Waterless Dog Shampoo for the Fido Who Hates Bath Time!

waterless dog shampoo

Grooming is an important aspect of our dog’s life. But for whatever reason, our doggos despise it just as much. And during those times when making them hop into the tub is a pain, a waterless dog shampoo will be our saving grace.

A dry bath for dogs is a great option whenever our Fido is throwing a fuss about bath time. It’s also a handy solution whenever we need to do some touch-ups on our dog’s coat. And since the formula needs no rinsing, it’s imperative to choose a safe solution.

But can dry shampoos replace full baths? Is this safe for all dogs? How does it work? Hang in there, fellow paw-rent! I’ll have all your queries answered in this post.

I can’t get my dog into the bathtub!

All dog owners have probably experienced this a million times. Personally, all my pooches hate bath time for some reasons. I tried figuring out what they hate about it or what might be scaring them off. However, they seem to be reluctant about it no matter what I do. Well, they give me a break during summer when they seem to love bathing like they mean it.

But why do dogs hate bath time, in the first place? Jenn Fadal shares what she thinks in this short video:

The answer to how you will get an unwilling dog into a bath is a puzzle many dog owners are still deciphering. One trick that used to work for me is feeding my dog some treats in the bath without actually bathing him.

However, after some time, my pooch probably figured out my plan. He bolted out of the bathroom the moment I turned the bath on. So what do we do at this point? Dry shampoo!

How does the dry bath for dogs work?

Dry bath, as what its name suggests, doesn’t need water nor foamy shampoo. You simply apply the shampoo on your doggo’s coat, spread it using your hands or a towel, and brush it off. Usually, some dry shampoos need to sit on your pooch’s coat for a few minutes for better effects.

It’s important that you brush your dog’s coat once you’re done spreading the shampoo. Some formulas are safe, but it’s not supposed to sit for long on your pooch’s skin.

This type of bath is best for dogs who are scared of water (more than cats do, actually). It saves both the doggo and the dog owner the stress and hassle of chasing.

In case your dog decided to roll on the grass after a bath, dry shampoo is a god-sent solution instead of bathing the pooch again.

Remember, you’re not supposed to use conventional dog shampoo for dry baths. There are special products formulated for this purpose.

I personally recommend that you choose an all-organic formula. This is safe and there are no harmful chemicals that may trigger allergies and irritation. Also, this type won’t remove natural oils from your dog’s skin which keeps it soft and healthy.

Benefits of dry shampoo

Aside from being a convenient choice, dry shampoo has tons of other benefits. Although some dog owners have doubts about this choice, it has a lot to offer in the grooming department. Here are some of the advantages:

No more allergies. Some traditional dog shampoos may cause allergic reactions. As much as dry shampoo may possibly cause the same, the chances are low. Dry shampoos have a milder formulation which is friendly enough even for pre-existing skin problems.

Maintenance products. You’re not supposed to bathe your dog frequently. With this, a waterless dog shampoo will be a maintenance product that will keep odor, dirt, and irritants off your pooch’s fur. Dry shampoo also makes grooming session fast and easy.

Best for dogs who hate water. If your doggo keeps on wiggling to be set free during a bath, you’ll know that it’s going to be a mess. Dry shampoo is a practical option sometimes.

Ideal for puppies. Is your new pup in the house afraid of water? You can take it one step at a time by using dry shampoo during your first grooming session.

Limits of dry shampoo

As much as dry shampoos are day savers, it also has its limitations. First of all, it doesn’t remove all the dirt on your doggo’s fur. Still, it’s a great agent for odor control when you have visitors coming in or if you don’t have time to clean up.

Also, a dry bath for dogs using this type of shampoo leaves a greasy layer in the dog’s fur. Over time, this may attract more dirt which will make the pooch’s skin dirtier.

Can dry shampoo replace full baths?

Definitely not. Dry shampoos are best for intermittent use but not as a complete alternative for full baths. As you know, dry shampoo doesn’t wash away all the dirt on your pooch’s skin. Only water bath and lathering shampoo can do this efficiently.

But if there are times that you can’t give your doggo that big bath, dry shampoo can do. Just don’t use it as an excuse not to give the Fido a full bath. Otherwise, you’ll have a stinky dog that’s mired with skin irritation.

How to use a dry shampoo

If you’re using a spray product, make sure that you apply it to the area you want to clean. After that, spread the formula with a towel and brush it off to remove the excess chemicals.

Dry shampoos are pretty simple to use and even owners without the knowledge about grooming can apply waterless shampoos. But to make the steps clearer, here’s how I use the product:

Step 1: Choose the area where you’ll groom your dog. Although this is dry shampoo, I don’t recommend that you apply it in the living room. You can stick to the bathroom. If your pooch hates the place, try it on the porch.n

Step 2: Rub or spray the shampoo. Check which areas of your dogs’ coat are the dirtiest and apply the shampoo right there. After that, spread it using your palm (some use a towel). You can apply it all over your dogs’ coat but make sure you don’t get it on their eyes and nose.

Step 3: Let it sit. Each dry shampoo will have an indicated period when the shampoo should be left sitting on the doggo’s coat. Usually, it’s around 5-10 minutes. For foaming formulas, wipe your dog with a clean towel.

Step 4: Brush the coat. After the waiting time, brush your dog’s coat if the dry shampoo is non-foaming. Make sure that you run through the areas where you apply the formula. To be sure, brush the entire coat.

After these steps, you and your dog are done with the short shampooing session.

In this short video, Dr. Leach shows how you should use dry shampoo on a hairy pooch:

Is it safe for my dogs to lick dry shampoo?

As long as you use the products properly, a waterless dog shampoo is relatively safe. The safety of the product will depend on the brand, ingredients, and condition of your dog. If your pooch has severe skin problems, you may want to ask the vet first.

The only issue I had with dry shampoo is it tends to build up dirt on my doggo’s coat over time. This can be prevented through regular bathing. Remember, your dog may develop blisters and sores if you only rely on dry shampoos for their grooming.

How about licking? It’s almost impossible to stop our dogs from licking anything that gets into their coat. And since you’ll let the dry bath for dogs sit, it’s important to check the formula. Invest in a shampoo with safe ingredients and the one that won’t poison your dog in case he licks it.

For me, I put my pooch on a dog cone to ensure that he won’t lick any of the shampoos. It’s a quick fix, especially for doggos with very sensitive tummies.

What to look for a waterless shampoo

Don’t invest in a dry shampoo just because it’s top selling. It’s important to check what the ingredients are and if it suits your dog’s condition.

Here are some of the specs I recommend if you’re shopping for a dry shampoo for your dog:

Skin type-friendly

Like humans, our dogs have varying skin types. There are sensitive ones while there are also low-maintenance types. Make sure that your choice will be safe depending on your doggo’s skin condition.

Spray bottle

This is a matter of preference but if you want convenience, look for a spray bottle. You can also transfer the shampoo in a spray bottle at home for easier application. As you know, a rowdy doggo can spill the whole bottle of waterless shampoo.

Mild formula

Regardless if your doggo has sensitive skin or not, you’ll never go wrong with a mild formula. Besides, you’ll be bathing the Fido anytime soon so there’s no need for abrasive solutions. Remember, too, that very potent formulas may thin your dog’s coat.

Hypoallergenic shampoos only

This is my preference only but like mild formulas, it doesn’t hurt to explore hypoallergenic options. At the end of the day, it’s all about your dog’s safety.

Look for a dry shampoo that comes with flea treatment

When it comes to waterless dog shampoo, you can hit two birds with one stone. Look for a formula that also deals with fleas. If not, make sure that the shampoo will work harmoniously with the topical medication your dog is being treated with.

pH balanced

A shampoo that disrupts the pH balance of your pooch’s coat may cause irritation, bad odor, and itchiness. Make sure that the formula is gentle enough to clean without wreaking havoc on your dog’s coat.

Good scent

I don’t like shampoos with overpowering scent and I’m sure dogs hate it too. The rule of thumb is to stick with something that has a mild, fresh scent.

Top 2 Dry Shampoo for Doggos

Wahl Natural No-Rinse Dog Shampoo

For me, the top choice is Wahl Natural No-Rinse Dog Shampoo. It’s 100% organic that comes in either coconut lime verbena or lavender chamomile scents.

This dry shampoo already comes with a capped spray bottle. As for the solution, you’ll get an oatmeal formula that moisturizes and removes itch.

Since this is a plant-based dry shampoo, you’ll have peace of mind that the product is alcohol, paraben, and PEG-80 free.

What I love the most is that the 210 ml bottle is very affordable. Take note that this is a foaming spray so you’ll need a towel and a brush to wipe your dog clean.

For dogs with thick fur, the Wahl dry shampoo will be a god-sent shampoo. If the pooch is stinky, just use this dry bath for dogs and the pooch will be fresh in a zap.


✔️An oatmeal formula that relieves itch and odor

✔️Very affordable dry shampoo

✔️Plant-based, 100% natural

✔️Nice, light smell


❌Foam spray which needs more time to apply

❌Wears off pretty fast in a matter of two to three days

Paw Choice Waterless Dry Dog Shampoo

Another favorite of mine is the dry shampoo from Paw Choice. It’s also a foam spray with mango and pomegranate scent. This is a coconut-based formula which is safe for your doggo.

You just apply, massage, dry, and wipe your dog clean. This is pretty easy to apply even while on the go. The bottle is already a spray one so you no longer have to think about mess and spills.

This dry shampoo is great for removing odor and dirt if you can’t give a full bath. It doesn’t have alcohol and other harsh chemicals that will harm your dog. I’ve tried this on my dog and I can say that I’m happy with the results.


✔️Nice mango and pomegranate smell

✔️Easy to apply foam spray

✔️Safe for all dogs even with sensitive skin

✔️Great for traveling with your dog


❌More expensive than the Wahl shampoo

❌Leaves a residue if you don’t brush your dog well

Waterless dog shampoo is a great choice if your doggo is giving you a hard time during bath time. Still, it doesn’t take the place of full baths as a way of grooming your Fido.

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