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Have you noticed fleas on your dog recently? One of the fastest ways to rid your dog of fleas and ticks is to wash them with a flea shampoo for dogs. You can kill most of the existing fleas and ticks, and some flea control shampoos help prevent reinfestation.
There are a lot of dog shampoos for fleas to choose from these days. Some aren’t very effective, while others may be too harsh on your dog’s skin. How do you know which one is best?
We’ve put together this guide of the best flea shampoo for dogs. We’ve also included other important information about treating dog fleas with shampoo and how to use it effectively.
What Is a Shampoo to Treat Dog Fleas and Ticks?
Flea shampoo is a product that you wash your dog with to kill fleas (and maybe ticks). Flea control shampoo for dogs often only kills existing adult fleas. If your dog has any flea eggs or larvae, they can grow into biting adults even after a flea bath.
Most flea control shampoos don’t offer much protection after the bath. For best results, you should follow the bath with an oral or topical flea preventative. Another option is flea and tick collars, which help prevent flea infestations from occurring.
Is There 100% Natural Flea Shampoo for Dogs?
There are some flea shampoo brands that are 100% natural. They use essential oils rather than chemicals to kill fleas. While they may be safer for your dog, they tend to be less effective than shampoos with pesticides.
It’s up to you to decide whether to take your chances on harsh but effective chemicals or gentle but less-effective natural flea shampoos.
Do Shampoos Work on Dog Fleas?
Flea treatment shampoo is up to 95% effective at killing adult fleas in dogs. However, most don’t get rid of flea eggs or larvae. Additionally, many of these types of shampoos don’t prevent future reinfestations.
For best results, flea prevention shampoo should only be one step in the process of eliminating fleas.
Flea eggs tend to fall off dogs and lay in wait in bedding, carpet, or crevices. They can lay dormant for up to a year before hatching and latching onto your dog.
While you could repeatedly use flea control shampoo (not more than once a week), it’s best to treat every flea source. That includes washing your dog’s bedding, vacuuming your carpets, and treating your yard.
Who Should Buy a Dog Flea and Tick Shampoo?
Flea and tick shampoo works best on dogs that only have a few fleas or ticks. Serious infestations of fleas or ticks may need more intense treatment.
Flea and tick shampoo may be the first step in treating a severe infestation. However, it shouldn’t be the only step you take to eliminate flea infestations on your dog or in your home.
What About Cats?
Many flea and tick shampoos are toxic for cats. Read bottles carefully to make sure they are safe to use on cats. Even if you don’t wash your cat, flea shampoo on your dog can still irritate the cat if they snuggle.
Best Shampoo for Dog Fleas
This top-selling dog shampoo for fleas is one of the few that kills flea eggs and larvae. Adams Plus Flea also has an insect growth regulator to prevent eggs and larvae from developing into adults.
Beyond that, it’s a sensitive skin formula that has oatmeal, aloe, coconut extract, and lanolin. Nothing comes close to this as the best shampoo for dog fleas.
- Effectively kills fleas, ticks, flea eggs, flea larvae, and lice
- Contains an insect growth regulator (IGR) to kill and prevent flea development for up to 28 days
- Sensitive skin formula with soothing aloe, lanolin, coconut extract, and oatmeal
- Safe for use on all dogs, cats, puppies and kittens 12-weeks and older
User Reviews: Some people complain that Adams Plus flea shampoo didn’t kill all the fleas. A few people complained that this shampoo is dangerous for their cat. Otherwise, most people say it’s very effective and smells great.
Bottom Line: This is arguably the best flea and tick dog shampoo on the market. While it’s supposed to be safe for cats, too, it’s best to use something else on feline family members.
Another highly-rated dog shampoo for fleas is this Sentry shampoo. It’s cheaper than the Adams Plus flea formula and claims to kill fleas and ticks for up to 10 days. The oatmeal formula is great for dogs with sensitive skin.
- Cleans, deodorizes, and conditions dog’s coat
- pH balanced
- Safe for puppies 12 weeks and older
- Kills fleas and ticks for up to 10 days
User Reviews: People love the smell and effectiveness of this shampoo. It didn’t work for every dog, and you can’t use it if you also have cats. Many of the complaints were about shipping issues rather than problems with the shampoo itself.
Bottom Line: As long as you don’t have a cat that likes to snuggle with your dog, this is a good choice for a flea and tick shampoo.
This natural flea shampoo is safe for the environment as well as your dog. It uses dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate undecyclenic acid to soften the waxy skeleton of fleas and other insects until the internal organs are saturated and the insect dies.
- Kills fleas on contact without pyrethrin-based pesticides
- Ready to use, no need to dilute
- Kills fleas, ticks, and lice
- Won’t wash off topical flea and tick products
User Reviews: This shampoo is extremely watery and doesn’t lather like most other shampoos. You also have to use it on a dry dog. Despite some people saying it didn’t work, many people said it killed all the fleas on their dog.
Bottom Line: If you want to try a natural flea shampoo without pesticides, this is a good one to start with. Compared to the first two shampoos, there were more complaints that it didn’t work. However, there are still enough positive reviews for us to recommend it.
Looking for something different? This flea and tick shampoo is a bar instead of a liquid. That eliminates plastic waste. It’s also supposed to be easier to use than a liquid. This organic shampoo also fights bacteria and fungus, so it’s great for all-around use.
- Also fights bacteria and fungus
- Bar formulation eliminates plastic bottle waste
- Free of artificial colors, fragrances, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and synthetic pesticides
- Organic and made from food-grade ingredients
User Reviews: As usual, not everybody had good flea-killing results with this shampoo. However, most reviewers say that the bar is much easier to use than a liquid, the smell is pleasant, and it kills fleas. It’s important to note that many of the happy reviewers used this product alongside other flea products.
Bottom Line: The flea bar soap is easier to use than liquid shampoo and rinses better, too. It may or may not work alone. However, it seems to work well alongside other flea and tick products.
TropiClean is a brand that has been trusted and loved by professional groomers for many years. This natural flea and tick shampoo uses essential oils to kill and repel fleas. It has a pleasant citrus scent and doesn’t smell like chemicals.
- Kills fleas, ticks, and mosquitos
- Repels fleas, ticks, larvae, and eggs for up to 7 days
- Contains no pesticides
- Made with 5 EPA-approved natural essential oils: clove oil, lemongrass oil, cedarwood oil, cinnamon oil, and sesame seed oil
User Reviews: There are some reports that this shampoo doesn’t kill fleas. However, most people say it kills fleas and ticks. The scent is controversial – people either love it or hate it. It also leaves dogs shiny with healthy skin.
(Writer’s note: When I rescued my dog, he had a few fleas a few times before I found the right preventative medication. This shampoo killed the few fleas he had every time I used it. I can’t attest to how well it would work on a major infestation. However, I’ve used several different shampoos on his wiry coat, and I keep coming back to this one. Even when he doesn’t have fleas, it’s my favorite shampoo for him.)
Bottom Line: This seems to be one of the better natural flea shampoos out there. It may not work as well as shampoos with insecticides. However, it works better than many other natural shampoos out there.
Buyer’s Guide – How Do You Use Shampoo for Fleas?
Washing your dog using flea shampoo is not quite the same as washing your dog with regular shampoo. For starters, you should closely follow the instructions on the bottle. Most flea shampoos for dogs need to sit on your dog’s coat for 5-10 minutes.
Flea control shampoo can be rather harsh, so you may choose to wear gloves while you wash your dog.
It’s crucial to keep flea shampoo out of your dog’s eyes, so don’t shampoo their entire head. Just to be safe, you should rinse your dog’s eyes with a saline solution before and after the bath.
For best results, wet your dog’s neck and the back of their head and lather in the shampoo there first. Otherwise, fleas may run from the water and shampoo and hide in your dog’s ears or on their head. You want to lay down a barrier to prevent that from happening.
As you lather the flea prevention shampoo into your dog, pay special attention to areas where fleas may hide or congregate. That includes the armpits, genitals, neck and ears, and base of the tail.
When you rinse your dog after letting the shampoo soak, be sure to avoid rinsing shampoo into their eyes. You also need to make sure you thoroughly rinse out the shampoo. Any shampoo, but especially flea shampoo, can irritate your dog’s skin if it isn’t rinsed out completely.
If you plan on giving your dog a topical flea treatment or a flea collar, do it after the bath.
Important Features to Consider in a Dog Flea Shampoo
You shouldn’t choose a flea shampoo at random. There are a lot of different factors you should consider.
How Well Does It Work?
Some dog flea shampoos offer big promises, natural ingredients, or pleasant scents. However, those things don’t really matter if the shampoo doesn’t kill fleas.
Does It Prevent Future Fleas?
Most flea shampoos only kill existing adult fleas on your dog. They offer little to no protection from fleas, which could hop on your dog or hatch tomorrow. However, some flea shampoos, like our Top Pick, do offer preventative protection.
While its effectiveness is more important, the shampoo’s scent may be an important factor for you. It would be a bummer to kill fleas on your dog, only to have them stink afterward. Read reviews to see what other pet parents say about the shampoo’s scent.
Sometimes a larger bottle is a better value, even though it costs more upfront. Some shampoos also lather better than others, which affects how long a bottle will last.
Which Flea Pesticides Do What?
3 pesticides are common in shampoos for dog fleas. Each ingredient does something different, so check to see which your shampoo has.
- Pyrethroids are synthetic pesticides created in labs. They don’t work as quickly as other pesticides, but they tend to last longer. Pyrethroids include phenothrin, permethrin, allethrin, etofenprox, and resmethrin.
- Pyrethrins are natural pesticides derived from chrysanthemums. They kill fleas by attacking their nervous system. Pyrethrins are usually fast-acting.
- Methoprene is an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) that kills pre-adult fleas. Since it kills eggs and larvae, it can help prevent future flea infestations.
What Else You Should Do to Treat Fleas on Your Dog
Flea and tick shampoo should only be one step to treat fleas on your dog. To prevent fleas from coming back, you need to treat your home and use a preventive treatment on your dog. Flea preventatives come in chewable and topical formulations as well as flea collars.
FAQs About Flea Control Shampoo
Here are some quick answers to common questions about shampoos to treat dog fleas.
Do I Still Need to Treat My Dog for Fleas after Using a Medicated Shampoo?
Medicated flea shampoos typically only kill adult fleas. For best results, you should use an additional flea treatment on your dog after the flea bath. You should also treat your home and yard to prevent new fleas from hopping aboard your dog.
Will Flea Control Shampoo Kill Fleas on My Dog?
Flea and tick shampoo kills up to 95% of adult fleas on dogs. You can’t count on it to kill every flea. Additionally, most dog flea shampoos are not effective in killing flea eggs or larvae.
How Often Should I Use Shampoo to Treat Dog Fleas?
You can use a flea control shampoo as often as once a week. However, medicated shampoos for fleas tends to be harsh on the skin. It’s best to use other methods to treat your dog for fleas and use gentler shampoo when you wash them.
Does Regular Dog Shampoo Kill Fleas?
No, regular dog shampoo does not kill fleas. A few fleas may suffocate or be rinsed out of your dog. However, there is no ingredient in regular dog shampoo to kill fleas.
Can I Use Dawn Dish Soap?
Dawn dish soap is a popular remedy for killing fleas on dogs. It may be effective, but it’s extremely drying to a dog’s skin. It’s better to use a medicated shampoo for treating fleas on your dog.
Does Flea and Tick Shampoo for Dogs Expire?
Yes. Thanks to the chemicals in flea and tick shampoo, it may have an expiration date. However, an expired shampoo probably won’t hurt your dog, but it may not be as effective.
Hopefully, you’ve learned a lot about flea control and flea shampoo for dogs. It can be hard to pick the best shampoo for dog fleas, but we hope you’ve found a good option with one of our recommendations.