Dry Shampoo For Dogs
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Dry Shampoo For Dogs: When and How to Use it

Veterinarians.org Team

By

Medically reviewed by

Ivana Crnec, DVM

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Our Dry Shampoo for Dogs Review at a Glance

Is Dry Shampoo Good for Dogs?

Is Dry Shampoo Good for Dogs

Yes, dry shampoo is good for dogs as long as it is made with natural ingredients and compatible with the dog’s coat and skin. Dry or waterless pet shampoos are practical – they are easy to use, and are usually well tolerated by dogs. 

However, we should note that dry, no-rinse shampoos are less potent than regular ones when it comes to removing dirt and debris from the dog’s fur. Namely, dry shampoos are made for deodorizing purposes to mask the odor or, if of higher quality, remove the odor particles. All in all, making your dog smell fresh is the peak of their potency. 

What is Dry Shampoo for Dogs?

The dry shampoo for dogs is a specifically formulated cleansing product that does not require classic water rinsing. Dry shampoos are also known as waterless or no-rinse shampoos. Their main goal is deodorizing the dog by absorbing excess sebum and removing dirt. 

Just like people, dogs have sebaceous glands attached to their hair follicles. The sebaceous glands are concentrated near the paws, chin, back of the neck, butt, and tail. They make an oily substance (sebum) necessary for skin and coat health maintenance. However, over time, the sebum builds up and gets a strong odor (the reason your dog smells like a dog). 

When do Dogs Need Dry Shampoo?

There are various health conditions and situations in which dogs would benefit from a dry pet shampoo rather than a traditional bath. Using waterless shampoos is much easier, faster, and more practical. 

Dry Dog Shampoo for Itchy Skin. Itchy dogs with skin allergies and certain dermatitis forms need the shampoo’s soothing effect for relief. Considering they feel itchy every day, going into the bathtub daily can be a handful (and even make the skin issue worse). This is where the dry shampoo kicks in as it provides a safe and hassle-free relief. 

Dry Dog Shampoo for Quick Touch-Ups. If your dog had a bath a few days ago but stepped in a puddle and now their feet are smelly you can rely on dry shampoos to manage the situation. No need to bathe your dog from scratch when you can spot clean only the dirty or smelly areas. Using dry shampoo would be time-saving and practical. 

Dry Dog Shampoo After Surgery. A dog that has undergone a surgical procedure will require a lengthy recovery time. Even if they get back on their feet in no time, contact with water is a no-go for at least until the wound heals. And since dogs tend to get smelly pretty quickly, you can use a waterless pet shampoo to make your dog smell fresh. 

Dry Dog Shampoo for Water-Hating Pups. It is no secret that some dogs hate water (or, simply put, are afraid of the overall bathing ritual). In such cases, it is best to use a dry dog shampoo for quick cleanings. This prolongs the timeframe between two bathing sessions. Most dry pet shampoos are mild enough to be used on a daily basis. 

Dry Dog Shampoo for Hyper Pups. When it comes to bathing, dealing with hyper pups can be a handful. Not only they cannot stand still, but they also risk injuring themselves or you. Using a waterless shampoo is a great way of keeping your dog clean and fresh. Plus, it will allow you to postpone the next grooming session to hopefully less hyper moments.  

How to Shop for the Best Dry Shampoo for Dogs

How to Shop for the Best Dry Shampoo for Dogs

Shopping for dry pet shampoo is not as simple as you may think. Before going shopping, you need to do your homework and get yourself familiar with the key features of a good shampoo product. Here are the essential factors you need to consider before making a purchase.  

The Dry Shampoo Ingredient List. The first thing you need to check is the ingredient list on a dog dry shampoo. Always opt for a product made with natural ingredients that are pet-friendly and sustainable. Harsh chemicals and detergents like parabens, alcohol, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances are harmful to dogs.

Your Dog’s Skin Type. The shampoo needs to be compatible with your dog’s needs, skin type, and coat length. If your dog has sensitive skin, go for a formula made specifically for pets with sensitivities. Almost all dry shampoo manufacturers offer such products. 

Shampoo Form and Scent. Waterless pet shampoos are available in different forms (sprays, gels, powders, foams) and scents (tropical, lemongrass, apple). Choose the form that is easy for you to use and the fragrance both you and the dog find appealing. 

Flea Treatment Compatibility. Keeping your dog up-to-date on tick and flea preventives is a must. Since exposure to shampoos may decrease the efficacy of the anti-flea product (collar, spot-on, treat), always double-check if the two products are compatible. 

Dog Dry Shampoo Size and Price. If you have a large pup, it is better to get a larger shampoo bottle so it will last longer. Plus, misting a large dog with a small spray is impractical. You can save money on deals and shipping if buying in bulk. 

Reputable Shampoo Brand. Always choose grooming products from reliable and trustworthy brands. Stick to familiar names or do a little research and read the brand’s reviews from other customers before making a conclusion. 

Finally, instead of buying you can opt for a DIY dry shampoo. Making your own dry shampoo is easier than you think, as you already have most of the ingredients at home (starch, cornstarch, clay, sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda). To improve the shampoo’s fragrance, just add a few drops of diluted dog-friendly essential oil like lavender. 

The Best Dry Shampoo for Dogs

The pet market offers hundreds of waterless pet shampoos. However, not all of them are made the same. Some are of better quality than others. To make sure you get the right pet shampoo for your dog, we have reviewed some of the market’s best dry dog shampoos. 

Pet Head Dry Clean Spray Shampoo

Pet Head Dry Clean Spray Shampoo

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Summary: The Pet Head Dry Clean Spray Shampoo is an eco-friendly formula with high-quality dog-friendly ingredients. It is pH balanced and suitable for pups of all ages and with different coat types. The formula is free from troublesome ingredients and perfectly safe even if licked and swallowed. This dry shampoo is made in the USA and is cruelty-free (not animal tested).  

Pros

  • Completely non-toxic formula 
  • Balanced pH for your dog’s skin
  • Free from parabens, sulfates, and DEA  
  • Safe for use on puppies
  • Unique blueberry muffin scent
  • 100% recyclable bottles

Cons

  • Faulty and leaking spray nozzles 
  • Not a universally pleasant scent
  • Leaves oily residues on the dog’s coat

Review: Dog owners are “super impressed” by the”  ‘scent’sational” Pet Head Dry Clean Spray Shampoo. They say the product “smells absolutely amazing” and “helps mask doggo whiff.” However, there are complaints about faulty nozzles and the inability to remove dirt from the dog’s coat entirely. 

Burt’s Bees Natural Dog Shampoo and Conditioner

Burt's Bees Natural Dog Shampoo and Conditioner

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Summary: The Burt’s Bees Natural Dog Shampoo and Conditioner is a high-quality product from a trustworthy USA brand. Featuring health-boosting coconut oil, the shampoo nourishes skin and coat, leaving them soft and shiny. The product is pH-balanced for dogs and free from harsh chemicals. This waterless shampoo is perfect for spot cleaning and removing dirt from muddy paws. 

Pros

  • #1 Pet grooming brand in the USA 
  • High-quality and cruelty-free formula 
  • Contains coconut oil, honey, and beeswax 
  • Moisturizing, soothing, and nourishing effect
  • Does not contain synthetic fragrances 
  • No parabens, phthalates, or petroleum 

Cons

  • Tends to leave the fur damp 
  • Not very efficient in masking odors
  • Not suitable for large dogs 

Review: Customers say the Burt’s Bees Natural Dog Shampoo and Conditioner “smells great,” “gives immediate relief,” and “leaves fur soft & shiny.” However, some owners complain about the pronounced coat dampness after use and the small must from the spray nozzle that makes the shampoo hard to use in large dogs. 

Vet Recommended Waterless Dog Shampoo

Vet recommended waterless dog shampoo

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Summary: The Vet Recommended Waterless Dog Shampoo allows cleaning and deodorizing your dog with light spraying and simple wiping. The gentle and hypoallergenic formula made of apple and oats soothes, nourishes, and moisturizes without stripping the healthy oils from the dog’s skin and coat. The shampoo is super easy to use and does not interact with OTC flea and tick preventive meds. Plus, it comes in an eco-friendly spraying bottle.  

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic and detergent-free formula
  • Fresh scent of light apples and oats 
  • No artificial dyes, parabens, or alcohol 
  • No contraindications with flea treatments
  • Eco-friendly recycled packaging
  • 100% money-back guarantee 

Cons

  • The sprayer is loud and scares some dogs
  • Complaints about poor packaging 
  • Broken and faulty spray pumps 

Review: Dog owners say the Vet Recommended Waterless Dog Shampoo is an “awesome in between baths product” and that you can “leave the blow dryer and towels packed” after starting to use this shampoo. However, there are complaints about the package quality and the spray being too loud.

Dog Wash Dry Dog Shampoo Spray

Dog wash dry shampoo spray

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Summary: The Dog Wash Dry Dog Shampoo Spray is a waterless shampoo made with natural ingredients – green tea extract, chamomile, and rosemary oil. The product has antioxidizing effects, soothes, and repairs the pet’s skin and coat. Plus, it is simple to use, you just need to spritz the shampoo, let it dry, and then start brushing. This pet shampoo is suited for all dogs regardless of coat type and length. 

Pros

  • Made with three natural ingredients 
  • Easy-to-use bottle for hassle-free application
  • Gentle and suitable for frequent use 
  • Does not remove spot-on flea and tick treatments 
  • Removes odor-causing particles 
  • DEA, MEA, SLS, and paraben-free 

Cons

  • Contains some hard to pronounce ingredients 
  • Short-lasting fragrance contrary to marketed long-term effects
  • The loud spraying sounds can be scary for some dogs 

Review: Customers say the Dog Wash Dry Dog Shampoo Spray is a “great product” that “smells wonderful” and “works well.” Most dog owners say it is efficient in removing the wet dog smell. However, there are complaints about the fragrance not being as long-lasting as marketed and the spraying sound that makes dogs scared.  

Wahl Pet Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo for Animals

Wahl Pet Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo for Animals

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Summary: The Wahl Pet Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo for Animals is a waterless shampoo designed to be sprayed and wiped away. The calming formula cleans, conditions, detangles, and moisturizes. The easy-to-use pump provides foaming lather. Free from harsh chemicals, parabens, and alcohol, the shampoo is suitable for dogs with skin sensitivities, regardless of coat type.

Pros

  • Vet-recommended and reliable brand 
  • Calming chamomile and lavender 
  • Convenient no-rinseformula 
  • Free from parabens and alcohol
  • Suitable for dogs with sensitive skin 
  • Clean and refreshing scent 

Cons

  • Contains sodium lauryl sulfate 
  • Leaves a greasy residue after use
  • Can be too drying for some dogs 

Review: Customers say the Wahl Pet Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo “works miracles on dogs who don’t like bathing.” Some even say the product “removed skunk odor.” However, it should be noted that the product is not a sulfate-free formula, and there are complaints about the overpowering scent.

Vet’s Best Waterless Dog Bath

Vet's Best Waterless Dog Bath

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Summary: The Vet’s Best Waterless Dog Bath is made of simple yet super effective natural ingredients like aloe vera, micronized oatmeal, and neem oil. The shampoo is specifically formulated for dogs with dry and sensitive skin and coats. Plus, it does not wash away over-the-counter flea and tick preventives, and the foaming formula is easy to use. This no-rinse shampoo is suitable for pups with short coats. 

Pros

  • Several healthy and natural ingredients 
  • Cleans, moistures, and soothes
  • Does not interact with OTC flea preventives
  • Free from harsh chemicals and detergents 
  • Lightly scented formula 
  • Safe for puppies over 12 weeks of age 

Cons

  • Short-lasting deodorizing effects
  • Not ideal for medium and long-haired dogs
  • Faulty bottles prone to leaking 

Review: Dog owners say the Vet’s Best Waterless Dog Bath is “great for between baths” and “offers more fun than a bath.” They describe it as a “great product” that “works really well.” Some customers are complaining about the lack of long-lasting fragrance and faulty bottles that tend to leak.  

Paw Choice Dry Dog Shampoo

Paw Choice Dry Dog Shampoo

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Summary: The Paw Choice Dry Dog Shampoo is a coconut-based foaming mousse made with limited, premium, and natural ingredients. The product is free from harsh detergents and mild enough to be used in dogs with sensitive skin. It does not just mask the odor, it removes the odor-causing particles and adds a pleasant fresh pomegranate and mango fragrance. This waterless shampoo is made in the USA. 

Pros

  • Premium-quality and limited ingredients
  • Removes rather than mask smells 
  • Scent lingers long after bathing 
  • No parabens, sulfates, and alcohol
  • Easy to use and foams really well 
  • 30-day satisfaction guarantee

Cons

  • Relatively small bottle
  • Can leave a greasy residue after use 
  • Off-putting scent for some pet owners 

Review: Customers say the Paw Choice Dry Dog Shampoo is a “5-star product” that is “great to have around if you have dogs.” They describe it as the “best shampoo ever” and a “lifesaver.” However, some users complain about the greasy residues it leaves behind and that the tropical scent is too intense. 

How do You Wash a Dog With Dry Shampoo?

To wash your dog with a waterless shampoo, start by reading the manufacturer’s manual. This will give helpful insight. Once you are familiar with the product, you need to introduce it to your dog. 

By introducing the shampoo to your dog, we mean performing a patch test. This is done by applying a small amount of the product to a limited area of your dog’s body and seeing how the skin reacts.

If everything is alright and the dry shampoo is compatible with your pet’s skin, you can start bathing. Although the exact steps may vary among brands, these are the basic:

  1. Apply the dry shampoo to your dog’s coat. Do not overdo it, with waterless shampoos, less is more
  2. Gently rub the dry dog shampoo all over your dog’s fur. Be careful when working around the face
  3. Wait for a couple of minutes. This is important as the active ingredients need time to start working
  4. Use a towel to remove the excess dry shampoo. Residues may give the coat an oily appearance
  5. Finish by brushing your dog (with the right brush) and eliminating mechanical debris and loose hairs. 

Sources

https://www.animalhospitalofclemmons.com/site/veterinary-pet-care-blog/2020/11/05/dog-skin-allergies-causes-symptoms-treatment

https://wagwalking.com/grooming/bathe-a-dog-after-surgery#:~:text=Most%20surgeries%20will%20require%20a,grass%20when%20he%20goes%20outside.

https://www.hillspet.com/dog-care/routine-care/how-often-should-you-bathe-dog#:~:text=If%20you’re%20curious%20about,dull%20coat%20and%20itchy%20skin.

https://americandogkw.com/blog/55755/most-hyper-dog-breeds

https://www.petful.com/pet-health/hypoallergenic-shampoos/