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Can I Use Dove Soap on My Cat?

Cats are pretty good at keeping themselves clean, but you may need to give them an emergency bath in certain situations. When you need to bathe your cat, you may wonder if you should use human products like Dove soap on your cat.

While many people will tell you not to use any human product on a cat, you may also find various answers as to why you can or reasons you should use Dove soap on your cat.

Dove soap, like many other soaps on the market, is based on the pH balance and needs of normal human skin. Therefore, it may not be the best choice for your cat who has a different skin composition and balance than your own.

If you use Dove soap on your cat, it will affect their skin and hair differently from a human’s, and it may cause additional health issues for your cat if you use it too often.

However, you may find times where you must bathe your cat, and you need an effective soap to get a serious and disgusting mess off their skin and fur as fast as possible.

If you don’t already keep cat-friendly soap on hand, you may feel that Dove soap is an easily-accessible and safe alternative that can do the job. Continue reading to learn more to know more about Dove or other types of soap and whether you should use them on your cat.

Can I Use Dove Soap On My Cat?

The answer to the question about whether you can use Dove soap on your cat is sometimes yes, but it is also probably not the best idea to do so, and you should avoid it if possible.

Advertising often portrays Dove soap as being safe and gentle for the skin, but that mostly applies to daily use on human skin. When soap manufacturers formulate their soaps, they have human skin issues and fragrance preferences to consider for their final product.

Human skin is different in several ways, such as it isn’t covered in thick fur like a cat, so it has different needs and requirements to keep it healthy.

Human skin also tolerates frequent bathing and soap use quite well, and some products include extras like moisturizers and vitamins to further improve the skin’s health.

Cats, by nature, rely on self-grooming with their raspy tongue to keep their fur and skin healthy, and human-based soaps can throw off their skin’s natural balance.

Cats also have a delicately balanced system where oil secretions protect their fur and keep it soft and shiny. Their fur not only keeps them warm but also protects their skin from environmental damage like sunburn.

Human soaps and shampoos can throw off the natural balance of their skin and could cause additional problems, not to mention the chance of your cat having an allergic reaction.

Is Dove Soap Safe to Use on a Cat?

Dove is not the best choice of soap to use on your cat, but it can be a safe alternative for use in emergencies.

For example, if your cat gets into a huge stinky and sticky mess, and all you have is Dove soap, you should be OK if you bathe your cat with it.

It will not make your cat sick or cause long-term problems unless your cat drinks or eats a large amount of it directly.

Human soaps can strip the protective oils off your cat’s skin and hair and cause it to become dry and the fur less glossy. In some cases, soap can leave a residue that is difficult to remove.

However, Dove soap is a better choice than many other alternatives because many of its versions do not include additives like moisturizers and perfume.

While Dove soap may be good in a pinch, not all other soaps are the same. Many non-pet soaps and shampoos on the market can make your cat sick if they lick them off their fur, so err on the side of caution when using them.

If you use Dove soap, make sure you rinse it off entirely and watch to make sure your cat doesn’t ingest any of the substance.

What Kind of Soap Can I Use to Wash My Cat?

The best kinds of soaps to use to wash your cat are cat-friendly soaps and shampoos that help keep their skin and fur moisturized and healthy.

Pet shampoo companies design their soaps and shampoos to be effective at cleaning and safe in case of accidental ingestion. You can buy cat shampoo and conditioner to treat certain skin conditions like fleas and dry skin as well.

For one-off situations, like if your cat gets covered in dangerous grease or oil, you may be able to use other soap and shampoos as well as make your own combination.

Dawn dish soap is also well-known as being safe for animals in emergencies, but other dish soaps may not be the same as many contain harsh additives.

You can also make your own shampoo with gentle ingredients, but call your veterinarian to ensure what you use is safe for your cat and their skin.

If you must use a human-designed soap other than Dove, make sure the label says it is gentle or pH neutral, so it will have the least effect on your cat’s skin.

Examples of such soaps include baby soap and shampoo, and you can try gentle unscented baby wipes for minor situations. You will want as effective a soap as possible with the least amount of added chemicals and scents.


Dove soap is designed for humans and human skin, so you shouldn’t use it on your cat unless you have a special situation. Using Dove soap and water or other gentle soaps and shampoos on a one-time basis should not harm your cat. If the alternative is to keep your cat coated in grease, oil, or something that could make them sick if they go unbathed, and Dove is all you have, then you should be alright if you use it.