This site contains affiliate links. As an Amazon associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Full Disclosure Here.

Can You Use Dish Soap to Wash A Dog

Can You Use Dish Soap to Wash A Dog

When hard economic times hit or when one is so busy that he forgets to purchase dog shampoo there is that temptation of improvising. which has led to DIY hacks that one may use to substitute the dog‘s shampoo. Hence the question that comes to mind is, can you use dish soap to wash a dog?

This article will delve in-depth into what dish soap is, the risks and benefits it has when used both by man and animals.

What ingredients are used to make Dish Soap?

Dish soap is a dishwashing liquid also known as dishwashing soap and dish detergent. It is a detergent used to make dishwashing easy by removing the dirt on utensils with little energy. Usually, it is a highly foaming mixture of surfactants (chemicals substances) in soaps that dissolve grease dirt in water, with low skin irritation, and is primarily used for hand washing of glasses, plates, cutlery, and cooking utensils in a sink or bowl.

Dish soap’s main ingredient is water and the main active ingredients are detergents. There are other thickening and stabilizing agents. Other ingredients may include surfactants, hydro-trope, salts, preservatives, fragrances, and dyes.

Surfactants get rid of grease, stuck food particles and they also provide foam while washing. Some dishwashing products contain phosphates that make dishes cleaner. It can also cause harmful algae to bloom as the wastewater goes back to the natural environment.

In 2010, the United States FDA raised health concerns over triclosan an antibacterial substance used in some dish liquids.

Can you use Dish Soap to wash a dog?

In general, most vets do not recommend the frequent use of dish soaps because they are not approved to be used on dogs and especially on puppies. Dog’s skin and coats differ because of the simple reason that we have various breeds of dogs with different skin sensitivity. And so dish soaps can have different reactions on each dog respectively.

Dishwashing liquid has in the past been used to treat birds that were affected by oil spill accidents. For example in 1989 after the Exxon Valdez oil spill accident the International Bird Rescue Research Center received hundreds of cases of dishwashing liquid.

The dish soap was used for the same purpose of cleaning birds because more dishwashing liquid was donated during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the International Bird Rescue Research Center and the Marine Mammal Center. Perhaps this may be the reason some people have resorted to using dish soap experiments on their pet dogs.

Although in times of emergencies such as washing off oil or skunk spray then Dawn detergent can be used as a DIY hack treatment.

How to make a homemade solution

The mixture is as follows:

  • 1 quart 3 percent hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 cup baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
  • 1 teaspoon Dawn dish detergent

Get the dog drenched with plain water then apply the mixture and work through the coat, lathering it for approximately nine minutes, and finally rinse the furry pet thoroughly.

Failure to rinse the soap out completely will cause the dog to become itchy later and since dogs and cats lick their coats and ingest whatever substances are on them, removing them completely is paramount. Gently use warm water to prevent the dog from cold, don’t scrub but rub tenderly making your furry friend feel at ease.

Get rid of the remaining treatment for your safety reasons because when bottled up it may turn flammable.

Ensure to use it as a last resort option for there are various dog shampoos in the market that deal with dog odor, make white coats sparkle, condition dry coats, and make long hair tangle-free.

Indeed market doesn’t lack dog shampoos that strengthen damaged coats, lowers skin irritation, and moderates shedding. Various Products are there that preserve a wiry exterior in terrier coats and relax sensitive coats for dogs that need a hypo-allergenic tearless shampoo.

Dish detergent is also touted as a good choice for killing fleas on kittens and puppies that are too young to tolerate insecticides.

Best selling automatic pet food feeders and water dispensers

Risks of Using Dish Soap to wash a dog?

The first thing we need to realize is the nature of human skin and that of animals differs in their makeup.  Dishwashing soaps tend to diminish the natural oils found on the dog’s skin that nourish as well as protect it. The acid mantle is one of the most important parts of the skin. It’s the layer that covers the entire organ, which protects the porous, topmost layer, called the stratum corneum.

It is responsible for rebounding, protecting, and keeping bacteria and viruses away. When the soap dish denies skin hydration it will cause the immunity of your dog to become low, therefore, cannot fight against bacteria, allergies, and yeast infections.

This is why it is imperative to look out for suitable and gentle ingredients in the soap dish you intend to use on your dog. Because you do not want to remove the dog’s protective lipid barrier since it promotes natural skin repair procedures.

Just like when you use dog shampoo to ensure that the dish soap does not get the insides of the dog’s ears to make them wet and soapy or else it will cause harm later.

Another risk paused is it will hurt the pet dog’s eyes if the dish soap happens to get some in their eyes leading to extreme discomfort.

Another risk you as a person may incur when you use dish soap is poisoning when ingested.

The signs or symptoms of dish soap poisoning will depend on:

  • the product
  • how much a person has inhaled or may have swallowed
  • how many contacts there was with the product

Symptoms of soap poisoning may include:

  • headaches
  • nausea
  • vision loss, if the soap product has burned the eyes
  • gastrointestinal symptoms, including vomiting repeatedly or with blood
  • burns to the food pipe
  • severe stomach pain
  • burning eyes
  • low blood pressure
  • difficulty breathing
  • swelling of the throat, lips, and tongue
  • chemical burns on the skin

Many dishwashing liquids contain perfumes whose ingredients can cause irritants or allergic contact dermatitis (rash or skin lesion at the site of exposure) to people with sensitive skin. This means if you got sensitive skin you may want to avoid the risk of burning hands and itchiness when bathing your dog.

Signs of skin diseases associated with depletion of the Protective Layer.

When the lipid layer is depleted then atopic dermatitis and psoriasis skin diseases will attack the skin. So it is paramount to understand there is an interrelation between the loss of the natural fatty defense layer and skin diseases that may affect a dog.

You also need to take note of these factors to know how to replace this layer of damaged diseased skin. You may want to check the article review on the best dog supplements to stop dog shedding. The article has suggestions of which vitamins are efficient for dog skin and coat in retaining moisture in dull, scaly skin and dry coat as well as maintenance of the immune system.

Signs signifying skin complications include and are not limited to the following:

  • Itching
  • Skin sores
  • Redness
  • Dry skin
  • Rashes
  • Lumps
  • Dandruff
  • Bumps
  • Hair loss

The solution will be Dog shampoos, oral antibiotics, and antibacterial ointments that are prescribed by your vet to help treat and soothe the infection. Don’t forget high-quality sources of protein, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids can all help keep the coat healthy. Supplements with a variety of ingredients such as fish oils or Vitamin E may help your dog’s coat in several ways. They provide needed nutrients to promote luster, prevent skin dryness, and may also play a role in decreasing inflammation and pain.

How to bathe your dog gently

FAQ Can you use dish soap to wash a dog

1. How often can you bathe a dog with Dawn?

Dawn dish detergent is among the best dish soap for clean bits left in pans and grease. A small amount of Dawn Platinum cleans a whole sink of dishes with stubborn stuck-on bits easily with the least scrubbing. Some people say it is safe to use for cats and dogs due to its mild scent mostly to eliminate fleas.

But caution is key as to the amount to be used that should be pertinent with the dog’s age. There are great dog shampoos veterinarians approved and more effective than dish soap sometimes cheap is expensive in the long run because of the intricacies of the pH balance of the dog’s coat and skin.

2. What kind of soap to wash a dog?

It is important not to note that lots of gentle soaps are not ideal for getting off filth covering your dog. It is good to use all-natural preferably detergent-free, an antibacterial cleanser with glycerin that softens shines, and untangles knots to make fur brushing easy.

Aloe with oatmeal mixed nature-based cleansers is among the best dog shampoos that are chemical-free. Aloe Vera both moisturizes and soothes dogs with sensitive skin and it does not sting your eyes when bathing the dog.

Gentle dog shampoo, moistening and a fur luster stimulator are awesome for puppies. Hypoallergenic soaps are the best dog soaps for dogs prone to skin allergies, rashes as well as dry skin.

3. Can I use dove soap on my dog?

In case you cannot get to the store in time to buy your dog shampoo yet the dog is covered in filth. A person an occurrence might force you to get a pinch of dove soap and use it to clean your dog. The Dove soap should not be used regularly as a replacement for veterinarian-approved dog shampoos.

4. Soaps for smelly Dogs?

Some dogs venture into dirt that has a smell so when you use soaps that are gentle the smell will not go away. You will need to shop for a stronger product to get the job done especially for a dog that has been sprayed by a skunk. Get a shampoo that has supreme odor control and a conditioner that makes your dog have a clean smell.

see also; Best supplement to stop dog shedding

see also; How often should I bathe my dog with skin allergies


We have seen the pros and cons of washing detergent’s impact when used as a substitute for dog shampoo. Some pet owners have chosen dish soap as an alternative for killing fleas on kittens and puppies that are too young to tolerate insecticides. When you frequently use dish soap to wash a dog, you are in essence washing off the dog’s lipid layer skin protector.

This will cause your dog to get an itchy dry skin rash that leads to lesions as a result of scratches and bites. Dish soap may not be ideal for a dog with flaky skin or has a prescribed skin condition. Seeking your vet’s advice is appropriate because he has the historical biography of your dog. The vet may also recommend medicated wipes or shampoo in addition to oral medications to soothe the skin. An oatmeal-based dog shampoo, however, may cost around the same amount as the dish soap. So to answer the question can you use dish soap to wash a dog, you be the judge!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *