Is It Bad to Put Hair Gel on My Dog?

Dogs can sport a fun hair style without using human gel.
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It’s fun to dress dogs up and style their hair, but it's essential to remember when playing dress up that dogs are animals. Products that are people-safe are not always dog-safe, and even products that aren’t toxic to dogs can pose other problems. Human hair gel is not suitable for dogs for a number of reasons. Avoid using even non-toxic gel on your dog and look for an approved, safe and appropriate dog alternative.

Health Considerations

Human hair gel typically contains alcohol, which dries out the skin. Hair gels also may contain methylchloroisothiazolinone, a preservative that prevents bacteria growing in the product. While not immediately hazardous in small doses, this substance is considered unsafe in doses that exceed 15 parts per million. The alcohol, perfumes and preservatives used in hair gels may all pose a risk of digestive illness if ingested by a dog.

Practical Considerations

A dog's coat attracts a great deal of dirt and grime without the added assistance of a sticky substance like hair gel. The hair gel is likely to leave a sticky mark with whatever it comes into contact with, which will then attract dirt and grime. Another important consideration is the risk of matting. When dog hair isn’t combed and clean, it begins to clump together, causing discomfort for the dog.

Safe Alternatives

Dog hair gels are typically clear and always non-toxic. Always look for a water-based gel that is Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association approved.