When your dog is stinky, you don’t always want to give them a bath. Luckily, waterless dog shampoos can come to the rescue in these situations. If you’re someone with a dog that hates baths, waterless dog shampoos are a must-have in your household.
However, not all waterless dog shampoos are made equal. In fact, many on the market hardly work at all. If you want your dog to get clean, it’s important that you pick a quality, waterless dog shampoo.
Below, we’ll help you do just that. We’ve reviewed the best waterless dog shampoos on the market so that you can choose the best option for your needs.
A Quick Look at Our Winners in 2024
|Hepper No Rinse Shampoo
|Burt’s Bees Waterless Shampoo
|Nootie Soft Lilly Passion Waterless Dog Shampoo
|Ark Natural Waterless Dog Shampoo
|Dog Whisperer No Rinse Waterless Dog Shampoo
The 10 Best Waterless Dog Shampoos
1. Hepper No Rinse Shampoo – Best Overall
|Cucumber and Aloe
|Water, Polysorbate 20, Glycerin, and Fragrance
Out of all the dog-safe dry shampoos out there, Hepper No Rinse Shampoo is easily the best overall waterless dog shampoo on the market. It doesn’t include any soap, making it much gentler for your canine. The waterless formula really doesn’t require any rinsing.
All you need to do is apply the dry shampoo to your dog’s coat, massage it in, and then brush it out. It can be used as part of your dog’s normal grooming routine without needing to add water to the mix. The formula cleans and fragrances your dog all at once, working on even the stinkiest pets.
We love that the formula is pH-balanced and free from DEA, synthetic dyes, sulfates, and phthalates. In other words, it’s about as gentle as it gets. It’s even made in small batches in the USA. Therefore, it tends to be much higher quality than other shampoos on this list.
At Pet Keen, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!
2. Burt’s Bees Waterless Shampoo with Apple & Honey – Budget Buy
|Apple and Honey
|Water, Coco Betaine, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Glycerin, Honey, Beeswax, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate
If you’re looking for a cheaper waterless shampoo option, we highly recommend Burt’s Bees Waterless Shampoo with Apple & Honey. This shampoo is formulated to be gentle enough for dogs with sensitive skin while still being tough on odors and dirt.
To use it, you simply spray it from behind your dog’s ears to their tail and then rub it into their coat. (We found a “massaging” brush to be very useful for this step.) That’s it! It’s designed specifically for spot-cleaning, though you could use it to replace a whole bath if your canine is particularly afraid of water.
This formula is completely pH-balanced, which makes it gentler on your pet’s skin.
However, this formula may not be as effective as others. It isn’t heavily scented at all, and many users complained that it seems very watered down. This formula probably isn’t as concentrated as some other options, though that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In the end, this formula is still the best waterless dog shampoo for the money.
3. Nootie Soft Lily Passion Waterless Dog Shampoo
|Purified Water, Sodium C14-16, Olefin Sulfonate, Cocomidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin (Moisturizer), Polyquaternium-7 (Conditioner), Fragrance, Citric Acid, Aloe Vera Gel, Oatmeal Extract, Kathon CG (Preservative)
The Nootie Soft Lily Passion Waterless Dog Shampoo is more expensive than other options on the market. However, we found it to be much more effective overall. Therefore, you’re paying for the added effectiveness.
This formula is gentle and hypoallergenic, so it’s safe for even very young puppies. It’s designed to take the place of a full bath, especially for dogs that don’t like water. The foaming style makes it much more effective for dogs with longer fur, as it helps the formula penetrate deeply and lift up dirt.
While this formula is mostly designed to clean, it may also help reduce shedding and similar problems. It works best for drier fur. (For dogs with more oily fur, the company recommends their Sweet Pea & Vanilla formula.)
That said, this formula is strongly scented, so if you’re sensitive to smells, it may be a bit too scented.
4. Ark Natural Don’t Worry Don’t Rinse Me Waterless Dog Shampoo
|Balsam oil, Cedarwood oil, Rosemary oil, Orange oil, Water, Sodium Laurel Sertanista, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl, Betaine
The Ark Natural Don’t Worry Don’t Rinse Me Waterless Dog Shampoo comes in a rather large pump bottle that we quite like. It’s more expensive than other formulas, but the bottle is bigger.
To use it, you simply pump it onto your hands and massage it into your dog’s coat. You can brush or towel dry them if you want, but this isn’t necessary. It’s designed to moisturize your pet’s coat without making it oily, so you don’t have to remove it.
The formula is completely natural and mostly contains a series of different plant oils. It smells very good for this reason. It works great for use between baths when you want to eliminate odors or spot-clean your dog. However, it isn’t necessarily made to replace a whole bath.
That said, many users reported that they wished the smell was stronger. The scent is completely natural, so it isn’t necessarily as strong as some perfumed dry shampoos.
5. Dog Whisperer No Rinse Waterless Dog Shampoo
|Deionized Water, Organic Aloe Vera Juice, Renewable Coconut + Vegetable-Based Cleansers + Conditioners, Glycerin Derived Preservative, Fragrance Made with Essential Oils, Rosemary Leaf Extract, Fortifying Vitamins E And Pro-V B-5, Odor Neutralizer Derived from Zinc and Castor Oil
According to users, the Dog Whisperer No Rinse Waterless Dog Shampoo works pretty well. It’s designed to neutralize odors and condition your dog’s fur. Therefore, while it doesn’t actually do much cleaning, it works well for use between baths.
This shampoo does foam, which you rub into your dog’s coat. No towel drying or brushing is required afterward. You can simply leave this shampoo on your dog’s coat.
We like that this dry shampoo contains a range of different vitamins, which may help with minor skin problems. It includes vitamin E, for instance, which can help keep your dog’s skin and coat shiny. It also includes a range of organic ingredients, like aloe vera and rosemary leaf extract.
However, much of the ingredient list is “proprietary.” Very vague ingredients are used throughout, such as “vegetable-based cleansers.” Therefore, it’s hard to tell exactly what’s in this product. It may not be suitable for dogs with sensitivities for this reason.
6. Tropiclean Waterless Dog Shampoo
|Purified Water, Mild Cleanser, Odor Neutralizer, Organic Extracts of Oatmeal and Cucumber
The Tropiclean Waterless Dog Shampoo has a similar problem to the product we previously reviewed. The ingredient list is very vague, so we can’t tell what’s in it. While the list does include things like oatmeal and cucumber, the rest of the ingredients are “mild cleanser” and “odor neutralizer,” which doesn’t tell us much.
Some pet owners may not like using a product when they don’t know what’s in it.
This formula doesn’t require rinsing and is pretty gentle. You do have to brush it out, though, which is an added step to the routine. It’s pH-balanced so that it’s gentle on your dog’s skin, and it’s perfectly safe to use on dogs 12 weeks old and older.
The scent of this product has mixed reviews. Some people absolutely love it, while others claim that it gives them a headache. We expect that your sensitivity to scents matters. It is absolutely scented, so if you don’t do well with any scents, you probably would do better with the Burt’s Bees dry shampoo above.
7. Pet Head Dry Clean Spray Shampoo
|Water (Aqua), Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E Acetate), Silk Amino Acids, Lauryl Glucoside (Plant Derived), Hydrolyzed Vegetable Keratin Protein PG-Propyl Silantric, Decyl Glucoside (Plant Derived), Cocodimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein and more
For the most part, the Pet Head Dry Clean Spray Shampoo is a solid dry shampoo. It features a unique blueberry muffin scent that most users reported liking.
This formula is made in the USA and is free from many potentially harmful ingredients. For instance, it doesn’t contain parabens or DEA. However, the ingredient list is very long, as you can see. Many of the ingredients are chemicals, as well. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s pretty clear that this shampoo isn’t all-natural.
It doesn’t require rinsing, drying, or brushing. You can just apply it to your dog’s coat and continue on with your day. It’s completely safe if licked or swallowed, which is actually quite rare for these dry shampoos.
8. Vet’s Best Waterless Dog Bath
|All-natural (using essential oils)
|Neem Oil, Micronized Oatmeal, Vitamin E, Aloe Vera, Panthenol (Vitamin B-5), Allantoin, and Natural Fragrance
For the most part, the Vet’s Best Waterless Dog Bath is pretty similar to the other dry dog shampoos we’ve reviewed. However, it is the only one that isn’t blatantly scented. Instead, the company allows the ingredients to supply the scent. Therefore, this formula smells very similar to oatmeal.
This formula includes mostly natural ingredients. Oatmeal and neem oil do the majority of the work and provide most of the fragrance. It can be used on all dogs that are at least 12 weeks old.
We found that this formula dries very quickly and works well. It cannot replace a whole bath, but it’s perfect for extending the time between baths. It’s not terribly expensive, either, which is always a plus. The scent is pleasant and not too strong by most reports.
That said, the bottle does need a little bit of work. The shampoo is supposed to foam, but the foaming nozzle doesn’t do a very good job. It also leaks considerably more than other products.
9. PetAg Fresh ‘N Clean Classic Waterless Dog Shampoo
|Purified Water, Conditioning Agent (Polyquaternium-7), Plant Derived Cleansers (Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Lauryl Glycoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine), Surfactant (Polysorbate), Soothing Agents (Aloe Vera, Vitamin E), Fragrance, Colorants, Microbiostat Preservative
The PetAg Fresh ‘N Clean Classic Waterless Dog Shampoo is designed to lift away dirt and grime without any water. It’s a fairly mild formula that can be used regularly without irritating your pet’s skin. It’s also safe to use with flea and tick treatments.
We like that this formula can also loosen mats and tangles, making it a perfect detangler to use while brushing longer-haired dogs. It has a fresh scent that lasts pretty long, though this formula isn’t made to completely replace a bath.
Like many on this list, this dry shampoo also includes added vitamin E for skin and coat health.
Sadly, many users reported that this formula is very scented. It smells too strongly for many dog owners, causing headaches. Others also reported that a soapy residue was left behind.
10. John Paul Pet Oatmeal Waterless Foam Pet Shampoo
|Water/Aqua/Eau, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil and more
The John Paul Pet Oatmeal Waterless Foam Pet Shampoo is designed a bit differently than other formulas. It mixes readily with dirt and oil, sticking to them and lifting them out of the coat. Then, you’re supposed to brush your canine, which should lead to this debris being removed.
Therefore, it works similarly to the Hepper No Rinse Shampoo (our top pick). It actually cleans instead of just covering up odors. However, the ingredient list is far longer than our top pick, and we found this John Paul Pet shampoo to be less effective.
It also leaves a residue, so you may end up needing to wash your dog anyway.
We did like the scent of this shampoo. While it’s labeled as “oatmeal,” that’s mostly because it includes oatmeal. It also includes almond oil, which adds a lot to the fragrance.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Select the Best Waterless Dog Shampoo
No-rinse dog shampoos often sound too good to be true. They’re supposed to replace a bath without any water.
However, that’s not always how it works out in practice. In many cases, these shampoos don’t work super well. They don’t replace a bath, though they can extend the time between baths. The exact amount of time depends on the quality of the dry shampoo.
How do you determine the quality of a dry shampoo? We’ll explain it below.
Formula & Ingredients
You may not know much about dog shampoo formulas. However, with just a little bit of background knowledge, you can evaluate shampoo for gentleness and effectiveness. You don’t want a shampoo with harsh chemicals and sulfates, for instance, especially if you plan to leave it on your dog!
Preferably, you want to use a hypoallergenic formula, even if your dog doesn’t have allergies. These formulas usually don’t have as many skin irritants, which can be extremely helpful when you’re using dry shampoo. Look for formulas that contain skin-supporting ingredients like oatmeal, aloe vera, and vitamin E.
Natural ingredients can be gentler, but this isn’t always the case. For instance, many natural shampoos use essential oils, but these oils can be just as harmful as chemicals. Therefore, the term “natural” doesn’t always mean that much.
It’s essential to avoid harsh chemicals in your dog’s shampoo. Some ingredients commonly found in human shampoos, such as sulfates and artificial fragrances, can be too harsh for your pup’s sensitive skin. Look for formulas that explicitly state they’re “sulfate-free” and have “no artificial fragrances.” Often, these labels mean more than “natural” or “hypoallergenic.”
Most people use dry shampoos primarily because their dog is stinky. Luckily, most dry shampoos are scented, which helps cover up the odor. However, some scents are better than others.
If you’re very sensitive to scents, you should beware of most scented shampoos. Look for those that just use natural fragrances, such as essential oils or oatmeal. These are much less strong than artificial scents, which can prevent migraines and sneezing in dogs. Furthermore, artificial scents can be irritating to our dogs. Even if you aren’t sensitive to scents, your dog might be.
At the same time, a very smelly dog probably needs a stronger scent. Therefore, weaker scents aren’t always better. It depends on how sensitive you and your dog are.
Ease of Use
A waterless dog shampoo is supposed to be a quick option when a full bath isn’t possible. If the dry shampoo requires several steps and is hard to use, it isn’t going to save you much time at all. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to check the directions before purchasing a dry shampoo.
Some shampoos require you to brush your dog for them to work properly. While this is more work, these shampoos tend to work better. They stick to the dirt and oil on your dog’s coat, allowing you to brush it out easily. These actually clean your dog’s coat.
On the other hand, shampoos that are made to be applied and left often just moisturize and cover up odors. They don’t do much cleaning.
Which option you need depends largely on your preferences. Are you trying to actually remove oils and dirt? Or do you just want your dog to smell better?
There are many solid waterless dog shampoos on the market. We looked at and reviewed several different options, coming to the conclusion that the Hepper No Rinse Shampoo is the best option. It actually cleans your dog’s coat (which also means it requires brushing), isn’t too scented, and is relatively affordable. It’s the best option you can purchase.
Hopefully, one of these options works well for you and your pooch.
Featured Image Credit: Vaillery, Shutterstock