Can I Use Fairy Liquid to Wash My Dog? Mistakes to Avoid

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Did you run out of dog shampoo to wash your dog and conveniently used fairy liquid instead? Will it actually work and can it become a good alternative now?

You can use fairy liquid to wash dogs, but it is not the best solution as they are not manufactured for that purpose. It can be a good temporary fix but should not be used permanently.

In this post, you will learn if you can use fairy liquid to wash your dog, the effects, and the right thing to do.

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Dear Dog Owner

What is Fairy Liquid?

Fairy Liquid is a brand of dish-washing soap more commonly known as Dawn in America.

It is made of petroleum-based detergents and a strong alkali making it very effective at cutting through grease and oils.

The reason Fairy Brand is so effective is due to its unique mixture of powerful surfactants, which are compounds that lower the surface tension between oil and water.

Basically, it separates and eliminates grease. 

Because Fairy Brand has these grease-fighting capabilities, you may be wondering if you can use it to wash your dog in a pinch.

Though it will do a great job of washing away oils that accumulate on your dog’s skin, does that mean you should use it?

Read next: How many days can I bathe my dog after vaccination? Must read before you do it

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Is dish soap safe for washing my dog?

Using dish soap to wash your dogs will effectively remove oil from your dog’s fur and skin.

Not all oils are bad though!

The skin produces healthy oils to keep your dog’s fur smooth and keep their skin hydrated and healthy.

This means that if you use dish soaps like Fairy Liquid to bathe your dog, you will be eliminating those healthy oils as well. 

Without these protective oils, your dog may develop dry and irritated skin.

If dogs are constantly scratching their itchy skin, it can lead to skin infections which can be painful for your pooch. 

Even riskier is the potential for your dog to accidentally ingest the liquid soap.

It is possible to get soap poisoning if too much is swallowed, which we will explore later in the article. 

Does dishwashing liquid kill fleas on my dog?

One benefit of using dishwashing soap to bathe your dog is that it kills fleas.

Dish soap breaks down a flea’s exoskeleton and kills them in minutes.

In order to safely use Fairy Brand to kill fleas, vets recommend making a mixture of dish soap and water to dilute the detergent.

After diluting the dish soap, wet your dog and lather the dish soap mixture into the fur.

Make sure you get all the areas that fleas like to hang out, like your dog’s belly and behind the ears.

The flies will die quickly and afterward you can rinse off the soap suds.

Doggy says, consider reading this too: Dog Cough After Dental Cleaning [Solutions]

What soap can I use to wash my dog?

Usually, it’s best just to use a shampoo that is designated for dogs.

Products meant for human skin are not appropriate to use on dogs because their skin’s pH levels are different from ours.

However, there are some soap products that are safe to share with your pup. 

Castile is safe for dogs as it is a detergent-free soap made from plant oils.

It does not contain surfactants which are what break down the natural oils on the skin and hair.

They are gentle and non-toxic and are effective in rinsing away dirt and grime without affecting skin pH levels.

Glycerin is another type of soap made from animal fat, plant oils, or synthetic substances.

Some may contain detergents or additives that are harmful to your dog, so always check the ingredients before use.

But there are all-natural glycerin bars that are good for your dogs because of their low-sudsing properties that do not strip the oils from the fur and skin.

Doggy says, consider reading this too: Does Pine Sol Kill Fleas on Dogs?

What dog shampoo should I use to wash my dog?

There are several excellent dog shampoos out on the market, but if you are looking for an overall great performer, I highly recommend the Earthbath series.

Key Benefits

  • Combat skin irritation, promote healing, and re-moisturize sensitive, dry skin
  • Soap free and pH-balanced to clean and deodorize safely and thoroughly

Can I use human shampoo on my dog?

You really shouldn’t ever use human shampoo on a dog.

Human shampoo is designed for our own skin’s pH levels, which is different from our dog’s.

Human shampoo is too acidic for dogs and it will strip away all the natural oils and the moisture barrier from their coat.

This will lead to dryness and irritation causing rashes and lesions from all the scratching. Overall, it will be damaging to their skin. 

Doggy says, consider reading this next: Is Powerbait Poisonous To Dogs?

Can I use baby shampoo on my dog?

Though human shampoo is too harsh for your dog, baby shampoo is a better, much gentler option.

Since it’s designed for sensitive baby skin, it will not contain harsh chemicals and it will be easier on your dog’s skin. 

You can use baby shampoo just like you would use regular dog shampoo.

However, it is still always best to use products that are not created for human use.

There are other alternatives to shampoo you can consider using as well.

What can I use to wash my dog if I don’t have dog shampoo?

As discussed earlier, making a diluted dish soap mixture is one effective solution to wash your dog if you don’t have shampoo.

There are a few other common household items that can be used to wash your pup, including baking soda, baby wipes… and vinegar!

Baking soda is one effective alternative to dog shampoo that most people have in their homes.

It is slightly acidic, which helps it wash away dirt and grime, but it is still gentle on the skin.

Baking soda also absorbs odour from your dog’s fur and will leave them smelling fresh.

Another good alternative to dog shampoo is using skin-safe wipes.

They are gentle for the skin while being moist and cleansing. 

Finally, there is one more solution that seems odd but actually works! Try spraying your dog with a mixture of vinegar and water.

Why should I spray my dog with vinegar and water?

dog showering

Combining vinegar and water is an effective solution to not only clean your dog but also to handle a variety of skin problems your dog may have!

Vinegar can be used to treat different skin problems such as rashes, ringworm, fungus, and bacterial infections.

Simply make a solution of equal parts water and vinegar and apply it to any inflamed areas on your dog’s skin.

This treatment should work wonders!

Vinegar can also be used to remove bad smells and odors.

A good deodorizing rinse solution will be 2 gallons of water to 1 cup of vinegar.

After applying to the fur, don’t rinse it off!

The smells will be gone once your dog is dry. 

What if my dog ate washing liquid?

If your dog ate soap or washing liquid, check the ingredients right away. Soap is usually made with biodegradable ingredients like oils, lye, and fats.

Detergents, on the other hand, are made with synthetic chemicals like surfactants and perfumes. 

Ingesting detergent can be toxic for your dog, even in small quantities.

If your dog has consumed detergent and is exhibiting symptoms like a lack of appetite, vomiting and diarrhea, and excessive watering or foaming at the mouth, this may be detergent poisoning.

More severe symptoms may follow so it’s important to contact your vet immediately if you suspect your dog has eaten detergent. 

In conclusion: Can I use fairy liquid to wash my dog?

It might be tempting to simply use whatever is convenient to wash your dog, especially when you run out of dog shampoo.

However, we do not recommend that you use it as a long-term solution as dish soap can have harsh chemicals that strip your dog’s body of natural oils and lead to skin problems.

It is best to stick to a specialized dog shampoo for such purposes!

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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