The Best Substitutes For Dog Shampoo – You Can Easily Find At Home

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Have you ever been in a pinch and needed to find substitutes for your dog’s shampoo but weren’t sure where to look? Don’t worry. You’re in the right place! 

Here, you’ll discover the best substitutes for dog shampoo you can easily find at home. And with these solutions, your pup won’t suffer from dry skin or itching anymore.

So read on, pet parents – it’s time to help your four-legged family member feel healthier and pampered!

When And How To Use Substitutes For Dog Shampoo

Using a shampoo explicitly intended for dogs is always the preferred choice. However, there are times when a substitute is necessary, such as if you’ve run out of actual dog shampoo or your veterinarian has suggested that you use something less irritating. The key to using alternative items as substitutions for dog shampoo is to ensure that whatever you use is gentle and non-toxic for your pup.

Here are some everyday home items and instructions on when and how to use them so your furry friend can stay clean without an issue:

Baby Shampoo

Baby shampoo is ideal for those seeking a gentle and effective alternative to dog shampoo. This mild cleanser is formulated to be gentle enough for newborns and usually has ingredients that will leave your dog’s fur feeling soft and clean. Use products free of dyes, fragrances, and sulfates for optimal results.

Additionally, it’s essential to ensure the shampoo you’re using is tearless or ophthalmologist-recommended so that if it gets into your pet’s eyes, it won’t sting. When bathing your pup with baby shampoo, always scrub around the neck, face, and ears carefully, as some dogs may have sensitive skin. Also, be mindful when rinsing the soap from fur, as the residue left behind can cause skin irritation.

baby shampoo

Homemade Shampoo

Making your dog shampoo using household ingredients can be an excellent way to save money and customize the formula to meet your pet’s specific needs. While every recipe yields slightly different results, there are some basic instructions and ingredients you should consider when making homemade dog shampoo. Most of these recipes call for natural products which can be found in stores or online.

Please note if any of these ingredients can cause an allergic reaction in animals, please consult with a veterinarian to ensure safety before use.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is one of the great alternative options to dog shampoos. It functions the same way as regular shampoo, helping reduce buildup and leaving fur softer and brighter.

To use baking soda to wash your dog:

  1. Combine one cup with three cups of warm water and blend until it forms a paste-like consistency.
  2. Use warm water to soak your dog’s coat and massage the baking soda mixture into their coat from head to tail.
  3. Let the mixture rest for a couple of minutes, then rinse with cool water.

To finish off the bath, spritz their fur with white vinegar or lemon juice for extra shine and softness!

baking soda

Baby Wipes 

Baby wipes are an often overlooked alternative to traditional dog shampoos. They can be a convenient option when you’re on the go or if a pet store isn’t nearby. Baby wipes contain gentle ingredients on your pup’s skin, such as aloe vera and vitamin E. These ingredients also help keep their coat hydrated and moisturized. However, selecting the right baby wipes is crucial, as some may contain harsh chemicals that can cause irritation and dry out your pup’s skin.

Using baby wipes is a simple process – wet the wipe with warm water and gently stroke over their coat, focusing on dirtied areas – remember not to rub too hard! For added hydration, spread it evenly on their fur and use your hands to massage it in. When done correctly, baby wipes are safe and soft and leave your dog’s coat feeling clean while helping soothe skin that might have become irritated by dirt or pests.

Aloe vera gel

Aloe vera gel has antibacterial properties, which make it great for soothing minor skin irritations caused by allergies, bugs, or even stress from being groomed too often. Rub some aloe vera directly onto your pup’s coat after brushing away dirt and debris from fur first. Remember that aloe vera gel can be harmful if ingested, so ensure it stays away from their mouth!

aloe vera gel

Apple cider vinegar

Vinegar can balance pH levels in the skin, preventing dryness and itchiness associated with certain conditions like allergies or other skin issues. Dilute one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 2 cups of water, then place the mixture in a spray bottle and spray directly on the skin while avoiding eye contact. Use two times per week as needed depending on the severity of the condition.

Can I use dish soap to wash the dog?

Dish soap or liquid hand soaps can be used as a substitute for specialized dog shampoo, but it is not recommended. Dish and hand soaps are explicitly formulated for human skin, as opposed to animal skin and fur—dogs have different pH levels, require other clean agents, and require more conditioning. When using a dish or hand soap to bathe a dog, the soap should be mild, free of chemical additives, and non-toxic.

When bathing pet dogs with a soapy substance in place of specialized dog shampoo, it is essential to rinse off the soap thoroughly. Dish and hand soaps are often high in foaming agents, which may cause excessive dryness when left on the dog’s coat. Additionally, residual residue from these products can alter the balance of oils in the fur, causing dandruff or dryness in certain areas.

Can you use human shampoo on dogs?

Many owners wonder if a human shampoo is safe for dogs and whether it can be used as a substitute for regular dog shampoo. The right answer to this question is “no.” While some have reported that human shampoo works well for cleaning pet fur and even creating a glossy coat, the fact is that most human shampoos are too harsh for canine skin and can easily irritate it, leading to dryness and other skin issues. Human shampoos also contain chemicals that may trigger allergies or be toxic in large doses.

Fortunately, there are plenty of other alternatives available that you can use instead of traditional dog shampoo. Many pet owners swear by all-natural soaps as an excellent substitution. These soaps are usually made with coconut oil, oatmeal, essential oils, and aloe vera, providing a gentle yet effective cleanse without damaging sensitive skin or causing irritation. Additionally, some products on the market now include natural ingredients such as oatmeal, which is believed to soothe canine skin.

substitutes for dog shampoo


In conclusion, look no further than your kitchen and bathroom if you’re looking for substitutes for dog shampoo. From household staples like baking soda to products from the pharmacy and health store, there are plenty of options available in easy-to-find products.

Always remember to be mindful of what you use on your dog and read the label, testing out a little bit on them before committing to it entirely. As a general rule of thumb, always remember that if it’s gentle enough for humans, it should also be safe for dogs.

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