Dogs can go from clean to dirty in a blink of an eye due to their playful and adventurous nature. My dog, Bongo, loves rolling and tumbling in my backyard and that gets him looking totally gross after he is done.
Showering your dog each time it gets dirty will leave you exhausted and your dog’s skin in a bad condition.
Another alternative would be to use dog wipes but they can be expensive. Some dog owners will use water wipes or baby wipes to clean their dog’s paws, dog’s ears and bodies when they get dirty.
Using water wipes or baby wipes on your dog might seem safe but you will need to know what other ingredients are in the wipes. Some wipes can contain alcohol or artificial scents that can irritate your dog’s skin.
In this article, we will take a brief look at what water wipes are and how safe is it to be using baby wipes in general to clean your dog.
What Are Water Wipes?
Water wipes is a brand of baby wipes that is suitable for a newborn baby, premature baby or babies with sensitive skin.
Water wipes claims to be the purest baby wipes in the world as it largely only consists of water.
It contains 99% water, grapefruit seed extract and traces of Benzalkonium Chloride.
Apparently, it is safe enough to be used on a baby’s face due to its gentle and non-abrasive ingredients.
Does It Make Water Wipes Safe For My Dog?
At first glance, water wipes does seem safe enough to be used on your dog. But a dog’s biological make-up is different compared to a human baby.
What might be safe for us can turn out to be toxic to our furry friends.
In order to be sure that this particular baby wipe is safe to use, we need to look at the other ingredients involved.
Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE)
As the name implies, grapefruit extract is a liquid extract that is derived from the seed, pulp and white membrane of the grapefruit.
All these parts of the fruit are ground together and then mixed with glycerin.
This exact is largely sold as a supplement and used in cosmetics due to its antimicrobial effects. So far there have been no scientific studies that support this claim.
Some studies claim that these antimicrobial properties are derived from the other ingredients used in making (GSE) rather than GSE itself.
Is Grapefruit Seed Extract Safe For Dogs?
From what I’ve read, the general consensus is that GSE is safe for dogs in small doses. Due to its potent antibacterial, antiviral and antiparasitic properties, it can be applied orally and topically to dogs.
It is said to be able to help dogs with bacterial and viral infections as well as poor digestive systems.
However, there are some dogs with sensitive bodies that might have an allergic reaction when fed GSE.
Although you aren’t using GSE as a supplement when using water wipes, there’s a high chance of your dog licking and ingesting it after you are done wiping your dog’s body or paws.
Another ingredient which is found in traces in water wipes is benzalkonium chloride. This chemical compound is a mild antiseptic and disinfectant.
Water wipes are stored in a packet that has a moist environment which is conducive to bacteria growth.
Every time you open the packet to remove a baby wipe, bacteria in the air will enter and settle on the rest of the baby wipes.
This can cause contamination and the growth of mold which is the last thing you want.
This is why benzalkonium chloride is required to keep the interior of the packet as sterile as possible.
Benzalkonium chloride is known to be an irritant and has been reported to have an adverse reaction to animals even at very low levels of concentration.
Furthermore, the concentration levels can slowly build up over time as dogs lick themselves after being wiped.
At this moment, we do not know how much of this chemical is in each pack. Even though the manufacturer claims that it is in trace amounts, I wouldn’t be comfortable using it on my dog.
What Other Safer Alternatives Can I Use To Clean My Dog?
Given that the above chemicals might not be safe for your dog, here are some alternatives that you can consider.
DIY Dog Wipes
If you want to keep your dog wipes as chemical-free as possible, you can make some yourselves. What I do is get a pack of cheap dry sweeping cloth refills and cut each piece into half.
When I need to wipe my dog’s muddy paws or body, I will just wet it and add some dog shampoo if necessary.
Once the job is done, I will just throw that piece away.
Paper towels also do a good job if you want a material that is more biodegradable. However, I find that paper towels tend to tear easily when wet. So it is best to use them as dry wipes.
If you are concerned about wastage, you can use just reuse a microfiber cloth. However, if you are going to wipe your dog’s butt and paws with that cloth, I would suggest using another for your dog’s face and body.
There are wet wipes that are sold just for dogs and you can find them in any pet store. The majority of dog wipes are made with dogs in mind so the ingredients used will be gentle and non-toxic.
But to be on the safe side, it would be best to go through the ingredients label just to be sure there are no unpleasant surprises.
Types Of Baby Wipes To Avoid
If you do prefer to use baby wipes, please note that not all baby wipes are made equal. What is safe for a human baby can have toxic repercussions on your dog.
Please avoid using baby wipes that contain the following:
Some baby wipes are artificially scented to make the baby smell good, especially after a poop job.
It might seem to have your dog smelling like roses or apricots after a wipe down but these fragrances can cause adverse reactions in dogs.
Make sure that the baby wipe that you use is fragrance-free.
Moisturizing Baby Wipes
Some baby wipes contain moisturizers to help soothe the baby’s skin after cleaning. This can leave your baby’s skin feeling soft and smooth but it isn’t good for dogs.
Moisturizing compounds like vitamin E oil and aloe vera can give your dog a bad stomach upset if ingested.
Any wipes that contain essential oils need to be avoided at all costs. Dogs do not have the necessary enzyme in their body to break down certain chemicals found in essential oils.
This can build up over time and cause seriously affect your dog’s health.
Like essential oils, propylene glycol is also highly toxic to dogs and can be commonly found in baby wipes.
It acts as an enhancer which allows the other ingredients to penetrate the skin more effectively.
Ingesting this compound can cause low blood pressure, seizures and even deaths in dogs.
Dog Wipes Vs Baby Wipes
One main difference between dog wipes vs baby wipes is that most dog wipes contain ingredients that are safe for the dog to ingest.
Your dog will still lick itself clean after you wipe it down and you don’t want your dog swallowing ingredients that can be poisonous.
Can We Use Dog Wipes On Humans?
Definitely a lot safer to use dog wipes on humans than human wipes on dogs. Ingredients that are safe for dogs are also safe for humans.
Even if you are someone that has a weird habit of licking himself or herself after using the wipes, you’ll still be safe.
So are baby wipes safe to be used on dogs? Yes and no. Using baby wipes on dogs is only as safe or dangerous as the ingredients present in the baby wipe.
Do not just gran any brand of wet wipes or baby wipes off the shelves and assume that it is safe for your dog.
Make sure to always read the label to ensure that there are no harmful ingredients before using it on your furry friend.