Skip to Content

How Does a Waterless Flea Shampoo for Dogs Work?

2 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels sitting in a wicker chair in the garden

Waterless flea shampoos sound almost too good to be true, but there are several of them out there and they can help control a flea infestation on your dog, provided you understand their limitations.

There are also other effective waterless products that can control fleas, but that aren’t shampoos.

I’ll show you several types of these flea products and go over the pros and cons of each type of treatment so that you can make the decision that’s right for you.

The main player when it comes to dry flea shampoos is the Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Waterless Bath Foam for Dogs.

Vet's Best Flea and Tick Waterless Bath Foam for Dogs | Flea Treatment Dry Shampoo for Dogs | Flea Killer with Certified Natural Oils | 8 Ounces

This is a product that relies on clove and peppermint natural oils to kill fleas. It doesn’t contain any insecticides or harsh chemicals. It does have a VERY strong smell because of the natural oils, but most people find the smell pleasant.

Something that you should know is that because it is a product with natural flea killing properties it does have it’s limitations, but it can work well. It’s especially useful for dogs that don’t like water.

How Do You Use Flea and Tick Waterless Baths?

Red dog sitting on a sidewalk scratching

The Vet’s Best Dry Flea Shampoo is delivered as a foam. You rub it into your dog’s coat one small section at a time.

It will kill fleas on contact, but according to customer reports doesn’t do much for eggs or larvae and it doesn’t prevent reinfestation.

The best practice when using this shampoo is to foam your dog and then brush the foam through. Follow with a flea comb to remove eggs and larvae. Repeat every 3 days to 1 week.

Can you use human lice shampoo on dogs for fleas? Click here to learn more.

Should You Use a Waterless Flea and Tick Bath?

Dog looking over his shoulder at the camera with mountains in the background

There are many other products on the market that are longer lasting or that are faster and easier to use, but most of them contain insecticides and other harsh chemicals. So that’s a choice that you will want to make.

Most dogs do respond well to regular flea treatments. But some people prefer to have a more natural approach.

Who Is a Waterless Flea Bath Good For?

Chihuahua curled into a pillow

This is a good product for you if you want a natural flea remedy and have a dog or dogs that don’t like water.

The Vet’s Best product doesn’t contain insecticides though, so you will have to reapply on a regular basis and supplement with a flea combe.

Is Dawn Good for Fleas? Is it safe to wash your dog in? Click here to learn more.

Other Options For Waterless Flea Control

Hand holding a flea collar with trees in the background

A waterless flea bath isn’t the only option for waterless flea control. You can also use flea collars, flea treatments that dogs take internally, flea drops, flea powders, and flea sprays.

Flea powders and flea sprays are the most similar to waterless flea baths and because they contain insecticides they often work more quickly and work longer.

Does Flea Powder Work on Dogs?

Flea powder is a good alternative to a waterless flea bath. When you get a flea powder for dogs, you want to use one that is specifically for dogs and not for carpet or other areas of your house.

The flea powder by Zodiac is a good example of a flea powder that you can use on dogs.

Zodiac Flea & Tick Powder for Dogs, Puppies, Cats & Kittens

To use this flea powder you can brush it on with a makeup brush. Many people apply it with an old loose powder compact. Some customers report putting it in the toe of a clean nylon knee high and patting it on with that.

Because the active ingredients are flea killing insecticides you will see fleas dropping off right away and it will stay active for a long time.

How Often Should I Use Flea Powder?

Flea powder being applied to dog's stomach

Folks report only needing to reapply every 30 to 60 days.

If you have a dog that’s afraid of water, this old fashioned, but effective product might just be what you need to get rid of fleas fast.

Who Is Flea Powder Good For?

diatomaceous earth in a wooden bowl on a wooden table with a wooden spoon

This is also great if you do any rescue or fostering work with dogs because you can apply it and it works super fast. Because of that, the flea powder can help to prevent infestations in your vehicle or home.

The only real downside to this type of flea powder is that it does contain insecticides, so if you are looking for an all natural product then you will want to pass on this one.

Does Flea and Tick Spray Work for Dogs?

For most dogs, flea and tick spray works great and it can be a good alternative to waterless flea shampoo.

One of the best rated flea and tick sprays on the market is Adams Plus Flea & Tick Spray.

Adams Plus Flea and Tick Spray for Cats and Dogs, 16 Oz

This is an insecticide spray and can be used on dogs and puppies 10 weeks of age and older. It works super fast to get rid of fleas. So if you have a major infestation this might be what you want to reach for.

How to Use Flea and Tick Spray

Hand with green painted nails holding a teal spray bottle against a white background.

Using flea and tick spray is very simple. You spray it into your dog’s coat “against the grain” and gently rub it in.

When you are getting around the face, mouth, eyes, and nose you should rub it in with a cloth rather than spraying it on directly.

Do the tail last as fleas like to congregate around dog’s tails.

Don’t spray on their rectum or genitals!

What is the best flea shampoo for your dog? Click here to find out.

Who Is Flea and Tick Spray Good For?

German Shepherd laying on a bed with a paw over one eye

This is a product that will work well for heavy flea infestations that you want to get rid of FAST.

It is insecticide based, so if you want an all natural product you should probably skip this one.

The Bottom Line on Dry Flea Shampoo

Three dogs lying under a blanket on a bed.

Dry flea shampoo can work to kill fleas, but the dry shampoos that I’ve found on the market do not contain insecticides and will not kill fleas throughout the entire lifecycle of the flea.

Flea powders and flea sprays are great alternatives to dry flea shampoos if you want to kill fleas fast, kill them through their entire lifecycle and don’t mind using insecticides on your dog.

Please keep in mind that we may receive a small commission when you click our links and make purchases and as an Amazon Associate, this site earns from qualifying purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.