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Can You Use Cat Shampoo on Dogs? (All You Need to Know)

A dirty dog is not what we like to see around us. A bath will make the dog clean and huggable. Run out of dog shampoo and thinking, what can you use instead of that?

Can a cat shampoo work on dogs? This article will answer how good cat shampoo works on dogs and other related facts you may like to know.

Using cat shampoo on dogs:

Cat shampoos are harmless to dogs; you can use them when you run out of dog shampoo. But cat shampoos are super mild, so they may not clean your dog like your regular dog shampoo. But do not use cat shampoo on dogs for a long as it can cause skin issues.

Cats and dogs are the most popular pets all around the world. They are so popular that people are divided into two parts, cat guys and dog guys. So, the possibility is that if you run out of dog shampoo, you may find cat shampoo in your house or from your neighbor friend.

So, can you use cat shampoo for your dog? Well, it’s not a bad idea to bathe your dog with cat shampoo. At least they are better than dish wash or human shampoo. But you should not use cat shampoo on your dogs for long.

So, why can you not use cat shampoos on dogs? Let’s cover some background information first so you can understand it better.

Cats, dogs, and humans have different types of hair and skin. There are significant differences in pH, skin chemicals, and skin type.

Humans have more acetic skin in their heads, while cats and dogs have less acidic to neutral pH in their skin. So, human shampoo is not suitable for them. But what about cats shampoo on dogs?

Cats and dogs have similar pH in their body (6.2-7.2), which makes cats’ shampoo workable on dogs. But when you use human shampoo on dogs, the pH difference will cause skin issues in the dog.

But there are other issues too. Cats have super sensitive skin. So their shampoos contain gentle ingredients. They also do not contain harsh soap, which has high cleaning power. So, is that an issue for dogs?

Yes, dogs have tougher skin, and they can handle harsh soaps. They need powerful enough shampoo to clean them properly. Their skins are not that sensitive like cats.

When you use cat shampoo on dogs, you may not be able to clean the dog properly, especially when the dog is too dirty. Double-coated dogs are even harder to wash with cat shampoo.

But as you don’t have other options, you can use cat shampoo for a day or two before you get your dog shampoo from the store. You should not use cat shampoo as a constant product for washing your dog. We will discuss them in more detail later in the article. Let’s find out if those shampoos are suitable for your dog.

Regular cat shampoo:

Regular cat shampoos are fine for dogs if you use them a few times. But they are not suitable for a long time.

Dry cat shampoo:

Dry cat shampoos work on dogs but can’t substitute regular baths with dog shampoo.

Flea and tick cat shampoo:

Generally, you should not use Flea and tick cat shampoo on your dog. You should use a dog version of those shampoos, to be sure.

Dog shampoo vs cat shampoo: what’s the difference?

Dogs’ shampoos and cat shampoos have some significant differences. Cats and dogs are two different animals and almost have no evolutionary links. That means they also don’t belong to the same family. However, like us, they are both mammals and have many similarities.

But what about their skin and fur? Cats’ skin is super sensitive, and dogs’ skin is tough. So, naturally, their shampoos are different. Let’s try to find the differences between a cat and dog shampoo below.

Cleaning power:

Cat shampoos are made of mild components, which is necessary as they have sensitive skin. But dogs have more rigid skin and coats, so they need stronger shampoo.

Dogs are also very active and quickly become dirty while running and playing. So, dog shampoo has more soap, which cleans them deeply.


Cats’ and dogs’ shampoo may have different components. Cats have one type of skin, and dogs have another. The chemical elements of their skin can also be different. Cats’ and dogs’ shampoos are made after long research to find suitable ingredients.

But when you use cat shampoo on dogs, some components may not work or be harmful. Note that you should never use dog shampoo on cats. That can cause complicated skin issues for your cat.

Dogs may not like it:

Cats’ shampoo may have some smells that dogs may not like. And dog’s shampoo may also have essential oil that can harm the cats. Such as tree oil is a common ingredient in dog shampoo. But it is not suitable for cats.

How safe is cat shampoo on dogs? Can you use it regularly?

Cat shampoo is safe for dogs but may become complicated if you use it regularly. As we mentioned, cats’ shampoos are mild, as they have sensitive skin.

But dogs have tougher skin, and they need a more powerful cleaner. So, what happens when you use cat shampoo on dogs?

You can use cat shampoo on dogs occasionally, which will not cause anything. You just notice that the dog is still slightly dirty, and dog shampoo works best on dogs.

But issues can appear when you keep using cat shampoo on dogs. You are not cleaning the dog entirely when you use cat shampoo on dogs. Some of the dirt can still stay on your dog’s coat. When you keep washing your dog like this, dirt may build up in your dog’s skin.

That’s unhealthy for the dog’s skin, and it can cause skin discomfort or disease to your dog. So, washing your dog with dog shampoo is totally fine for a few days but not for weeks.

Burt’s bees cat shampoo:

Burt’s bees cat shampoo is mild and specially made for the kitten. It is safe for dogs but not appropriate for more extended use.

Adams cat shampoo:

Adams cat shampoo is deep conditioning shampoo and removes the parasites of cats and dogs. The manufacturers say it is also safe and very effective for dogs for fleas infection. So, if your dog has a parasite issue, you can use Adams cat shampoo.

Hartz cat shampoo:

Hartz cat shampoos are safe for dogs, and they can be helpful if your dog is shading fur as it helps to remove loose hair to minimize hairball build-up in the stomach.

Earthbath cat shampoo:

Earthbath cat shampoos are safe for dogs. It’s a mild shampoo for sensitive skin cats, so do not use it for a long time.

Wahl cat shampoo:

Wahl cat shampoo is safe to use on dogs. But there are dog shampoos of Wahl, and they will work much more effectively.

Does cat flea and tick shampoo terminate fleas on dogs?

You can use cats flea and tick shampoo on dogs, but it’s better not to use cats one on dogs and dogs one on cats.

However, there are flea and tick shampoos for cats and dogs, and they are specially designed to make them suitable for both. You can use them on your dogs without any issues.

Cat fleas and dog fleas are different species. So they also need slightly different components to remove them. That’s why if you are up to eliminating parasites from your dog. You should use flea shampoo for dogs to get the best result.

What can you use to wash your dog if you don’t have dog shampoo?

Luckily, cat shampoo is not your only option to wash your dog. There are other easy ways to clean your dogs with homemade products.

Dish wash is an excellent alternative to dog shampoo. It’s safe and effective, but you must not use it for a long time as it has a different pH.

Baking soda will also work decently to clean your dog. Take half a cup of baking soda and four cups of water. Mix that and use that on your dog for cleaning.

Vinegar is also a great household item to clean your dog safely. Make sure to dilute the vinegar before use.

Final thoughts

Cats’ shampoo does not harm dogs, but dogs can have skin issues if they use it too long. Cats’ shampoos are less powerful and can not clean dogs entirely. So, the build-up of dirt in dogs’ coats can cause irritation and skin disease. Never use dog shampoo on your cat.