Bizarrely, a new TikTok trend has emerged of pet owners using purple shampoo on their dogs. While this might seem harmless enough, the sudden craze has been flagged as a concern from the head vet at as the “chemicals within the product cause skin irritation”.

Dr Sean McCormack is warning pet parents of the dangers of using shampoos not specifically designed for use on dogs as they can have serious health consequences. Alternatively, the team at have provided their top tips to keeping your dog looking and smelling fresh, and explain why purple shampoo could be harmful to your dog…

The difference between dog hair and human hair

Dogs are more sensitive to the ingredients found in human shampoo. Using human shampoo on dogs can cause irritation, leaving their skin dry, flaky and more vulnerable to parasites, bacteria and viruses.

Why human shampoo isn’t good for dogs

Irritation caused by using harsh toxins can encourage excessive itching, which can result in abrasions and wounds forming on the skin and an increased chance of bacterial infection. This could cause numerous different skin-related issues for your dog.

Purple shampoo contains high levels of citric acid, an ingredient in lemon juice, which plays a role in lightening the hair. While citric acid is safe to consume for humans, high levels are not suitable for dogs, causing irritation, upset stomach and can even be toxic.

Purple shampoo might be great for blonde humans, but it is not intended for dogs

What should I use to clean my dog instead?

Dogs groom their fur by licking, which could lead to harmful consequences if their coat is coated with acidic chemicals. There are dog-friendly products that offer coat-brightening, leaving absolutely no excuse to douse your dog in chemicals intended for human hair.

Many products designed for human use leave harmful toxic residue on your dog’s fur which can dry out and intensify any pre-existing issues.

Sulphates found in purple shampoo often irritate human skin. This would be the reality for dogs being washed in purple shampoo, rather than natural dog-friendly formulas that have been created especially for them.

How to keep your dog clean during spring and summer

Don’t wait around: 

Whether your dog has been splashing in muddy puddles, or even rolling about in animal poo, if your pooch returns home as a mucky pup, you should wash them at your earliest convenience to avoid carpets being ruined. Cleaning your dog at the earliest opportunity gives the dirt less time to set in, which is better for both your dog and your home.

Keep a regular routine

For owners with dogs that don’t tend to get dirty very often, it can be hard to know how often to clean your pet pooch. Fortunately, your dog’s fur has evolved to be self-cleaning, which keeps out most of the day-to-day dirt. However, we all know that even the proudest pups can get a little smelly after a while.

It’s recommended that your dog only needs to be cleaned just once a month, so try setting a date each month that works for you and your four-legged friend and stick to it. However, this depends entirely on the breed of your dog, so always do your research.

Keep to a regular routine, don’t over wash, and always use a shampoo specifically for canine coats

Use the right shampoo

It is essential that you avoid using human shampoo on your dog. The chemicals that we put onto our hair are no good for keeping your dog’s fur clean, and can potentially be harmful to their coat and skin.

There are plenty of quality and affordable dog shampoos available on the high street and online, but if you are not able to find dog shampoo, then a little baby shampoo will do as these tend to be mild and won’t contain any harmful chemicals.

Avoid over-washing

Keep your dog’s dates with the bathtub down to a minimum. Too much washing can actually cause your dog problems, as their skin is a lot more sensitive than ours. There are plenty of ‘waterless’ cleaning products on the market like dry dog shampoo and waterless cleaning mitts, to help keep your dog smelling and looking clean without getting them wet.

Plan your route

Be wary of where exactly you are walking your dog and try to avoid the puddles if you can. If your pup has a tendency to stray towards muddy puddles, then it might be an idea to keep your pup on a lead when the ground is wet and boggy. Extendable leads are useful to keep control of where your dog walks, whilst still allowing them the space to stretch their legs.

Feed them right

You can help keep your dog’s coat glossy and healthy by ensuring that they are eating the right food. Your dog’s coat relies on protein, so feeding your pooch a good, balanced diet maintains their healthy glow on the outside as well as on the inside.

Brushing is best

Brushing your dog frequently is the best way to keep their fur clean from anything that they might pick up while out and about. Jumping through piles of leaves is a great source of fun for your pup, but it is also a really easy way for them to pick up fleas and ticks.

Wear waterproofs in extreme weather conditions 

If your dog is insistent on going for a walk whatever the weather, it could be worth investing in a good-quality, waterproof dog coat that will keep them dry and clean. The best features to look out for when picking out a new coat for your dog are waterproofing, durability, double-lining, adjustability and affordability – but remember, most dogs don’t need them, and will shake off the water instead.


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