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Home > Cats > Can I Use Dove Soap on My Cat? Vet Reviewed Precautions & Alternatives

Can I Use Dove Soap on My Cat? Vet Reviewed Precautions & Alternatives

dove cream beauty bathing soap

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Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Veterinarian, MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Chances are good that you have a bar of Dove soap somewhere in your house. If you run out of cat shampoo and your furry friend is suddenly in desperate need of a bath, you may think about digging out that bar. This popular soap brand is gentle on human skin, but is it equally gentle on your cat?

Not exactly. Dove soap is not designed for cats, so it’s better to use a dedicated cat shampoo. The problem comes down to the natural pH levels of a cat’s skin compared to those of a human.

Here, we break down all the science, let you know what you should use, and even give you advice on what to do if you’re in a pinch.

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Can You Use Dove Soap on Cats?

Not ideally. While Dove soap is a gentle product, it wasn’t designed for the high pH levels that felines have. A typical feline skin pH range is between 6.2 and 7.2, while humans have a lower pH range of 5.2 to 6.2.

This means human skin is slightly more acidic than animal skin, and this is the primary reason that you shouldn’t use any human soaps, including Dove, on your furry friends.

While you can use Dove soap on your pet in an emergency situation, you’re likely to run into problems the more often you do it. These soaps strip your pet’s coat of its natural oils and can eventually cause problems with dry and irritated skin.

Emergency Cat Shampoo

If you don’t have time to go to the store and get the right stuff, you can use Dove soap to bail yourself out of a tough situation. We don’t necessarily recommend it, but if you absolutely have to wash your cat with human soap, here’s how to do it:

  • 1 cup of Dove soap
  • 4 cups warm water

It’s not perfect, but by diluting the Dove dish soap, you’re dramatically reducing the likelihood that your cat will experience any adverse side effects. You’ll still get maximum cleaning power, though!

Is Dove Soap Effective for Cleaning Cats?

While you shouldn’t use Dove soap on your cat, it’s undeniably an effective product for removing dirt, grime, and other gunk.

Dove formulates its soap for a low pH balance, which doesn’t affect the way that it cleans. Dove soap is an extremely effective cleaner, whether it’s on your cat, your hands, or your dishes.

Black Persian Cat Having a Bath
Image Credit: Bussakorn Ewesakul, Shutterstock

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Better Alternatives for Cleaning Cats

So, if you shouldn’t use Dove soap on your cat, what should you use? The ASPCA recommends using hypoallergenic shampoos for cats with sensitive skin, and we think that it’s always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to your cat’s health.

Try a hypoallergenic cat shampoo that ensures that your cat’s skin pH levels stay balanced and thoroughly cleans their coat and skin! You will need to have one of these pet-specific shampoos on hand, but it’s well worth it to keep your feline friend happy and healthy.

When you're grooming your own pet, choosing the right pet shampoo is half the battle. We recommend Hepper's Colloidal Oatmeal Pet Shampoo line because the all-natural, pet-safe formula does a great job of cleaning and moisturizing while avoiding irritation and itching. These soothing shampoos feature oatmeal and aloe vera and neither of them contain sulfates, phthalates, dyes, or soaps. Your pet will love this shampoo as much as you do! Now you just have to choose which one your pet will love best. Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the right option for your pet’s next bath!

Hepper Colloidal Oatmeal Pet Shampoo (Aloe and Cucumber Scent) Hepper No Rinse Shampoo
Hepper Colloidal Oatmeal Pet Shampoo Hepper Waterless No Rinse Pet Shampoo
Natural Ingredients
Natural Ingredients:
Natural Ingredients:
Made in USA
Made in USA:
Made in USA:
Safe for cats & dogs
Safe for cats & dogs:
Safe for cats & dogs:
Soothes dry skin
Soothes dry skin:
Soothes dry skin:
Waterless, no rinsing required
Waterless, no rinsing required:
Waterless, no rinsing required:

At Pet Keen, we've admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

How Often Should You Bathe Your Cat?

PetMD recommends only bathing your cat when they start to pick up an odor, are especially dirty, or are dealing with a parasite problem.

So, don’t worry about a set interval on how often you should bathe your cat. Instead, take a look at them, and if they need a bath, give them one! Since cats are such effective self-groomers, it’s common for them to go for extended periods without needing to be bathed, if ever.

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Final Thoughts

While Dove soap can get you out of a tough situation, you shouldn’t make a habit of using it on your cat. That’s not what it’s for and there are better products out there.

You shouldn’t need to give your cat many baths, anyway, so you should make the relatively small investment that goes into getting your pet a shampoo that’s best for their skin!


Featured Image Credit: Akshay Bandre, Unsplash

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