The Best Waterless Dog Shampoos

Written by Katie Melynn Wood
Updated: May 27, 2024
© yurakrasil/Shutterstock.com

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Keeping your dog clean is an important part of being a responsible dog owner. But not all dogs like getting baths or frolicking in the water. If your pup doesn’t want to get into water or you just need a way to get them clean quickly on the go, waterless dog shampoo is a great option.

While you should still work regular bathing into your dog’s routine, using a waterless shampoo can provide some freshening up between baths. With formulas with natural ingredients, pleasant fragrances, and easy-to-use spray nozzles, there is an option for everyone and every pup. We’ve compiled our top favorite waterless shampoos at a variety of price points to keep your dog fresh and clean.

  1. Wahl Waterless No Rinse Shampoo
    • Made with all-natural ingredients
    • Oatmeal-based formula
    • No alcohol, parabens, and PEG-80
    • Just massage the foam into your dog's coat
    Check Amazon
  2. Arm & Hammer Ultra-Fresh No-Rinse Deodorizing Foam for Dogs
    • Waterless shampoo foam spray
    • Budget-friendly
    • Comes in Juniper Mist scent
    • Contains baking soda to get rid of odors
    Check Amazon
  3. Nootie Waterless Shampoo Wipes for Dogs & Cats
    • Made with aloe and oatmeal
    • Great to use when traveling
    • Moisturize your dog's skin
    • Come in three different scents
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  4. Dog Whisperer Hypoallergenic Puppy Shampoo
    • Contains coconut-based cleansers and conditioners
    • No SLS sulfates, phosphates, parabens
    • Keep puppy's coat shiny and clean
    • Hypoallergenic formula
    Check Chewy Check Amazon

A-Z-Animals Top Picks for Waterless Dog Shampoos

#1 Best Overall: Wahl Pet-Friendly Waterless No-Rinse Dog Shampoo

In our review, the best waterless dog shampoo is Wahl Pet-Friendly Waterless No-Rinse Dog Shampoo.

This shampoo is made with all-natural ingredients that are good for your dog’s skin while also being very effective. The oatmeal-based formula provides extra moisture that is great even for dogs with sensitive skin. It is scented with coconut lime verbena, which is light and fresh.

What isn’t in this shampoo is just as important as what is. It doesn’t include alcohol, parabens, and PEG-80 — a chemical that is common in personal care products that can be an irritant.

To use this waterless shampoo, just massage the foam into your dog’s coat, towel off any extra, and brush their coat out to get it all the way to the ends of each hair. It does take some time and your dog needs to sit relatively still or you risk getting foam all over the floor. Some owners choose to apply it outside to keep things clean indoors. Also, some reported that the scent is strong and can be a little overpowering at first.

Pros and Cons of the Wahl Pet-Friendly Waterless No-Rinse Dog Shampoo

ProsCons
This shampoo is made with all-natural ingredients.It can be time consuming and messy to apply.
It is suitable for dogs with sensitive skin due to the oatmeal-based formula.The scent is strong and can be overpowering at first.
It is pleasantly scented with coconut lime verbena.
It is free from alcohol, parabens, and PEG-80.
Best Overall
Wahl Waterless No Rinse Shampoo
  • Made with all-natural ingredients
  • Oatmeal-based formula
  • No alcohol, parabens, and PEG-80
  • Just massage the foam into your dog's coat
Check Amazon

2. Best on a Budget: Arm & Hammer Ultra-Fresh No-Rinse Deodorizing Foam for Dogs

The most affordable waterless shampoo is the Arm & Hammer Ultra-Fresh No-Rinse Deodorizing Foam for Dogs as it is budget-friendly and smells great.

This shampoo is one of the best options at any price point to combat stinky odors. The foam has a juniper mist scent and has baking soda as one of its ingredients to combat unpleasant odors. Plus, it has a balanced formula so that it doesn’t irritate sensitive skin. There is also a traditional spray for the same price in a wild jasmine scent.

Another thing that we like about the Arm & Hammer option is that it is part of a whole line of dog grooming products. You can use the traditional shampoo during baths. There are formulas for shedding control, whitening for dogs with light coats, puppy shampoo, itch relief, deep cleaning, and detangling. The two waterless options complement these formulas between baths. If you have a dog with sensitive skin or allergies then finding an entire line that works for them is priceless.

Unfortunately, some customers have reported that it makes their pet’s coat dull. Also, the scent doesn’t linger for more than a couple of dangers.

Pros and Cons of the Arm & Hammer Ultra-Fresh No-Rinse Deodorizing Foam for Dogs

ProsCons
This shampoo contains baking soda to combat odors.It can make dog’s coats dull.
It has a juniper mist scent.The scent doesn’t last for more than a couple of days.
It has a balanced formula so that it doesn’t irritate skin.
It available in a different scent.
Best on a Budget
Arm & Hammer Ultra-Fresh No-Rinse Deodorizing Foam for Dogs
  • Waterless shampoo foam spray
  • Budget-friendly
  • Comes in Juniper Mist scent
  • Contains baking soda to get rid of odors
Check Amazon

3. Best Wipes: Nootie Waterless Shampoo Wipes for Dogs & Cats

Some dogs or owners prefer a handheld wipe to give an in-between bath clean. So, for these situations we recommend the Nootie Waterless Shampoo Wipes for Dogs and Cats.

While not as thorough as some waterless spray or foam shampoos, having wipes in your grooming kit is a good idea even if you only use them for spot cleaning. These wipes come in three different scents. While most reviewers enjoyed the scents, they did say that they were quite strong. The wipes are made with aloe and oatmeal to nourish and moisturize your dog’s skin as they clean.

These are also great to take when traveling. If you are going into a potentially dirty area, such as a dog-friendly hike, it’s a good idea to have wipes on hand to clean up their paws and fur before you load them back into the car. Using these wipes is as simple as wiping away the dirt and debris. You may need to scrub a bit for dried-on mud or more stubborn messes.

Depending on the size of your dog, you may go through wipes pretty quickly. One reviewer noted that she used one on her smaller dogs and multiple on her larger dog.

Pros and Cons of the Nootie Waterless Shampoo Wipes for Dogs & Cats

ProsCons
These wipes are great for spot cleaning.The scent is quite strong.
They are available in three different scents.You sometimes need to use multiple wipes each time so can run through the pack quickly.
They are made from aloe and oatmeal which nourishes the skin.
Best Wipes
Nootie Waterless Shampoo Wipes for Dogs & Cats
  • Made with aloe and oatmeal
  • Great to use when traveling
  • Moisturize your dog's skin
  • Come in three different scents
Check Chewy Check Amazon

4. Best for Puppies: Dog Whisperer Hypoallergenic Puppy Shampoo

We all know that puppies love to investigate everything they come across, and sometimes they can get pretty grubby. Therefore, we recommend the Dog Whisperer Hypoallergenic Puppy Shampoo.

This shampoo is fantastic due to all the things it has in it and all of the potentially harmful things it omits. For puppies, it’s a great choice to make sure that you keep track of any potential allergen exposure. It also helps their little bodies develop without toxins and harsh chemicals.

The shampoo includes coconut-based cleansers and conditioners, zinc, vitamins E and Pro-V B5, organic aloe vera, and rosemary extract. All of these help keep your puppy’s coat shiny and clean, while also nourishing the skin underneath. This product does not include SLS sulfates, phosphates, parabens, PEG 80, Cocamidopropyl betaine, synthetic fragrances, or dyes. Some of these ingredients are known to cause health issues while others can be irritants that neither you nor your puppy wants to deal with.

We do need to mention that this waterless shampoo foam is for puppies older than 12 weeks. For very young puppies, it’s best to give baths with lukewarm water on a washcloth to keep their skin from drying out.

Pros and Cons of the Dog Whisperer Hypoallergenic Puppy Shampoo

ProsCons
This shampoo includes coconut-based cleansers and conditioners, zinc, vitamins E and Pro-V B5, organic aloe vera, and rosemary extract.It is not suitable for dogs less than 12 weeks old.
It is free from SLS sulfates, phosphates, parabens, PEG 80, Cocamidopropyl betaine, synthetic fragrances, and dyes.
It cleans the coat while nourishing the skin.
Best for Puppies
Dog Whisperer Hypoallergenic Puppy Shampoo
  • Contains coconut-based cleansers and conditioners
  • No SLS sulfates, phosphates, parabens
  • Keep puppy's coat shiny and clean
  • Hypoallergenic formula
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Choosing the Best: What to Look For

Great waterless dog shampoo is both effective and safe for your pet’s skin. However, there are few factors to consider before purchasing. Let’s look at them in more detail below.

Effectiveness

Waterless dog shampoos work by pulling excess oil out of your dog’s coat and away from their skin. This helps maintain a fresh coat even without a bath. Some waterless options can get greasy over time or leave behind a residue, two things that you want to avoid.

Safety

Look for ingredients that are familiar and safe for your pet’s skin. For pets with sensitive skin, a waterless shampoo that is mild is the best choice. Take care when using it around their eyes, ears, and mouths, especially when you try a new product. If you want to take it a step further, you can opt for an all-natural option or something that is free of harsh chemicals and fragrances.

Application

Most waterless dog shampoos are available in sprays, foams, or wipes. After application, it helps to towel down your dog and brush their coat to get the product everywhere it needs to be and remove any extra. If you have a very energetic dog who doesn’t want to sit still for very long, a swipe with a wipe might be easier for you to do. If brushing your dog is a bonding experience then look for a spray or foam option.

The Different Types of Waterless Dog Shampoo: Pros and Cons Compared

There are two main options for the application of waterless dog shampoo: spray or foam and wipes. Each has its pros and cons.

Spray or Foam

ProsCons
It is very thorough and effective.It takes longer to apply.
It is available in multiple scents.Excess has to be towelled off.
It lasts for a long time.

Wipes

ProsCons
They are easy to use.They create more waste.
You can do just one small spot at a time.Requires frequent repurchasing.

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About the Author

Katie is a freelance writer and teaching artist specializing in home, lifestyle, and family topics. Her work has appeared in At Ease Magazine, PEOPLE, and The Spruce, among others. When she is not writing, Katie teaches creative writing with the Apex Arts Magnet Program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. You can follow Katie @katiemelynnwriter.

The Best Waterless Dog Shampoos FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are the benefits of using a waterless shampoo on my dog.

The main advantage of waterless shampoo is that your dog doesn’t need to get wet just to get clean.  This is an advantage if you have a dog that doesn’t like water, if you’re in a cold place and haven’t the time to dry them off properly, or if you need to quickly clean your pet on the go.

How do waterless shampoos work?

Waterless shampoos are simple to use. Depending on the type you’re using you just either spray it on or rub it into your dog’s coat.  Then you just need to brush or comb your pet to work it through their coat and towel off any excess.  If you’re using waterless shampoo wipes then all you need to do is wipe your dog down with them.

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