One or two fleas may seem like a minor nuisance, but where there is one flea there are likely hundreds. It doesn’t take long for a few fleas to reproduce and create an infestation. Before you know it, they’ll be all over your dog and all over your house.
So, what do you do when your dog is covered in fleas?
The first thing you want to do is give him a good flea bath. A high-quality flea shampoo for dogs will kill fleas on contact and may also provide long-lasting benefits against flea eggs. The shampoo should also contain soothing ingredients to relieve your dog’s itching and irritation, plus cleansing agents to restore the natural shine to his coat.
If you’re dealing with a flea problem, do yourself a favor and buy one of the top flea shampoos for dogs. Here are our top 10 recommendations for the best flea shampoos for dogs:
Here are our top 10 picks for the best Flea Shampoos for Dogs:
#10 Paws & Pals Flea & Tick Scrub
If you’re looking for a product that will cleanse and soothe your dog’s skin and coat but also protect against fleas and ticks, look no further than this Paws & Pals Flea & Tick Scrub. This scrub features all natural ingredients like aloe vera, rosemary, and oatmeal to clean and condition your dog’s skin and coat. Not only will he come out smelling fresh and clean, but he’ll feel better than ever.
This Paws & Pals Flea & Tick Scrub is free from harsh ingredients but it still cleans, conditions, and deodorizes your pet’s coat. It relieves itching and irritation caused by fleas and ticks, plus it helps to revitalize brittle coats. Simply work the scrub into a lather in your dog’s coat then rinse it away.
Pros: Made with soothing natural ingredients, no chemical ingredients, long-lasting fresh scent, cleans and conditions, deodorizes well
Cons: Doesn’t repel fleas and ticks, some dogs dislike the smell
#9 Natural Chemistry De Flea Pet Shampoo
Safe for use in both dogs and cats, this Natural Chemistry De Flea Pet Shampoo is a powerful defense against fleas and ticks. It contains no pyrethrin-based pesticides but it still kills fleas on contact. This shampoo is ready to use and it won’t wash away any topical flea and tick treatments you may be using.
Simply work the shampoo into a lather in your dog’s coat and let it set for 5 minutes before rinsing. This formula is safe to use up to two or three times a week, as long as you allow three days between uses.
Pros: Doesn’t contain pesticides, kills fleas and ticks on contact, lathers well, won’t interfere with flea and tick treatments, safe for dogs and cats
Cons: Not for puppies under 12 weeks, some dogs dislike the odor
#8 Vet-Kem Ovitrol Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo
For fast-acting relief from fleas and ticks, try this Vet-Kem Ovitrol Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo. This shampoo comes in a thick, creamy formula that cleans and conditions your dog’s skin and coat. In addition to cleansing, it also kills fleas and ticks on contact with powerful active ingredients like pyrethrins and piperonyl butoxide.
This Vet-Kem Ovitrol Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo is safe for use on both dogs and cats. It kills adult fleas, lice, and ticks on contact and then protects against flea eggs for an additional 28 days. The inclusion of insect growth regulators prevents the eggs from hatching. On top of it all, this formula has a pleasant baby fresh scent.
Pros: Two powerful active ingredients, creamy formula, cleanses and conditions, kills fleas and ticks on contact, protects against flea eggs for 28 days, baby fresh scent
Cons: Contains some chemical ingredients, not for puppies under 12 weeks
#7 Hartz Ultra Guard Flea & Tick Shampoo for Dogs
With powerful flea-killing action and a fresh scent, this Hartz Ultra Guard Flea & Tick Shampoo for Dogs is a great option. It is made with powerful active ingredients like phenothrin to kill fleas and ticks on contact. In addition to killing fleas, this shampoo also contains oatmeal to help soothe dry, itchy, and irritated skin, leaving your dog feeling better than ever.
This Hartz Ultra Guard Flea & Tick Shampoo for Dogs is fast-acting, killing adult fleas, ticks, and mites on contact. As powerful as it is against insect pests, however, this formula is gentle on your dog’s skin and it won’t hurt his eyes. The only downside is that it is only recommended for dogs over 6 months of age.
Pros: Fast-acting against fleas and ticks, oatmeal soothes irritated skin, no-tear formula, also works against mites, pleasant scent
Cons: Contains some chemical ingredients, not safe for puppies under 6 months
#6 Flick! Natural Defense Flea & Tick Dog Shampoo
If you prefer not to use chemical ingredients on your dog, this Flick! Natural Defense Flea & Tick Dog Shampoo might be a good option. Made with natural active ingredients like cedarwood oil, clove oil, lemongrass oil, and cinnamon oil, not only does this product safely eliminate fleas and ticks, but it has a pleasant natural fragrance as well.
In addition to being a powerful defense against fleas and ticks, this Flick! Natural Defense Flea & Tick Dog Shampoo is safe for puppies as young as 12 weeks. It contains no permethrin or pyrethrin ingredients, but it kills fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes on contact and repels them for another 7 days. This shampoo is also safe for use in routine baths.
Pros: No chemical ingredients, natural oils as active ingredients, pleasant natural fragrance, kills fleas and ticks on contact, repels fleas for up to 7 days, safe for routine use
Cons: Not for puppies under 12 weeks, fragrance may be too strong for some dogs, somewhat watery
#5 Sentry Flea & Tick Shampoo with Oatmeal
Another flea shampoo that contains soothing natural ingredients is this Sentry Flea & Tick Shampoo with Oatmeal. This formula contains permethrin as the active ingredients to kill fleas and ticks on contact for up to 10 days. Plus, with natural ingredients like oatmeal, this shampoo gently cleanses and soothes your dog’s dry and irritated skin.
This Sentry Flea & Tick Shampoo with Oatmeal not only kills adult fleas and ticks for up to 10 days, but it kills flea eggs for up to 30 days. This will help you get your flea infestation under control quickly. Plus, with a pleasant ginger scent, you won’t mind washing your dog. Simply shake the bottle well, apply some shampoo to your dog’s coat, and work it into a lather before rinsing it away.
Pros: Kills adult fleas and ticks for 10 days, kills flea eggs for 30 days, contains natural ingredients to sooth skin, pleasant ginger scent
Cons: Not for puppies under 12 weeks of age, contains some chemical ingredients
#4 Mycodex Flea & Tick Shampoo P3
If you’re looking for a product that kills fleas and ticks on contact but still soothes your dog’s sensitive skin, try this Mycodex Flea & Tick Shampoo P3. This dog flea shampoo contains natural ingredients like aloe, lanolin, and coconut extract to soothe irritated skin while also moisturizing your dog’s coat. Plus, it takes care of dandruff, dirt, and loose hair to leave your dog looking and feeling better than ever.
This Mycodex Flea & Tick Shampoo P3 contains 0.15% pyrethrin as the active ingredient to kill adult fleas and ticks on contact. Plus, it cleanses your dog’s skin and leaves him smelling fresh. Simply work the shampoo into your dog’s coat until you have a thick later and let it soak for a few minutes before rinsing it away. This shampoo is veterinarian-recommended, so you can be sure it works!
#3 Wondercide Natural Flea & Tick Shampoo Bar
While this Wondercide Natural Flea & Tick Shampoo Bar may not be what you think of when you think of dog shampoo, it works wonders against fleas and ticks. This shampoo bar smells great and it repels fleas and ticks for dogs of all ages. With natural antibacterial and antifungal properties, this shampoo bar naturally cleanses your dog’s skin and coat to leave it silky and smooth. Plus, with therapeutic-grade essential oils, it has a pleasant fragrance.
This Wondercide Natural Flea & Tick Shampoo Bar contains 100% biodegradable ingredients. It is completely free from harsh chemicals, alcohol, artificial fragrances, and artificial colors. Simply rub the shampoo bar into your dog’s dampened coat until you get a nice lather then rinse it away. You can also use this shampoo bar for deep moisturizing or to soothe dry and irritated skin.
Pros: Kills and prevents fleas and ticks, lasts 5 times longer than liquid, lathers well and rinses clean, antibacterial and antifungal, pleasant natural fragrance
Cons: Some dogs dislike the fragrance, fragrance may fade over time
#2 Wahl Natural Defense Formula Flea & Tick Shampoo
If you want something that is powerful against fleas but gentle on your dog’s skin and coat, try this Wahl Natural Defense Formula Flea & Tick Shampoo. This flea shampoo is made with natural, plant-derived ingredients which soothe your dog’s dry and irritated skin while also taking care of fleas and ticks. This formula contains no harsh chemicals, so it is a great choice for dogs with sensitive skin and for puppies.
This Wahl Natural Defense Formula Flea & Tick Shampoo is made with rosemary and mint, so it has a pleasant scent without being overpowering. Use this shampoo to repel fleas and ticks for up to 7 days without the use of harsh chemicals and pesticides. This shampoo contains only FDA-approved fragrance and colors, so you can feed good about using it.
Pros: Made with natural plant-based materials, repels fleas and ticks for up to 1 week, pleasant natural fragrance, gentle on sensitive skin and puppies
Cons: Some dogs dislike the fragrance, repels rather than killing fleas
#1 Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor
Consistently rated as the top flea shampoo for dogs, Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor goes above and beyond the basics. Not only does this shampoo kill fleas in all stages of life, but it provides a full 28 days of protection against eggs and larvae. This flea shampoo contains Precor, an insect growth regulator, which prevents eggs and larvae from developing into biting adult fleas.
This Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor is ultra-powerful against fleas and ticks but gentle on your dog’s skin and coat. It contains soothing natural ingredients like lanolin, aloe vera, and coconut extract to leave your dog’s coat silky and soft. Plus, with oatmeal included in the list of ingredients, it will soothe your dog’s irritated skin. For dogs with sensitive skin, you can dilute the shampoo with two parts water or, for stubborn infestations, use it at full strength.
Pros: Kills fleas and ticks in all life stages, contains an insect growth regulator, can be diluted for sensitive skin, soothing natural ingredients, provides 28 days of protection
Cons: Contains chemical ingredients, not recommended for puppies under 12 weeks
By the time you notice that your dog is carrying fleas, the problem has probably already become fairly serious. Fleas reproduce very quickly and where there is one flea, there are likely to be a hundred more. When fleas start to reproduce, it is called an infestation.
Flea infestation is a common problem in dogs and, while it is certainly treatable, these pests can be difficult to get rid of because they are so small. Fleas not only live in your dog’s coat, but also in his bedding and in your furniture, carpet, and even your floor boards.
Keep reading to learn more about what a flea infestation looks like and how to use dog flea shampoo to take care of the problem.
What Does a Flea Infestation Look Like?
Fleas are tiny little insects no more than 2.5mm in length. You probably won’t notice them on your dog unless you look very closely. They have flat bodies without wings and six long legs they use for jumping. If you part the hair on your dog’s rump or at the base of his skull, you may see these little black bugs scurrying around on his skin.
Unless you’re already looking at your dog’s skin, you probably won’t notice the actual fleas as the first sign of infestation. Here are some of the most common signs of a flea problem in dogs:
- Scratching excessively, sometimes hard enough to draw blood
- Red and inflamed skin, sore to the touch
- Patches of hair loss, particularly on the back and base of the tail
- Excessively chewing or licking a particular area
If you notice any of these signs, it warrants further investigation. Try taking a flea comb to your dog’s fur and use it to check for fleas. If that doesn’t work, check for signs of “flea dirt,” or reddish-brown droppings that might be on your dog’s coat or in his bedding. If you suspect a flea infestation, it is worth taking your dog to the vet to confirm the diagnosis.
Tips for Giving Your Dog a Flea Bath
When you have confirmation of a flea infestation, you need to take action immediately before the problem gets worse. Before you start cleaning your house, you should take care of the fleas on your dog’s body, so he doesn’t re-infest the house after you clean it. The best way to get rid of fleas immediately is to bathe your dog with a dog flea shampoo.
Here are the steps to take in giving your dog a flea bath with dog flea shampoo:
1. Give your dog a good brushing to remove loose and dead hair from his coat – it’s a good idea to brush your dog before every bath so you can really clean his coat well.
2. Fill your bathtub with a few inches of warm water and place a bath mat or a towel on the bottom so your dog has something to keep his feet from slipping.
3. Put your dog in the bathtub, using treats to encourage him if needed, and wet down his coat using a handheld sprayer or by pouring water over him.
4. Read the directions on the dog flea shampoo to see if you need to dilute the shampoo or if there are any specific instructions you need to follow.
5. Apply a small amount of flea shampoo to your dog’s coat and work it into a lather by hand – you really want to get it into his coat all the way down to the skin.
6. Let the shampoo soak into your dog’s skin and coat for about 5 minutes – this helps to kill any existing fleas and it is beneficial for shampoos that offer long-lasting protection.
7. Thoroughly rinse the shampoo out your dog’s coat – you may need to rinse several times.
8. Towel your dog dry to get rid of most of the moisture in his coat – you can also use a blow-dryer on the low heat setting if your dog will allow you.
9. Treat your dog with a monthly topical flea preventive to keep him flea-free while you take care of the fleas in the rest of your house.
10. Wash your dog’s bedding and clean all surfaces where fleas are likely to hide – this includes carpet, furniture, and even the baseboards.
While bathing your dog, you should be careful not to get his head and ears wet. If your dog has ears that hang down on either side of his head, moisture could become trapped inside and that will become a breeding ground for bacteria. Instead of soaking his head, just use a damp washcloth and some warm water to clean your dog’s face.
How to Prevent Fleas from Returning
Giving your dog a flea bath is one of the best ways to kill fleas on contact so you can get an infestation under control as quickly as possible. Once you’ve done that, there are certain things you need to do to remove any remaining fleas from the house and to prevent them from coming back.
Here are some simple tips for getting rid of household fleas and to prevent their return:
• Wash your dog’s bedding in hot water to kill fleas – you may also want to consider just throwing it out and buying new bedding.
• Vacuum all of the carpet and upholstered furniture in your home on a daily basis – you can even use a flea carpet powder or other products to help kill fleas.
• Dispose of any vacuum bags and other materials used to clean so you don’t accidentally trigger a new infestation from the same fleas.
• Consider hiring a professional exterminator to use a fogger in your home to kill fleas – this helps to get the fleas that you might miss and those that could be hiding in places you can’t reach.
• Keep your dog protected against fleas and other insect pests by using a flea collar or a monthly topical preventive – flea collars last up to 8 months and topical preventives last 30 days.
• Try using natural methods to repel fleas such as the following:
o Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to your dog’s water bowl once a day.
o Give your dog a flea dip using rosemary steeped in hot water.
o Boil lemons in water then strain and spritz the mixture over your dog’s coat.
o Steep garlic in boiling water than spray it in your yard to prevent fleas.
With the right products, tackling a flea infestation is possible. The most important thing to remember is that you must follow through with any treatments until you are absolutely sure all of the fleas are gone – if you miss even a handful of fleas you could end up with another infestation.