Does Dog Shampoo Expire? | What You Need to Know


Becoming a dog parent is a responsibility that one needs to take seriously. Our furry friends depend on us to give them home, love, and care, and part of that is to make sure they are clean and healthy. Even if the dog views bath as pure torture, it still must be done regularly. But does dog shampoo ever go bad?

Dog shampoo has an expiration date just like human shampoo. It is important to check the label on the bottle to determine how long it is safe to use. Using an expired shampoo product can result in skin irritations or even infection. Be sure to throw it away once past the expiration date.

The rest of the article will go into greater detail on best practices when it comes to making sure the dog shampoo you use on your dog is effective and safe.

Does Dog Shampoo Go Bad?

Even if you are buying the most effective and expensive dog shampoo for your companion, it will still expire with time. The quality of your shampoo and how well it works depend on the “best by” date. The manufacturers usually clearly write the expiration date on the label of the bottle.

Dog shampoo that has expired is dangerous to use and can have significant and traumatizing side effects. After the expiration date, bacteria can start growing and spreading at the walls of the shampoo bottle. This bacteria can cause various harmful skin conditions, such as inflammation, allergic reaction, itching, and fungus. If your dog already had skin problems, an expired shampoo could worsen its condition, potentially leading to serious health complications.

Does Expired Shampoo Still Work?

Expired dog shampoo will undergo a chemical change in its components. It means that it will not be as effective as it used to be. The fur of your dog may even look dull after the wash. The “doggy” odor will lessen but still will be noticeable. The removal of dirt clumps will likely be harder to remove.

The chemical change and the growing bacteria of an expired shampoo can cause more harm than good. You might notice that your pet feels irritated and scratches its skin more often than usual. If you notice this, please replace it with a new one as soon as possible. It might also be a good idea to contact a professional groomer or veterinarian for advice.

How Long Does Dog Shampoo Last?

A dog’s shampoo will usually last for 18 months, and after that, the chemical composition will start to alter. Expiration dates can vary, so it’s crucial to read the label.

Some medical dog shampoos against fleas have a shorter shelf-life. They usually contain more complex chemical components, and their expiration date can be six months or less after opening.

While medical shampoos last a smaller amount of time, organic dog shampoos made from natural and environmentally-friendly ingredients can have a longer shelf-life once you opened them.

Also, keep in mind that you need to store dog shampoo at a temperature range mentioned on the container label. If the product isn’t stored correctly, it may go bad more rapidly than the stated expiration date.

How Do You Know if Dog Shampoo Is Expired?

By looking at the label on the shampoo bottle, you can identify how safe it is for your furry friend. The expiration date and the ideal storing conditions should be mentioned at the side, back, or bottom of the shampoo bottle.

You can also notice a difference in texture and smell in an expired shampoo due to the chemical change.

  • If the consistency became more watery, this often means that the shampoo has expired.
  • If the odor has changed and isn’t as strong as it used to be, it may mean a dog shampoo is going bad.
  • You can also try opening the cap and looking at the walls on the shampoo container. If you notice any signs of fungus, bacteria, or change in color, do not use the shampoo. Throw it away and replace it with a new one.

What if There Is No Expiration Date on the Dog Shampoo?

I recommend always buying a dog shampoo with a clear label that has an expiration date. However, some manufacturers don’t place an expiration date directly on their products. You may want to check their website or give them a call before buying their products.

If the expiration date has rubbed off or you forgot to check it, the first symptoms of using expired shampoo will be that your pet started to scratch its body more often. There might appear red spots and irritated areas on its skin under the fur. If this is the case, discard your current shampoo and show your pet to your veterinarian.

How to Store Dog Shampoo?

The perfect storage conditions for your dog shampoo depend on the ingredients it contains. Usually, you can find the recommendation on the shampoo container. However, some basic guidelines to follow would be:

  • Keep the shampoo in a dry place.
  • Keep the bottle away from direct sunlight and heat.
  • Do not open a new bottle of shampoo until you threw away the old one.
  • Store at room temperature.

Just remember that these recommendations may vary, as there are many different types of dog shampoos, from dry to liquid, from home-made and organic to shop-bought ones.

Avoid Using Human Shampoo on a Dog

It’s essential to remember that dog’s skin is more sensitive than a human’s. Human shampoo can harm a dog’s skin and fur because it will strip it off the natural oils.

Also, the dog’s pH level varies from that of humans, and their skin needs moisturizing components in a hygiene product. While the average human pH level is 5.5 to 6.5, the dog’s pH level is between 6.2 -7.5. An incorrect formulation of shampoo ingredients can harm and disrupt the dog’s mantel, leaving the skin dry and itchy.

Always choose a shampoo suitable for your pet’s fur, age, and skin, and never forget to investigate the expiration date. As always, contact a pet grooming professional or Vet if you are unsure what to use.

Bottom Line

Dog shampoo goes bad surprisingly fast. When I learned this, I was surprised that something made with chemicals could be rendered unusual over such a short period of time.

Shampoos vary so much based on particular breeds and the lifestyle of your dog that I don’t feel comfortable recommending a specific brand. However, here is a good resource for you to check out if you are looking to find what is best for your dog.

Jim James

Hey, I'm Jim and the author of this website. I have always been interested in survival, fishing, camping, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!

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