Sometimes cats can be little rascals who get themselves into big messes. I know my cats have knocked over dishes, containers and have even stuck their faces into dirty nooks that they shouldn’t have been in in the first place.
Although I’m not a huge fan of giving cats baths regularly, there are certain times where a bath is a must. This is especially true of cats who have soiled themselves or as mentioned have gotten themselves into sticky situations. So, what can you do other than wash them? Nothing.
I remember the first time my cat, Beau, got himself dirty. His white paws were covered in gunk and no matter how hard he tried to clean himself, it just wouldn’t go away. So I, like you, took to the internet and tried to find the best way to get my cat clean.
I quickly learned that not every type of soap or detergent would be a good idea to wash your cats with. This is due to the fact that many soaps and detergents are actually much too harsh on a cat’s skin and can actually get them sick if they digest or lick any off their fur. That being said, there was also a lot of information turning up about Dawn Dish Soap, especially on their campaign to clean animals after the oil spill cleanup that took place a few years back.
So, let’s break things down and discuss whether or not it is safe to give your cat a bath in dawn dish soap, which kind is best to wash your cat with if it can kill fleas and any precautions you will want to take while washing your cat in Dawn Dish Soap.
IS DAWN DISH SOAP TOXIC TO CATS?
At this time, the only version of Dawn Dish Soap that is considered non-toxic and safe to cats is the original, unscented version of the product.
DOES DAWN DISH SOAP WORK EFFECTIVELY ON FLEAS?
Yes, it actually does! It’s also recommended to use Dawn Dish Soap instead of over the counter flea medications that can be bought at pet stores.
The scary thing is, a lot of flea collars and medications that are over the counter are actually too powerful for cats. Many have been known to burn the skin and cause longterm health problems for cats. So, if you’re thinking about buying one for your cat, I highly recommend speaking to your vet first about it.
WHY DOES DAWN DISH SOAP WORK ON FLEAS?
Dawn has surfactants in it which reduces water tension. What exactly does that mean? Well, it means that fleas will sink and drown in any water that has Dawn Dish Soap in it.
So, why doesn’t regular washing drown fleas? It’s actually fairly simple. Fleas have a layer of wax that protects their respiratory system and doesn’t allow water to enter the body. Well, it just so happens that Dawn Dish Soap permeates this layer of wax, thus causing the flea to drown.
HOW MUCH DAWN DISH SOAP SHOULD I USE ON MY CAT?
If your cat has fleas you do not actually have to give your cat a submerged bath in dawn dish soap to kill them.
Instead, fill a basin with warm water and put in a healthy amount of Dawn Dish Soap. Begin by taking a flea comb and dipping it into the basin. Thoroughly comb through your cat’s hair, each time placing the fleas that are caught into the basin.
This process may have to be repeated a few times depending on whether or not the fleas bred.
If your cat needs a bath but doesn’t have fleas always start off small with a pea-sized droplet of the soap. A little does go a very long way with this soap and won’t want to overdo it to ensure that no suds are left on your cat’s fur.
While the soap is considered non-toxic it does tend to dry out the skin if left in the fur for too long. It may also cause irritation or even rashes if the skin is left to dry out.
SO WILL ANY DISH SOAP KILL FLEAS?
While I’m sure that other dish soaps have the capability of melting the layer of wax on fleas, many are not safe for cats. Again, this has to do with the ingredients found in the dish soaps.
On top of that, many soaps have fragrances that are too strong for cats. This may cause an unsettling experience for the cat and may even trigger allergies.
Shockingly, Dawn Dish Soap is so effective at killing fleas that it even kills the eggs. Oftentimes you’ll find that flea products are effective at killing one or the other. Most commonly products are unable to kill eggs and will only kill adult fleas.
IS DAWN DISH SOAP ACCEPTABLE FOR LONG TERM USE?
Absolutely not. Even the original Dawn Dish Soap will cause complications if used on a cat too frequently or is used for prolonged periods of time.
Dish soap does a mighty fine cleaning grease and oil from dishes which means it also does an equally great job removing them from cats. Longterm use has been known to give cats skin problems such as rashes or even hair loss. That being said, cleaning your cat with Dawn Dish Soap every once in a while (ie. in emergencies) should not be a worry.
In short, dish soap of any kind is too acidic for cats as it is meant for human use. Our pH sits between 5.2 to 5.5 and cats sit between 7.0 to 8.0, though it is not uncommon for their acidity to sit even more basic.
If you are looking for something to wash your cat with longterm because they get dirty frequently or just need extra TLC I would check out some of these products.
Although Dawn Dish Soap can come in handy for killing fleas, I wouldn’t recommend using it frequently or longterm on your cat. Instead, I would choose to get a gentler soap or a cat-specific shampoo to ensure the wellbeing of your cat.
If you have already tried Dawn Dish Soap on your cat and they still have fleas I strongly recommend talking to a vet about dealing with the fleas as many over the counter flea medications and sprays are too harsh for cats and can actually be fatal to kittens.
Please note that a cat does not need to be regularly washed as they commonly do a good job cleaning themselves. If your cat regularly looks unkempt or it seems like they are not cleaning themselves consider speaking to your vet as your cat may be experiencing an underlying health issue.
So pet parents, I’m curious… what do you use to clean your cat? Have you ever used Dawn Dish Soap to get rid of fleas? Did it work effectively for you? Let me know in the comments below!