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Grooming Your Dog with Dry Dog Shampoo

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Winter dog baths are difficult, especially for larger dogs that won’t fit into the sink. Your choices are usually 1) a back-breaking (and sometimes dog-wrestling) session in the bathtub followed by often unpopular hair drying or 2) a trip to the dog groomer.

But there’s another alternative: dry dog shampoo. Whether you use this dry mixture to extend the time between real baths or to remove odors your dog picks up (how can they drop and roll SO quickly?), dry shampooing can be a good way to get your dog clean fast and without fuss.

You’ll find commercial dry dog shampoos in pet supply stores but you can also make an inexpensive dry shampoo at home using materials you probably already have on hand. The basic recipe uses one cup of one of these ingredients:

  • cornstarch
  • flour
  • baby powder
  • unscented talc

Many recipes also call for adding 1/2 a cup of baking soda to deodorize and/or a 1/2 cup of salt to help remove dirt. Some also call for a few drops of your favorite essential oil for dogs (use only essential oils you know are safe on dogs). Don’t use any of these mixtures on dogs with skin irritations or cuts.

When you have your ingredients selected, mix them together in a clean, dry glass jar with a metal, screw-top lid that’s small enough for you to hold easily. Close up the lid and shake the ingredients to mix then punch about a half dozen holes in the lid. You’re ready to shampoo!

Before doing the dry shampoo, you’ll want to brush your dog thoroughly, just as you would before any dog bath. Brush him head to tail and work through any tangles with your fingers. This will ensure that the dry shampoo gets all the way to his skin.

Now you’re ready for the shampoo. Select a room you can vacuum easily or even mop: you’ll have powder to clean up when you’re done. Take care to keep the powder out of your dog’s eyes and nose and start sprinkling, working the powder into the lower levels of his coat. If you can, try to leave the dry shampoo in for five or ten minutes, then thoroughly brush it out. The dry shampoo will take with it excess oil and dirt and you’ll have a cleaner dog!

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About Paris Permenter

Paris Permenter is the founder and co-publisher of LT Media Group LLC. Along with her husband, John Bigley, she edits DogTipper.com, CatTipper.com, and has authored over 30 books on pets and travel.

  • kate

    One question: will this dry shampoo remove the flea drops (such as Advantage or Frontline) from the skin of the dog ? I know that wet shampoo washing removes the flea drops on the skin, but we are only supposed to give the drops once a month (and they are quite expensive for giving more often to the dog.) Thanks for any help you give about this.

    • http://www.dogtipper.com Paris and John

      Hi Kate! Groomers usually suggest you wait two days after giving the flea drops to bathe a dog (the drops are absorbed by the skin and into the bloodstream by that time)…but I think with the dry shampoo you could use it a little sooner. With the dry shampoo, you can also work around the areas where you administered the flea drops if it hasn’t been two days yet and just avoid those places. I love the dry shampoo because it’s so easy (our two dogs are big so a bath is a BIG deal!) Paris