Can I Use Dry Shampoo on My Dog?

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When you don't feel like washing your hair for a few days, you can put dry shampoo in it to make it look freshly styled. While you love waterless shampoo, and rely on it when you're having a busy week, you wonder: Could you also use it on your dog's coat?

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They do sell dry shampoo for dogs, but you don't know if it's great for your dogs' skin or your dog's coat. Shouldn't you just stick to regular doggy shampoo during bath time?


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Learning the scoop on waterless shampoo for dogs will help you decide whether or not to use it on your pup.

How do dry shampoos work?

Like humans, dogs have sebaceous glands attached to their hair follicles. Dogs have large numbers of sebaceous glands near their tail, back of the neck, paws, chin, and butt areas. The sebaceous glands produce sebum, oily matter that that keeps dogs' skin healthy and moisturized, as well as dogs' coats shiny and beautiful. If you don't wash your dog for a long time, sebum builds up, leaving your dog smelly. His coat won't look as fresh, either.


Dry shampoos treat your dogs' skin and hair; they absorb the extra oil that was produced from the skin, along with the fur or hair. They make your dog look and smell better at the same time.

Why use waterless shampoo?

Let's face it: Bath time can be a nuisance. Your pup probably hates being in the water, and you don't exactly like getting water splashed all over you. Have you ever noticed that when your dog shakes himself clean, he's aiming directly for your face? It isn't the most pleasant experience.


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Plus, you want to conserve water and save the environment at the same time. Instead of washing your dog every few weeks, you could simply use waterless shampoo in between washes.


If you have an older dog that can't stand in the shower or get into the bathtub, then dry shampoo is a great solution. Or, maybe you can't wash your dog because he has stitches in. Perhaps your dog is only smelly in one spot. In these cases, dry shampoo would be a good alternative to traditional bath time.



You could use dry shampoo when it's too cold outside for a bath, but you still want your dog to smell fresh and look great when you take him outside somewhere.

Dry shampoo is easy to use in a jiffy, so if you need to your dog to look and smell clean right away, it could help you achieve this.


How to use waterless shampoo on dogs

Dry shampoo comes in the form of sprays, powders, and gels. You will take the dry shampoo, apply it to your dog's coat, massage it in so it reaches his skin, and then wipe off or brush any residue that you see. Sometimes, it will simply dry, so you don't have to take that last step. You'll still need to bathe your dog in addition to using dry shampoo, but likely not as often.


Should you use dry shampoo on dogs?

You can absolutely use dry shampoo on your dog, however, you just need to make sure the kind you use is safe first. Always look for waterless shampoo with natural ingredients as opposed to synthetic ones. This is important not only for dogs with allergies or sensitive skin, but also for all dogs. Synthetic ingredients could harm your dog's coat and skin, and, since dogs are curious creatures, they could end up licking their coats and ingesting these ingredients as well. The safest bet is to choose a dry shampoo specifically made for dogs. There are many available, like this Burt's Bees Waterless Shampoo with Apple & Honey.


Make sure the waterless shampoo you choose for your dog is free of synthetic fragrances, detergents, sulfates, alcohol, artificial colors, parabens, and harsh dyes. It should be pH balanced and include natural moisturizers. If your dog is afraid of a spray bottle, choose a waterless shampoo that comes in the form of a powder or gel instead.

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Making a DIY dog shampoo

Instead of relying on dry shampoo from the store, you can make your own at home. Measure 2 cups of baby powder or cornstarch—or both—in a large plastic container that has a tight-fitting lid. If you want, you can use unscented talc instead of baby powder or cornstarch. Then, add ½ cup of table salt (or substitute cornmeal) and ½ cup of baking soda, and shake the container until everything is blended together.


Whether you use a DIY dry shampoo for your dog or you buy one from the store, it's best to use a little bit before putting it all over his skin and hair. Then, you can see if your dog has any allergic reaction to it before putting a lot of it on him. You should also ask your vet for recommendations for store-bought dry shampoo if you don't want to make your own.

Washing your dog

When you do decide it's time to wash your dog again, make sure you use a dog shampoo that's natural and free of synthetic ingredients as well. Don't use human shampoo on your dog, as it won't be formulated to handle the pH level of his skin; after all, the pH on a dog is more neutral than that of a human's, and you don't want to upset it. The only human soap that is suitable for a dog is Dr. Bronner's.


Dry shampoo is fine to use on your dog, as long as it's made of natural ingredients. You can use one that is specifically formulated for dogs, or you can use a "human" dry shampoo as long as it only contains natural ingredients, and does not contain anything that is toxic to dogs. You won't be able to get rid of bath time altogether, but it is a good alternative when your dog won't go for a traditional bath or you don't have time to give him one.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.


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