Pet owners often question whether a cat can use dog shampoo. There is a straight answer to this, and dog shampoo’s applicability depends on a lot of factors.
Cats maintain very healthy fur by continuously cleaning it with its tongue. So, it is often not required to bathe your cat.
However, there are times when a cat is contaminated with something or smelling bad. Then it is necessary to wash the cat thoroughly with shampoo.
But can one use dog shampoo on a cat? We will discuss the effects of dog shampoo on cats and everything one needs to know for choosing the perfect shampoo for the furball.
Can you use dog shampoo on cats?
The answer to this question is tricky, and it depends on the dog shampoo one is trying to use. Dog shampoos have several components that can be harmful to a cat, and it can lead to various types of problems. So, one should not use dog shampoo on a cat.
Why should you not use dog shampoo on cats?
While it may seem natural to use dog shampoo on cats, this could harm the little feline. One needs to check the dog shampoo components to check if it contains something like tar, tea tree oils, selenium sulfite, permethrin, etc.
These components are dangerous for the cat and can have long-lasting effects just like baby shampoo. We are going to explain why one should not use dog shampoo on cats.
Levels of pH of cats and dogs coat indicate why one should not use dog shampoo on cats. The coat is momentous for maintaining a healthy body for any animal.
Every animal has special coat features like the thickness of the fur, structure of hair follicles, and crucially pH level. pH level is an indication of the acidity of a surface.
While humans have a pH level of 5.5, cats have a skin pH of 6. Dogs have an even higher pH of 7.5. While making shampoos, one needs to consider these pH levels and the shampoo components vary significantly from one species to another.
So, every animal shampoo contains specific ingredients suited for that particular species. If a dog uses a dog shampoo labeled product, it will keep the dog clean, and it will not raise any health issues for the dog. But using it regularly on a cat can cause problems.
It will cause subtle changes in the cat fur, and this can have damaging after-effects. It will make the skin dry for the cat, making it harder for the cat to groom themselves.
It can also attract parasites, which are not usual for cats. So, it will make the cleaning much harder, and it does not serve any fruitful purpose.
Herbal dog shampoos often contain natural oils. The most used natural oil in this type of shampoos is tea tree oil. Generally, natural oils are good for dogs and humans.
However, cats, especially kittens, don’t have the enzymes to break down natural oils. This can be harmful to a cat, and it can stay on the skin for a long time.
Even diluted oils can build up to a toxic level, and it can damage the texture of the fur and block the pores present on the skin. For kittens, the skin absorbs the natural oils and damages the composition.
Dog shampoos contain several types of insecticides to deal with flea problems. These components can be harmful to cats.
One of the insecticides found in dog shampoo is permethrin, which is fatal for felines. This component should be avoided at all costs as it causes many problems in cats, and it can even lead to death. One should also need to take a close look at the percentage of ingredients used in the shampoo.
Pet-friendly shampoos generally have a component called pyrethrin. This chemical is safe for the cat when used in small quantities but may lead to various side effects if the percentage is higher than what it should be for a cat.
Kittens have sensitive skin, and even a little difference in the amount can be fatal.
Dog shampoos also contain components like Selenium Sulfite and coal tar, which deal with seborrhea in dog shampoos.
These chemicals are harmful to cats. Avoid using products containing these components when the cat has an open wound or recovering from a disease. The ingredients present in the dog shampoo can dry out cat skin, and it leads to dandruff.
What happens if you use dog shampoo on cats?
Components of dog shampoos vary from one product to another. We are going to cover various issues of using dog shampoo on cats.
1) The most drastic effect of dog shampoo is the presence of permethrin. Cats can inhale this insecticide, and it can cause respiratory paralysis and muscle contraction, leading to death.
This chemical can even induce vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, hypersalivation, or respiratory stress if it falls on the skin in enough concentration. If the cat shows any of the symptoms after cleaning it with a dog shampoo, one needs to take it to a veterinarian fast.
2) Another component that causes problems in cats is tea tree oils. This type of oil contains a substance called terpenes, which are toxic to cats.
Cats can develop irritation or rash problems when exposed to tea tree oil. Mild exposure to terpenes can cause vomiting and symptoms of weakness.
3) Selenium Sulphite present in dog shampoo is mainly for dandruff treatment in dogs. It can make dry out the skin and irritate cats.
4) Tar is another component found in dog shampoo, which is harmful to cats. Tar has therapeutic value, and it has various advantages for dogs. Tar is corrosive for cats, and one needs to avoid it at all costs.
5) There are several essential oils in dog shampoos. One can extract these oils from trees and can build up to toxic levels on cat skin.
Other natural stuff you can put on cats:
There are several natural substitutes to keep your cat clean and away from fleas. We are going to name a few to help you with the problem.
- Apple Cider Vinegar with water
- Cedar chips
- Aloe vera juice
- Lemon Spray
When bathing kittens, one should always stick to shampoos made for cats. These shampoos cater to cats and clean their soft fur, and fight flea problems.
Even if one is buying a cat shampoo, the ingredients should be taken into consideration carefully. Some of the components in the cat shampoo can be too powerful for a kitten.
Using an age-appropriate cat shampoo has multiple benefits like hydration of a cat’s skin, relief, and wound healing.
A good cat shampoo can lighten the mood of the cat and keep a good appearance. So, use a cat shampoo to clean your cat, but if you can’t, stick to the natural alternatives or a simple, non-fragranced, castile soap or mild dish-washed to clean the furball without damaging its skin.
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References & Citations:
1 ) https://pets.thenest.com/wash-kitten-dog-shampoo-5223.html
Hi There, AJ Oren here. I am the founder of this amazing pet blog & a passionate writer who loves helping pet owners to learn more about their pets through my articles. I am also the content manager of this blog. I have experience in pet training and behavior, sheltering, and currently working for a veterinary clinic.