Can I Use Dog Shampoo On My Hair? (Yes, But Should You?)

When people get bored they do all kinds of weird things. Some people go searching for their phone to play a game, some people just go outside some people, like my sister, make up weird questions to ask my parents! So the other day she asked: Can I use dog shampoo on my hair?

She came from a friend where she was playing and they have a dog. Apparently, this caused a question in my sister’s head that I hadn’t heard yet. Neither did my parents… Anyway, you know how I am now, this kept eating at me until I had an answer! Because if my sister has that question, there will surely be more people on this earth with the same question. So I went to research and in this article, you can read all about what I found! Is it a good idea to use dog shampoo yourself or not? You can find the answers here!

So, can I use dog shampoo on my hair? The simple answer is that you can, but it’s not a good idea. Dog shampoo and human shampoo are so different that they can damage your hair. For example, dog shampoo is made to fight viruses, bacteria, and parasites. With dog shampoo you can disturb your Ph balance, you absorb toxic ingredients and your hair can dry out. So it is better not to use dog shampoo for your own hair.

Such a nice answer, but still you will probably want to know the real differences. Let’s go a little deeper into it.

Is it a good idea for humans to use dog shampoo?

No, it is not. As I said before, dog shampoo and human shampoo are really different. 

Shampoos are made specifically for humans or dogs (in the case of dog shampoo).

Although some parents suggest that dog shampoo is great for killing lice, it’s not a good idea to use dog shampoo yourself.

What is the difference between human shampoo and dog shampoo?

The big difference is actually in the Ph balance of the skin. As you may know, people have a lower Ph balance than a dog. This also causes our skin to be more acidic than that of a dog. On top of that, we humans have something called an acid mantle. Actually, a kind of extra layer that protects the skin against viruses, parasites, and bacteria. 

The products we use as humans are more acidic than those for dogs. This way we protect our skin better. It ensures that the natural Ph balance is maintained. This is not the case with dogs. The Ph balance is higher so they are more “neutral”. 

For dogs, human shampoo is not good. You should use a shampoo that reflects the Ph balance of the dog. This way it can effectively protect the skin instead of damaging it. 

What happens when people use shampoo on dogs?

Just now you read that if dogs use human shampoo, it is not really good for the dog. The Ph balance doesn’t match and so you can end up doing more damage than it does to a dog. But how about the other way around? What happens if a human uses dog shampoo?

A number of things can happen. Things of which you’d rather it didn’t happen to your hair.

It disturbs the Ph balance of your skin

As you read before, dog shampoo is more Ph neutral. That’s not the acidic shampoo we use for ourselves. So you can imagine that when you use a dog shampoo, you are confusing your own Ph balance. Now you might say at first glance that it doesn’t really matter, but that’s not entirely true. 

It can cause bacterial infections

Using a dog shampoo not only causes dry skin, but it can also make you more susceptible to bacterial infections. This can actually occur anywhere you use the shampoo.

So if you use the shampoo on your hair you can get a bacterial infection on your scalp. If you decide it’s a good idea to use this shampoo as a body wash, you can also catch bacterial infections on the rest of your body. 

If this happens to you it is best to keep an eye on how it develops. Normally a little irritation disappears by itself, but if you have persistent complaints it’s always good to see a doctor.

It dries out your hair

This just came up for discussion. Dog shampoo can dry out your hair! Dry hair can cause a style that cannot be tamed, split ends, and other things. 

Now I must honestly say that there are mild dog shampoos that might even make a resilient part of your hair. But if you use the rougher products this is certainly not the case. The chemicals in lice shampoo for dogs, for example, can cause serious damage to your hair. 

If you have some mild complaints, this will often go away in a couple of weeks. If your body reacts more to this it can result in hair loss and hair breaking off. 

You absorb toxins into your skin

This sounds lugubrious and it actually is a little bit. Of course, it’s not that you get incredibly lethal substances into your body, but still, you put ingredients into your body that are not meant for you. 

Every dog shampoo is of course different, one will make your dog smell better and the other will make your dog very clean… But what they all have in common is the fact that they also contain chemicals that are made to keep fleas and other vermin and diseases away from the dog’s skin.

Of course, these are not substances that you like to get into your skin. Sure, maybe it will keep the mosquitoes away from you for the next 2 weeks… But is that all worth it ;)? If you don’t have shampoo when you get into the shower, it’s better to wash your hair a day or a few days later. This is the best way to protect yourself and your hair.

Does dog shampoo kill lice in people?

Let’s be clear about this right away. Yes, this could be done in principle, but it is certainly not useful. 

It is true that some ingredients for dog lice shampoo are similar to lice shampoo for humans, but there are still other substances in it that can be harmful to you, your hair, and your skin. It is also true that the ingredients for lice shampoo for dogs are used in a different ratio than the shampoo for lice that people use. This can cause the lice not even to die, but it can damage your hair and scalp.

If you need a lice shampoo, it is still best to just go to the store and buy the variant specially made for people!

What to do if I don’t have any shampoo with me?

I think it would be safe to say that by now you understand that you do not grab the dog shampoo! Dog shampoo can do you more harm than that it can do you good. If you’re in dire need of shampoo, but don’t have any, you could go for dry shampoo. 

Dry shampoo used alcohol or starch-based active ingredients to soak up the oils and sweat from your hair. It is awesome! Removing oils and sweat from your hair makes your hair appear cleaner. 

Now, this isn’t a permanent solution, you have to wash your hair with normal shampoo eventually… But it can be a good option if you don’t have any shampoo with you. Just do me a favor and don’t use the shampoo from your dog!


When I told my sister that I had written an article about her question, she became totally happy! “A whole article for my can people use dog shampoo question,” she asked with great enthusiasm in her voice. When I finally let her read it, she was happy with the result and I hope you are too! 

If all goes well you now have a lot more information about why you shouldn’t use dog shampoo as a human being. It affects the Ph balance, it can dry out your hair, and even worse, it can cause bacterial infections. Of course, this is not what you want just because you didn’t have any other shampoo available. 

My advice remains: If you don’t have a shampoo you can use, don’t go for your dog’s shampoo. Get the shampoo you need from the store and wash your hair with it. It is better for you, your hair, and your scalp. It really is.

Joy-Lee Founder and writer of


Hi, my name is Joy-Lee and I'm the owner of As you might've noticed, I'm a true beauty lover, and made it my passion, my work and my hobby. I love sharing my thoughts and feelings on a variety of beauty aspects and want to thank you for reading!