While nothing replaces the traditional suds-and-water bath for deep cleaning your dog's coat, dry shampoo is a quick way to remove excess oil and absorb odors. Dry shampoo is also handy during those cold winter months when exposing a wet dog to the elements is out of the question. While commercial dry shampoo mixtures are readily available in pet supply stores, you can make your own recipe at home and give your dog a quick cleaning.
The ingredients in dry dog shampoo serve two purposes: to soak up excess oil and grease from the dog's coat and to dislodge small bits of dirt and debris. Cornstarch, baby powder, or talc absorb oily residue, and baking soda neutralizes disagreeable odors. Table salt offers a mild abrasive effect when massaged through the dog's fur, dislodging small bits of dirt and dust.
Measure 2 cups of cornstarch or baby powder or a combination of both into a large plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Add ½ cup of baking soda and ½ cup of table salt and shake the sealed container until the contents are well blended. You can substitute unscented talc for the cornstarch or baby powder. In addition, cornmeal is a satisfactory substitute for table salt.
Sprinkle the dry dog shampoo over your dog's coat, taking care not to get the powder into its nose or its eyes. Massage the mixture deep within the dog's fur, using your fingers to rub the salt grains gently against his hide. Leave the dry shampoo on your dog for up to 10 minutes to allow the cornstarch or baby powder to absorb as much oil as possible before brushing your dog thoroughly to remove all of the mixture.
While salt assists in scrubbing away dirt from your dog's coat, some dog's have sensitive skin. Use only cornstarch or baby powder if your dog does not enjoy the massaging portion of its dry bath. In addition, do not use dry shampoo on a dog with open wounds. After thoroughly brushing all the dry shampoo from your dog's coat, you might rub a fabric softener dryer sheet over his fur to reduce static and to impart a clean scent.
In addition to cleaning your dog's coat, you can decrease the risk of fleas by adding a few drops of essential oil. These tiny vials of highly concentrated plant essence are available in health food stores. To repel fleas, add up to 10 drops of citronella essential oil and forcefully shake the dry shampoo container to disperse the oil.