Can you use dog shampoo on cats?

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Bathing and hygiene in general for cats is one of the frequently asked questions by caregivers, since there are many doubts that can assail them on this issue. In this AnimalWised article we are going to focus on explaining whether you can use dog shampoo on cats or not, commenting on the importance of proper use of cosmetic products and the consequences that may arise from improper use, since, although both species accompany us in our homes, their skin and care are different.

If you've ever wondered if you can use your dog's shampoo on your cat, ¡keep reading!

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  1. The importance of the cat's fur
  2. Tips for bathing a cat
  3. Can I bathe my cat with dog shampoo?
  4. If I don't have cat shampoo, what can I use?

The importance of the cat's fur

Although we do not usually give it much importance, the skin and hair fulfill basic functions for the health of our cat. They suppose a thermal protection, a barrier against all kinds of external aggressions, in addition to intervening in communication and the sense of touch. It is therefore important to maintain proper hygiene which, in the case of cats, will practically be reduced to brushing them more or less frequently depending on the needs of their hair, since they are in charge of grooming themselves every day..

On the other hand, we must ensure that they do not appear wounds, alopecia or parasites such as fleas and ticks, so, along with frequent brushing, we have to implement a deworming calendar as directed by our veterinarian and take our cat to your consultation if we observe any abnormality.

The cats they don't usually need us to bathe them, perhaps that is why caregivers do not have information about the products they can use to do so and, thus, the question arises whether you can use dog shampoo on cats. In the next section we explain it.

Tips for bathing a cat

Although, as we have said, the normal thing is that the cat does not need to go through the bathtub, there may be situations in which this is essential. To clean it, if necessary, we must have everything you need at hand, like towels, shampoo and even a dryer if the cat accepts it.

Currently on the market we will be able to find a wide variety of shampoos for specific use for cats, such as those formulated for long hair, black hair, antiparasitics or for different dermatological conditions. All these shampoos are made by experts and tested to ensure maximum respect for the skin and hair of our cat, while offering an optimal result, providing a soft, shiny coat and, in short, caring.

If we want to bathe our cat, we only have to choose between any of these varieties, for which we can consult with our veterinarian or feline hairdresser. Therefore, to the question of whether I can bathe my cat with dog shampoo we have to answer, with nuances, in the negative. In the next section we develop why you can't use dog shampoo on cats.

Can I bathe my cat with dog shampoo?

Can't use dog shampoo on cats on a regular basis. Although dog and cat seem similar to us in terms of skin and hair, the truth is that they have differences in pH, thickness and structure. The pH of cats is more acidic than that of dogs, approximately 6 compared to 7.5 (that of humans is on average 5), although this figure varies according to the part of the body.

This difference is taken into account when making shampoos, in the same way that the composition will be different according to the species and, although nothing has to happen if we occasionally use shampoo with a pH different from that of the skin or a shampoo From dogs to cats, we cannot use dog shampoo on cats on a regular basis, as it can be harmful because, as it is not adapted to the dermatological needs of cats, it can cause irritation and affect the balance of the skin, increasing the production of sebum to counteract the aggression caused by an unsuitable shampoo. Thus, even if we bathe our cat, if we do it with an inappropriate shampoo we will worsen its appearance.

Also, if we use a dog shampoo that contains permethrin, widely used as an insecticide, we can poison our cat, since it is a very sensitive species to this substance. In that case, with contact with the skin we could observe wounds, irritation or itching. If the cat also inhales the substance, respiratory paralysis and even death can occur. If ingested or in contact with the skin in considerable concentrations, we would see symptoms such as hypersalivation, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, ataxia (incoordination), respiratory distress, etc. It is reason for urgent veterinary consultation.

If I don't have cat shampoo, what can I use?

We have already said that it is not usually necessary to bathe our cat, especially if we brush it regularly, but, on occasions, the cat can become considerably stained or become ill and stop grooming itself. In those cases, if we do not have shampoo for cats, ¿what can be used?

Here we explain what to do and show you some tricks to clean a cat without bathing it:

  • Dog shampoo can be used in cats in a completely exceptional way if the damage of leaving it dirty is greater than that of using the shampoo. Remember to check the composition to make sure it does not contain permethrin, as it could cause poisoning.
  • We can try to remove the dirt using only water.
  • If we have chlorhexidine at home, we can dilute it in water according to the instructions on the container and bathe our cat with the mixture. Chlorhexidine is an antiseptic that is usually used for skin problems, it is not for regular use but it would serve us for an emergency.
  • If the dirt is limited to an area we can clean only the affected area.
  • It is a good idea to always have at home animal specific wipes or dry shampoo (for use in cats) to use in emergencies if we do not have "traditional" shampoo for cats.
  • In all cases we must make sure that we completely eliminate the product from the skin, since if the cat ingests the remains it could become intoxicated.

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