Your dog might be your best friend, but your white couch likely doesn’t agree when Fido comes in from the yard on a rainy day.
Whether you want to clean those muddy paws, wipe off dandruff, or clean your pooch’s tush, it might get you thinking—can you use baby wipes to clean dogs?
In short, you shouldn’t use baby wipes on your dog.
The good news is that you can use wipes made for dogs, which work in the same way as baby wipes.
So, save your baby wipes for human skin and prepare to learn more than you ever thought you needed to know about baby wipes and dogs.
The Canine Baby Wipe Debate
You’ve heard that you shouldn’t shampoo human hair every day, right?
Well, when it comes to using baby wipes on your dog, it has a similar effect (except it throws off the pH levels instead of natural oil production).
Let’s take a closer look at this.
Impact of Baby Wipes on a Dog’s pH Level
Dogs have more alkaline skin than humans, with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.2.
Because of this, researchers believe they might be more susceptible to cutaneous infections than humans, who often have a skin pH below 5.0.
By using baby wipes on your dog, you run the risk of disrupting the balance of their skin.
If you’re already using baby wipes, signs that they’re affecting your dog include:
- Dry skin
- Itchy skin
- Skin that repeatedly becomes infected
- Your dog biting or licking the area of application
Is it Okay to Occasionally Use Baby Wipes on Dogs?
If you’ve used baby wipes on your furry love in the past and are kicking yourself for being the world’s worst dog parent, rest easy.
Although experts recommend using dog wipes, it isn’t likely that the occasional use of baby wipes will negatively impact your pooch.
You might be wondering, though—what makes baby wipes so bad for dogs?
It all comes down to ingredients.
Ingredients in Baby Wipes vs. Dog Wipes
After you get in from a rainy walk with your dog, what are the first two things they usually do?
Shake the excess water off and lick themselves, right?
Since the ingredients in baby wipes haven’t undergone testing for dog safety, you could be inadvertently letting your dog lap up a lot of potentially toxic chemicals if you make a common practice of wiping their whole body down.
Below are a few ingredients in baby wipes that have the potential to be the most harmful for your dog.
When it comes to baby wipes, propylene glycol serves its purpose of retaining moisture.
Although propylene glycol is a substance found in human pharmaceutical agents, it becomes a toxin in children when consumed in high doses.
Understandably, this is concerning for pet owners.
It’s unlikely that your dog will consume 4.1mL of propylene glycol per pound of their body weight, which is the amount that can be lethal unless, perhaps, they eat an entire box of baby wipes.
Nevertheless, signs of propylene glycol toxicity in dogs include:
- Involuntary muscle movements
- Frequent thirst and urination
Before you run to your pantry and toss out any foods or substances containing propylene glycol because you fear your pup will get into it, consider this—many dog food brands add propylene glycol to their recipes since it has thickening, flavor, and emulsifying properties.
Polysorbate-20, Butoxy PEG-4 PG-Amodimethicone, Phenoxyethanol
That’s a mouthful, don’t you think?
It goes without saying that you don’t want these in your dog’s mouth since they’re chemicals that serve as preservatives for baby wipes.
To reduce the harshness of these substances, baby wipe companies add ethylene oxide, a carcinogen.
It’s possible to remove another carcinogen called 1,4-dioxane, which results from mixing these compounds together.
However, there’s no way to know whether or not baby wipe companies take this extra measure.
Unfortunately, ethylene glycol has a sweet taste (which is why veterinarians urge pet owners to keep deicing agents tucked away).
Luckily though, it would take your dog consuming more than the remanences of a baby wipe on their fur to get sick from ethylene glycol.
Nevertheless, if your pooch found a way to dine on a box of baby wipes, keep an eye out for the following ethylene glycol poisoning symptoms:
- Excessive thirst
Long story short, although these ingredients sound intimidating, it would take your dog consuming a large number of baby wipes in one sitting before they run the risk of toxic effects.
Baby Wipe Alternatives for Dogs
Although occasional use of baby wipes on your dog isn’t likely to harm their skin or internal organs, it’s best to stock up your household with canine-safe products from the get-go.
You have a couple of options at your disposal.
Yes, they really do think of everything.
Dog wipes are non-toxic and have ingredients that cater to your dog’s alkaline pH levels.
In fact, you can even buy hypoallergenic dog wipes if your four-legged friend has allergies or sensitive skin.
That said, don’t be alarmed if you see polysorbate-20 in the ingredient list. As with human products, it can be difficult to encounter 100% chemical-free options, even in products touted as “natural.”
The good news is that you can count on the polysorbate-20 concentration to be at such low levels that your dog shouldn’t experience a negative impact from them.
Dog wipes are safe to use anywhere on your dog.
Yes, that includes their booty and eyes if they have dark tear stains.
Soap and Water
In today’s fast-paced world, dragging out an old rag and whipping up a bowl of soap and water may not feel convenient.
However, like a home-cooked meal, sometimes nothing compares to homemade solutions.
As you’ve probably guessed by now, you shouldn’t use human soap on your dog.
So, buy a good quality dog shampoo and use it to wipe your dog down.
Since you won’t be giving your dog a full bath, that shampoo bottle should last you a long time.
After you’ve wiped down your dog with a cloth, use a separate damp cloth with water only to take off the soap residue.
Wrap Up: Skipping Baby Wipes for Your Dog
The next time your dog comes into the house muddy, skip the box of baby wipes and reach for the alternatives we discussed here.
Although using baby wipes on your dog once in a while likely won’t do them harm, there’s no need to run the risk.
Both your dog and home will thank you for keeping them clean.