The 7 Best Waterless Dog Shampoos 2021 (Review and Buyer’s Guide)

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best waterless dog shampoo is, then we recommend the Vet Recommended Waterless Dog Shampoo (see our review below) as the best one.

Our Top Picks for The Best Waterless Dog Shampoos

Preview Product Features Price
Vet Recommended Waterless Dog Shampoo
  • Easy to use
  • Natural and detergent free
  • Nice light apple scent
FURminator deShedding Waterless Spray
  • Reduce shedding
  • No dyes no parabens
  • Nice light scent
Earthbath Waterless Hypo-Allergenic Grooming Foam
  • Good dirt removal
  • Easy to clean
  • Odor free
Paw Choice Dry Dog Shampoo
  • Easy to apply
  • Foam dries quickly
  • Lavender scent
Wahl Natural Pet No-Rinse Waterless Shampoo
  • Has a natural preservative
  • Has oatmeal and ale for dry skin
  • Ph balanced

Best Waterless Dog Shampoo Reviews

Best Overall

best waterless shampoos for dogs

1. Vet Recommended Waterless Dog Shampoo

We pick the Vet Recommended Dry Dog Shampoo as the best waterless shampoo for dogs.

It has the same features as other waterless shampoos but the difference is this shampoo has the safest ingredients we have ever seen compared to other similar products available on the market. Not forget to mention it has an apple fresh scent which is our favorite.

The ingredients are deionized water, a mild surfactant blend, apple extract, no alcohol, and no animal by-product.  It doesn’t contain artificial dyes that can discolor the dog’s coat. Also, it doesn’t contain alcohol or animal by-product. Both are dangerous ingredients that can cause severe toxicity and may even lead to cancer.

Runner Up

2. FURminator deShedding Waterless Spray

FURminator deShedding Waterless Spray comes in second place.

This waterless dog shampoo comes in second place because it contains three ingredients that we are concerned with: Omega 3&6 Fatty Acids, Chamomile Extract, and Glycerin.

Omega 3&6 Fatty Acids are relatively safe, but when given in large doses, it can lead to many health problems such as gastrointestinal upset, blood coting problems, and a weakened immune system.

While Chamomile Extract, this ingredient has many benefits for humans and dogs, however, when ingested in a large dose, it can lead to many negative side effects. The effects are ranging from mild toxicity to internal bleeding. And for Glycerin, when ingested in a large dose, can cause a digestion system problem.

To be sure, consult with your vet first before buying this waterless shampoo.

The ingredients: Natural Surfactants, Water,  Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Oat Protein, Omega 3 & 6 Fatty Acids, Cranberry Seed Oil, Kava Extract, Calendula Extract, Vitamin E, Chamomile Extract, Aloe Vera, Papaya Leaf Extract, Safflower Seed Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Glycerin.

3. Earthbath Waterless Hypo-Allergenic Grooming Foam

We include Earthbath Waterless Grooming Foam on our recommendation list because this product contains safer ingredients when compared with other brands. 

However, there are still two ingredients that become our concern, they are Shea Butter and Colloidal Oatmeal. Those two ingredients might cause an allergic reaction. Make sure to check with your vet first before using this waterless shampoo.

The ingredients include Purified Water, Sucrose-derived Cleansers, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Shea Butter, Colloidal Oatmeal, Vitamin E, Aloe Vera, Preservative.

4. Paw Choice Dry Dog Shampoo

The Paw Choice Dry Shampoo for Dogs is another great alternative to consider. 

This waterless shampoo contains natural ingredients that consist of a coconut-derived ingredient that is safe for use on dogs with dry skin and sensitive skin and works for all hair and fur types. What makes it even safer is that it doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals, detergents, or parabens.

According to the reviews from some happy dog owners, The Paw Choice dry shampoo for dogs is extremely efficient in removing pet odor, all the while making your dog’s coat soft and lovely scented.

5. Wahl Pet Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo

With a plant-derived formula made of natural ingredients that include oatmeal extract, coconut, and lime verbena, the Wahl Natural Pet No-Rinse Waterless Shampoo is suitable for itchy and dry skin. This waterless shampoo is great for dogs who hate bath time

It does not contain alcohol, paraben, and it’s pH-balanced and PEG-80 free. Apart from moisturizing the skin, the waterless shampoo also leaves the dog’s coat clean and fresh with a light coconut lemon verbena scent.

This waterless shampoo is easy to use, you can either spray the waterless shampoo directly onto your dog’s coat or apply it to a washcloth or paper towel and wipe the dog’s coat with it.

6. Bodhi Dog New Waterless Dog Shampoo

The Bodhi Dog Waterless Shampoo is a waterless dog shampoo specifically designed for dogs with dry and sensitive skin prone to allergies and other sensitivities.

This waterless shampoo is great for spot cleaning your dog in between baths or as a spot treatment to clean muddy paws and fur since it is waterless and does not require rinsing. Plus, it contains lemongrass fragrance that will leave your dog smelling fresh and clean for days to come.

7.BioSilk Therapy Deep Moisture Waterless Shampoo

The BioSilk Dog Waterless Shampoo is formulated with silk protein and other skin enriching vitamins that will keep your dog clean and moisturize their dry skin.

This waterless shampoo contains no parabens or sulfate, and pH-balanced and its unique formula provides in-depth cleaning of your dog’s coat and a pleasant smell.

Also, if your dog is suffering from flea, you don’t have to worry about washing off the topical flea treatment as the waterless shampoo doesn’t interfere with any topical flea treatments.

What is a Waterless Dog Shampoo?

Waterless dog shampoo or also called dry dog shampoo, as you can guess from the name, is a type of shampoo that does not require water like a good old traditional wash and soap. Speaking of waterless, I still wonder why this shampoo is named “waterless” shampoo since it is not completely waterless, it still contains water and leaves your dog hair wet.

How Does Dog Waterless Dog Shampoo Work?

Basically, what waterless dog shampoo does is it cleans the excess oil from the dog’s skin and fur – restoring the shine and leave a fresh scent. It is convenient, and more and more dog owners use it. Many manufacturers promise that this waterless shampoo can be used one hundred percent as a replacement for the normal dog shampoo.

Imagine when you can bathe your dog without going through all the hassles of dog regular bathing and washing – just apply the waterless shampoo and brush it off.

But the truth, no matter how convenient this waterless dog shampoo might seem, if used incorrectly, it will bring more harm than good.

The Danger of Waterless Dog Shampoo

As we have previously explained, used correctly, waterless dog shampoo utilizes starch powders and clay (or also called Fuller’s Earth) to absorb excess oil from the dog’s skin and fur. It’s quick and convenient if used correctly, but when used wrongly, this waterless shampoo will do more harm than good.

Those two substances: starch powders and clay, when used too much, will absorb more than just the excess oils, clog the hair, and destroy your dog’s natural immune system.

Some brands in the market promise to deliver waterless shampoo that can match traditional shampoos, other brands promise completely safe waterless shampoo for your dogs. Regardless of how promising they might seem, you must remember this one thing: there is no waterless shampoo that can replace the good old wash and soap.

When to Use a Waterless Dog Shampoo?

Although waterless dog shampoo can be harmful if you abuse it but if you use waterless shampoo correctly, it could come in handy in certain situations. For example:

  • When you are on the go. There will come a time when you need to clean your dog but it is not possible to give your dog a complete dog bath — for example when traveling. In this situation, the waterless shampoo that you just bought recently could become a lifesaver. You can simply apply and clean your dog from any dirt and debris that might tag along the road.
  • Used for extending dog bath time, touch-ups, or post-surgery cleaning of your dog. You can apply this waterless shampoo to keeping them clean and smelling fresh without putting them in a tub and risking their incision wet again.
  • As a temporary replacement for complete bathing on a dog that has an aversion to water. You can use waterless shampoo to clean them up while they are undergoing training to treat the phobia.

How to Use Waterless Dog Shampoo?

Using waterless dog shampoo is quite simple, you just need to apply or spray the waterless shampoo on the area which you want to clean, spread the lather, and wipe it off with a dry towel. To understand more about the process, let’s watch the video below:

What To Look For When Buying a Waterless Dog Shampoo?

When it comes to waterless shampoos for dogs, knowing what to avoid is more important as some of the ingredients used in waterless shampoo can be toxic. Whenever you see some of these ingredients mentioned below listed in the bottles’ shampoos, throw them away immediately. The following are some of the most dangerous ingredients:

1. Formaldehyde preservatives have been known to trigger an immune response that can include burning, itching, blistering, or scaling of the skin. Not only linked to an immune response, but it is also linked to formaldehyde preservatives.

Check the spray bottle carefully to find one of these names: Bromopol, Doazolidinyl urea, DMDM Hydantoin (often mistyped on the shampoo spray bottle as DHDH hydantoin), Imidazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-7, -15, -31, -61, and Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate.

2. Artificial fragrance. Some artificial fragrances have been known to pose real risks of exposure to toxic ingredients and cause cancer.

3. Artificial colors. Some brands use artificial colors to visually enhance their products. While it might look appealing to you, but what they don’t tell you is some of these artificial colors are linked to organ damage, cancer, birth defects, and allergic reactions.

4. Paraben preservatives are linked to estrogen disruption, cancer, and reproductive issues. They are usually listed with these names:  Butylparaben, Methylparaben, or Propylparaben.

5. Isothiazolinone preservatives are linked to severe allergic reactions and possible neurotoxicity. They may be listed on the shampoo spray bottle as Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone.

6. Phthalates are used to chemically tie fragrance with the other ingredients. If you see fragrance listed on the label, there is a great chance that phthalates are present. These pthalates are linked to a disruption in the endocrine system.

7. SD Alcohol 40 (also called isopropyl or SD-40) can cause toxic ingredients to build up in your dog’s body. This ingredient enhances the absorption rate of your dog’s skin and coat to any other chemical ingredients around them — good or bad chemicals.

8. A proprietary blend of coat and skin conditioners and moisturizers. In other words, this statement can be quickly translated: “This product is made of some ingredients that we don’t want you to know!”If you find this statement on the shampoo spray bottle, save your money and look for another product.

9. PEG-40 Lanolin is a polyethylene glycol derivative of lanolin which is used in cosmetics as an emulsifier and emollient. This ingredient is linked to organ toxicity. Some studies have even suggested that this ingredient may be contaminated with dioxane and ethylene oxide. They are used as a solvent in the manufacture of other chemicals and as a laboratory reagent, and both are linked to liver, kidney damage, and cancer.

10. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is used by manufacturers to help their products absorb deeply into the dog’s skin to increase their effectiveness. Some studies have also suggested that this ingredient is often contaminated with pollutants including ethylene oxide, dioxane, polycyclic aromatic compounds and heavy metals including arsenic, cadmium, lead, nickel, cobalt, and iron. While PEG may help the product penetrate the dog’s skin more easily, so will all the contaminated chemicals that the PEG contains.

11. Propylene glycol is a synthetic chemical that is widely used in many industrial and commercial products ranging from antifreeze, liquid, laundry detergent solvents and paint. This ingredient has the same trait with PEG as a penetration enhancer and linked to many health problems such as skin irritation, allergic reactions, kidneys and liver damage, cardiovascular problems, respiratory issues, cancer, and many more.

12. Cocamide MEA or cocamide monoethanolamine is produced from the fatty acids in coconut oils when reacted with ethanolamine. This ingredient is often used in shampoo as forming agents and a nonionic surfactant.

Although it is perfectly safe to use (according to FDA), to a certain extent, it can become dangerous as the cocamide MEA can react with other ingredients to form harmful substances known as nitrosamine. In large doses, this nitrosamine can potentially become carcinogenic which has the potential to cause cancer.

13. Triethanolamine (TEA) is a strongly alkaline substance used as a surfactant and pH adjuster. This ingredient is used in some personal care and cosmetic products such as eyeliner, mascara, eyeshadow, shampoo, fragrance, skincare, skin cleansing products, and many more. This ingredient has proved dangerous with short-term and long-term effects ranging from skin and eye irritation to respiratory and immune systems damage and cancer.

14. Mineral oil is widely used to help the dog’s skin preserve its own moisture. And even many dog parents have suggested putting a drop of mineral oil in the dogs’ eyes before a full bath to protect the eyes to keep the shampoo out. Is mineral oil really safe to use? Many mineral oils are not pharmaceutical grades and therefore is not safe. They are contaminated and linked to possible neurotoxicity and severe allergic reactions. If the brands only use pharmaceutical grade mineral oils such as hydrocarbon and benzene then it is safe.

15. Sodium benzoate preservative is dangerous when mixed with citric acid or ascorbic acid as the mixing may produce benzene which is linked to leukemia and other blood disorders and cancer. When you see sodium benzoate preservative is listed on the bottle, make sure the other ingredients are not there.

16. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) can be found in many cosmetic products, as well as in industrial cleaners. Research studies on SLS have shown links to skin and eye irritation, organ toxicity, neurotoxicity, reproductive toxicity, endocrine disruption, ecotoxicology, and cancer.

17. Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is very similar to SLS and used as a surfactant (cleaning agent). It’s less irritating to skin and fur than SLS, but it’s more dangerous. The problem lies in the manufacturing process. To make the ingredient milder (less irritating), manufacturers put it through a process called ethoxylation. The problem is that ethoxylation produces a chemical called 1,4-dioxane which is a known carcinogen — cancer-causing agent.

18. Ammonium Laureth Sulfate is used as a cleansing agent (surfactant) that remove oils and dirt and foaming agent. Just like all surfactants, this ingredient can cause irritation. It also poses a similar risk with SLES as the ingredient may be contaminated with potentially toxic manufacturing impurities such as 1,4-dioxane.

19. Polysorbates are often used as a surfactant or emulsifier in cosmetic products. This ingredient is added in waterless shampoo to give you a thick, foamy shop. This ingredient is simply dangerous, it may react with both the scalp and skin, disrupting the skin’s natural pH balance, and destroying the skin’s natural protective barrier.

20. Cocamidopropyl betaine is a surfactant found in many personal care products, including shampoo, toothpaste, and body wash. This ingredient has been associated with skin irritations and allergic reactions.


The Vet Recommended Dog Waterless Shampoo is still our top recommendation for the best waterless dog shampoo. It has the safest ingredients compared to other available waterless dog shampoos in the market.