Can You Wash A Dog With Dawn Dish Soap

Dawn dish soap is famed for its ability to clean up just about anything covered with oil—from dishes, human skin to birds, and sea turtles.

In fact, when you visit Dawn’s main website, you will get a link titled “Dawn saves Wildlife”, where they highlight how Dawn dish soap has been instrumental in cleaning up thousands of birds and wild animals caught up in oil spills.

If Dawn dish soap is safe enough for wildlife, you are probably wondering if you can use it on your dog as well.

When you ran out of your regular dog shampoo, it can be tempting to reach for whatever soap or detergent you might already have in your shower or kitchen.

But are they safe for your dog? And to be precise, is dawn dish soap safe for dogs?

Dawn dish soap can be a safe choice to bathe your dog in rare circumstances, but it is not recommended as a regular shampoo.” Your dog’s skin can be sensitive to allergies, have different coat conditions, and even different pH levels than human skin, so this strong soap can be very irritating to their skin.

Is Dish Soap Toxic for Dogs?

You might be wondering if dish soap will hurt a dog’s eyes. As Rafferty pointed out, the answer is yes, it’s certainly possible.

In fact, Dawn itself recommends that you “rinse immediately and thoroughly with plenty of water” if you get dish soap in your eyes. If symptoms persist (you’ve probably felt the pain of soap in your eyes before), the company advises seeking medical help.

Even riskier is the chance of your dog ingesting dish soap. They might cry or whine if it gets in their eyes, but will you be able to tell if they swallow it?

Again, Dawn suggests taking immediate action if dish soap is swallowed by drinking water to dilute it. If any symptoms appear or continue, seek medical attention right away.

According to Medical News Today, symptoms of soap poisoning may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the lips, throat and tongue
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • That, of course, raises the big question: Is it really worth it to use dish soap when bathing your dog?

    It’s Common to See It Used for Dog Baths

    According to Jan Reisen, writing for the American Kennel Club (AKC), dish soap is actually a common ingredient in many people’s homemade dog shampoos.

    Although Reisen recommends not using human shampoo on dogs — the pH level of dogs’ skin is different from ours — she doesn’t outright reject using something like Dawn dish soap to wash a dog.

    In fact, her own recipe for a “basic homemade dog shampoo” contains:

  • 2 cups warm water
  • ¼ cup dish soap
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • Can You Wash A Dog With Dawn Dish Soap

    One Possible Problem With Dish Soap: Irritated, Dry Skin

    Dish soap is made specifically to cut grease.

    It’s what makes hand-washing dirty dishes easier. Think about all the TV commercials you see about Dawn being able to magically clean up all your dirty pots and pans.

    Because of their grease-fighting capabilities, soaps like Dawn are also used to clean up birds that get caught in oil spills and pets that get sprayed by skunks. Put simply, dish soap is effective at eliminating oils.

    Not all oils are bad, though. The natural oils on your dog’s skin, for example, are necessary and normal. They keep your dog’s skin hydrated and their fur smooth.

    That means, when using dish soap as a dog shampoo, you could be repeatedly eliminating those healthy oils, which could cause severely dry and irritated skin.

    “There’s absolutely no excuse for using Dawn on a dog,” says award-winning dog groomer Billy Rafferty. “The price to Fido’s skin, coat and eyes is way too high. While Dawn is cutting the grease from the salad dressing that spilled on your dog, it’s also stripping his coat of natural oils and drying out his skin.”

    Rafferty adds that dish soap could accidentally find its way into an eye, causing irritation. “To make matters even worse,” he says, “Dawn or any dish soap is concentrated and forms a massive amount of lather, which is extremely difficult and tremendously time-consuming to rinse out thoroughly.”


    Is it safe to wash my dog with Dawn dish soap?

    The quick answer is no, it’s not safe to wash your dog with dish soap. Risius Family Veterinary Service, a vet clinic in Eldridge, Iowa, warns that “bathing in dish soap often leads to a skin infection.” “Skin infections in pets can be very itchy and painful,” the vet clinic adds.

    What can I use as a substitute for dog shampoo?

    • The 6 Alternative Options To Dog Shampoo You Can Use. Baby Shampoo. Homemade Shampoo. Baking Soda. Cornstarch. Baby Wipes. Castile Soap.
    • Choosing the Right Dog Shampoo.

    What soap can I use to wash my dog?

    One of the biggest options available to many pet parents (and human parents) is baby shampoo. Baby soaps and shampoos are made to be as gentle as possible, because babies are very fragile and have very sensitive skin and eyes. You also see vinegar on a lot of different homemade shampoo lists.