Looking to cut back on the number of baths provided to your pooch? Dog-friendly dry shampoo offers a potential solution!
Quick Picks: Best Dry Dog Shampoos
- Bodhi Dog Shampoo [Best Dry Shampoo Spray] A gentle, hypoallergenic dry shampoo spray available in three different scents.
- Paw Choice Foaming Mousse [Best Dry Shampoo Mousse] Foaming mousse dry shampoo with a lovely pomegranate and mango scent. Limited ingredients and made in the USA.
How Do Dry Shampoos Work?
Different dry shampoos work in slightly different ways, and they use slightly different active ingredients to do so.
Unfortunately, many manufacturers decline to share the ingredients in these products, calling the ingredient lists “proprietary information.”
Nevertheless, the same principle is usually at work: Waterless shampoos are made with an oil-absorbing ingredient, which helps to remove some of the excess oil on your dog’s skin and coat.
These doggie dry shampoos may also feature pH-altering substances that help to encourage the right sorts of bacteria (which actually help to keep your dog’s skin healthy) and discourage the smelly ones.
Dry shampoos don’t really remove much dirt; at least, not as well as the traditional soap-and-water approach does.
However, the absorbent chemicals in some products may bind to dirt particles, making them easier to remove when brushing or wiping off your dog afterward.
Dry shampoos come in a few different forms, including:
In each case, you’ll need to apply some shampoo to your dog’s coat, massage it down into his skin, wait a few minutes and then brush or wipe off the excess residue (although some simply dry and remain on your dog).
Bada bing, bada boom – you’re done.
5 Best Dry Shampoos for Dogs: Water-Free Washing!
There are a number of good dry shampoos on the market, but the following five received some of the best ratings from dog owners and clearly rise above the competition.
1. Paw Choice Foaming Mousse Dog Shampoo
About: The Paw Choice Foaming Mousse Dog Shampoo is a coconut-based shampoo that is designed to work for all different fur types. It helps to clean the skin and coat, and keep your dog smelling clean and fresh.
- Fresh pomegranate and mango scent will help your dog smell great
- Gentle enough for dogs with sensitive skin
- Limited-ingredient list, based primarily on premium, natural ingredients
- Made in the USA
PROS: Most dogs enjoy the massage-portion of the procedure, and several owners also note that the mousse seems to help hair clump on the comb during follow up brushings, rather than scattering everywhere.
CONS: A few owners find the formula’s scent a bit strong and off-putting, but most seem to like it
2. Bodhi Dog Waterless Shampoo
About: The Bodhi Dog Waterless Shampoo is a spray-on product that is designed to be extremely gentle and appropriate for almost all dogs (including puppies and pregnant moms).
In fact, this hypoallergenic formula is made without many of the most problematic ingredients that appear in other dry shampoos, such as parabens and ethyl alcohol.
Bodhi Dog Waterless Shampoo
A cruelty-free spray shampoo for sensitive skin
This hypoallergenic dry shampoo spray is available in three scents and is made in the USA
- Suitable for dogs with very sensitive skin
- Available in two scents: Lavender and Lemongrass
- Backed by the manufacturer’s 100% satisfaction guarantee
- Made in the USA from locally sourced, sustainable and cruelty-free ingredients
PROS: Most owners love this plant-based waterless shampoo and have found it both easy to use and effective. Both scents receive high marks from owners, and there are very, very few reports of dogs experiencing negative reactions to the shampoo.
CONS: A few owners note that their dogs didn’t like being sprayed with the shampoo, but this is probably a reaction to being sprayed with anything, rather than the shampoo itself. A few owners of white or light-colored dogs feel that, while it did improve their dog’s smell, it didn’t really make them look any cleaner.
3. Warren & London Deep Cleaning Dog Shampoo
About: Wahl No-Rinse Waterless Shampoo is a light waterless dog shampoo, designed to help tame your dog’s odor and keep his coat looking its best. The light spray consistency makes the shampoo easy to apply and massage into your dog’s coat, no matter his breed.
Warren & London Waterless Dog Shampoo
Contains no soap, detergents, or parabens – and it’s cruelty free!
- Very pleasing apple extract scent
- Designed to deodorize as well as clean
- Made without parabens or detergents to avoid bad skin reactions
- Made in the USA
PROS: Owners appreciate the fine mist that this spray dispenses, and notice a big difference in their dog’s odor!
CONS: A few folks didn’t love the scent, but this was quite rare
4. Bio-Groom Waterless Bath No Rinse Shampoo
About: Bio-Groom’s No-Rinse Shampoo is a spray-on, wipe-off shampoo designed to help keep your dog clean and smelling great when a traditional bath isn’t possible.
Made with biodegradable, sustainable, plant-based cleansers, this product is not only safe for your dog, it is great for the environment too!
- Tearless, pH-balanced formula is gentle on dogs
- Contains no skin- and coat-drying alcohol
- Made in the USA
- Scented with lanolin, chamomile and lavender
PROS: Most owners are very pleased with Bio-Groom, and several call it the best waterless shampoo they’ve ever tried. Some owners use it for bathing dogs who cannot take proper baths, while others preferred to use it for quick touch ups, or for cleaning their pup’s feet after going outside.
CONS: A few owners find the scent too strong, and a few others claim that the shampoo fails to clean their dog very well – despite making their fur soft and shiny.
5. Vet Recommended Waterless Shampoo
About: Vet Recommended’s Waterless Shampoo comes from an extensive line of Vet Recommend’s high-quality grooming products.
Unlike many other dry shampoos on the market, Vet Recommended Waterless Shampoo is specifically designed to work well with topical flea treatments.
- Made without alcohol or phosphates, which can strip your dog’s coat of necessary oils
- Backed by the manufacturer’s 100% satisfaction guarantee
- Made in the USA with ecofriendly ingredients and recycled-plastic packaging
- Fresh apple scent
PROS: Many owners love the light, apple-scented fragrance and remark that it was a nice change from the super-strong perfume-like scents that accompany some other dry shampoos. Most customers find that it works well, and helps keep their dog’s coat soft, shiny and smelling great.
CONS: The bulk of the complaints about Vet Recommended Waterless Shampoo relates to the scent or the fact that their dog was afraid of the sprayer. However, a few also found the packaging to be of poor quality. More than one owner has experienced broken spray pumps while using the product.
Dogs Who May Benefit from Dry Shampoos
Most dogs will still need an occasional bath at least now and then, with traditional soap and water, but dry shampoos can be a valuable tool for keeping your dog clean and smelling his best between baths.
Some of the most common situations and scenarios in which dry shampoos may be helpful include:
- Dogs who cannot stand comfortably. If your dog is elderly, injured, suffering from arthritis, or otherwise unable to stand for the 15 or 20 minutes it may take to bathe him, you may want to use a dry shampoo as much as is possible to limit the wear and tear on his body.
- Smelly dogs who need a quick touch up. For example, maybe you have company coming over and you don’t have the time to give your stinky dog a full bath. In such cases, a quick waterless shampooing can prevent your dog from exuding obnoxious odors.
- Dogs who hate water. Some dogs simply hate the water and taking baths, which makes bath time very difficult. While you’ll still need to give your dog an occasional bath, a dry shampoo can help you stretch out the time between them, while keeping your dog relatively clean.
- Dogs who are too big for you to bathe safely. Gigantic dogs are often very difficult to handle, control and bathe, even if they don’t object to the process. Trying to wrestle a 200-pound Great Dane who is sopping wet, covered in shampoo and on a slippery surface is a recipe for disaster. It is often wisest to have giant breeds professionally bathed, but a dry shampoo can help keep him clean between visits.
- Dogs who just need a spot-cleaning. If your dog just got his feet dirty running through a puddle, or happened to bump into something messy, smelly or slimy, a bit of dry shampoo may help you avoid the need for a full bath.
Dog Dry Shampoo FAQ
Is dry shampoo safe for dogs?
Dry shampoos that are specifically formulated for pets with an appropriate PH balance should generally be safe for canines.
How do I use dry shampoo on my dog?
For shampoo sprays, spray the dry shampoo onto your dog’s coat, massage it down into his skin, wait a few minutes, and then brush or wipe off the excess residue.
What is in dry shampoo for dogs?
Dry shampoo contains special oil-absorbing ingredients, which help remove the excess oil on your dog’s skin and coat.
Have you ever used dry or waterless shampoos on your dog? What did you think of them? More importantly, how did they work for your dog? Let us know all about it in the comments below!