Dogs can get quite messy sometimes, just like our human offspring. If you have baby wipes on hand, you probably use them to clean up all sorts of messes. So why couldn’t you wipe off your dog? After all, they are gentle enough for a baby’s skin, so naturally it should work for your sensitive pooch, right?
Unfortunately, the answer is no, since that’s not the case. Baby wipes are pH balanced for exactly that: to be used for the skin of babies. Your dog has a different pH level, requiring alternative products that match those levels. Let’s get into it.
Skin pH Between Canines and Humans
You’ll notice that when you are shopping for dog shampoo and other products, there are tons of products on the market geared toward canines. But what is the difference between dog and human shampoo and other products? Is it all just a marketing scheme, or is there something to it?
Dogs and humans have completely different skin pH levels. A canine’s skin is more alkaline than a human’s, usually ranging from 5.5 to 7.2. Sometimes dogs can range from 6.4 to a whopping 9.1.
Humans, on the other hand, have a pH of 5.4 to 5.9. So as you can see, our skin is much more acidic than our canine companions. Because we can tolerate certain chemicals, it definitely doesn’t mean our dogs can. Baby wipes are suitable for human baby skin and not our pooch’s sensitive and alkaline skin.
Different Types of Wipes
You might see baby wipes marketed as fragrance-free, alcohol-free, or hypoallergenic. So, if they are entirely safe for the skin, shouldn’t using those types of wipes be better than others? The truth is it really doesn’t matter.
Baby wipes are still designed for humans, and pet wipes are designed for your pets. So even though using a fragrance-free or hypoallergenic baby wipe might be less irritating to your dog than some other options, long term, it can still cause issues and imbalances.
Wipes to Avoid
There are wipes to avoid at all costs. As we mentioned above, you shouldn’t use any baby wipes on your dog, no matter how mild it might be.
Different bacteria affect canines and humans. While the same bacteria can sometimes infect people and pets, we also have differing systems that respond to these bacteria as well.
Antibacterial wipes for humans can severely dry out your dog’s skin and cause further irritation. If you need a good antibacterial wipe, there are many options online for dogs. You can buy these types of wipes on sites like Chewy or Amazon.
These wipes contain canine-specific formulas that nourish the skin and get rid of any pesky bacteria that might be lurking. Always read the description, as they can target different kinds of bacteria.
Most baby wipes are alcohol-free as alcohol tends to dry out a baby’s skin as well. However, with some cheaper brands, you will see alcohol as an ingredient a lot. These wipes can severely dry out your pet’s skin if you use them regularly.
Not only is isopropyl alcohol bad for your dog’s skin because it can dry out the natural oils, but it is also toxic to dogs and causes a laundry list of problems if ingested, such as:
If your dog has come in contact with any alcohol and shows signs of distress, contact your veterinarian or poison control right away.
We’ve said it once, and we’ll repeat it. Only use canine-specific wipes on your dog. There are plenty of options to choose from on the market. Each one of them might have a unique purpose, such as having antifungal properties or general cleaning capabilities.
You can use pet wipes for a variety of things, but always make sure to do a quick sweep over the ingredients to make sure that there are no irritating additives. Some dogs will be more sensitive than others, so they might react differently to various types of pet-specific wipes.
You can buy canine wipes on sites like Amazon and Chewy. You can also find a number of these products in department stores and pet shops.
Can Humans Use Pet Wipes?
As we have already mentioned, you don’t want to use baby wipes on dogs because of the species-specific differences in our skin. The same is true in the reverse scenario. It would be best if you never used dog wipes on people.
They are designed for much higher alkaline skin than ours and can cause an imbalance and irritation.
You might see certain wipes marketed for both dogs and cats. While some of these might be generally safe, we want you to warrant caution. A cat’s pH level falls around 6, while dogs are still much more alkaline than that.
When you’re shopping for cat or dog shampoos, you might see a few options that are also safe for both, but most generally, you will see them split between the species.
If you have both dogs and cats in your home, we understand why this might be a more favorable choice so you don’t have to make multiple purchases. But multi-pet wipes can still irritate, especially to very sensitive dogs. We recommend buying canine wipes only to avoid any general upset.
Now you know why we shouldn’t share our baby wipes with our pups. It can simply cause skin irritation and even alcohol poisoning in extreme cases. So, you should keep the baby wipes away—just to err on the side of caution.
The bottom line is that our pH differs greatly from a dog’s. Our acidic pH can seriously tamper with their alkaline bodies. Luckily, there are tons of affordable dog wipe options on the market. Take a look over some different products and purchase accordingly.
Featured Image Credit: Marina.Martinez, Shutterstock