Alternatives to Dog Shampoo

Reviewed By Tom •  Updated: 01/14/21 •  11 min read
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Nothing is worse than a smelly, dirty dog! But what happens is you don’t have dog shampoo on hand? Or what if you need to use an alternative shampoo? What’s available?

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We’ve done the research to answer these and other questions about alternatives to dog shampoo! Check out what we found and learn how to clean your dog with shampoo alternatives for dogs!

Is It Safe to Use Human Shampoo on Dogs?

If you’re out of dog shampoo and Fido needs a bath, it can be tempting to reach for your shampoo. However, is it OK to use your shampoo on the dog?

Human shampoo is not safe to use on dogs. The reason is that the shampoo has been formulated for use on human skin and hair, not on dogs. Our bodies have a different pH level than our canine companions do. Dog shampoo is made specifically for dogs’ sensitive skin.

What’s more, some of the ingredients in human shampoos can be harmful to our fur babies. The shampoo may cause a dog’s skin to become irritated, red, and itchy. Not what your dog should have to suffer with. In addition, human shampoos can strip away the natural oils that protect your dog’s skin and coat.

So, never use human shampoo on your dog. There are better alternatives!

Dish Soap

Yes, you read that correctly! Dawn dish soap is safe to use on dogs and other animals. It’s often used on wildlife that has been saturated in crude oil. The soap will safely remove dirt and grime from your dog’s coat, too.

However, dish soap may contain scents, chemicals, and other additives that are too harsh for a dog’s skin. Original Dawn is safe; however, other versions of this dish soap may not be good to use.

When using Original Dawn to shampoo your dog, never use the dish soap straight out of the bottle. Instead, mix it like this:

Mix these ingredients together and then apply them to your dog’s coat. Lather his fur gently and avoid getting the mix in your dog’s eyes, mouth, and nose. When you’re finished washing the dog, be sure to rinse him thoroughly. It’s essential to avoid leaving any soapy residue on his coat and skin, which could cause irritation and dryness.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is another alternative to dog shampoos! Baking soda is great for removing smells from your dog’s fur, and it works to clean away dirt and debris.

Again, you’ll need to mix baking soda in order to use it. While it’s safe to just sprinkle baking soda on your canine companion, it’s really not the best way to clean him. Instead, follow these instructions:

Mix all ingredients thoroughly, and then apply to your dog’s coat and skin. Again, be sure to rinse the mixture off completely. Baking soda left on the skin can cause some irritation.

Baby Shampoo

Baby shampoo, while made for humans, is another safe alternative to dog shampoos. The reason is that baby shampoo has been specially formulated for baby’s sensitive skin. The ingredients in the shampoo are much gentler than those found in adult shampoos.

While it’s safe to use baby shampoo, it’s best never to use this all the time to bathe your dog. Ultimately, this is a human shampoo, not made for dogs. So, stick to using formulas that are specifically made for a dog’s skin and coat.

Corn Starch

You probably have this staple in the pantry—corn starch! Yes, corn starch can be a great alternative dog shampoo. It can work grease out of a dog’s fur and absorb bad smells. To use cornstarch to clean your dog, just sprinkle it over him and then work the powder into his fur. Be sure the corn starch is evenly spread through his fur.

When you’re done, just brush your dog as normal. Make sure to remove all the corn starch from his fur. Again, while corn starch is safe to use, it’s best not to use it all the time. Your dog really needs a shampoo that’s specifically formulated for dogs.

Baby Wipes

Do you keep baby wipes on hand? These are great for cleaning off baby and even yourself! What’s more, they can also be safely used on dogs! Baby wipes are usually made with gentle ingredients, which are safe for a baby’s delicate skin.

Unscented wipes are best, and they should only include water without too many other ingredients. These are the safest to use on dogs.

When cleaning your dog, just hold the wipe out flat in your hands and then rub it over your fur baby. That’s it! When you’re done, just toss the wipes!

Rolled Oats

This is another kitchen staple you may already have on hand. Rolled oats are commonly used in human baths and are safe to use on dogs!

All you need to do is add one cup of oats to a nylon stocking, then tie the end of the stocking closed. Run warm water over the stocking, filling the tub to the desired level. Once the water is the right temperature for your dog, put him in the tub and let him soak for 5 to 10 minutes. That’s it!

When he gets out, just be sure to thoroughly rinse the oat water off his coat and skin.

Over The Counter Alternative Shampoos for Dogs

In addition to the options mentioned in the previous sections, there are also some over-the-counter products that are safe to use on dogs. Let’s take a look!

Pet Care Sciences Waterless Shampoo for Dogs

Much like there are waterless shampoos for humans, there are similar products for dogs! Pet Care Sciences Waterless Shampoo for Dogs comes in two different scents—apple blossom or bamboo & mint. This product is a liquid; however, you don’t have to use any water. They also say there’s no need for a towel or bathtub!

The product is gentle and natural, safe for use on all dog breeds. The formula has been pH-balanced for a dog’s sensitive skin. This shampoo alternative also contains glycerin, which works to moisturize a dog’s fur and skin.

The ingredients in this dry shampoo are perfect for dogs that have irritated, dry, sensitive skin. And if your dog has allergies, this might be a great product for him! It’s gentle and better than bathing your canine companion too often. What’s more, no rinsing is needed!

This is a great waterless dog shampoo to use any time! It can also be used as a gentle cleaning product in between baths and trips to the groomer. Because the foam is dry, it’s also great to use on elderly, injured, and dogs who don’t like baths.

The product is made in the US.

Mighty Mutt Hypoallergenic Waterless Shampoo for Dogs

Here’s another waterless shampoo for dogs, which is made with only natural ingredients. It contains no sulfates, parabens, dyes, phthalates, or other harmful ingredients. What’s more, you don’t even need to rinse this product out of your dog’s fur. What a great way to make cleaning your dog easy and fast for you both!

Mighty Mutt waterless shampoo is great to use in between baths or trips to the groomer. What’s more, your canine companion doesn’t even have to get wet. No more having to clean up the mess of bathing your dog! No more cleaning up the water he’s shaken all over after his bath!

This product is made in the USA with planet-friendly, biodegradable ingredients. It’s also cruelty-free.

When you use this waterless dog shampoo, the results will amaze you and your dog! Your fur baby will look as if he’s just come back from the groomer! His fur and skin will be soft and shiny, without harsh chemicals! Your dog will be squeaky clean after a bath with this waterless dog shampoo.

The formula is an anti-itch, hypoallergenic combination, which also works to deodorize dogs without skin irritation or drying. What could be better for your fur baby and you at bath time?

Dr. Sniff Waterless Shampoo for Dogs

How would you like to get your dog clean without water or using the tub? It’s possible if you use a waterless shampoo for dogs, like Dr. Sniff (we love the name!). Dr. Sniff waterless shampoo for dogs gently cleans and nourishes your dog’s skin and coat.

What’s more, the product is made without non-toxic fragrance, which lasts a long time without being irritating to the skin. Dr. Sniff has a light citrusy, floral scent, perfect for any dog.

This product works to naturally freshen dogs’ hair and soothes their skin at the same time. Your canine companion will look as if he just came home from the groomer’s! He will look and smell amazing!

Dr. Sniff is made with only organic ingredients and is pH balanced to match dogs’ sensitive skin. In addition, this product is cruelty-free and contains certified organic ingredients, which include jojoba seed oil, red raspberry seed oil, argan oil, and niaouli oil.

Dr. Sniff is made in the USA and will have your fur baby looking and feeling like a show dog every time! What’s more, you won’t have to clean the bathtub when done or deal with any other messes and wet towels! It’s really that easy!

TropiClean Waterless Shampoos for Pets

TropiClean Waterless Shampoo for Pets is easy to use and works to gently clean and deodorize your dog and other pets. Your fur baby will have a deep clean feeling and fresh scent! All you have to do is spray the product onto your dog’s fur, then massage it in and brush it out. No rinsing, no cleaning the tub, no dirty towels, and no water everywhere!

This waterless shampoo has been enriched with an effective blend of natural dirty-fighting ingredients, including plum, cucumber, and oatmeal. These ingredients work to nourish dry skin and help relax tangled fur, making it easier to brush out.

You and your canine companion will love the tropical scent of this product. It smells like a mix of berries and coconut, which you and your dog are sure to love!

This waterless dog shampoo is safe to use any time! Does your dog need a freshening up in between baths? Then TropiClean will come to the rescue! Has your dog gotten dirty out playing? Then clean him up quickly and easily with this waterless shampoo!

This product provides your dog with a deep clean while moisturizing his skin and coat. Plus, he’ll smell great and be ready for hugs after he’s clean!

Vet’s Best Waterless Dog Bath

Vet’s Best Waterless Dog Bath is a no-rinse dog shampoo that works to clean and moisturize a dog’s coat and skin. The product is easy and fast to use, even in cold weather. Are you traveling, and your dog has become smelly and dirty? This waterless dog bath will come to the rescue!

This waterless dog shampoo uses aloe vera, micronized oatmeal, and neem oil to deep clean and moisturizes a dog’s coat and skin gently. This product can be used on dogs 12 weeks or older. Plus, it will not interfere with topically applied flea and tick products.

This waterless shampoo is easy to use. Just shake it well and then apply directly to your canine companion’s coat. Gently massage the shampoo into the coat and skin; be sure to keep the product out of your dog’s eyes. When you’re finished, just let the shampoo dry and brush out. That’s it! No rinsing, no dirty towels or mess to deal with!

Summing It Up

So, there you have it! You now have several different alternatives to dog shampoos! Each of these solutions is safe to use on your dog!

You can choose from natural dog shampoo alternatives that may already be in your panty. Or you can choose from other solutions, including waterless dog shampoos.

No matter type of alternative dog shampoo you choose, your dog will be cleaner and smell better in no time!

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Tom has always loved to write since he was little - he wanted to be either a writer or a veterinary doctor, but he ended up being a professional writer while most of his works are based on animals. He was born in San Francisco but later moved to Texas to continue his job as a writer. He graduated from the University of San Francisco where he studied biotechnology. He is happily married and a soon to be father!