Like anyone, chances are you have the need for a dry shampoo for your dog from time to time.
After a romp in the dog park, maybe you want to clean the mud from the pond without a full-scale bath before bedtime. Perhaps your daughter got some sticky candy mess on your prize standard poodle just before you were about to go into the show ring.
Whatever the case, we have made it our mission to find the best waterless shampoo for dogs and try to determine what works about our top five choices.
Quick Picks: The 5 Top-Rated Waterless Shampoos for Dogs
Last update on 2024-02-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Check our best pick above, or keep reading for product reviews and buying guide!
5 Best Waterless Shampoos for Dogs – Reviews
1. BioSilk for Dogs Silk Therapy Deep Moisture Waterless Shampoo Spray
Like Farouk’s BioSilk Therapy hair-care product line for people, BioSilk for dogs uses human-grade ingredients. A proprietary blend of silk and soy proteins along with almond oil nourishes the skin and coat, oatmeal extracts cleanse them, and aloe vera soothes.
This is a spray that requires simple brushing with no wiping with a cloth.
- This shampoo is similar to a leave-in conditioner, with deep-moisturizing components.
- The product may be a good detangler for mild to moderate hair mats.
- It has a heat protectant if you blow dry your dog’s coat much.
- The shampoo has a fresh scent similar to its human counterpart.
- It comes in a spray bottle and does not require any wiping.
- This formulation is pH-balanced for a dog’s skin.
- The products cause severe reactions in allergic dogs.
- Human and canine lines are not interchangeable.
2. Lillian Ruff Waterless Dog Shampoo – No Rinse Quick Dry Shampoo
This waterless shampoo is the ultimate for convenience. You literally spray it on and brush it through – no wiping the coat down. I had a friend with a basenji once. That little dog hated towels of any kind – he would become a piranha at the sight of one. This would have been perfect for him.
Lilian Waterless shampoo incorporates the benefits of essential oils like coconut, lavender, and aloe. All three have skin-soothing and conditioning properties.
- Lavender and coconut oils naturally repel fleas and ticks.
- This product comes in a spray which is extremely convenient for many consumers.
- All grooming products by Lilian Ruff are free of parabens, dyes, preservatives, and sulfates.
- It is gluten-free for dogs and people sensitive to contact with this substance.
- It has a neutral, fresh, long-lasting scent.
- The spray nozzle can become dysfunctional after a few uses.
- This product may not work well for heavy soiling.
3. Dry Dog Shampoo, Waterless, No Rinse Foam Mousse
Geared towards customer service and cruelty-free manufacturing and research practices, Paws Choice has a waterless foam that promises thorough cleansing and a pleasant fragrance. This product is guaranteed to satisfy, with unconditional replacement or full refunds in the first 30 days. Their foam is coconut-derived and uses no harsh chemicals.
- This foam does a better job than other waterless shampoos in removing bacteria responsible for odors.
- Their manufacturing facility is monitored and certified by the EPA.
- It does not use any sodium laureth sulfate, a prominent detergent or soap.
- This waterless shampoo has a long-lasting pleasant scent.
- Conditioners make the coat shiny and soft.
- It may leave a slight residue on some dogs.
- The scent is overpowering for some.
4. Wahl Natural Pet No-Rinse Waterless Shampoo Lavender
Known also for their dog clippers, Wahl makes a few quality grooming products. They make a waterless shampoo that serves the dual purpose of cleansing and soothing the skin. Wahl uses plant-derived ingredients, including aloe vera, oatmeal extract, vegetable and coconut glycerin and oils.
Wahl uses a signature blend of coconut, lime, and verbena(plant genus that includes lavender) that provides the shampoo’s distinct and soothing properties and aroma.
- The shampoo has a fresh scent.
- No paraben, alcohol or PEG-80 features in this product.
- Clients report there is no residue with use.
- This shampoo provides good conditioning for the coat.
- It provides very effective odor control, even for skunk mishaps.
- The cleansing effects do not seem to last long, maybe only a day.
- The shampoo does not come as a spray, which would be more convenient for many people.
5. Miracle Dog Shampoo
One of the original products of its kind, Miracle Coat Shampoo uses all natural ingredients. Clover Extract, White Ginger Extract, Clove Extract, Chamomile Extract, and Jasmine Extract are just a few of the pharmaceutical-grade essential oils used for cleansing, moisturizing, and conditioning the skin and fur.
If clean to you means a shampoo lather, rinse-free included, this spray forms a luxurious foam. Over time you will notice a shinier coat with fewer mats if your dog has long hair.
- It has a fresh, clean traditional scent that is not overwhelming to most.
- Many people use it as a leave-in conditioner for their dogs – good moisturizer and minimal residue.
- The shampoo functions as a good detangler.
- It penetrates well to the undercoat.
- Some reported there was too much lather.
- The shampoo can be particularly irritating to damaged skin or areas of open skin.
What Exactly Is Waterless Shampoo for Dogs?
Waterless shampoos, like dry shampoos for people, do not require you to rinse them out. This is the waterless component. The shampoo itself may be a liquid in the form of a spray, gel, or foam, or it may be a powder. A waterless shampoo mainly works by absorbing excess oils from your dog’s skin, responsible for many doggie odors.
You can apply dry shampoos in a variety of situations. A spot-cleaning of certain soiled areas is the most common application, but these types of shampoos can take on the role of generalized cleansers.
You and your pet will be best served if you mainly use waterless shampoos between full wet baths. Waterless or dry dog baths are good for light to moderate cleansing. Since you never entirely remove the shampoos, grime does accumulate.
How to Use Waterless Shampoo for Dogs?
Follow the instruction on the shampoo bottle, but basically how you use it depends on its form.
For foam, liquid or gel, you will dispense the product through however much of the coat you need to treat. Wipe with a dry cloth or towel and brush. Some people choose to use a blow dryer as the area you apply the product to will get wet.
With the powder, of course, you will skip the drying phase and simply brush the coat out.
Some waterless shampoos, although they go on wet, do not require or even recommend that you wipe them off. Always pay attention to instructions because they can directly correlate with the success or failure of your results.
What Is the Reality of Waterless Shampoos for Dogs?
You will get much more enjoyment and satisfaction out of bathing your dog with a waterless shampoo if you manage your expectations.
Waterless Shampoos Do Not Provide Substitutions for Baths
The best no-rinse shampoo will not take the place of immersing your dog in water to rinse away dead skin cells, oils, environmental contaminants and allergens, and general dirt and funk. Initially, there may have been an idea to create a way never to bathe a dog, but this did not materialize.
Waterless shampoos provide an excellent means to spot-clean your dog or to cleanse him between bathing or grooming appointments. They are good for emergencies if you do not have time to give your pet a complete bath. Waterless shampoos can also do well to decrease the frequency of baths for dogs who do not like water.
Finally, waterless shampoos for dogs work well for post-operative dogs or debilitated dogs who should not get wet for fear of ruining incisions or bandages or for health considerations that may increase with stress or getting soaked.
Waterless Shampoos May Not Lather
Even waterless shampoos that come as a foam or mousse do not lather like shampoos you would rinse. This makes sense as it would do you no good to create a soapy lather in a substance that stays on your dog’s skin and fur.
You know how difficult some lathers are to rinse out even with several deluges of water. And yet, it is a common complaint that someone will use a full bottle of waterless shampoo trying to obtain a good lather. Think of a no-rinse liquid-based shampoo as going on more like a no-rinse conditioner than a lathering cleansing agent.
Waterless Dog Shampoo Ingredients
The most important components in waterless dog shampoos are the ingredients
Ingredients in waterless shampoos must be effective, but they also must be safe for your pet. Waterless shampoos, since they are not rinsed off, must undergo more rigorous safety standards than regular shampoos.
Assume your dog will groom himself and ingest shampoo. The other thing to consider is prolonged contact with a topical substance means the potential for some to be absorbed into your dog’s bloodstream does exist.
Ingredients in waterless shampoos, of course, must be nontoxic, but ideally should be natural. If your dog does ingest some, it should not affect him any more than eating a bread crumb.
- Parabens can cause disturbances in endocrine and reproductive functions and have even been implicated in some forms of cancer.
- Ethanol or alcohol and EDTA can increase the absorption of other ingredients, specifically harmful ones, into your dog’s bloodstream.
- Cocamide DEA is an ammonia-derived compound and potentially toxic.
- Artificial colors or dyes have been linked to allergies and other serious illnesses in dogs.
Pay the same attention to waterless shampoo labels as you do to dog food labels.
All the five waterless shampoos we reviewed here did a good job of providing safe and effective products for dogs and the people who love them.
We chose Dry Dog Shampoo, Waterless, No Rinse Foam Mousse as a stand-out among the no-rinse shampoos for dogs because of its exclusion of soap and alcohol, its effectiveness, and its focus on environmental considerations. We felt it was particularly well-suited to our criteria for natural ingredients when you go about trying to choose the best waterless shampoo for dogs.