Can You Use Dog Shampoo on Cats? Tips for Bathing Your Pet

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Can you use dog shampoo on cats?

Can you use dog shampoo on cats? It’s important to use a shampoo that has been specifically formulated for cats. Some cats have sensitive skin and may suffer an allergic reaction to dog or human shampoo. 

It’s best not to use dog or human shampoo on your cat. Cats have different needs when it comes to shampoos, so it’s recommended that you use a product approved for use on cats.

Cats also lick themselves constantly, so they need a shampoo that doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals. There are some shampoos on the market designed for both cats and dogs. These are great if you own both popular pets. We’ve researched the main things you need to consider when washing your cat, including choosing shampoo and bathing tips. 

Do cats need to be washed?

Cats are generally clean animals that don’t require washing. Many cats are terrified of water, and as cats wash themselves bathing your pet isn’t necessary. However, there are a few situations when you may need to bathe your cat; perhaps your pet has rolled in something nasty, has a skin condition that needs to be cleaned as part of her treatment, or is getting old and is unable to wash properly.

If your cat has fleas, one of the ways to get rid of the parasites is with a special shampoo. However, it would help ensure that the shampoo is used in conjunction with other treatments, such as a flea collar or spot-on treatment.

Related article: Can Cats Swim? A look at Feline Swimming Ability 

Can you use dog shampoo on cats?

Can you use dog shampoo on cats? It's not recommended unless you choose a shampoo thats formulated for dogs and cats.

NO! It’s best not to use dog shampoo on cats unless it specifically says on the label that it’s suitable for cats and dogs.

One of the most common reasons people ask if they can use dog shampoo on cats is that many of these shampoos contain oatmeal, a natural skincare product. It nourishes and cleans the skin, plus it has anti-inflammatory properties. However, it’s still best to avoid dog shampoo when bathing a cat.

Using a human or dog shampoo on your cat will strip its natural oils and may cause irritation. Your cat has very sensitive skin, so it’s important not to expose her to harsh chemicals. Human shampoos can be too harsh for a cat’s skin and may cause dryness, redness, and itching. 

Dog shampoo is formulated to clean dirt, oil, and debris from a dog’s coat, and as dogs generally have coarse fur, it may not be suitable for a cat. Some dog shampoos contain conditioners meant for dogs with dry or damaged coats. Cats don’t need conditioner, and it may make your cat’s skin drier.

Dog shampoos can be harsh and cause skin problems such as dryness and irritation for cats. It’s best to buy a shampoo that has been formulated especially for felines, which will contain mild cleansers and be pH balanced. If your vet or groomer recommends a specific shampoo, you should use it as they would only recommend the best products for your pet. 

What are the benefits of using dry shampoo on cats?

Not every cat will tolerate being bathed, regardless of how gently you try to put them into the water. Many cats are terrified of water, so instead of washing your pet, you may need to spot clean her fur using a damp sponge. Unless you have a Van cat that loves the water, another option would be to use a dry cat shampoo; these are easy to use, won’t stress or upset your cat as water would, and are just as effective for cleaning your pet.

Related article:Turkish Van Cats: Breed description and fun facts


Tips for bathing your cat

You should always speak to your vet before bathing your cat. Some cats are much easier to bathe than others, most cats hate water, and long-haired breeds take more time in the grooming department!

If you must wash your cat and have a particularly wild feline, use these tips to ensure she gets through her bath in one piece.

Make sure your cat is comfortable

Can you use dog shampoo on cats? No

Cats are very sensitive animals that may feel stressed by water. Before you begin, make sure your cat is relaxed and content in another room. If she is not used to the noise of the shower or bath running, this will be stressful for her.

You can also leave the door open and leave her to explore the bathroom in the days or weeks leading up to bath time. If at all possible, bring the pet into the bathroom with you so that she gets used to the sound of running water. If your cat is never exposed to these sounds before, it could cause quite a bit of anxiety during the process.

Give your cat something else to focus on

When trying to bathe a cat, it’s vital that you keep her as relaxed as possible; think of it as if she were taking a trip to the vets. To relax your feline friend, speak to her in a calm voice. Keep the washing process quick and painless and always keep pets away from loud noises and keep water spray off her face.

Use a pet-friendly shampoo

Once your cat is ready for her bath, use the special pet-friendly shampoo you have purchased. Never use human shampoo on your cat unless advised to do so by your vet. It’s also best to use the shampoo sparingly.

Getting ready

You will need a towel or two ready for drying off the cat afterward, shampoo, face cloths, or other pieces of fabric. You will also need cotton balls or swabs and cotton pads to clean your feline friend’s ears.

Rinse your cat

Once you have washed your feline friend, you must rinse off all shampoo thoroughly; don’t skimp on the rinsing. Your cat’s coat should be really clean after her bath. Let the water flow over the cat for several minutes until all soap residue has been washed away.

Dry your pet off

Once your cat’s fur is rinsed and she has been washed thoroughly, you will need to dry her off. Wrap a towel around your pet; use gentle movements to blot the water out of her coat. Make sure you blot but do not rub or pull on the coat, as this will cause the fur to dry in clumps.

Can you use dog shampoo on cats?: Final thoughts

Can you use dog shampoo on cats? Although dog shampoo is not advisable for cats, some people choose to use canine products anyway. However, it’s important to note that many shampoos on the market are designed specifically for cats, which will clean your pet without causing them any distress or discomfort. Do your research before buying shampoo, and always keep your pet’s health and safety in mind.

Although your cat might need some convincing to get her into the bath, you must take the time to bathe her if she is dirty or smelly. Alternatively, use a waterless shampoo which is easier for cats that hate water.

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