Best Dry Shampoo for Dogs: Our Honest Opinion

Updated: May 11, 2022

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Life would be so much easier if all dogs loved bath time. However, this is generally not the case. Even if your pup doesn’t mind a good bath, getting them into the tub and cleaning them thoroughly can require quite the effort. In other cases, a dogs aren’t able to be bathed if recovering from an illness or surgical procedure. Without properly timed baths, dirt and bacteria settle into dogs fur and on their skin, causing unpleasant odors. Other times, dogs love to get smelly by rolling in gross patches of grass or the yard. So, what do you do when your dog is in need of a bath and you just don’t have the time, space, and/or energy? Well, there is a simple solution that humans love for themselves…dry shampoo, but for canines!

Dry shampoo for dogs is similar to that of our own. It is a cleansing product that removes excess sebum and dirt without needing to be rinsed off. In addition, it has a deodorizing effect, minimizing your dog’s bad odor and adding fresh scents. Over-washing your dog can actually become a problem and lead to skin infections, irritations, or even loss of hair. Waterless shampoos are a great way to avoid and minimize these situations while maintaining your dog’s hygiene and your sanity.

There are different types of waterless, no-rinse dog shampoos, from foaming mousse and powder to sprays and aerosols. The foam is applied by gently massaging it into your dog’s fur opposite to the direction of hair growth, followed by towel drying. The spray is self-explanatory: you spray it evenly onto your dog’s coat. Spray is probably the easiest application of dry shampoo, though some pets aren’t keen on getting sprayed. The third type of dry shampoo is powder. Typically, its main ingredients are starch and clay and it is applied directly on the dog’s fur. However, excess powder may whiten the dog’s coat, meaning extra work to brush out the powder and dirt. 

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Dirty dog smell is one of the toughest parts of owning a dog – it seeps into everything, including your bedding and car. Sometimes, worse than the odor, is having to bathe your dog to get rid of it. My dog is not a water-loving lab, but actually a very fluffy collie who who detests baths, so it takes me hours of whining and flailing to bathe him. We spend a lot of time outdoors together on hikes, the beach, at the dog park, or even accidentally getting caught in the rain. Dry shampoo has saved me time but also my relationship with my dog because it’s no more fussing every time he’s dirty (which is often). And he loves it! I simply use a foam or spray and give him a good brushing (which he likes) and it’s no more odor for me and a happy dog for him!

As someone who looks for natural, organic ingredients, I am happy to find many products on the market cater to these needs. Also, they strive to create non-toxic, paraben-free, and biodegradable formulas for dogs of all skin types and in indoor or outdoor situations. Not only is this safer for the environment but for your pet as well. Here are some reasons why you should look for a dry dog shampoo free from ingredients like these:

Parabens

“Parabens” is an overarching term for a group of chemicals used as preservatives in cosmetics and shampoos/conditioners for humans and pets. These chemicals are thought to disrupt hormones in the body, leading to issues with fertility and increasing the risk for cancers.

Pthalates

Phthalates, often referred to as “plasticizers,” are known to make plastics more durable and are found in many cosmetic products. The use of these chemicals is thought to be detrimental to organ functioning in the body.

SLS

 Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, SLS, is a surfactant found in cleaning supplies and cosmetics. The substance has been linked to cancers, neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, etc.

It is ideal to find products free from these chemical additives to prevent harming your furry friend and to keep them healthy overall.

  1. Wahl Pet Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo
  2. Wahl Pet Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo

    •Easy use, foaming, waterless shampoo for dogs

    •Multiple scents

    •Natural ingredients



    Check Amazon
  3. Burt's Bees Waterless Shampoo for Dogs
  4. Burt's Bees Waterless Shampoo for Dogs

    •Natural ingredients waterless shampoo spray

    •Easy use on dogs

    •Affordable

    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  5. COAT DEFENSE Canine Daily Preventative Powder
  6. COAT DEFENSE Canine Daily Preventative Powder

    •All-natural ingredient waterless dog shampoo powder

    •Preventative against yeast infection

    •Soothes skin irritation from minor rashes/wounds

    Check Amazon
  7. Vet Recommended Waterless Dog Shampoo
  8. Vet Recommended Waterless Dog Shampoo

    •Spray waterless shampoo for dogs, rabbits, and cats

    •Hypoallergenic & biodegradable

    •Fresh, fruity scent

    Check Amazon
  9. Arm & Hammer Dry Dog Shampoo
  10. Arm & Hammer Dry Dog Shampoo

    •Easy-use dry shampoo for dogs

    •Natural ingredients

    •Under $10

    •Many scents

    Check Chewy Check Amazon

Our top Picks for Best Dry Shampoo for Dogs: Ranked 

#1 Best Overall: Wahl Pet Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo for Animals

Our team unanimously voted Wahl’s Pet Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo as the best overall dry shampoo in the market today.

This foaming mousse is incredibly easy to use. Just pump some into your palm and start massaging it into your dog’s coat. Afterwards, give them a quick wipe down with a hand towel and then brush out excess to leave your dog smelling sweet. 

This dry shampoo comes in two formulas. One is lavender and chamomile which has a calming effect, while the other is made of oatmeal extract, aloe vera, and coconut lime verbena for a fresh and clean smell. As for the ingredients, we were delighted to find all-natural, plant-derived cleansing agents (mostly derived from coconut). The addition of the guar conditioner keeps dogs’ coats soft. Additionally, the formula is pH balanced, alcohol-free, PEG 80 free, and paraben-free. 

There aren’t any real drawbacks to using this dog shampoo as far as we’ve seen other than people who are sensitive to scented products.

Do take note that this dog shampoo is in no way a replacement for actual baths with soap and water. But it will help keep your dog clean and fresh in between baths.

Best Overall
Wahl Pet Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo

•Easy use, foaming, waterless shampoo for dogs

•Multiple scents

•Natural ingredients



Check Amazon

#2 Best Spray: Burt’s Bees for Dogs Waterless Shampoo

The next best thing to Wahl’s Waterless Shampoo is Burt’s Bees Waterless Shampoo for dogs. This spray certainly made things convenient for us to get our dogs smelling great and their coats soft and looking clean. 

Like our overall pick, Burt’s Bees is mostly made of natural ingredients; 97%, in fact. Some of the ingredients include apple, honey, and eucalyptus. The product is also pH balanced so as to not irritate skin and is free of added fragrances, sulfates, colorants, and harsh chemicals. 

The Burt’s Bees spray is easy to use and safe for pets and even recommended by many veterinarians. You may ask why this is not our number one pick? Well, the product can cause some irritation to canine eyes. Another reason is that the scent doesn’t last long, especially if your dog likes rolling around outside.

Best Spray
Burt's Bees Waterless Shampoo for Dogs

•Natural ingredients waterless shampoo spray

•Easy use on dogs

•Affordable

Check Chewy Check Amazon

#3 Best Powder: COAT DEFENSE Canine Daily Preventative Powder

Our favorite choice for the powder version of dry shampoo for dogs is the COAT DEFENSE brand because, not only does it deodorize, but it relieves itchy skin and even provides wound care.

The powder is all-natural; it’s made of arrowroot powder, bentonite clay, corn starch, and organic cedarwood oil. The formula is specially created to soothe your dog’s skin from yeast infections and skin irritation from bug bites, rashes, hives, dermatitis, etc.

The powder is very easy to use by just sprinkling it into the fur of your dog and brush it through. Additionally, massage in between toes of paws for extra relief from biting/chewing. One of our reasons for choosing this powder as our favorite out of those on the market is that it can also be sprinkled on bedding or sleeping spots to decrease odor and increase your pet’s comfort.

COAT DEFENSE helps absorb excess moisture that may lead to yeast infections safely and without toxins or talc, so that the powder is pet safe, preventative, and works alongside your dog’s natural biome.

While this preventative powder sounds amazing for relief of yeast infections or minor wounds, as well as odor elimination, it is always important to get any skin infections, irritations, wounds, or abnormal looking patches of missing fur checked by your veterinarian before administering the powder to these areas.

Best Powder
COAT DEFENSE Canine Daily Preventative Powder

•All-natural ingredient waterless dog shampoo powder

•Preventative against yeast infection

•Soothes skin irritation from minor rashes/wounds

Check Amazon

As the name of this product already suggests, the Vet Recommended Waterless Dog Shampoo is just that – a no-rinse dog shampoo recommended by veterinarians. The formula is hypoallergenic and 100% biodegradable. It’s free from alcohol, detergents, and dyes. Plus, it is specifically designed to not interfere with your pet’s topical flea and tick treatment. Did we mention that this product is safe to use on other animals like cats and rabbits?

Using this spray is pretty easy. Just spritz a little over your dog’s coat, let it settle for a minute and then wipe your dog down with a clean cloth. The scent is light and smells of apples, perfect for those sensitive to fragrances. Even better, it removes bad smells coming from your dog. Based on our tests, this freshness lasts up to 3 days. 

Another thing that made this dry shampoo stand out is that the company offers a lifetime, 100% money-back guarantee without even returning the bottle. With how budget-friendly the price is, this dog shampoo is a steal. Overall, it’s easy to see why vets recommend this product. 

Best Vet Recommended
Vet Recommended Waterless Dog Shampoo

•Spray waterless shampoo for dogs, rabbits, and cats

•Hypoallergenic & biodegradable

•Fresh, fruity scent

Check Amazon

#5 Most Affordable: Arm & Hammer Deodorizing Foam for Dogs

Understandably, many dog parents are looking for a product that works well but doesn’t break the bank, making Arm & Hammer Deodorizing Foam for Dogs our top choice for this category.

The Arm & Hammer foam utilizes the power of baking soda to naturally remove debris from your dog’s coat while also eliminating unwanted odors. Free from parabens, SLS, and phalates, the formula is tailored for use on virtually all dogs without leaving behind skin irritation or discomfort. The product is also pH balanced and enriched with natural ingredients to nourish skin and fur.

The product leaves behind a fresh, juniper mist scent which is subtle but pleasant. Arm & Hammer provides the waterless shampoo in two forms: foam and spray. Each come in a variety of scents and are hassle-free to use. At around $6.00, this product is absolutely worth the purchase.

Most Affordable
Arm & Hammer Dry Dog Shampoo

•Easy-use dry shampoo for dogs

•Natural ingredients

•Under $10

•Many scents

Check Chewy Check Amazon

Best Dry Shampoo Summary

Our tops picks for dry shampoo are below, ranked in order.

RankBest ForProduct
1OverallWahl Pet Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo for Animals
2Spray SolutionBurt’s Bees for Dogs Waterless Shampoo
3PowderFresh Dog Dry Shampoo Powder
4Vet-RecommendedVet Recommended Waterless Dog Shampoo
5AffordabilityArm & Hammer Deodorizing Foam for Dogs

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About the Author

AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

Best Dry Shampoo for Dogs: Our Honest Opinion FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is the best dry shampoo for dogs?

The best dry shampoo for dogs is one that is safe, made of ingredients that are natural and not toxic to your beloved pooch. It should not have synthetic ingredients because these could harm your dog’s coat and skin. In addition, it could harm your dog if he suddenly starts licking the strange shampoo you suddenly started using in him.

The dry shampoo should also be easy to use. Your dog should not feel uncomfortable getting cleaned using this product. If your doggo isn’t a fan of sprays, for example, you might want to opt for a foaming mousse instead. The best dry shampoo for your pooch shouldn’t be difficult to apply. No muss, no fuss.

The shampoo should also be pH balanced and cause no allergic reactions. Moreover, it should keep your dog smelling fresh for a good long while between actual baths.

Is dry shampoo good for dogs?

Yes, it is. First of all, it wouldn’t be vet-recommended if it wasn’t. Second, there are instances when a dog should not be bathed too frequently or at all. Too many baths can dry up a dog’s coat and skin which can cause itching and allergies. Dogs who are suffering from incontinence and those who have undergone surgery, for example, need to stay clean but can’t always (if at all) take an actual bath. A dry shampoo can get rid of any muck and dirt on their body and keep them smelling fresh. It is important to keep in mind, however, that you do not use a dry shampoo as a replacement for traditional baths.

How often can I dry shampoo my dog?

As we’ve already mentioned, using waterless dog shampoo is not a replacement for good grooming and a bath with regular soap and water. Dry shampoos are simply used to perform a quick cleaning whenever it just isn’t possible to give him a thorough cleaning.

According to experts, a dog should get a regular bath once a week at the most. Anything more frequent than that can cause their skin and coat to dry. That being said, the type of dog, his environment, the condition of his skin, and his activity level will dictate how frequent the traditional baths should be. In general, a dog with normal skin can be bathed once a month to once every month and a half. You can use a dry shampoo in between the regular baths, as much as once a week. If you’re unsure about the ideal bathing schedule for your dog, consult his vet.

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