The Best Waterless Dog Shampoos for 2022

Written by Katie Melynn
Published: April 25, 2022
© 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.

A-Z-Animals Top Picks for Waterless Dog Shampoos

  1. Wahl Pet Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo
  2. Wahl Pet Friendly 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
  3. Arm & Hammer for Pets Ultra Fresh Dog Shampoos
  4. Arm & Hammer for Pets Ultra Fresh Dog Shampoos
    • Waterless shampoo foam spray
    • Budget-friendly
    • Comes in Juniper Mist scent
    • Contains baking soda to get rid of odors
    Check Amazon
  5. Mighty Mutt Hypoallergenic Waterless Shampoo for Dogs
  6. Mighty Mutt Hypoallergenic Waterless Shampoo for Dogs
    • Delivers great results
    • No residue on the dog's fur
    • Eco-friendly ingredients
    • No sulfates, parabens, dyes, phthalates, and other toxins
    Check Amazon
  7. Nootie Japanese Cherry Blossom Dog & Cat Waterless Shampoo Wipes
  8. Nootie Japanese Cherry Blossom Dog & Cat Waterless Shampoo Wipes
    • Made with aloe and oatmeal
    • Great to use when traveling
    • Moisturize your dog's skin
    • Come in three different scents
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  9. Dog Whisperer Hypoallergenic Puppy Shampoo
  10. 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

#1 Overall Best: 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. It 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.

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. “I squeeze the pump 1-2 times on my hand, rub it in between my hands and then apply it on the dog,” said one reviewer. She does this outside to keep things clean. “I do this on the outside deck because it loosens so much stuck on hair. I rub the dog until the product dries. It dries fast! I then take a comb and brush the dog thoroughly. Not because I have to, but because the dog enjoys it.” 

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

Best Waterless Shampoo
Wahl Pet Friendly 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 Budget Option: Arm & Hammer Ultra-Fresh No-Rinse Deodorizing Foam for Dogs

The affordable waterless shampoo foam spray from Arm & Hammer is a great choice for those who want something that is budget-friendly and smells great. It is one of the best options at any price point to combat stinky odors. The foam, which is our favorite, comes in Juniper Mist scent and has baking soda as one of its ingredients to combat unpleasant odors. 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 shed 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, finding an entire line that works for them is priceless.

Best Budget Option
Arm & Hammer for Pets Ultra Fresh Dog Shampoos
  • Waterless shampoo foam spray
  • Budget-friendly
  • Comes in Juniper Mist scent
  • Contains baking soda to get rid of odors
Check Amazon

3. Best Premium Shampoo: Mighty Mutt Hypoallergenic Waterless Shampoo for Dogs

This is a pricey shampoo but the Mighty Mutt Hypoallergenic Waterless dog shampoo is worth every penny for many pet owners. Compared to costly grooming appointments, this waterless dog shampoo that delivers great results is a fantastic value. “I highly recommend it for anyone that has a hard time physically giving baths, can’t afford a groomer like many of us, or has a dog like mine that freaks out at the sight of running water,” said one reviewer. Most noted that there wasn’t a residue on their dog’s fur after using Mighty Mutt, unlike some other waterless dog shampoos.

Mighty Mutt makes its products free of sulfates, parabens, dyes, phthalates, and other toxins. For dogs or owners with sensitivities or allergies, this can really help make the bathing process much more enjoyable and safer. Even if you just prefer all-natural products for their safe and eco-friendly ingredients, this is a great option.

Best Premium Shampoo
Mighty Mutt Hypoallergenic Waterless Shampoo for Dogs
  • Delivers great results
  • No residue on the dog's fur
  • Eco-friendly ingredients
  • No sulfates, parabens, dyes, phthalates, and other toxins
Check Amazon

4. Best Wipes: Nootie Japanese Cherry Blossom Dog & Cat Waterless Shampoo Wipes

Some dogs or owners prefer a handheld wipe to get an in-between bath clean. 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. Nootie waterless shampoo wipes come in three different scents. While most reviewers enjoyed the scents, they did say that they were quite strong. They 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. “Love using these on my furbabies to keep them fresh in between baths,” she said. “They smell great and leave them smelling wonderful. Just wish they were a little thicker cause my 70-pound Pit requires several. But my smaller two only require one. Still great to buy to keep them smelling good.”

Best Wipes
Nootie Japanese Cherry Blossom Dog & Cat Waterless Shampoo Wipes
  • Made with aloe and oatmeal
  • Great to use when traveling
  • Moisturize your dog's skin
  • Come in three different scents
Check Chewy Check Amazon

5. Best for Puppies: Dog Whisperer Hypoallergenic Puppy Shampoo

Dog Whisperer waterless 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.

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. It’s also important to consider the way that your dog prefers to be freshened up and look for something that is easy to apply.

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, look for a spray or foam that builds in that step.

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.

Waterless Dog Shampoo Spray or Foam

ProsCons
Very thoroughRequires longer application
Comes in multiple scentsExcess has to be toweled off
Lasts for a long time

Waterless Dog Shampoo Wipes

ProsCons
Easy to applyCreates more waste
Great for travelRequires frequent repurchasing
Can do one small spot at a time

Verified Review: User Experience

Our #1 choice, Wahl Waterless dog shampoo, gets top marks from reviewers for its effectiveness and ease of use. “When my dog has been on the smelly side but not quite ready for a bath, I use it to cut down on odor and oil on his fur,” said one pet owner. “We use it almost every day considering he sleeps in the bed with me. Highly recommend. It’s a staple for us in our grooming routine.”

It’s also a great choice to mix with water without having to worry about rinsing after. “I use these in my dog’s MudBuster to clean his paws off before he comes into the house when it is muddy outside or he gets his paws really dirty for whatever reason,” wrote one reviewer. “When I use this, I always use it with water, first putting a couple of pumps of it into the empty MudBuster, then filling the MudBuster with water. So while every time that I have used this, I have used it mixed in water, I don’t rinse my dogs’ paws off with plain water afterward either.”

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 is a Teaching Artist with The APEX Arts Magnet Program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland and was awarded an Author Fellowship to Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. She also enjoys spending time with her three kids and cat.

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