needs of dogs’ skin and fur, which are very different from humans.

Although a one-time use of your pet shampoo won’t probably cause much damage, using dog shampoo regularly might be harmful to human skin and hair.

pH Balance 

The skin of a dog has a natural pH balance of 7.5, while human skin has a balance of only 5.5.

Dog shampoo is of course designed around a dog’s pH balance and it might not seem like much of a difference, but it can actually turn your shower into a real nightmare.

The human body is naturally built to keep a healthy pH balance in order to function at its best, which is why it’s fundamental to only use products with controlled pH values designed for humans.

The wrong product might disrupt your natural pH balance and expose your scalp to bacterial infections.

Oatmeal shampoo 

Oatmeal shampoo might just be the only product that is good for both dogs and humans.

Pet parents are probably no strangers to oatmeal products, which are very helpful against skin diseases and chronic itching.

Oatmeal contains chemicals such as avenanthramide and phenols that are very good for skin health.

In dogs, oatmeal shampoo is used to cure skin problems and to relieve irritation caused by fleas and ticks.

Humans usually consume oatmeal as food because it contains high quantities of fibers and is good to keep cholesterol under control.

Humans can use oatmeal shampoo as long as it’s a natural product because some dog’s shampoo contains additives and chemicals that don’t get along with our skin and hair.

Oatmeal shampoo is used like any other shampoo, even though you may sometimes find dry oatmeal shampoo for humans on the market, which doesn’t require water and therefore requires a different process.

You can also easily make your own oatmeal shampoo at home, and it will be good for both you and your pet.

It will be enough to mix a cup of perfectly blended oatmeal with a cup of baking soda.

Can Humans Use Dog Flea Shampoo?

Using dog flea shampoo on humans isn’t strictly forbidden, as it usually doesn’t have severe consequences for us, but it doesn’t mean we should use it as a substitute for our shampoo.

Dog flea shampoo is designed to eliminate fleas and ticks, which means it contains chemicals or insecticides to some degree and you probably don’t want any of that on your scalp.

In fact, your skin can actually absorb bad chemicals which might lead to itching, rashes, allergic reactions, or other unpredictable consequences.

Dangers of pyrethrins 

The main ingredient of most anti-flea products is pyrethrins, which is a natural pesticide derived from chrysanthemum flowers, and used as a pest control method in a variety of fields, gardening included.

Pyrethrins, along with their synthetic counterpart pyrethroids, are the reason why using dog flea shampoo can turn out very dangerous for humans.

Even though these are natural components, they’re still extremely toxic if ingested.

Whether you use dog flea shampoo on your pet or on you, make sure to always carefully check the ingredients and avoid getting pyrethrins in your eyes, nose, and mouth because an over-dosage can cause vomiting, seizures, and, in the most serious cases, even death.

Why Would Humans Use Dog Shampoo?

It might not seem like it, but there are actually several reasons why people might choose to use dog shampoo over human shampoo, and it’s not always due to running out of good shampoo while you’re already in the shower.

Some people surprisingly find in dog products good alternatives to whatever they use for their specific needs.

Sometimes they also find dog products that answer needs for which there are no human products available.


Some hair products for humans contain many artificial ingredients, especially those that are meant to create different scents and perfumes.

People who develop severe allergies to these components often don’t have many alternatives, as it’s hard to find good hypoallergenic shampoo on the market and each person might have very different reactions to it or just don’t see any improvement at all.

On the other side of the coin, there are many hypoallergenic products for dogs, of those that are easily found in any pet groomer studio.

These products often end up being the only option available for people with strong allergies.

The pH issue still stands for most of these products, so it would be safer to make your homemade shampoo or to discuss your options with a professional before going for dog shampoo.


Fleas and ticks are seen as a dog issue by most, but there are some people whose line of work or lifestyle is irremediably affected by these parasites as well.

Farmers, gardeners, and even hunters are the categories most easily at risk of catching ticks.

Ticks can be very dangerous because they carry serious diseases like Lyme disease and bloodborne pathogens.

They’re unfortunately very hard to spot as they can easily hide in your hair or skin folds.

As there are no available products against ticks made for humans, some people find it safer to use dog shampoo after spending time in the garden or in the woods.

To prevent catching ticks, you can also use essential oils made with plants that ticks find repugnant, like:

  • Peppermint
  • Citrus
  • Cedarwood
  • Rosemary
  • Lemongrass
  • Thyme
  • Tea tree
  • Cinnamon
  • Bay
  • Citronella
  • Eucalyptus

Be warned that these products are good for human and dog prevention against fleas and ticks, but won’t do anything when there’s already an ongoing infestation.

Alternatives To Dog Shampoo For Humans

Although they’re not exactly the same, we do have some products that could serve as alternatives to dog shampoo.

If you need a product specifically against parasites, there is a wide variety of lice shampoo on the market.

The active ingredients are more or less the same, so you will get good results with no risks.

As mentioned before, you can also make your own shampoo and it doesn’t mean just oatmeal shampoo. You can make a wide variety of shampoos at home.

It’s actually pretty simple to make your own hair product and you will feel safe knowing you’re using something you made yourself with controlled ingredients.

The easiest recipe is to mix one tablespoon of baking soda in a cup of warm water.

There are plenty of recipes for homemade shampoo online and some are personalized to answer specific hair needs, so leave your dog shampoo as your last resort.

Is Dog Shampoo Safe For Humans?

Repeated or long-term use of dog shampoo can be harmful to your scalp. However, a one-time or seldom usage may not bear any alarming consequences.

Despite that, it would still be better to stay on the safe side and discuss with a veterinarian or your doctor about the possibility of using unknown products on yourself.

Each person is different so what is harmless for one can be dangerous for others.

With that said, it might be debatable whether using dog shampoo on humans is harmful or not, but the same cannot be said for the contrary.

Don’t use human shampoo on dogs, the situation is not interchangeable.

Humans have skin that is three times thicker than dogs, so if using their products on us might just cause minor discomfort, using our products on them may be very harmful to your pet.

Other articles you may also like: