There has been a lot of mythology going around lately about how bad it is to use human shampoo on your canine companion. The reasoning behind this has been that canine skin is more alkaline than humans’ and so the pH of human-grade shampoo is aggravating to the skin and coat. It appears that this may have been propagated by the pet shampoo industry, as laboratory sampling does not bear this out. A great article written by Barbara Bird, published in eGroomer online magazine, shows that not only does the pH level of both canine and human shampoos vary widely, but so does the pH of canine skin. In fact, the pH level varies greatly depending on breed, hormones, and the pH of any dog’s skin can even vary greatly in just hours due to stress!
It appears that while the pH theory is bunk, there are reasons for your groomer to be using high-quality, canine-specific shampoos . The shampoos your groomer buys from a grooming supplier are geared for specific purposes that your daily human shampoo is not. Dog-specific shampoos are designed for serious cleaning, making lots of suds to lift out old dirt and oily buildup. Others are designed for deodorizing a coat that has not been washed regularly or has been exposed to all kinds of delightfully smelly things outdoors. Others are designed to detangle canine coats, rid them of pests, or remove undercoat, which humans obviously don’t have.
The bottom line seems to be that while your groomer should be buying high-quality,canine-specific shampoos, if Lilly needs a freshen-up bath between visits, it’s not going to hurt her to suds her up with a little of your Bumble&Bumble (or Suave, whatever floats your boat.) Now making sure you have her completely combed out before you shampoo so she doesn’t end up with dreadlocks that have to be shaved off, well that’s for another post!
Study: I totally stole this whole post from: A Study of the pH of Pet & Human Shampoos,Mythology of Shampoo pH, by Barbara Bird, CMG. Published in eGroomer online magazine, July/September 2011 Volume 1 Issue 1.