Dry Shampoo for Dogs: Love It, Rub It, and Keep it Natural

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Dry Shampoo for DogsBefore you think that dry shampoo for dogs is just another fad, listen.

The love between you and your dog can withstand many things. But for most people, and the sake of others around you, that doggie smell is honestly not one of them!

Not to mention the fact that while some dogs may leap for joy as you bring out the sponge that indicates you’re about to start their bath time, others will literally run for the hills, or under the far corner of the nearest table.

It’s hard washing a dog. We get it. And we’re not saying to forever forego giving that stinky good boy of yours a good scrub in the tub. BUT, there are times, when dry shampoo for dogs comes in handy…

The Benefits of Dry Shampoo for Dogs

Just like us, dogs need regular bathing.

A dog’s body has sebaceous glands, as humans do, that secrete an oily substance called sebum. Sebum keeps skin and hair moist and shiny, but when it builds up too much, it does stink and makes fur or hair or fur look greasy or dull.

But unlike the gif above, we can’t always afford the time (or work) to bathe those puppers.

Close up of white pet dry shampoo in a glass jar

Using a dry shampoo for dogs in between a full water bath offers a quick alternative to freshen up your dog’s coat and their body odor. You just massage it in and the job is done. You’ll both probably enjoy the experience and want to keep it in your grooming routine.

Save Water and Time by Using Dry Shampoo for Dogs

Using a dry shampoo for your dog saves on water and your time.

If you’re traveling, away for a short break, or on vacation with your dog, a dry shampoo will deodorize and keep their skin and coat healthy until you are home again.  So long as they haven’t rolled extensively in something very dirty or smelly of course! 

Short of time after work, or expecting visitors and don’t have time to wash and dry the dog before your guests arrive? Use a waterless shampoo on your pooch so they are presentable enough for your company.

Do you need to spot check those dirty paws before coming indoors? A waterless spray shampoo for dogs may do trick.

How Does Dry Shampoo for Dogs Work?

The dry shampoos for dogs on the market today come in powder form, foams, gels and sprays that are easy to apply.

Dry shampoos for dogs work by absorbing that build-up or sebum, or oil, in your dog’s coat. The main base ingredients in powder products are usually types of starch and clay. These absorb any excessive build-up of moisture. Added fragrances and scents help with odor control.

And because you can know that smelly odor and dirty fur your pup is giving off from anywhere, it’s good to tackle it before it contaminates your nice leather couch.

As dry shampoo products stay on your dog, they don’t remove the sebum, so you will still need to give them regular water baths for cleaning, but you won’t need to use water for the in-between times.

List of Ingredients for Pet Shampoo: Dry Edition

There is a range of ingredients used in dry editions of waterless shampoo products. They vary depending on the type and the manufacturer.

Common ingredients in waterless shampoos for pets include those that fall within the natural spectrum. But they may also be with or without the addition of other chemicals and synthetic ingredients.

Powdered versions may include sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), Zea mays (cornstarch or maize) and essential oils. Foam and spray products may include Cocamidopropyl betaine (a coconut oil derivative), honey and apple cider vinegar. Synthetic ingredients may include sulfates, parabens, artificial colors, and fragrances.

Commercial Dry Shampoo for Dogs: Safety Concerns

Because animals, especially dogs and cats, self-groom and lick their paws and fur, they can ingest anything and everything into their bodies, as well as absorb products through their skin.

Their sense of smell is also far greater than ours, so a fragrance that might smell innocuous to a human nose could irritate your dog. As such, there are safety concerns to be aware of when you are using commercially prepared dry shampoos for dogs.

Read the Label for Toxins and Allergens!

Always read the label or check the manufacturer’s website for the ingredients used in commercial pet shampoo products.

Learn about their properties and what is suitable for your dog’s skin type – especially if your dog tends to have any skin conditions such as sensitive skin, itchy skin, dry skin, flaky skin, or any known allergens. Be mindful of potential toxins both for your pet and the environment.

Keep Your Dog’s Natural Oils Balanced

Be aware that overuse of any shampoos can upset the balance of the natural oils in your dog’s coat that they need a level to be healthy and look great. When you’re using a waterless shampoo, you want to absorb the excess build-up only.

Be careful of soaking up all the natural oils on your dog’s skin and fur by using too much, or applying too often. Seek out products that are pH balanced and developed not to upset your dog’s natural production of sebum.

The Best Dry Shampoo for Dogs

When you are choosing a dry shampoo for your dog there are a few things to consider…

Look for quality and natural ingredients – the effects of anything else could result in harm to your pet and your wallet in the long term. Think about your dog’s skin and fur type, and where and how you are going to apply the product.

Best Dry Shampoo for Dogs with Dry Skin

Vet’s Best Dog Bath is a waterless foam product with aloe vera, oatmeal and neem oil to help moisturize dogs with dry skin. Developed so that it doesn’t affect the effectiveness of any flea treatments, it also has a mild aroma.

Best Dry Shampoo for Dogs with Sensitive Skin

Bodhi Dog Waterless Shampoo is a natural plant-based spray product developed especially for dogs and other pets with sensitive skin or allergies. It includes coconut and lemongrass and is free of any artificial detergents or chemicals that pets with sensitive skin may react to.

Best Dry Shampoo for Dogs Overall for a Clean, Smooth Coat

Burt’s Bees Waterless Shampoo for dogs is a natural cruelty-free product with apple extract and honey that give shine to your dog’s coat. This waterless shampoo is pH balanced specifically for dogs and has no added sulfates or colorants.

DIY Dry Shampoo for Dogs: A Good Idea?

Powder corn starch, baking soda, cacao, and essential oil which are ingredients of DIY dry shampoo for dogs

Making your own DIY dry shampoos for dogs can be a simple, easy and cost-effective way to give your dog a dry bath. You have full control over the ingredients that you use to put on your dog’s coat and can ensure the products you use are completely natural.

If you do opt to make your own DIY dog shampoo recipe, do a little research on ingredients suitable for canines and to suit your dog’s coat and skin. It can be wise to mix a little at first and do a spot test to check it’s ok for your pet.

Many of the ingredients for a basic homemade waterless powder dog shampoo recipe you probably already have in your home. For example, recipes for powder shampoos often include baking soda and cornstarch

Essential oils are great for odors and fleas will avoid the aroma given off by lavender and tea tree oil like the plague. Do note, however, that as essential oils are the essence or concentrate of a plant, they can be very potent in an undiluted state. Always check that you’re only using essential oils that are safe for pets, and in quantities specified.

Remember too, your dog has a very keen sense of smell – and they will be breathing it in through their nose directly and ingesting it when they lick their skin and coat.

A Recipe for Homemade Dry Shampoo for Dogs

There are many recipes available online for DIY and homemade dry shampoos for dogs in power and spray forms. Samoyed lover and blogger Kait’s Modern Hippie site includes a simple recipe using household ingredients to get you started with making your own.

  • Take 1 cup of cornstarch
  • half a cup of baking soda
  • 5-10 drops each of lavender and tea tree oils
  • mix them up in a shaker and you’re ready to go!

Doggos rejoice for Waterless Shampoo! Being smelly is no longer punishable by bath time!

Dogs who are not fans of water really do rejoice with the substitution of a waterless bath, and who wouldn’t?

A bit of loving one-on-one attention while a natural product is rubbed and massaged into your dog’s hair and fur, followed by feeling and smelling fresh – bliss!

Common Questions on Dry Shampoo for Dogs

Why use dry shampoo for dogs?
How do you make dry shampoo for dogs?
Where to buy dry shampoo for dogs?
What is the best dry shampoo for dogs with sensitive skin?
What is a dry shampoo for dogs recipe?

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  • Gloria Bocchetti says:

    Very thorough and informative. Thank you.

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