Substitutes If You Don't Have Dog Shampoo

Wash the dog without the shampoo.
Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

Whew. It's apparent that your dog could use a bath. Unfortunately, you don't have any dog shampoo handy. The good news is you may have a few items in the kitchen or your grooming supply kit that will help with the odor. Even better, you might not have to run a bath at all as some of these products are simply applied to the dog's coat without the need for any water.

Baking Soda

Most people have baking soda in their kitchen. However, this leavening agent is also a good way to give your dog a dry bath. All you need to do is sprinkle the baking soda onto the dog's fur and brush through the fur. Not only is this a great way to help with odors when you're out of shampoo, it can also improve the look of the dog's coat. Best of all, it works instantly at taming bad odors.

Rolled Oats

Rolled oats are not only a good ingredient for human baths, but they are wonderful for dog baths as well. Add a cup of oats to a nylon stocking, tie off the end, and run hot bath water over the stocking until the tub fills to the desired depth for your dog's height. Allow the water to cool to what feels like room temperature to you and then let your dog soak for 5 to 10 minutes. This substitute will keep you dog odor-free for up to two weeks.


A great thing to keep in your grooming supplies are wipes. Dog wipes can be purchased almost anywhere pet grooming supplies are sold and make it easy to give your dog a quick bath. All you do is run the wipe over the dog's fur, paws and backside to remove dirt and odor. This is not only a great option for when you're out of shampoo, but it also prevents the need for a full bath when your dog rolls in something and you don't have time for bathing. One wipe is usually enough for toy breeds, while large breeds may need five wipes to get them clean. However, the dirtier the dog, the more wipes you'll need.


For those times when your dog doesn't need a full bath, but definitely has a bit of odor, you can use dog deodorants. These are similar to body sprays for humans and help mask the odor until a bath can be given. This is a great product to keep on hand because it offers an instant fresh smell and comes in a variety of scents. You can also use it in between baths to keep your dog smelling fresh.