Can I use Dove Soap On My Dog? – Why You Should or Shouldn’t


If you’ve been wondering if using human soap on your dog’s skin is safe, then you’re not the only one. Like humans, dogs are susceptible to getting sensitive, dry skin. The type of soap we use on them can have a huge impact on caring for their coats and skin.

The following post offers a guide to why Dove soap isn’t ideal for use on dogs. I’ve also included some great alternatives to ensure you’re looking after your pooch the best way you can. Finally, I’ve included a recipe for how to make a soap which is suitable for use on your dogs skin!

Table of Contents

Can I Use Dove Soap on my Dog?

Dove soap isn’t designed for use on the skin of your dog.

If you’ve run out of dog shampoo, it can be a safe and effective soap to use are a one-off. That said, it isn’t recommended for use as their regular soap.

It is best to use soaps that are unscented, as scent additives can sometimes irritate your dogs skin.

While it is completely effective for cleaning up those unexpected messes, quickly, it is not the ideal substitute for dog shampoo. Dogs with lots of dirt and debris matted into its coat will need a much more heavy-duty dog shampoo to remove this sort of dirt, while caring for your dogs skin.

If you are using dove soap on your dog, make sure you pair this with lukewarm water, ensuring you avoid getting any soap in their eyes or ears.

Can I Use Dove Soap On My Dog

What Are the Risks of Using Dove Soap on Dogs?

While using Dove once is okay and will temporarily improve the scent and appearance of their fur, using dove soap on your dog’s coat can have long-term effects on the condition of their skin.

Below is a list of the risks that are involved in using dove soap on a long-term basis:

Large volume of chemicals

Just like other human soaps, Dove has a high volume of perfumes, chemicals, and many other artificial ingredients. These provide the smell and consistency of the soap which makes it so well loved by consumers.

Dogs’ skin is not used to all the chemicals the way our skin is. But also because this soap is produced with human skin in mind, and dog and human skin differ in a few different ways.

Dogs have a different skin pH level

Dog’s skin holds a naturally different pH level to humans. Canine skin is actually more alkaline than human skin.

Human soaps like Dove are tailored to use on skin that is more acidic. This means that long-term use of this soap can cause irritation of dog skin.

Soap residue

You would never use Dove soap on your hair, because of how much it dries your hair out. Not to mind the difficulty one would have trying to get the soap residue out of your hair.

So your dog, pretty much covered in hair, shouldn’t be much different.

It is also difficult to see if you have gotten all of the soap out of your dogs coat. If left, can be very irritating to your dog’s skin.

Skin Allergies

As previously mentioned, soap residue is easy to overlook in a furry coat like a dog’s, which can be detrimental when using a soap with is unsuitable for their skin in the first place.

This can cause your dog’s skin to dry out, which is a common trigger for skin allergies. If your dog has dry skin, the Dove soap may even be an allergy trigger itself!

Your Dog may Ingest Soap

If your dog ingests Dove soap, it will cause them to have an upset stomach, and could potentially lead to poisoning. This could occur if the dog is left unsupervised with the soap, or it soap residue is licked off its coat.

can dove be used on dogs

What kind of soap is safe for dogs?

The way you would use human soap for yourself, it is best to use soap that is specifically produced for dogs. This will primarily take care of the pH issue that you would have if you were to use human soap on your dog and prevent your dog from experiencing signs of irritation.

Again, like shopping for a bar of soap for yourself, it is important to keep your dog’s needs in mind when choosing a product.

If you have a dog that loves to get dirty, it would be well worth getting a soap product that has a strong cleaning formula. If your dog has sensitive skin, then you’ll want to purchase a product tailored for sensitive skin.

Easy method for making DIY Dog Shampoo

As promised, I have a few simple DIY recipes for dog shampoo, which are tailored to your dog’s needs! These can be easily mixed up just before washing your dog.

Alternatively, you can pre-prepare a batch to have on hand for unexpected surprises!

Recipe for normal skin

Mix ½ cup of vinegar, ¼ cup of non-toxic, unscented dish soap with 2 cups of water. Put the mixture into a spray bottle for easy use

Recipe for dry skin

Grind 1 cup of uncooked oatmeal. Mix this with ½ cup of baking soda and 1 quart of water.

Recipe for Flea-Resistance

Combine 2 drops of lavender oil, 1 tbsp of Castile soap, 2 oz. of aloe vera with 10 oz. of water together.

Can I Use Dove Soap On My Dog

Which People-Formulated Soap can I Use on My Dog?

If you don’t have any dog soap to hand, or don’t have a pet store nearby, there are a few alternatives you will have to hand which are suitable for use on dogs.

The best place to start is with one that is unscented and does not boast moisturizing abilities.

Below is a list of safe alternatives to use when washing your dog:

Dr. Bronner’s - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Baby Unscented, 32 ounce, 2-Pack) - Made with Organic Oils, 18-in-1 Uses: Face, Hair, Laundry and Dishes, For Sensitive Skin and Babies, No Added Fragrance
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There are a few other factors you can check on human-formulated soap to ensure it’s suitable for your dog. You can start by ensuring there are no artificial additives, perfumes, or coloring agents.

Instead, products which contain natural ingredients such as tea tree oil, eucalyptus, vitamin E, lavender, or coconut oil are suitable for use on your dog’s skin.

What human soaps are suitable for use on dogs?

While there is a general rule that human soaps are unsuitable for use on dogs, there are a few exceptions.

Some more natural products which haven’t been pumped with chemicals like soaps such as Dove are perfect for use on dogs.


Glycerin soap is a type of soap that is produced using animal fats, plant oils, or even synthetic glycerin.

It is worth noting, that some of these soaps do contain detergents and other abrasive ingredients. These can be harmful to your pet’s skin, like Dove soap.

It is best to read the label of the soap before purchasing or putting on your dogs skin.

Look for unscented glycerin-based all-natural bars or soaps that are made from plant products. These products are considered to be the safest for pets.

Pure glycerin soaps are low-sudsing, which is ideal for your dog’s skin as it respects the natural oils in their skin.

Clearly Natural Glycerine Bar Soap, Unscented, 3 Count, 4 oz each (876872362)
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Castile soap is pretty safe for dogs skin.

These are liquid soaps which are based on plant oil, making them free of any detergents.

Castile soap is produced from vegetable oils, such as almond or olive oils, meaning they are free from surfactants. Surfactants act in the same way detergents do and can irritate the skin.

Fundamentally, Castile soap will rinse away any dirt, including oil, and can kill fleas and ticks in the process. It may be worth diluting the soap before using it on your dog.

Always read the label before using it to ensure there are no added nasties.

Dr. Bronner’s - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Peppermint, 8 ounce) - Made with Organic Oils, 18-in-1 Uses: Face, Body, Hair, Laundry, Pets and Dishes, Concentrated, Vegan, Non-GMO
Buy on Amazon Primeeligible

Pine Tar

Pine tar soap is mostly produced using all-natural ingredients, and shouldn’t harm the acidity level of your dog’s skin.

That being said, it is always worth reading the label. This will ensure there aren’t any hidden detergents in the particular bar you’re using.

Pine Tar Soap - Natural Cold Process Handmade Soap with Essential Oils- Pine Tar Soap For Men With Activated Charcoal & Colloidal Oatmeal. Made in USA- 3 Bar Pack 15 + Oz
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Which is the Best Dog Shampoo to Use?

There are so many different dog shampoos out there.

The product that has gotten the best overall reviews is the Wahl Dry Skin & Itch Relief Pet Shampoo for Dogs. This shampoo is produced using oatmeal, coconut, lime, aloe and lemon verbena, which helps to soothe dry, itching, irritated skin.

WAHL Dry Skin & Itch Relief Pet Shampoo for Dogs – Oatmeal Formula with Coconut Lime Verbena & 100% Natural Ingredients, 24 Oz
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Dove Soap: Not for Dogs

It’s best you keep the dove soap in your bathroom and away from your dog. While it may seem like a cheap, easy option, long-term use could cause more serious skin problems for your dog.

The best option is to use a product that is specifically produced for dogs. Your pooch with thank you for it!

Speaking of dog hygiene, you might find this post helpful: How to Keep a Dog Calm and Relaxed While Grooming.

Can I use Dove soap on my dog – FAQs

Is Dove soap Harmful to Dogs?

No, dove soap is produced using non-toxic ingredients, so it won’t have any detrimental effects on your dog. That said, long-term use may have some poor effects on your dog’s skin.

Can I use Baby Dove on my Dog?

Yes, you can. While it is always best to use a shampoo specifically tailored for dogs, baby shampoo is a good alternative. Baby shampoo is specifically designed for sensitive skin and is non-irritating in the eyes, which is great for wrigglers!