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Can you use human hair conditioner on a dog?

Can you use human hair conditioner on a dog?

Grooming your dog properly is important, but you may not always have the proper products on hand. It’s also natural to wonder if you really need to use products designed for dogs, or if it’s simply a sales pitch. Can you use human hair conditioner on your dog? 

Can you use human hair conditioner on a dog?

You have human conditioner on hand, and it works great for your hair. You look at your dog’s coat, and wonder how different it could be? Is human conditioner safe for dogs? Will it make their coat soft and shiny, as it does your hair? 

Human Products are Designed for Humans

You really shouldn’t use human conditioner on your dog, because these products are designed for humans. Even if you have a product that is designed to be gentle, all natural, or kid safe, it’s still best to save it for human heads. 

That being said, using human conditioner on your dog isn’t likely to cause serious issues. It’s not ideal to use it, but it’s probably safe to use once. The ingredients in conditioner are not toxic to dogs. The concern is that it can upset their ph balance. More on that in an upcoming section!

Can Humans Use Dog Conditioner? 

I have to admit, I’m sometimes envious of my dog’s conditioner. They smell great, and are packed full of natural ingredients that are great for hair. I couldn’t help but wonder, can I use my dog’s conditioner? 

It turns out that you can use your dog’s conditioner. It’s not recommended to do this regularly,  but it can be a nice change. You may even experience some unexpected benefits for your hair. 

Can Dogs Use Other Human Grooming Products? 

Generally, it’s not recommended to use any human grooming products on dogs. Human shampoos are designed for a human ph, and can be too harsh for your dog as well. Baby shampoo is a safer option. It’s considered safe for occasional use, but shouldn’t be your regular dog shampoo. 

Vets used to recommend using baby shampoo. This was at a time when dog shampoos were simple and fairly harsh. Many owners would simply use dishwashing liquid instead of even bothering with dog shampoo. Then, baby shampoo was a better option. Today’s dog shampoos are gentle and specially formulated for dogs, so baby shampoo should be a last resort. 

You should also avoid using human hair gel on your dog. It contains alcohol, which is drying for your dog’s sensitive skin. In addition, it can cause matting of your dog’s coat. Some hair gels contain methylchloroisothiazolinone. This substance isn’t toxic in small amounts, but too much can be toxic. 

Dogs are smaller than humans, and have thinner skin. It’s much easier for them to get too much methylchloroisothiazolinone than it is for humans. Hair gel is not technically toxic, but does pose a risk to dogs for this reason. 

What can I use instead of dog conditioner?

Perhaps you want your dog’s hair to be soft and shiny. Perhaps they’ve managed to get serious mats in their hair, and you are moments away from reaching for the scissors. Doggie conditioner is great for these situations, but what if you don’t have any?  If you don’t have dog conditioner on hand, you have a few options. These items can be substituted for dog conditioner in a pinch. 

Corn Starch 

Corn starch is a great detangler. Just sprinkle it on, and rub it into the knot. You should then be able to brush it out. 

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a great easy substitute for dog conditioner. Not only will it moisturize the coat, it’s great for the skin as well. If your dog has skin issues, coconut oil may be all you need to calm the irritation. Just use a light hand to avoid getting the coat too oily. 

Human Conditioner 

If you use human conditioner, mix one part conditioner with four parts water. It’s still not the best option, but it’s less likely to cause issues if it is diluted in this way. 

What happens if you put a conditioner on a dog?

What happens if you put a conditioner on a dog varies, based on whether it’s a human conditioner or one designed for dogs.

Ph Balance 

You may have seen products being advertised as ph balanced for a man, woman, or child. The ph based on gender and age has little variation. When it comes to dogs, however, the ph is much different than that of humans.

Both dogs and humans have a protective layer known as the acid mantle. When you bathe, this mantle is temporarily washed away. Bathing products, including conditioners, are designed to maintain the ph balance. 

Humans have a ph balance of 5.5, which is slightly acidic. Dogs, on the other hand, have a ph between 6.2-7.4, which is much more alkaline. A product designed for humans will be the wrong ph for your dog’s coat and skin. 

Why the Ph Balance Matters

Temporarily changing the ph may not seem very concerning. What does it do anyway? It turns out, it has a very important function. The acid mantle keeps harmful bacteria out of the skin. It acts as a block, preventing bacteria and pollutants from entering the body. 

Disrupting the mantle can contribute to illness in humans and dogs. It also helps provide hydration. 

Ingredients and Skin Thickness

Even conditioners that claim to be natural or gentle are risky for your dog. Disrupting the ph balance can cause skin irritation. The ingredients used in human conditioners can as well. Dogs have sensitive skin. It’s also thinner than human skin, so it requires special care. 

Doggie Conditioner Benefits

Dog conditioner will moisturize and condition your dog’s coat. This makes the coat soft and easier to maintain. You will enjoy the shiny, healthy look of a well-conditioned coat. Most dog conditioners also smell great, and the smell can linger for a few days. 

Do dogs need hair conditioners?

Dogs don’t require conditioner the same way they require a nutritious diet, or even baths. However, it is beneficial for them. Some dogs can benefit from conditioner more than others. 

Dogs With Long Hair

One of the reasons you use conditioner on your own hair is to keep it manageable and easy to detangle. This also holds true for your furry companion. If your dog has long hair, keeping their hair free of knots and mats can be quite a job. 

Conditioner can make it easier to brush your dog, and help their hair stay tangle free longer. 

Dogs With Dry or Irritated Skin

Dogs with irritated or dry skin may find some relief from conditioner. If your dog scratches frequently, or whines while scratching, they may benefit from conditioning. Using a conditioner helps replace your dog’s natural skin and coat oils, moisturizing their skin and coat. 

Dogs Who are Bathed Frequently

You shouldn’t bathe your dog more than once a week. Even this frequency can be harsh on their skin and coat, causing it to dry. If you bathe your dog regularly, using a conditioner can help restore some of the moisture lost during the bathing process. 

How do you make homemade dog hair conditioner?

There are a myriad of ways to make canine conditioner. Many of them can be made with ingredients you already have in your kitchen. You may decide you want to use these diy conditioners on yourself, as well as your dog. They are all natural and free from potentially harmful ingredients and chemicals. 

Egg Conditioner

Eggs are often overlooked in the beauty world. They are a superfood for your dogs hair and skin. They contain vitamin A, vitamin B, biotin, and folate. They can keep your pooch’s hair in great condition, and may even promote hair growth. The protein in the egg helps keep their hair strong. 

To make egg conditioner, you’ll need:

  • 3 eggs 
  • 2 cups of warm water

Just whisk the eggs and water together until well blended and smooth. Apply to your dog’s coat, and leave it on for 5-10 minutes. Rinse off the egg mixture, and enjoy a healthy shiny coat. 

Honey Oatmeal Conditioner

This recipe has a few more ingredients, but it’s still pretty straightforward. It’s quite literally good enough to eat. It’s also excellent if your dog suffers from dry skin or any type of skin issue.

To create honey oatmeal conditioner, you’ll need: 

  • 2 tbsp. melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup ground oatmeal
  • 1 tbsp. raw honey
  • 1/4 cup warm water

Mix all the ingredients together with a whisk. Apply to your dog’s skin and coat, and let it sit for at least five minutes. Don’t worry if your pooch sneaks a lick of the sweet conditioner, it is also beneficial internally in small amounts. 

Once the mixture has done its job, just rinse it away. Be sure to rinse thoroughly. You don’t want the honey attracting ants to your pooch. 

Leave in Conditoner

Looking for a conditioner that you can leave in? This is the recipe for you. In fact, you can use it every day, not just after a bath. It can be combined with either of the recipes above as well. Simply follow the directions for the conditioner, and use the leave in conditioner as a final rinse. 

To make leave in conditioner, you’ll need: 

  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 quart water

Mix the two ingredients into a spray bottle. Spray on your dog’s coat. Be sure to work it into the skin as well as the surface hair. Apple cider vinegar with the mother is considered the best, but any apple cider vinegar is beneficial. 

Apple cider vinegar is a natural anti-fungal. It also helps to balance the ph of the skin. Unlike products designed for a specific ph, apple cider vinegar will help the skin return to its normal ph. Think of it as a reset button for your dog’s skin and coat. 

Vinegar is also an excellent deodorizer. If you are bathing your dog frequently to remove odors, this leave in spray may be all that you need to keep your dog fresh between baths. 

Apple cider vinegar is known to stimulate hair growth, and helps keep their hair manageable.