Is Dawn Dish Soap Safe For Dogs?

Dawn Dish Soap has been around since the 1950s and is a household essential for many.

However, despite being a household name and trusted brand, you might be wondering whether Dawn dish soap is safe for dogs.

In this article, I will cover some key information about using Dawn dish soap on dogs, including whether it’s safe for dogs.

Let’s get into it.

Dawn dish soap is used by many as a reliable soap to cut through grease and oil.

In addition to this, it is often used to clean up birds that are caught in oil spills. However, is this the same for dogs?

Is Dawn Dish Soap Safe For Dogs?

While Dawn dish soap has excellent grease fighting, you should avoid using it on your dog.

This comes down to the fact that dogs are very sensitive to chemicals, and you don’t want to use anything that might irritate their skin.

Sticking to dog shampoos that are specially formulated for your pup’s skin is the best way of maintaining your dog’s skin and coat health.

While Dawn dish soap may be excellent in breaking up and removing oils, it is not safe to use on dogs.

There are also a variety of other reasons that you shouldn’t wash your dog with Dawn dish soap that I cover in more detail below.

Why You Should Avoid Washing Your Dog With Dawn Dish Soap

It Might Strip The Natural Oils From Your Dog’s Coat

The natural oils found on your dog’s skin are hugely important to ensuring your dog’s fur is smooth.

When Dawn dish soap is used for routine bathing your dog, due to its oil-cutting capabilities, you may notice that his or her coat becomes dry and brittle.

The reason for this is that Dawn dish soap removes natural oils from your dog’s coat. These oils help protect against bacteria and keep your dog’s hair soft and shiny.

As a result, your dog’s skin will become dry, itchy, and they could even develop skin conditions.

Dawn Dish Soap Is Formulated With Harsh Chemicals

When washing your dog with Dawn dish soaps, you’re likely to leave behind residue on their sensitive skin even when you only use the smallest amount.

Although the ingredients in Dawn dish soap are safe and non-toxic, they are harsh on your dog’s skin and can cause irritation very easily.

As a result, there are many more suitable alternatives to use on your dog’s skin.

Dawn Dish Soap Can Result In Soap Poisoning If Ingested By Your Dog

As I’ve just mentioned, Dawn dish soap is incredibly difficult and time consuming to wash out of your dog’s coat thoroughly as it lathers.

If even a small amount of dish soap is left on your dog’s skin, they might ingest it as they carry out their daily self grooming routine. 

Dawn Dish Soap contains sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), a surfactant that makes dishes sparkle. SLS is also found in shampoos, toothpaste, cosmetics, and other personal care products. 

As dogs often lick their paws and fur, they can ingest the chemicals that are on their fur. This can cause health issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.

More seriously, if your dog ingests dish soap, this could cause soap poisoning. This is a serious condition that can result in symptoms such as difficulty breathing, gastrointestinal stress, and abdominal pain.

Dawn Dish Soap Has The Potential To Disrupt A Dog’s Skin Acid Mantle

Dog shampoos are specifically formulated with a balanced pH level that is less likely to irritate your dog’s skin.

As a result, the use of Dawn dish soap could disrupt a dog’s skin acid mantle, resulting in the potential for your dog’s skin to become inflamed and irritated.

If this occurs, this could also lead to yeast and bacteria thriving, contributing to a variety of potential skin conditions.

In addition to this, as the Dawn dish soap can remove the natural oils on your dog’s skin, this can also affect the pH balance.

When the pH is out of balance, your dog’s skin will not be able to defend itself from bacteria and allergens.

Can Dawn Dish Soap Irritate Your Dog’s Skin?

Can Dawn Dish Soap Irritate Your Dog's Skin

The short answer to this question is yes, Dawn dish soap is likely to irritate your dog’s skin.

In addition to this, Dawn dish soap isn’t marketed for canine or feline use, meaning it isn’t suitable to bathe your dog with.

To live on the side of caution and to ensure your pet isn’t going to have an adverse reaction, always opt for dog-specific shampoos to clean their coat.

Is It Ever Suitable To Use Dawn Dish Soap On Your Dog?

Dog owners might want to use Dawn if they see a large number of fleas on their adult dog, but only if their vet recommends doing so.

This comes down to the fact that using Dawn dish soap has been known to help to remove the fleas directly from your dog’s skin and coat. However, this doesn’t mean that it is without risk.

That being said, oral and topical preventatives that are prescribed by your vet are better for effectively and efficiently dealing with flea infestations than Dawn dish soap. As a result, it is much better to seek advice from your veterinarian as soon as possible.

If you suspect that your dog has fleas, then you should contact your veterinarian immediately. They will be able to recommend a safe and effective flea product whilst also prioritizing the health of your dog,

How To Make Homemade Dog Shampoo

Homemade dog shampoo can be a safer bet if you want to save some money and avoid shampoos with harsh chemicals.

So, how do you make homemade shampoo for dogs?

For a basic dog shampoo you will need:

  • 2 cups of warm water
  • 1/4 cup of non-toxic dish soap 
  • 1/2 cup of white vinegar.

You will need to combine these ingredients in a bottle and wash your dog with it in small amounts.

However, when it comes to using ingredients such as these, you will need to ensure that you take the time to thoroughly wash off the product from your dog’s skin.

In addition to this, you will need to be wary of the dish soap that you choose. As dish soap is not marketed for this purpose, it is essential that you know that there is always a risk associated with making your own homemade shampoo with dish soap for the purpose of washing your dog.

What Soap Is Suitable For Dogs?

To avoid any skin reactions, you will want to ensure that you steer clear of harsh chemicals and in turn, wash away the natural oils from a dog’s skin.

If you are worried about making your own homemade dog shampoo, then there are a variety of vet approved shampoos that are available online and at your local pet store. 

This also applies when your pet has fleas, as there are many different flea shampoos on the market that are specifically designed for your pet.

Notes On Making Homemade Shampoo For Dogs

Every dog is unique, and you will therefore need to bear in mind your dog’s needs when making your homemade shampoo.

For instance, if your dog has dry skin, then you will need to make a homemade dog shampoo that is hydrating to prevent their skin from becoming itchy. 

You will therefore need to cater your homemade shampoo to your dog’s needs.

Can You Use Other Dish Soaps To Wash Your Dog?

As I’ve discussed above, you can technically use dish soap to wash your dog if you decide to make homemade shampoo. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should.

Even if there is dish soap that isn’t going to irritate your dog’s skin, you will need to make sure that you carefully wash it off your dog’s skin.

If they swallow any of the soap particles left over after cleaning, he or she could experience severe stomach problems.

These soap particles are made up of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which is a surfactant.

If you want to avoid these issues entirely, then you should always opt for a dog-specific shampoo that is suitable for their coat and skin type.

How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog?

How Often Should You Bathe Your Dog

The answer to this question depends! Generally speaking, most dogs with healthy coats and skin are only required to be bathed around once a month.

That being said, you might need to up or lower the amount that you bathe them depending on a few factors.

For instance, if you’ve taken your dog for a muddy walk and they are about to traipse mud throughout your home, then yes you should wash them.

That being said, if you have a breed of dog that has allergies or particularly sensitive skin, you will need to factor this into the equation.

Getting your grooming schedule right for your breed is essential, as washing your dog too frequently can lead to irritation.

In addition to this, you will also need to research dog shampoos and figure out what is best for your dog’s coat and skin type.

If you have a long-haired dog, you’re likely going to need a shampoo that is more nourishing and conditioning than if you had a short-haired dog.

Always research in accordance with your breed, as well as bearing in mind any personal allergies or conditions your dog may have when making your choice.

Do You Need To Condition Your Dog’s Coat?

The answer to this question also depends on your dog! Not every dog’s coat will require conditioning, however, if your dog has dry or flaky skin, conditioner can help.

It is also worth mentioning that the season can affect your pet’s need for a conditioner. For instance, during the winter when you have your heating on throughout your home, your pet’s coat can become dry as a result of this.

As a result, it’s a good idea to have a good, nourishing conditioner on hand to get you through the winter months and to aid your dog’s coat following bath time.

In addition to this, dogs that live in drier climates can have drier skin, and conditioners can help to relieve some of the effects of this.


You should avoid washing your dog with Dawn dish soap, as it can lead to a variety of problems, including detergent poisoning.

I hope this article has given you a better understanding of why you should avoid using Dawn dish soap to bathe your dog.

If you’re struggling to find a shampoo that suits your dog’s needs, be sure to ask your veterinarian at your dog’s next check up.

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