Homemade No-Water Baths for Dogs

by Angela Libal Google
    Water is not always necessary to get your pup squeaky clean.

    Water is not always necessary to get your pup squeaky clean.

    Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

    Laughing, shaking, splashing with the hose -- bathing a doggy is one of those fun, iconic summer images imprinted on our psyches. Sometimes, though, Fido just won't cooperate, or maybe he rolled in something unfortunate right as guests are ringing your bell. Maybe your pup isn't a water-friendly breed, or a good soaking is rough on him in his old age. Regardless, several options exist to get your hydrophobic pal squeaky clean, quickly and easily.

    Baby Wipes

    Sometimes nothing beats a good, old-fashioned baby wipe for getting your furbaby clean in a hurry. Safe, gentle and effective, it's much easier to sneak up on a water-hating pooch with these than with a hose or plunk in the tub.
    Customize your baby wipe experience by soaking them in a plastic bag with additional treatments you might need, like all-natural flea and tick repellent. You can make homemade wipes by repurposing cloths or paper towels and soaking them in witch hazel extract or diluted apple cider vinegar.
    Be cautious with witch hazel. If you can find it in a non-alcohol vegetable glycerine base, no problem, but most has isopropyl alcohol -- a poison. This evaporates quickly and completely, but your pup must not be allowed to lick it. It can stick around too long on longer-haired pooches and get absorbed through the skin. It's best to avoid isopropyl products.

    Cornstarch, Baking Soda and Salt

    It's easy to make dry shampoo with kitchen or bath ingredients. Mix 1 cup cornstarch with 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup non-iodized salt (sea salt, or you can buy it in big, cheap sacks as kosher or pickling salt). Shake the mixture well, then take your furry friend outside and work it down through his fur. Hang out for five minutes or so, then treat him to a very good brushing and combing.
    Some recipes include a few drops of eucalyptus, lavender or rosemary essential oil to scare off fleas and ticks. These are fine if you only use literally 1 to 3 drops. Bushels of plant matter go into making each tiny bottle of these oils -- large amounts are seriously poisonous.


    Oatmeal isn't just for breakfast, especially if your pet has skin problems. Cook it up so it's very soupy, let it cool, and smear it all the way deep, down through his fur, up to his skin. The hard part is letting it dry without your buddy eating it all up. If you manage to succeed, brush the dried flakes out and they'll take the dirt with them.

    Baby Powder

    Drench your water-hating pup in baby powder, then thoroughly groom the powder out, like a dry shampoo. The talc is supposed to cling to the dirt and escort it off your pet.
    Another option is a few drops of baby oil on a soft cloth or grooming chamois ("shammy"). Pet your pup down with the oily cloth, and this should take out dirt and dander, but beware if your dog has oily skin to begin with. A drawback of this method is that residual baby oil can attract more dirt onto your pet after his grooming session.

    Photo Credits

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    About the Author

    Angela Libal began writing professionally in 2005. She has published several books, specializing in zoology and animal husbandry. Libal holds a degree in behavioral science: animal science from Moorpark College, a Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and is a graduate student in cryptozoology.

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