I’m the proud parent of three lovely Greyhounds. You can read more about my furry family in my profile.
I have two adult Greyhounds and a six-month old puppy.
They have quite a few challenges, given their breed.
Overall, one that is ongoing is the “hound” smell, as although I love them, Greyhounds are indeed hounds, and hounds in general have an oilier skin and therefore hold odors faster than breeds that have drier more luxurious coats.
Gland secretion is different for each breed, and hounds and other breeds have more of these secretions than others.
Grooming is easy with my greys, but I must shampoo them constantly, or they give off what I consider an “old potato” smell and as much as I love them I simply don’t deal well with that on them or on my furnishings.
I also don’t want them to be offensive to others.
They also roll in the grass and mud whenever they can.
In this article, we’re going to review the following Waterless Dog Shampoos:
- BioSilk Silk Therapy Tearless Shampoos and Sprays
- Kote-Glo Waterless Dog Shampoo
- Furminator deShedding Waterless Pet Spray
- Vet’s Best Waterless Dog Bath
- Natural Oatmeal Dog-Shampoo and Conditioner
- Vet Recommended Waterless Cleanser No Rinse Dog Shampoo Spray
- Lillian Ruff Waterless Dog Shampoo
- PL360 Foaming Dog Shampoo
- Wahl Pet-Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo
- Fresh Dog Dry Shampoo Powder for Dogs and Puppies
- Pawstruck Shampoo for Dogs
- TropiClean Hypo Allergenic Waterless Shampoo for Dogs and Cats
- Bodhi Dog Waterless Dry Shampoo
- Kibble Pet Silky Coat Miracle Dematter Leave in Spray
- Marshall Foaming Waterless Shampoo for Small Pets
When And Why Use a Waterless Shampoo?
A waterless shampoo should be considered if you find yourself bathing your dog way too much or if they smell rather routinely.
Too much wet bathing does stress some dogs out, as all dog owners do know, and waterless shampoos for dogs are a great alternative as it’s done with a damp cloth and the product of choice.
No need to “dunk your doggie” completely each time they need a little freshening up!
Dogs do like this method also as you are petting them gently while applying the product.
It’s more relaxing for both you and your dog.
I know my dogs love this method.
One falls asleep while I do this!
These waterless dog shampoos need no rinsing and therefore no struggling to get your pup in and out of the tub countless times.
While a good solid bath is still needed, these “in a pinch” products can be life savers.
Reasons That Dogs and Puppies Develop Odors
All breeds have sebaceous glands which excrete oils.
These oils and sebaceous glands are different for each breed, and a dog with fewer of these glands will not need bathing as much as dogs with a lot of sebaceous glands.
The sebaceous glands are necessary to protect dogs from fleas and ticks, and even dirt, which dogs love to roll in, prevent fleas and ticks from sticking to them.
Both dirt and the sebaceous gland oils are a natural protectant against insects, fleas, and ticks.
Too many full baths can rob a dog of too many oils and leave them open to fleas and ticks more readily, therefore if a dog needs frequent bathing, waterless dog shampoos can really be a blessing.
Related: How Do I Make My Dog Smell Better?
Different Breeds have Different Requirements
The choice of product will depend largely on the type of breed, type of coat, type of skin, and even the size of the dog.
Some dogs do better with a conditioner applied afterwards, if their coat or skin is too dry.
Being a type of hound, I do not find this necessary, as my dogs’ skin tends to be oily.
Too much oil or conditioner can lead to acne in dogs and I do not want that to happen.
Cautionary Tips When Using a Dry Shampoo
Care when using any waterless dog shampoo is necessary, whether commercial or homemade, as the eyes must be carefully wiped around, as must the dog’s nose.
Moistening a towel and applying any product is recommended as well.
Most dogs appreciate the waterless approach most, as bathing is not really a favorite of most dogs.
Using the waterless shampoo for dogs allows an owner to bathe whenever the dog just needs a freshening.
Dogs can be mischievous and even if just bathed, can come out of a bath and get dirty in a split second again.
Types of Waterless Dog Shampoos
- Foams: Are very convenient and usually come like a mousse. These are lightweight and easy to apply. (https://www.amazon.com/shampoo-waterless-rinse-foam-mousse). There are many good scents to choose from and of course, unscented if your dog or dogs is allergic to scented products. Sensitivity can be prevented by trying a small portion of the waterless cleanser on the dogs skin and waiting twenty-four hours before applying all over. Check the spot and see if sensitivity occurs after those twenty-four hours.
- Sprays: Very convenient as well but need more care than foams. Foams can be placed into your hand, and then applied, while sprays need to be sprayed directly onto a dog’s coat or onto a towel first that is moistened. Again, a sensitivity test should be done. The dog’s eyes do need to be covered when spraying directly onto the coat. This is just common sense.
- Aerosol: Not as convenient I’ve found as much is sprayed into the air and can be breathed in. The job is done quickly but it’s best to spray onto a wet towel first to prevent ingestion into the lungs. Sensitivity test does need to be done also with this.
- Powder: This is sprinkled onto a dog’s coat and massaged in with a wet towel. These can be expensive. Although somewhat more messy, control is easy and these are good for puppies who may be frightened by aerosol can noises. Caution must be taken to get all the power out though as a puppy will lick it off.
- Gel: This also is very convenient, allowing for application from your hand. It’s very smooth and easy to apply. It’s also cost effective as you can rub it into a very fine portion before applying.
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How Dry Shampoos Can Help Keep a Dog Clean and Odor-Free?
Dry shampoos cut back on the trauma of giving too many baths to dogs.
Dry shampoos are easier on both the dog and the owner and can be used as frequently as possible.
As with all products, careful consideration should be given to the ingredients in each one.
Some products are more natural than others, and some chemical must absolutely be avoided.
Dry Shampoos Help Dogs with Mobility Issues Stay Clean
Some dogs, especially older dogs, can develop mobility issues and can’t stand comfortable for any length of time.
Dry shampoos do not require that a dog stand in a tub or even access a tub.
Dogs can sit on any bench or on the ground, and the shampooing occurs while they sit.
There is no chance of falling, and no struggle to get your dog in and out of the tub, or other appliances.
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Odorous Dogs Can Remain Odor Free With Waterless Dog Shampoo
Because some dogs secrete more sebum, or just plain get more dirty, some dogs seem to develop odors quickly.
Even if using a waterless dog shampoo, it is not always necessary to bathe the entire dog.
Quick touch ups of various parts of the dogs’ body can be done where an odor or dirt is apparent, and can be done as often as necessary.
This “spot cleaning” I found is the most helpful of all aspects of a waterless dry shampoo for dogs.
Ears, nose and tail can be quickly cleaned as these get dirty fast!
Some Dogs Have A Great Fear Of Water
Using a waterless dry shampoo alleviates the anxiety dogs who hate water experience.
If you try to bathe a dog that hates water, they can turn the whole affair into a stressful experience for both themselves and their owners.
Dry shampoos require no water, and no getting into and out of the water for a panicky dog.
They can relax and so can the owners, while they are still getting freshened up.
Too many baths will only panic a dog who hates water even more, and leave them traumatized in the end.
Dogs Who Simply Are Too Big To Bathe Safely
Great Danes, Great Pyrenees, Mastiffs, some Pit Bulls, Burmese Mountain Dogs, and other larger than life breeds are not easy to bathe and may actually be injured while getting a bath.
They can panic and fight an owner and either the owner or themselves may find themselves injured when this occur, as some breeds weight close to two hundred pounds.
If your dog is a large breed that is difficult to bathe, you can simply cut back on the water baths and switch to the waterless dog shampoos as a great alternative.
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Dogs That Simply Need A Lot Of Spot Cleanings
Some dogs, especially those with long coats and/or droopy ears, will need more spot cleanings than others, as their features pick up dirt and grime only in the areas that touch the ground of get in the way of the dog when eating.
Ears that droop fall into food bowls.
Long coats drag on the ground, and short-legged dogs always seem to have dirt on their “undercarriage.
“Spot cleaning is one of the best advantages I’ve found in using a waterless dog shampoo as my dogs roll in dirt, grass, weeds, and have long snouts that they seem to stick in anything that “smells different” to them!
Touching Up Between Baths
A quick touch up can take only five minutes and can rid the dog of the dirt and grime where it appears on the dog quickly and efficiently.
I usually do my touch ups before bedtime, when my dogs are done going outside and I’m treated to clean and fresh dogs during the time we are all sleeping.
This relaxes both them and myself and you may find this a good time to do this also.
Using Waterless Dog Shampoos Cuts Down the Need for Baths and Frees Up Your Time
Your pooch stays clean for a longer period of time.
They also smell better as many companies have quite a few varieties of scents that will keep a dog looking and smelling wonderful.
Each day your dog can look great, not just for a few days after a bath.
It’s a great time saver, taking only a few minutes, rather than hours of struggle, preparation and drying of the dog or dogs.
No Watery Mess With Waterless Dog Shampoos
No puddles everywhere, no dripping clothing on you, no dog running away half lathered.
No complete mess of you, your home and your bathroom or cellar, or garage.
Waterless dog shampoos are quick, easy and no mess way to cleanse a dog.
No slippery dog to chase through your home or even down the street as we all have had this happen, I’m sure.
I have Greyhounds, the fastest dogs on earth, and if one gets away they are a real challenge to catch, but if one gets away while lathered with soap, it becomes an almost impossible feat.
I feel drained completely after complete baths, and I am left with a headache and a mess everywhere each time!
Special Concerns About Illness, And Climate When Bathing
Many times dogs can become ill and not be able to stand a full bath.
Weather can also be a factor as drenching a dog’s coat in sub zero temps is not a great idea.
Using a waterless dry shampoo can help alleviate both these problems.
If a dog is ill, they may need touch ups for smell, as they can vomit and become incontinent.
The waterless dry shampoos are a lifesaver at these times.
Things To Consider With The Best Waterless Dog Shampoo
The main things to consider with a waterless dry shampoo are type of shampoo, ingredients in shampoo, the need for dry shampoo (how much or how little the dog needs bathing), whether the dog likes baths (if they do, then bathing is quick and easy), your schedule, and the price, and the consistency of the waterless dry shampoo.
All these variables depend on you, your dog, and the amount of time you have to devote to overall bathing.
The Proper Method of Application
Many products can be either sprayed into your hand, such as gels and mousse and then applied.
Others can be sprayed directly onto your dog or dogs, if precautions are taken to cover the mouth and nose.
Powders can be applied to the dog or dogs directly too.
A good way to apply any though is to use a damp cloth and apply the product onto it and then onto the dog.
It allows for even distribution and also keeps a dog safe from any inhalation or ingestion.
It’s also easier to distribute evenly this way and to rub off cleanly.
Ingredients Play A Key Component in Waterless Dry Shampoos for Dogs
Just like every other dog or puppy product, all-natural ingredients are always best, and the fewer ingredients, the less chance there is of an allergic reaction to anything.
Always spot test first when using any products on an animal.
Puppies and older dogs can be more sensitive to ingredients in anything, so caution is always stressed with ingredients.
Choosing Sprays or Foams
This is a personal choice based on costs, amounts needed, and quality of the product.
Foams are very convenient and can be dispensed into one’s hand before application. Sprays can be either done directly on the pet, or onto a damp cloth.
Foams can also be applied to a damp cloth first.
It is simply a matter of personal choice.
Scent Variations in Waterless Dry Shampoos
This is again a personal preference.
There are all types of scents available, from floral to fresh.
Unscented products also exist.
Some dogs with sensitive skin do better with unscented products of all types.
I prefer either a light scent, or unscented overall, as scented products can attract stinging insects during the warmer months.
Soothing Ingredients Can Be a Good Choice Especially for High Strung Dogs
If a dog or puppy has any kind of skin issues, such as dry skin or rashes, soothing ingredients in products, such as aloe and other emollients are a great choice.
Some waterless conditioners also exist and can be applied after the waterless shampoo process.
Ingredients to look for are aloe, of course, silk proteins, panthenol, vitamins A, D and E, essential oils and of course PH balancing.
The Versatility of These Products is Astounding
From the variety of scents, to the variety of types of products, and the variety of ingredients, these products are well worth having on hand for quick touch up bathing.
There literally is something to suit any dog or puppy and any owner.
Trying one product at a time, after careful research, will reveal which one will work for you and your “fur baby” the best.
The Words “Non-Toxic” Should be a First Consideration
To avoid any reactions by your pets, non-toxic products should be sought out first.
This will alleviate any concern and most types of reactions to the product from your pets.
Any chemically laden product MUST BE avoided and reading a label carefully is something you MUST do.
Odor Reduction is The Main Reason To Purchase These Products
Although odor reduction is the main reason, these products also remove dirt and grime somewhat and can condition the coat if a dual-usage product is chosen.
Some products even contain whitening agents that are all natural such as baking soda, which can enhance the lightness of a dog or puppy’s coat, without the use of chemicals.
Baking soda also cuts back on odor so Baking soda can clean without stripping natural oils from a pet’s fur and skin.
Best Waterless Dog Shampoos
There are several great varieties on the market.
I researched thoroughly and came up with my favs, but you might see things differently and prefer others, given your dog or puppy’s age, breed, coat, skin, and sensitivity to ingredients.
Look over this list and find what you feel will do the best job for you and your pet!
A great waterless shampoo with silk protein to make the coat luxuriously soft and manageable.
Pets that are prone to long coats that tangle may benefit from this product immensely.
Wiry coats also would do well with this product as it contains silk proteins.
Combing through the fur becomes easier with this product.
- Can give great tangle free and silk protein benefits for long-haired or curly haired dogs and puppies.
- Comes in a tearless variety and also as a conditioning mist.
- Is a great price and also comes in a whitening variety.
- Can be used on puppies also.
- Because it has added ingredients research into allergies should be done and a small initial test on a small patch of fur on the dog or puppy is a must.
- The added ingredients are non-toxic, however and may not cause any problems, but care should be given with this product.
Good for puppies, dogs, and other small animals.
Strong odor eliminator.
If you have more than one type of animal or one size or age animal, this can be a good choice.
- Good for all types of animals, cats, dogs, puppies, ferrets, rabbits.
- Very strong odor remover for those pets that thrive on odor attraction!
- Some animals are just naturally more prone to odors so this product may indeed target this type of pet.
- A fairly new product so may work better on some animals and odors than on others.
- It’s hard to tell without really trying it.
- It’s not expensive, so if you have many animals of different types it might be worth trying.
A great product for long haired dogs, dogs with heavy undercoats, and dogs that shed continually.
It helps cut down on the constant shedding and helps detangle.
Undercoating is a real problem in some breeds and shedding is voluminous.
If used the undercoat is targeted to reduce this.
- It’s relatively cost-effective.
- Has Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, which keep the coat soft and luxurious.
- No toxic ingredients.
- Can be used on dogs or puppies even if not having a shedding problem.
- Has a high floral scent which may attract stinging insects or irritate a dogs’ nasal passages.
- Is mostly for puppies.
This is a foam and therefore easy to apply. Formulated with aloe and neem oil.
Conditions the skin while cleaning.Has a calming effect too.
Dogs and puppies are soothed afterward and during the process.
Very natural method.
- Has a calming effect because of the natural oils and is very economical.
- Can be used on both dogs and cats so has a variety of uses.
- Very few ingredients, all natural and non-toxic.
- No date of expiration.
- Has a scent and does not come in unscented.
- Can’t be used on very young puppies.
A multi-purpose product, can be used wet or dry, on dogs or cats.
A great product for a family with all types of pets.
Soothes the skin too. Good for pets with any types of skin problems.
Can be used for all pet family members even if no skin problems exist.
- Good for dogs and puppies with itchy skin.
- Contains oatmeal and Aloe and is all organic.
- Price is good.
- Will soothe skin nicely.
- Medicated for itchy skin.
- Can’t be purchased unscented.
- The scent of a light oatmeal; however, if no scent is wanted, this is not the product someone would choose.
- Oatmeal scent is generally not that favorite scent of mine.
It’s Vet Recommended (by its name) and can be used on dogs and puppies.
It is a spray and a rather large bottle.
A little goes a long way so it’s a good overall purchase for those homes with many dogs and puppies.
- Can be used on dog and puppies.
- It’s a large convenient spray with really great instructions for use.
- Step by step in large letters! Wonderful Lavender smell.
- Relaxing for an animal.
- Although a large bottle, somewhat expensive.
- The ingredient list is long and it does not state all natural.
- Does not state if other scents besides Lavender are available.
A non-aerosol spray in a large easy to spray bottle.
This has a fine mist spray so easy to use and can cover areas quickly.
Because it’s light it’s easy to work into an animal’s coat.
It’s all hypoallergenic and gentle on the eyes.
Quickly gets worked into the fur.
- Tear-Free for both dogs and cats.
- Natural Ingredients.
- Large bottle of spray.
- Easy to apply.
- No worries about getting the formula in the eyes as it’s tear free.
- Not very economical.
- Has a strong lavender and coconut scent which may not be right for you or your pet and may attract insects and irritate a dog’s nasal passages.
A foam that both cleans and conditions.
No real branding except for the numbers but a really great scent.
One of the few foams out there.
I liked the fact that it was a foam and could be warmed in the hand and applied.
You can use a petting motion and dogs and puppies love this!
- Cleans and conditions.
- Has natural ingredients.
- Is economical.
- A variety of scents to choose from: Fragrance Free, Pomegranate, Aloe, Itch Relief, and Herbal Chamomile.
- A large bottle at a very good price.
- Not all natural but close.
A pump mousse of 7.5 ounces.
A mousse is hard to find and Wahl has one.
Very convenient to use.
I loved this too because it’s a mousse and the petting motion can be used for application.
Almost as nice as the gel I would imagine.
- Cleans, conditions, detangles, moisturizes, freshens.
- All-natural ingredients.
- A nice size bottle with a pump that allows for easy dispensing.
- Can be used for dogs and cats.
- Has a variety of scents.
- Is economical.
- It’s a mousse so is applied to the owner’s hands first, and rubbed into a liquid before application.
- No fragrance-free option.
A powder in a 12-ounce shaker can.
Can be a bit difficult to judge how much is being shaken out.
Best to shake it into your hand first.
The powders might be susceptible to humidity as all powders are.
Keep it in a cool, dry place.
- All natural, with a shaker can.
- Very gentle even on sensitive skins as there is no fragrance.
- Good for dogs and puppies of all ages.
- Rather expensive.
- Canister looks like cardboard which may allow moisture into the product.
- Also may be hard to dispense evenly.
A spray mist that can be adjusted to spray light or heavy.
Allows an owner to do a light coverage or heavy.
Very flexible product with the choice of light or heavy spraying.
Only mist that I could find.
Some owners will love this.
- Adjustable mist spray.
- All natural.
- Comes in scents from Fragrance Free to Anti-Itch.
- A fairly large bottle.
- Really rather expensive.
- Although the bottle is large it is one of the more expensive products.
- Doesn’t state whether it can be used on puppies.
There is not a lot of description on this product, so how it actually cleans is not easy to discern.
It is a spray but the directions were scant.
The name imparts the scent, perhaps, but not much else.
I was a bit unclear on it, but will try it.
- Hypoallergenic, yet comes in several scents, from cucumber to papaya.
- PH Balanced, all natural
- Doesn’t state its good for puppies.
- Doesn’t state whether it’s a mousse or spray, looks like a mousse.
8 oz. pump spray bottle.
Cleans very well, with very little of the product.
Great for ridding skunk spray smell.
Only product I found that specifically mentioned skunk smell removal.
This would perhaps be a very good choice for those that live in rural areas where skunks are apparent.
Dogs love to bark and chase after them!
- Vet recommended.
- For dogs and cats.
- Made in USA.
- It’s soothing with apple, 7/coconut and oatmeal.
- No fragrance-free variety.
- Doesn’t specify for puppies.
This is a spray that deodorizes, cleans, and detangles.
Good for dogs with longer coats or those that tangle.
Wire-coated dogs and puppies would also benefit.
Larger breeds with heavy undercoats would be another dog type that would benefit.
- Perfect for dogs that have long coats that mat.
- Combines cleaning with detangling.
- Has a great vanilla and amber scent and other great scents.
- Rather expensive.
- Doesn’t specify puppies.
A good all-around product for actually any type of small furry animal even ferrets or cats.
A surprising product that eliminates tough odors.
Best for small animals.
Ferrets can have an odor so a dog or puppy that is more odorous would benefit.
- Can be purchased and used on dogs, cats, ferrets, an entire household of pets, so no need for all types of products.
- Small list of ingredients but all non-toxic.
- Very small bottle that is mid-priced, and only recommended for small animals as you would need a caseload to spot clean a Great Dane!
Easy Home Remedy: DIY
Vinegar and Water
A home remedy.
This is a money saver of course, and a time saver, as no product needs to be specially purchased!
- Cheap and all natural.
- No artificial anything.
- No need to read labels.
- Needs a fragrance added to make a dog smell great, otherwise the odors and dirt are just removed and there is a sharp vinegar smell.
Waterless Dog Shampoo Related FAQs
# Can a Dry Shampoo Bath Take the Place of Regular Bathing?
While dry shampoos are good for touch ups and quick bathing, a regular bath is still needed from time to time.
Dogs and puppies can get embedded dirt and fleas and ticks and a good regular bath is still the best way to make sure they are perfectly squeaky clean.
# Can I Use Human Dry Shampoo on Dogs?
No, human dry shampoos usually have many additives and preservatives, and are geared to human hair which is very much unlike “fur”.
Human Dry Shampoos also focus on providing volume and are brushed out, not wiped out. Residue would build up on a dog.
# Can I Make My Own Waterless Dry Shampoo?
Yes, several good recipes exist for both wet and waterless shampoos using ingredients such as vinegar, cornstarch and some essential oils.
Although there are so many different varieties of waterless dog shampoos for all types of pooches, you must read the ingredients thoroughly and decide which is best for you and your own dog or dogs.
I, myself found that I preferred, after MUCH trial and error, PL360 Foaming Dog Shampoo
This smells great, has a variety of scents, such as pomegranate, oatmeal, verbena, and others.
It’s a good price, all natural, and not too floral for my dogs.
It’s easy to apply and a little goes a long way.
It also conditions their coats so they look as good as they smell.
This is my hands down winner!
I also admit though, that “in a pinch” I do make my own with vinegar and water, adding just a drop of essential oil fragrances.
This can work well too and I can have a good alternative to a purchased, pre-made product.
Honestly, I adore waterless shampoo bathing and I’m sure you will too!