Almost every pet dreads the day their owner picks them up and hauls them into the bathroom. Your pet’s demeanor during baths is probably one of a child in timeout. If you have a pet that actually likes bath time, be thankful. We, as a species that bathes daily, understand the importance of cleaning off the previous day’s dirt and grime. Our pets don’t exactly feel the same way. While pets use their tongue to clean off the primary dirt, a good shampoo will get rid of that dirt buried deep in their coat. However, in trying to keep out pets clean we often make the mistake of using products designed for humans on our pets.

It is important to wash your pet with shampoo that was specifically designed for your pet. The use of human shampoo on your pet will hurt your pet’s skin, not help it. The main difference between pet and people shampoo is the pH balance, or measure of how acidic a substance is.

Shampoo designed specifically for humans has a pH balance of 5.5. Pet shampoo has a pH of 7.5. On the pH scale, seven is neutral, while anything below that is more acidic. The more acidic shampoo is both good for humans, and helps to keep our hair healthy. However, this level of acidity is harmful to pets. This can be compared to babies. Parents use shampoo specifically designed for babies because adult shampoos are too harsh for a baby’s soft, delicate head. Likewise, adult human shampoo is too harsh for your pet’s gentle skin and fur.

Pet shampoos are specifically formulated to be gentle on your pet’s skin. These products also help to nourish your pet’s fur to give it a healthy, shiny appearance. Another important reason to use pet specific shampoo is that it moisturizes the skin. Healthy skin will both help prevent your pet from getting skin problems and improve your pet’s overall health.

In trying to avoid skin problems, it’s important to remember your pet’s skin may react poorly to your shampoo. If your pet has a negative reaction to your shampoo, this could cause minor or serious health concerns. If this occurs, take your pet to your veterinarian as soon as possible. However, to avoid any problems and to keep your pet healthy and happy, use shampoo that was specifically designed for their skin and fur and leave your personal shampoo on the shelf.