Whole Dog Journal Reviews “Dry Shampoos” and “Waterless Baths”

We tested “dry shampoos” and “waterless bath” products to see whether they could really get a dog clean and fresh-smelling. The answer? Not really!


I don’t want to admit that I am lazy – but I am very busy – and dog baths sometimes have a way of slipping toward the bottom of the priority list. I have occasionally picked up one or more of the several “dry shampoo” or “waterless bath” products on the shelves of my local pet supply store and contemplated trying them out. I always told myself that they had to be too good to be true, and placed them back on the shelves.

So when Whole Dog Journal decided to test these dog cleaning and coat conditioner products, I leaped at the chance, only to confirm what I had suspected all along. The tempting lure of successfully cleansing your dog without good ol’ soap, water, and elbow grease is, indeed, too good to be true. The vast majority of dry shampoo and coat conditioner products contain chemical ingredients that we simply refuse to use on our dogs. Those few products that do contain natural, non-toxic ingredients may temporarily make your dog smell better, but fail to produce the soft, silky, shiny coat and pink skin of a truly clean dog.

We checked with holistic veterinarian Terry Spencer, DVM, of the Animal Health Center in Salinas, California. She said, “I have never used a dry shampoo. I just don’t see the point. They certainly can’t take the place of a real bath. Well, maybe if someone’s dog has just had surgery and can’t have a bath and has an odor problem . . . but then we should figure out why there’s an odor problem, shouldn’t we, and treat that?”

The list of acceptable products is dismally short. If nothing else, our research reminded us that just because a product calls itself “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean that it is! Always remember to check labels for ingredients. If they aren’t listed, call the manufacturer. If they won’t tell you what’s in the product, pass it up, no matter how tempting it appears. In our experience, companies that produce truly safe and natural products are more than happy to advertise their ingredients.

Just in case you still think you want to try a waterless shampoo anyway, here are our results.

WDJ’s Top Picks
Sorry, there isn’t one. We don’t feel that any of the products live up to the promise of a truly clean, deodorized dog. Some are better than others, but none of the products we checked out come anywhere close to the results of a real bath.

Also With This Article
Click here to view the products tested.

-By Pat Miller


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here