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?
Does Dawn Dish Soap Kill Fleas on Dogs?
“Dawn can kill fleas during a bath, and it all has to do with the surfactant chemical that makes the bubbles,” Rhoades says. She further explains that fleas, who normally float in water, have exoskeletons, which means they breathe through their body. The surfactant chemical in Dawn breaks the surface tension of water that causes the fleas to sink down into the water where they can no longer breathe. This is a temporary solution for a dog that has fleas, but its not a 100-percent effective solution for a flea infestation.
“It [is] estimated that we see only 5 percent of the fleas from a dog infestation,” Rhoads says. “This means that there are more places in your home environment that need to be treated, so bathing your pup in dish soap will not take care of a flea problem.” If your pup does have fleas, Rhoades advises to seek professional veterinarian advice for treatments and preventative medication to keep your pup parasite-free.
Will Dawn Dish Soap Kill Fleas?
Dawn dish soap is regularly suggested online as a flea-killing alternative to more expensive parasite preventatives. But does it actually work? The answer is yes, but again with a catch.
Bathing your dog in Dawn should kill any adult fleas on their body. Fleas can usually float in water, but the chemical reaction caused by Dawn soap interferes with the flea’s exoskeleton, causing them to sink and drown. Veterinarians in animal shelters often use Dawn to kill fleas on puppies and kittens too young for other flea control medications.
However, Dawn provides no lingering protection or repellant against further flea infestation. You can kill all the fleas on your dog, and they could immediately become infested again from fleas in their environment. Dawn is also ineffective against flea eggs or immature fleas. Complete flea control requires breaking the life cycle of the flea by destroying these stages as well. We don’t recommend relying on washing with dawn soap to treat your dog’s flea problem.
For more effective flea control, veterinarians recommend using prescription flea and tick prevention year-round once your dog is old enough. Many different products are available, and your vet can help you choose the one that will work best for your dog.
It Disrupts pH Levels
Every animal has a specific skin pH. Surprisingly, this differs quite a bit from animal to animal. Humans tend to be much more acidic than dogs, for instance. However, the exact pH will differ from individual to individual and may change over time.
As you might expect, dog shampoo is designed to match the pH of your dog’s skin. This balance helps keep your dog’s skin in the proper range and prevents disrupting the pH.
However, Dawn dish soap is not designed with your dog’s skin pH in mind at all. Therefore, your dog’s pH balance is likely going to be knocked off center when using this soap. Not only could this lead to inflamed and irritated skin, but it also strips the skin’s protection from yeast and bacteria.
Therefore, dogs who are bathed with Dawn are much more likely to experience an infection.
Can I use Dawn dish soap on my puppy?
Is Dawn soap toxic to dogs?
What dish soap can you use on puppies?
How often can I bathe my puppy with Dawn dish soap?