VCA Animal Hospitals

Can I Use Dog Shampoo on My Cat?

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Q. Is there any reason I can’t use dog shampoo on my cat?

A. From a medical perspective, cats are different from dogs, including the way they react to flea-control products. If you use a dog shampoo that contains ingredients for combating fleas, you may put your cat at risk. This is true even of natural ingredients meant to repel fleas, so ask your veterinarian to recommend a feline-friendly shampoo. In general, you should consult your vet before using any dog product on your cat.

Many readers may wonder why someone should bathe a cat at all, since most felines groom themselves. I can think of a couple of reasons it's a good idea to get your cat used to water: You may sometimes need to wash off something your cat got into, which you don't want him to ingest when he licks his coat. Weekly rinsing also reduces the sneezing, wheezing and itchy eyes associated with allergies to cats. You don't have to bother with soap for allergies, though: Just rinsing a cat weekly reduces the dander that triggers allergy attacks. (This method is not effective for individuals with life-threatening allergies, who should consult a physician for advice on dealing with severe reactions.)

That said, you may have a difficult time convincing an adult cat to tolerate bathing. However, it's easier with kittens — if you proceed gently, with praise and treats, you're more likely to end up with a cat who puts up with regular rinsing.

This article was written by a Veterinarian.


General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.