Why is Dawn dishwashing liquid a safe choice for removing grease or oil from a cat’s coat?

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A quick search of the Internet will pull up numerous articles about the use of Dawn dishwashing liquid to remove oil from wildlife following a spill. The soap is regarded as one of the best agents for this purpose, but the use of Dawn with domestic pets should be on an emergency basis only.

Proctor and Gamble, the manufacturer of Dawn, has a proprietary formula for the product, so the exact ingredients and their proportions are uncertain. While the shampoo will remove grease more effectively than harsher agents, it is very drying to the animal’s skin if used too often.

In a pinch, however, and in a diluted form, Dawn works exceptionally well as a degreaser and will even kill fleas much more safely than many products specifically designed for this purpose.

Any time a shampoo or soap is used with a cat, it’s important to rinse his fur thoroughly with room temperature to lukewarm water. Test the water on the inside of your wrist as you would with a baby’s formula.

Use only a gentle lathering action, and do not scrub at the fur. Rinse by pouring the warm water over the cat’s back along the mid-line and, if possible, use a spray nozzle on low to rinse under his belly and on the chest.

Never use soap of any kind on a cat’s head as the chances of irritating or seriously harming the delicate eyes and ears are too great. Clean these areas with a damp washcloth only. If the grease stains are on the cat’s face and head, take him to the veterinarian or consult with a professional groomer to have the substance safely cleaned away.

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