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?
Should You Use Dawn Dish Soap to Wash Your Dog?
Dawn is a strong soap that tackles your dirty pots and pans. However, its not the same when it comes to your dog, according to Lorraine Rhoads, an environmental biologist at Dogtopia. “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 dogs 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.
In addition, Jenna Mahan, RVT, director of claims and underwriting at Embrace Pet Insurance, says that Dawn “works well to strip oils, and while you do not want your pet to be oily, they need to retain some of their natural oils for skin comfort and protection.”
But what about the cute duckling pictured on the Dawn bottles? “Professional wildlife rescue and rehabilitators have used this product to safely and effectively remove oil from the feathers and fur of animals who have found themselves in very sticky situations,” Rhoads explains. “Because of Dawns grease-fighting power, this use can be helpful in the sad situation where wildlife need help.”
So for general bath use, skip the Dawn in favor a gentle dog shampoo. However, Mahan points out that “Dawn is great for degreasing if your pet is exposed to oil or sprayed by a skunk. Dawn can help break down the oily bonds that make the smell stick around.”
Is Dish Soap Toxic for Dogs?
According to Rhoads, “Like any cleaning product, Dawn dish soap could be harmful when ingested.” Dawn can also be irritating to your dogs eyes. If this happens, gently wash your pets eyes and if the eyes look red or swollen and continue to be irritated, call your veterinarian.
If you think your dog ingested Dawn, Rhoads says to first determine if your dog tasted the sudsy dish water that is more diluted or ingested the concentrated soap directly from the bottle, which would be more dangerous.
How harmful it can potentially be depends on the size of your dog, how much you think they ingested, and if the dog consumed the concentrated or diluted solution. “If you are ever worried about what your pup ingested, please call your veterinarian immediately or reach out to the Pet Poison Helpline. For a small fee, the helpline will be able to quickly put your mind at ease or tell you that you need to take your pup to the closest emergency vet hospital,” Rhoads explains.
Dawn Dish Soap Is Formulated With Strong Chemicals That Are Unhealthy For Pets
The main ingredients of Dawn Ultra Dishwashing soap include Water, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Alcohol, Denat., Methylisothiazolinone, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, PPG-26, C10-16 Alkyldimethylamine Oxide, Sodium Chloride, FRAGRANCE, PEI-14 PEG-24/PPG-16 COPOLYMER, Phenoxyethanol, and Acid Blue 9.
At first glance, these ingredients might appear like a lot of chemicals.
Well, to be fair to Dawn, that’s not the case. All the ingredients are safe and non-toxic.
When you look up each chemical on the ingredients list, you will soon realize that they are safe and low in toxicity.
However, when it comes to your dog’s health, the impact of each ingredient may be different.
So, to be safe, it is important to avoid using Dawn soap and other unfamiliar detergents on your dog.