Here’s the Correct Way to Use Dry Shampoo on Your Dog, According to a Vet

how to use dry shampoo on dogs

Dry shampoo for dogs is a must-have for when you and your canine companion are on the go or he needs to freshen up in a jiffy between baths. This is especially true if he loves to romp and explore everywhere he goes but doesn’t particularly love water. (That is, unless he’s splishing and splashing his paws in dirty rain puddles!)

“Sometimes, bathing the pet is a tedious task, especially if the pet does not like getting wet or being scrubbed with water,” says Alex Schechter, a veterinarian at Burrwood Veterinary who has extensive experience in pet grooming. . “So, to save you from a messy situation, dry shampoos are a beneficial alternative to regular bathing products and it is preferred by many owners.”

What to Look For In a Dry Shampoo

There are dozens of dog-formulated dry shampoos available for your pup to try. But when it comes to the best products for your furry friend to use, Schechter says to look for a pet-friendly product made with natural ingredients. (Please never use dry shampoo for humans on dogs!)

“Ingredients such as chamomile, coconut, aloe vera, papaya, oats, and lavender essential oil help hydrate your pet’s coat within a few minutes,” he says. “And while choosing a shampoo, opt for pH-balanced shampoos for pets.”

dry dog shampoo Chagrin

All natural, certified organic, vegan, and cruelty-free, Chagrin’s Dry Dog Shampoo is made with ingredients, including lavender essential oil and arrowroot powder, to absorbs excess oil while leaving your dog’s coat smelling fresh and clean. Plus, its pH-balanced shampoo gives your pup’s coat an extra boost of shine.


Schechter says harsh chemicals and detergents like parabens, alcohol, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances are harmful to dogs. 

When shopping for a dry shampoo for your dog, he recommends always avoiding products that include ingredients such as:

  • DMDM hydantoin
  • FD&C (Food, Drug and Cosmetic) artificial colors
  • Ammonium lauryl ether sulfate
  • Ethyl or methyl paraben
  • Methylchloroisothiazolinone
  • Methylisothiazolinone
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate

These ingredients are commonly found in personal care products and can cause irritation to your dog’s skin and coat.

Related: 4 Ways to Stop Your Dog From Having Itchy Skin

Benefits of Using a Waterless Shampoo

A waterless shampoo is a quick, easy way to keep your dog smelling fresh and clean. But it also has a number of other benefits that go beyond simply smelling nice.

“Dry dog shampoo helps to eliminate grease and odor from a pet’s hair without the hassle or risk associated with a traditional bath. It absorbs the dirt, grease, and other particles from the fur,” Schechter says. “If your dog has an aversion to conventional baths, or if he has sensitive skin, a powder or waterless dog shampoo may be an intelligent investment.” 

Schechter adds that dry shampoo is beneficial with dogs who have itchy skin since it can soothe the skin and provide relief. Some shampoos may also keep insects and other pesky pests off your dog.

Bye Bye Shabby Coat nourishes your dog’s skin and coat from the inside out. Veterinarian formulated and using powerful natural ingredients, including healthy omegas, salmon oil, and vitamin E, our chews help heal dry, itchy, irritated skin, while also promoting a shinier and softer coat. All our supplements are proudly manufactured in the USA.


Considering the advantages that come with using a dry dog shampoo, it comes as no surprise that Schechter says it’s great for your pup’s skin and fur health overall.

Related: Need to Give Your Dog a Bath or Good Brush? Here’s How to Not Make It a Complete Disaster.

How to Use Dry Shampoo for Dogs

When it comes to using dry shampoo on your dog, you might wonder what the right amount is you should be applying and just how often you should be using it on your pup.

“While using dry shampoo, balance it with regular baths. Give your dog a normal bath after every four dry shampoo baths,” Schechter says. “Also, consider your pet’s temperament and medical conditions and the time, space, and patience.”

Before you give your dog his first dry shampoo bath, you’ll want to perform a patch test to check if he’s compatible with that particular dry shampoo. Apply a small amount onto a small area of your dog’s skin and see if there are any reactions to the product. If there are no signs of a bad reaction (e.g. redness, irritation, hives, itchiness, etc.), it’s safe to use. (As with any new product, consult with a professional before introducing.)

Schechter provides a step-by-step on how to use dry shampoo on your dog for an easy, effective clean:

  1. Take a small amount and apply it on your pet’s fur along the spine while gently spreading to the sides with your fingers. Be careful when working around the face.
  2. Let the dry shampoo sit for a few minutes. It is vital to set a few minutes as the active ingredients need time to start working.
  3. Now, use a towel to remove the excess dry shampoo. Finish the process by brushing the powder and eliminating debris and loose hairs. 

Schechter says to avoid using too much dry shampoo at once since it can make your dog’s skin and coat dry and to also steer clear of products that are aimed at absorbing oil.

Related: 4 Easy Ways to Make Your Dog Look Fabulous at Home, According to a Professional Groomer

And although dry shampoo is a convenient way to keep your dog clean, Schechter recommends not overdoing it with the waterless baths.

“Ensure that you are not using the shampoo continuously, as it can lead to a build-up of absorbent and dry powder, which can dry out skin and fur,” he says. “Besides, it can clog pores and sebaceous glands or cause over-absorption of sebum, which removes the skin’s natural barrier against infection, leading to rashes and skin infections.”

Dry shampoo is a great solution for dogs who hate bathes, you need to clean your dog up quickly, or baths aren’t an option, like during travel.

Related: Here’s What to Do If You Have a Smelly Dog

By Yvonne Villasenor

Yvonne Villasenor is an Orange County, Calif-based freelance writer. She can often be found watching creature features, swooning over dogs on the internet or playing with her Chihuahuas.

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