No Dog Shampoo What Can I Use? Quick Fixes!

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Author: Jeanette Hampton

Keeping your dog clean and well-groomed is essential for their health. Your dog may enjoy the bubbly bath but what about the days when you run out of their favourite shampoo? Days when you wonder “No dog shampoo what can I use?

No Dog Shampoo What Can I Use

Well sweat not, we are here to save the day! Regular bathing prevents skin issues and infections. That’s why it is important to use shampoo or a safe alternative. Let’s see what are these alternatives and how can we make the best out of what we have!

No Dog Shampoo What Can I Use?

Regular bathing with a high-quality dog shampoo is crucial to thoroughly clean your dog’s coat and skin. Shampoo cleans dirt, debris, pollen, and other environmental particles that become trapped in a dog’s fur.

It also prevents skin irritations, rashes, fungus, and bacterial overgrowth that can lead to infections. It also detangles knots and removes loose hair while they enjoy this massage.

That’s why dog shampoos are important for the nourishment of the skin and their coat. Running out of shampoo can be an issue but fortunately, there are some safe alternatives you can use, let’s see them in detail:

dog with coconut oil

1. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil contains lauric acid and other fatty acids that benefit the dog’s skin and coat. The fats nourish hair and skin cells while vitamins, minerals, and proteins in oil ensure the cells stay healthy.

Coconut oil also moisturizes dry skin and has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects to combat infections. So, coconut makes a great homemade shampoo solution[1]. 
dog taking a bath

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda makes an effective shampoo alternative for your dog. It gently lifts dirt from the skin and neutralizes odours instead of masking them.

Create a soak by dissolving 1 cup of baking soda into 1 quart of warm water. Use a sponge to massage the solution into the dog’s coat, allowing it to deep clean.

Then rinse nicely with clean water, pat dry with a towel and brush out the clean fur. This baking soda bath will make your dog smell sweet in no time.

dog with apple cider vinegar

3. Vinegar

White vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice naturally remove soap residue and balance the pH of dog skin, they also eliminate funky smells.

Pour one cup of vinegar into a spray bottle filled with 2 cups of cool water. Mist onto their coat, massaging it in a little. Then rise clean and this final step will leave your dog’s fur squeaky clean, static-free, and deodorized.

dog taking a bath

4. Castile soap

Castile soap made from olive, coconut, and other plant oils makes a gentle cleanser for dogs when diluted appropriately. 

Mix a small amount of unscented soap with warm water and apply it directly onto your dog’s fur. Rinse thoroughly afterwards.

dog taking a bath

Precautions and Testing

With the right homemade blend, you can give your dog the royal spa treatment right at home. But there are a few things you must keep in mind before applying all these to your dog.

Since dogs have different skin than humans, it’s crucial to patch-test any new shampoo. even gentle homemade blends. Start by mixing a small amount of the shampoo alternative and apply it to a small and little part of your dog’s body.

Good test sites include the inner forearm/elbow, side of the chest or behind the ear where hair is thin. Allow it to sit for at least 24 hours if possible while monitoring for signs of irritation.

Redness, inflammation, bumps, rashes, excessive scratching or licking signal the mixture may be irritating. In such a case, discontinue the use immediately! 

If no reaction occurs, the formula should be safe to use as an all-over shampoo. Always check with your vet before testing if your dog has sensitive skin.

happy dog taking a bath

How to Choose the Right Dog Shampoo?

Dog shampoo nourishes skin and hair with fatty acids, vitamins, proteins, antioxidants, and minerals. It’s also important to choose the right shampoo for dogs, let’s see how can you do that:

  • Consider your dog’s skin type and sensitivities, Sensitive skin or dry skin requires specific formulas. Use hypoallergenic shampoos if the dog has allergies.
  • Look for shampoos made specifically for dogs that maintain their pH balance. Dog skin pH is 6-7. For sensitive skin, choose a gentle, fragrance-free formula with oatmeal, aloe vera, lavender oil and a few ingredients.
  • For dry skin, use moisturizing shampoos with hydrating ingredients like glycolic acid, jojoba oil, shea butter, vitamin E and ceramides to repair the skin barrier.
  • For oily coats, use clarifying shampoos a few times a month with ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide to remove excess oils and sebum.
  • Carefully read all ingredients on labels when selecting shampoos. Seek safe, high-quality ingredients suitable for long-term use. Avoid harsh soaps or detergents.
  • Pay attention to scent ingredients if the dog has sensitivities or allergies. Avoid ingredients that could irritate their skin or nose.

A certified vet dermatologist can provide recommendations for dogs with skin conditions requiring medicated shampoos. Properly bathing and grooming a dog maintains their skin health. Choose the right shampoo for your dog’s needs.

No Dog Shampoo What Can I Use

Why Human Shampoo Is Not Suitable for Dogs?

Human skin and dog skin are different, The biggest difference is in their pH levels[2]. Human skin maintains an acidic pH between 4.5 and 5.5. Dog skin has a more neutral pH between 6-7. 

This pH difference means human shampoo formulas create an unfavourable pH balance for dogs, making their skin prone to irritation. Dog shampoos are specifically designed with a dog’s pH in mind and use ingredients gentle enough for regular use.

They contain nourishing, vet-approved ingredients that clean while maintaining the vital moisture balance of your dog’s skin.

Common gentle cleansers you’ll find are oatmeal, aloe vera, shea butter, ceramides, glycerin soaps, and hypoallergenic formulas for dogs with allergies or skin issues. Many also contain coat conditioners, moisturizers, vitamins, antioxidants and other compounds to benefit your dog’s skin and fur.


Can I Wash the Dog With My Shampoo?

Human shampoo can cause irritation to your dog’s skin, as they have a different pH level to humans. It can also increase their vulnerability to parasites and viruses. You should make a conscious effort to keep dog shampoo stocked at home and only use human or baby shampoo in emergency situations.

No Dog Shampoo What Can I Use?

Human baby shampoo is probably the most popular dog shampoo substitute. Dish soap is a common dog shampoo substitute. White vinegar is a great way to get rid of any lingering odours on your dog. Baking soda can be used to freshen up your dog’s coat.

Is It Safe to Use Baby Shampoo on Dogs?

Baby shampoo, such as Johnson and Johnson, may be used on dogs. Baby shampoo is typically gentle and free from harsh and irritating ingredients. It also has the added benefit of being “tear-free,” meaning it will not damage a dog’s eyes if a small amount is inadvertently splashed into them.

Can I Wash My Dog With Dish Soap?

The short answer is Yes, you can use dish soap to wash your dog as a last resort. The longer answer is that we do not recommend it as it can cause itchiness and irritations. It is gentle enough to use on dogs and will not strip their coat of natural oils. Make sure to use a very small amount and Rinse thoroughly.


In conclusion “No dog shampoo what can I use?” When it comes to keeping your dog clean it is important to use the best products so subscribe to the products but when you are out of shampoo there are some safe alternatives available.

But always do the patch testing first as every dog is different and may need different care.

With the right knowledge and attention, you’ll help his coat shine while keeping his delicate doggy skin happy and healthy for years of belly rubs and ball chasing to come. So, go ahead and take that bubbly bath!


  1. Reisen, J. (2023, November 9). Easy homemade dog shampoo. American Kennel Club.
  2. Lovejoy, J., DVM. (2023, September 26). Can you use human shampoo on dogs? PetMD.
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Jeanette Hampton
Jeanette Hampton is a content writer at WWD and an expert on all things pets. She’s been writing pet blogs for over 5 years and knows everything there is to know about dogs. Jeanette enjoys writing about pet-related topics because she enjoys helping people learn more about their furry friends.

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