Can You Use Human Conditioner on Dogs?

Keeping up with your dog’s hygiene is important to keep them healthy and comfortable all the time.

One grooming product we include in our dog’s regimen is conditioner. It helps to keep their coat shiny and smooth.  

But what is the best conditioner to use for dogs? And can you use human conditioner on dogs?  

We talk about what makes a good conditioner and if you can use human conditioner on dogs.

We also discuss whether dog conditioners are necessary along with some homemade dog conditioner options. 

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human conditioner on dogs

What Makes a Good Dog Conditioner? 

Here are some factors to consider when picking a good conditioner for your dog’s coat. 

Hydration & Smoothness 

Conditioner is very helpful if you want to keep your dog’s fur glossy and hydrated.  

Look for ones that help remove tangles to make brushing much easier. And check that it has restorative properties that are generally safe for dogs?  


The scent of the conditioner you choose will depend on your dog’s preferences and the sensitivity of their skin and coat.  

If your dog has allergies try a fragrance-free conditioner because they can be gentler. On the other hand, you might want one that makes your fur baby smell great.  

Also, keep in mind any specific scents that might irritate your dog’s nose.  

Spray or Bottle 

Spray conditioners are best used after a bath while the coat is still damp. They also don’t need to be washed out. 

Bottled conditioners are like standard human conditioners that need to be put in during washing and then rinsed out.  


Some shampoos and conditioners can have too many chemicals that damage local stream and river critters.

Try one that is eco-friendly to reduce your dog’s environmental impact. 

Can You Use Human Conditioner on Dogs? 

No. You should only use dog conditioner on your pooch because many human grooming products can lead to skin irritation when used on dogs. 

Skin, body, and hair care products like conditioners help balance pH levels, so they do not disrupt the protective skin barrier called the acid mantle.  

While we have slightly acidic skin with a pH of about 5.5, dogs have more alkaline. Their pH levels are between 6.2 and 7.4

Every time we bathe, our skin’s acid mantle gets washed away. So, products like a conditioner try to balance or restore the pH level.  

However, human conditioner on dogs won’t be able to do that because of our different pH levels 

Human conditioners are not safe for use on dogs’ coats, but baby conditioner can be gentler on skin and hair. They are less drying or damaging to the coat. 

Still, it’s best to use products formulated specifically for our furry friends to maximize the benefits.  

Using human conditioner on dogs can disrupt the acid mantle, leaving your furry friend prone to parasites, viruses, and bacteria.  

In addition, a dog’s skin is different to ours in terms of thickness. Theirs is much thinner, so using human conditioner on their coat can lead to dry and flaky skin which causes repeated scratching and abrasion. 

Human conditioner also can contain too many perfumes and chemical products which may not even be good for us either.  

Using these treatments on a dog’s hair can lead to itchiness, dryness, skin flaking, irritation, dandruff, hair loss, and even allergic reactions. 

But I Only Used Human Conditioner on My Dog Once 

If your dog suddenly requires a bath when it’s out of schedule and you’re out of dog shampoo and conditioner, it is acceptable to bathe them with human conditioner.  

However, it’s better not to do this again.

Always have enough supply of dog grooming products. The frequency of using human products on them can cause further reactions.  

You should only bathe them with a human conditioner if it’s a once-in-a-blue-moon thing.  

Are Dog Conditioners Necessary? 

The truth is, your dog doesn’t need a conditioner as much as they need shampoo.  

A conditioner’s main purpose is to simply make your dog’s fur feel even softer and look shinier than normal.  

Some will make them smell nicer and reduce the prevalence of mats, knots, and tangles. 

However, most shampoos for dogs can already do this with the additional function of cleaning their coat and skin.  

If your dog has very sensitive skin, you need to be careful about using a conditioner on them.  

In the US, dog grooming products aren’t regulated by any government agency, so they aren’t required to list all of their ingredients 

Dog conditioners are a great help for grooming dogs with thick fur, but they won’t get sick or lose their hair if they don’t use a conditioner.  

They can still be clean, smell good, and have soft and silky fur without one.  

But if your dog needs a conditioner, we recommend Isle of Dogs Everyday Silky Oatmeal Conditioner.

If your dog smells bad then this product can help control the odor while also conditioning their skin and fur. 

It’s suitable for dogs with both long and short fur to keep them manageable and shiny.

The conditioner also reaches deep down their hair cuticle for improved hair health without sensitizing their skin.   

Homemade Dog Conditioner 

You can also try using your own dog conditioner if you are trying to avoid commercial grooming products for dogs.  

Coconut oil adds shine and hydration to the hair of dogs while also treating allergies and irritation. It also serves as a great detangler.  

To apply coconut oil hair conditioner on your dog, let it cool and massage onto their damp fur. Leave on for a few minutes and rinse with plenty of water.  

Aloe vera is another well-known ingredient for dogs’ coat that can treat dermatitis, strengthen, and hydrate your dog’s coat.

Gently massage it on your dog’s damp fur as well and rinse with plenty of water. 

Use the Right Conditioner for Your Dog! 

You don’t have to use dog conditioner on your pooch, especially if their coats are low maintenance.

But if you wish to do so, choose a product specifically made for their needs. 

Don’t use a human conditioner on your dog, unless it’s an emergency.

Instead, find a specially formulated dog conditioner that can control the odor while also conditioning their skin and fur. 

If you want to condition your dog’s hair but don’t want to use commercial products, try massaging your dog’s damp coat with coconut oil or aloe vera before rinsing with plenty of water! 

Don’t forget to check out this awesome matted dog hair remedy, and the best ways to get mats out of your dog’s hair!