Can I Use Dawn Dish Soap to Shampoo My Dog or Puppy?

Famous for its perfect clean up ability, Dawn Dish soap is the preferred choice of many dog owners. The soap can clean anything immersed in oil, from sea turtles, birds to human skin, and dishes. 

Even on Dawn’s website, there is a link with the title ‘Dawn saves Wildlife.’ This is to solidify their claim of how active the soap is in cleaning up wild animals and birds covered in oil spills. 

Since it is certified safe for wildlife, then one might wonder if it can be used on dogs as well. You might run out of normal dog shampoo and be tempted to use any other detergent or soap you have in your kitchen or shower. 

But the question is, is it safe to use these soap and detergents on your dog? Even more precisely, is Dawn dish soap harmless for dog usage? Find out more in this article.

Why is the Soap Used on Birds Covered up In Oil?

The primary reason why rescuers use Dawn Dish soap on birds and wildlife caught up in oil spills is that the soap acts fast and is also healthy. The soap allows for quick removal of the oil from the animal or bird’s body before the oil clogs up their skin pores. 

Also, the soap has been proved to be useful many times. Dawn Dish soap is used to remove oil because of the presence of caustic chemicals in it. The chemicals can clean through anything. 

Dawn Dish soap can also be used to clear skunk spray smell. There is usually an oil substance in skunk spray, and it sticks to the dog’s skin, this soap breaks up the oil and makes it easy to remove most of the spray quickly.

Is It Safe to Use on Dogs?

Dawn Dish soap possesses exceptional capabilities to fight grease, which makes it efficient in getting rid of oils. This characteristic of the soap can be a problem for your dogs as it may not be mild on their body. 

So, although Dawn Dish soap can be great for removing and breaking up oils, it may be harmful to dogs. To buttress this point, here are a few more reasons you should not use Dawn Dish soap as an alternative shampoo for your dogs.

  • It can shed out Natural Healthy Oil from your dog’s skin.

Your dog’s skin naturally has oil which helps to keep his fur smooth and his skin dehydrated. When you use Dawn Dish soap to bathe your dog, it will remove the natural oil on your dog’s skin because of its exceptional oil-removal capabilities. 

This will make your dog’s skin to be itchy, less dehydrated and have less capability of keeping allergens, yeast and bacteria away.

  • It Can Unsettle the Acid Mantle in Your Dog’s Skin.

Dog shampoos have a unique formulation which makes it less likely to cause skin irritation because of the balanced pH level. The pH level of dogs is not the same as wildlife and birds. Dawn Dish soap is formulated to have a pH that makes it friendly for birds and wildlife.

So Dawn Dish soap is not suitable for dog’s use. The same goes for other non-dog shampoos which can disrupt the acid mantel on your dog’s skin and create cause inflammation and irritation. 

This inflammation and irritation create a breeding ambience for parasites, yeasts, and bacteria. 

Like we mentioned earlier, Dawn Dish soap eliminates natural oil from your dog’s skin. Lack of these oils in your dog’s coat will eventually cause the skin pH to thwack. 

Your dog’s skin will be unable to defend itself from allergens and bacteria if it has a wrong pH.

  • It Contains Strong Chemicals Which are Not Healthy For Dogs

The primary components of Dawn Dish soap include Acid Blue 9, Phenoxyethanol, PEI-14 PEG-24/PPG-16 COPOLYMER, Fragrance, Sodium Chloride, C10-16 Alkyldimethylamine Oxide, PPG-26, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Methylisothiazolinone, Denat, Alcohol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, and water. 

You might see all these ingredients as too much chemicals, but that is not so. The ingredients listed above are non-toxic and safe. If you do a research on the chemicals in the ingredients, you will find out that they have a low toxic level and are generally considered safe. 

However, in regards to your dog’s health, each ingredient may have a different impact. So, it is best to not use Dawn Dish soap and other unknown detergent or non-dog shampoo on your dog. 

  • It may result in Soap Poisoning if Your Dog Ingests It. 

The soap has a high concentration of lather which is usually tricky to rinse out and takes a lot of time. This implies that even when you rinse the soap from your dog’s body, a little portion of the soap can get into your dog’s eyes and cause irritation. 

If by chance, your dog ingests the soap when he licks his body, this poses even more risk. It leads to poisoning characterized by symptoms like gastrointestinal stress, swelling of throat and tongue, severe stomach ache, and difficulty in breathing. 

Is It Recommended to Use Dawn Soap On Your Dog?

After careful consideration of the above factors, you can use the soap to remove oil spill from your dog’s salad dressing. You can equally use the soap to remove oils that have built up on your dog’s coat. 

Some people suggest using a little amount of Dawn Dish soap as home remedies for skunking dogs. Note that you should only use small amounts of the soap for any purpose and you must dilute it with water. 

Afterwards, you must use enough water to rinse your dog’s body to eliminate signs of the soap. You can use dog lotion or consult your vet if you notice irritation or dryness. 

Keep Using Your Regular Shampoo

The standard dog shampoo is free from any harsh chemicals as seen in Dawn Dish soap and other non-dog shampoo and yet it moisturizes and cleans your dog’s coat safely. 

As long as you use regular dog shampoo, you need not worry about dampening your dog’s health because they are known to be effective. 

Some particular dog shampoo is specially made to perform specific grooming functions. There is a dog shampoo for every dog problems like fighting ticks and fleas, combatting excessive shedding, preserving wiry texture, soothing irritated skin, sparkling your dog’s coat, strengthening damaged coats conditioning dry coats, and fighting doggie odour. 


Dawn Dish soap is best for use on wildlife and birds because it is mild and secure for them. On the other hand, Dawn Dish soap is not as mild for dogs. So we recommended that you use a standard dog shampoo specially formulated for dog skin if you want to bath your dog.

Although you can use Dawn Dish soap for bathing your dog, a regular dog shampoo does the job better and helps to preserve the natural oils in your dog’s skin. 

Regular dog shampoo also helps to prevent your dog from exposure to skin-related issues and irritation. It can be very challenging to deal with irritated, itchy and dry skins in dogs. 

If you are faced with such a problem, you may have to visit your vet more than usual and spend more on expensive antibiotics treatments. So why not save yourself from the stress and expenses and ensure that you use regular dog shampoo only on your dog. 

After all, you may end up spending even much more than the money you want to save when you use Dawn Dish soap or other non-dog shampoo or detergent.

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