The best flea shampoo for dogs can help prevent fleas and treat existing flea infestations. For one, fleas are icky, and secondly, they can make your dog sick and uncomfortable. A high-quality flea shampoo can help.
My friend Lisa lives in a modest home. She’s never had a manicure or pedicure in her life. Her clothes come from sale racks or hand-me-downs from her sister. Lisa’s hair is by Suave, and half the time she forgets to condition her gray locks.
While Lisa doesn’t spend money on her own personal grooming, she buys nothing but the best for her 10-year-old German Shepherd and her three-year-old Britney Spaniel. Trixie and Tipi live like Queens.
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Many others across the country would purchase nothing but the best for their four-legged friends. This is why we have compiled the list of best flea shampoo for dogs.
9 of Our Favorite Flea Shampoos for Dogs
Wahls uses rosemary, mint, and cedar oil to naturally repel fleas and ticks away from your dogs for up to one week without the use of toxic chemicals. The shampoo also leaves your dog’s coat clean. White dogs look white again after using this shampoo on their coats.
Wahls also makes other shampoo formulas. Dog owners can purchase the 4-in-1 Calming Formula, Color Bright Whitening Formula, Oatmeal Formula, Odor Control, Puppy Gentle Formula, and Shed Control formula. Most products, including the Defense Formula, are sold in 24-ounce bottles.
Wahls prides itself on providing a product that is natural and safe for your dogs and humans. It is plant derived and PEG-80 Free.
PEG-80 is a polyether compound that is in a wide variety of products. You will find it in toothpaste, cosmetics, and dog and human shampoos. PEG-80 is a penetration enhancer. This is a problem, mainly because penetration enhancers are often paired with impurities like ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane. Both of these chemicals can cause serious health risks. Using a product with PEG-80 on broken skin can cause these carcinogens to seep into the body’s bloodstream. Ethylene oxide damages the central nervous system, and dioxane has been linked to liver, lung, breast, skin, and gallbladder cancer.
It is not good enough to purchase products with “natural” or “organic” in its name. Read the back of the label. If PEG, polyethylene glycol, polyethylene oxide, and polyoxyethylene are in the list of ingredients, consider picking an alternative product.
There are no specific usage instructions on the bottle of Wahl’s product.
Adams Plus with Precor is a concentrated shampoo that can be used on dogs and cats that allow you to bathe them. Adams promises to leave your pet’s coat soft and shinny, as it removes dandruff, dirt, and scales. The Precor formula provides 28 days of control of pre-adult fleas before they become those nasty biting adult buggers.
The Adams wash not only prevents flea and ticks from latching on to your pet in the future, but it also kills existing fleas, ticks, flea eggs, flea larvae, and lice. Dead ticks will literally fall off your dog after using this shampoo.
While the product contains aloe, lanolin, coconut extract, and oatmeal, the list of active ingredients is methoprene, pyrethrins, and piperonyl butoxide.
The Adams wash with Precor is sold in a 14.1 ounce bottle.
Life is full of mysteries. Crop circles, UFOs, the Shroud of Turin are examples. One such mystery is the difference between Adams Plus Flea and Tick Shampoo and Adams Flea and Tick Cleansing Shampoo. Both products seem to have the same active ingredients. Both claim to kill fleas, flea eggs, ticks, and lice. Both can be used for dogs and cats. The only noticeable difference between the two products seems to be the name, price, and webpage.
The second product is available here
Adams sells this shampoo as part of a program that fights against those pesky little bugs that cause turmoil for our pets. The program includes direct sprays and collars for our animals, as well as sprays for our home and yards.
Both Adams shampoos have the same instructions for use. First, you are directed to wet your animal with warm water. Add one to two tablespoons of the shampoo to various parts of the hair coat. Work the soap into lather. Add more water if necessary. Let the foam remain on the hair coat for five minutes. Rinse your pet with clean water.
It is recommended to follow the lengthy safety instructions when using this product. It is recommended to not get this product in contact with your skin or eyes. One would think that if a product is not recommended to come in contact with skin, it would not be necessary to add that it should not get close to the eyes as well. If the product does come in contact with the skin on your hands, wash your hands thoroughly before eating, drinking, chewing gum, using tobacco, or using the toilet. It is also recommended to remove contaminated clothing and wash your clothes before rewearing them.
The next product to help your dog be free of fleas and ticks is the Bayer Animal Health Advantage Shampoo. Much like the Adams program, Bayer offers a variety of options to treat against fleas and ticks. They offer a household fogger, a shampoo for cats, a shampoo for dogs, a spot spray for cats, a spot spray for dogs, an upholstery spray, and a back-yard spray.
It is available in 8, 12, and 24 ounces. The Bayer product is for use on dogs and puppies over 12 weeks of age. Do you have a dog that is debilitated, aged, pregnant, or nursing? Check with your veterinarian to see if the Bayer shampoo is the appropriate product to use.
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The active ingredients for the Bayer Animal Health Advantage shampoo are pyrethrins, piperonyl butoxide, and n-octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide.
While no exact instructions for use are available for this product, it is known that you should use the shampoo no more than once a week. Be aware that this shampoo will kill fleas and ticks off your animal. Unless you are ok with dead bugs littered throughout your home, you may consider confining your dog outside or at least in an easily-cleaned room while the shampoo does its job.
Hartz UltraGuard Flea and Tick Dog Shampoo has the best name of any of the products thus far. Maybe it’s just me, but every time I see that a product’s name includes “flea and tick shampoo,” I envision a product to give fleas and ticks shiny outer shells. This “dog” shampoo that kills fleas and ticks can be purchased here
This product not only kills fleas and ticks, but it also can be used weekly for preventative treatments while also cleaning and deodorizing your animal. This product listing includes three different options, all sold in 18 fluid ounce bottles. It comes in “fresh” scent, which is described by the photos of the pinecones on the front of the bottle. Your dog could also smell like oranges if you use the citrus shampoo. If your dog has sensitive skin, you can also purchase an oatmeal shampoo.
To use the Hartz product, wet your pet’s coat with warm water. Rub the shampoo into the coat, making sure not to get suds into the animal’s eyes. Work from the dog’s head to the tail. Let the product stand or continue to massage it in for five minutes. Rinse your dog and towel dry.
This product is only designed to use on dogs and puppies six months or older. The active ingredient is phenothrin.
Like the Wahls product, the Richard’s Shampoo uses five pure essential oils instead of chemical compounds to treat fleas and ticks. The shampoo is sulfate, paraben, dye, and soap free. It does not include any artificial fragrances or colors.
Richard’s Shampoo contains cinnamon oil, purified water, hydroxyethyl cellulose, rosemary oil, cedarwood oil, peppermint oil, and vitamin E.
Like the other products, it is instructed that you work the lather into the dog’s coat, moving back from the head. Allow the lather to remain on your dog for a few minutes before rinsing. The flea and tick shampoo is recommended for monthly usage.
The product information says that Richard’s shampoo is not safe for use on cats due to the active oil ingredients of this shampoo. Richard’s also comes in several other formulas, including an anti-bacterial shampoo, a deodorizing shampoo, and a moisturizing shampoo.
Richard’s Organic Flea and Tick shampoo promises to be a gentle and safe treatment, which kills fleas and ticks. It also repels mosquitoes.
Pet Pleasant produces the Lavender Vanilla Oatmeal Pet Shampoo for dogs and puppies of all ages, sizes, and breeds. It comes in a 12-ounce bottle.
This shampoo is formulated for dogs with sensitive and irritated skin. The ingredients are designed to help calm your pet’s inflamed skin while at the same time repel ticks and fleas that can irritate your pet even more.
Pet Pleasant uses vanilla and lavender not only to replace unpleasant doggy smells for your enjoyment, but it also calms your dog who may be suffering from skin irritation. The product also contains colloidal oatmeal. Colloidal oatmeal has been used for treating skin irritations in humans and animals for decades. Oatmeal that has been ground and then suspended into liquid is known as colloidal oatmeal.
Pet Pleasants products are manufactured in the USA, and the company offers a 100% money-back guarantee.
It is worth noting that this product, while tear free, paraben free, and odor removing, it does not work to kill ticks and fleas. The natural ingredients are used to repel fleas and ticks.
The directions for Pet Pleasant’s dog shampoo say to apply the shampoo to a wet coat. Work the lather from the head to the tail, paying particular attention to soiled areas. It is recommended to wait one or two minutes before rinsing the product from your dog.
For all you cat lovers out there, here is the product you have all been waiting for. Sentry makes a flea and tick shampoo for cats that is cringe-worthily named PurrScriptions. It can be purr-chased on Amazon. The 12-ounce bottle of shampoo kills fleas, ticks, and lice off your tabby while adding luster to your cat’s coat. Kitten owners are cautioned to use this product on cats 12 weeks of age or older.
Users of this product are told to wet your cat and apply a generous amount of shampoo to its coat. For best results, your cat should be left sudsy for four or five minutes before rinsing it with water. After you are finished washing your cat with this product, pour hydrogen peroxide on all your cuts and scratches. Apply Neosporin on all your open sores. Just kidding. Sort of.
PurrScriptions should be used once every two weeks.
The active ingredients of this product include piperonyl butoxide, technical and pyrethrins. Caution should be undertaken when using this pesticide. Ask your veterinarian before using this shampoo on any debilitated, aged, pregnant, nursing, or medicated feline. If your cat has a reaction to this product after use, give your cat another bath with a mild shampoo.
For your own safety, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after using this shampoo.
Human users of this product enjoy the coconut berry scent. Cats would probably rather smell like tuna fish. Actually, I have no idea how a cat desires to smell.
This product is different than the previous shampoos we have discussed because it gives itch relief to fleas. Sorry. I am taking the name of the shampoo too literally again.
Seriously, this product is different than the previous ones because it does nothing to prevent flea and tick bites. Instead, it offers your dog relief from itchiness after a flea bites your dog. This shampoo will not affect other topical flea and tick products, so you can use it in combination with any other program you are already using.
Vet’s Best uses natural ingredients, including oatmeal, orange and lemon oils, and neem oil. So that you know, neem oil is not a made-up word pulled from a Dr. Seuss book. It is actually a real thing. Neem oil is pressed from the fruits of seeds of the neem tree, an evergreen tree found in India. Neem oil is used for organic farming and medicines.
This product comes in a 16-ounce bottle and is for dogs and puppies that are 12 weeks or older.
The product’s directions for use is similar to other products. After wetting your dog’s coat, apply a small amount of shampoo on your pet’s head and massage it in toward the tail. Massage your four-legged friend for three to five minutes until your pet’s coat is squeaky clean. Keep your pet warm until it is dry.
While some people will tell you that Vet’s Best killed fleas off their dogs, the product is meant as a soothing shampoo for dogs that have already been bitten and have irritated skin.
The last best flea shampoo for dogs on our list is called the Natural Care Flea and Tick Shampoo. This product comes in a twelve-ounce bottle and is made in the USA.
While the last product only calms irritated skin, this product kills fleas, flea larvae, and ticks on dogs on contact. Natural Care contains no harsh chemicals, and it is alcohol-free and paraben free. Parabens have been found in breast tumors.
Anyone looking at the product’s active ingredients will see that the product includes many essential oils. Oil from thyme, peppermint, clove, rosemary, and cedar wood are listed in addition to sodium lauryl sulfate.
Besides killing those nasty creatures that want to suck your dog’s blood, this product also cleans and deodorizes the dog’s coat. The scent is not described in any other way except that it is light and soothing.
This product’s instructions are a little more specific in nature than the previous ones. After shaking the shampoo, users are to apply on the dog’s wet coat. Customers are cautioned to avoid contact with the eyes, mouth, nose, and genitals. It is assumed this is for the dogs, but it is a good rule to follow for the pet owner as well. Pet owners are encouraged to let the product stand for five to 10 minutes and to make sure the shampoo reaches in hard-to-get areas like between the dog’s toes. A thorough rinsing and toweling off will help rid your pet of the dead fleas and ticks.
This product can be used on dogs and puppies over 12 weeks of age. It can be used all year round as often as necessary.
The Flea Life Cycle
It’s important to find the best flea shampoo for dogs because fleas are really irritating and can cause your dog a lot of pain and discomfort. To understand how fleas torment your dog, it is helpful to understand the life cycle of the flea. Adult fleas are only five percent of an infestation, so it is not enough that a product kills the adult version of the buggers. You must also kill flea larvae and flea eggs as well.
Adult fleas lay eggs after a meal of blood. The eggs drop off into the environment, or in this case, your pet’s coat. The flea eggs make up fifty percent of the infestation.
Flea larvae hatch out of flea eggs when conditions are warm and humid. Flea larvae make up 35 percent of an infestation.
Flea larvae (or maggots), spin a cocoon and develop into pupae around one to two weeks. Flea pupae make up 10 percent of the infestation.
Adult fleas make up to five percent of infestations.
What are Fleas?
We know that fleas are an irritant to our dogs and cats, but what kind of bug are they?
Did you know that fleas are wingless parasites? They live exclusively from the consumption of blood from another organism. There are over 2,000 species of fleas, and they are picky eaters. Some fleas only feast on the blood of humans while others like bird blood or dog blood.
Fleas are difficult to avoid. Even though they cannot fly to get to their supper, they have powerful back legs that allow them to jump in a single bound. Their powerful back legs help a flea to jump 18.5 inches forward or 6.5 inches high.
It’s not just the powerful back legs that allow fleas to get from one place to another. They also store up a protein that can be used to help them spring from one surface to another. A flea scientist must have discovered and identified that protein. What a job that would be.
Harmful Effects from Fleas
One would think that a bite from a flea would be enough to cause irritation on our pet’s skin, but there is another condition called flea bite dermatitis which makes a flea bite much worse. This dermatitis is an allergy that some pets have to flea saliva.
Flea bite dermatitis causes your pet to become itchy. When the pet scratches the itch, the skin often breaks open, and those sores can become infected. The most frequent spot for this dermatitis to show is on the back and at the base of the tail.
Fleas not only are irritants to our pets externally, but they can also cause internal issues as well. When your dog or cat ingests a flea, he or she can also ingest a tapeworm as well. The tapeworm, formerly inside the flea, then grows inside your cat or dog. Tapeworms can be small, as small as one-half inch, but they also can be as long as 12 inches. They can cause rapid weight loss and an itchy rear end.
Fleas can also cause your pet to become anemic. Anemia usually occurs when a small or young animal is infested with fleas. The fleas eat so much of the animal’s blood that the red blood cell count decreases.
Fleas Like Warm Climates
Listen up all of you readers living in a cold climate. Are you tired of your obnoxious cousin who lives in Florida always posting about the mild temperatures they are enjoying in the middle of February? Here’s a handy response for those braggers: at least people in cold weather climates don’t have to worry about fleas all year long. At least we northerners can brag about something.
Fleas Impact Humans
While most dog or cat fleas only look to animals as hosts, humans can suffer an occasional flea bite. Fleas carry diseases such as the plague and cat scratch fever. If you are experiencing the symptoms of either of these diseases, it is recommended that you visit your physician soon.
How to Get Rid of Fleas in Your Home
Your sweet dachshund has just been discovered with a flea infestation. What do you do?
- First, treat your dog. Use one of the shampoos listed above or another flea-treatment product on the market.
- Clean your home thoroughly. Sweep your home’s hard surfaces and vacuum carpets, rugs, and upholstery.
- Spray the carpets and furniture in your home. Fleas love dark places so spray under your furniture as well.
- Depending on how severe your infestation is, you may consider fogging your house. Some foggers are effective for up to seven months, which is long enough to kill fleas in all their life stages.
- Spray your yard as well. Some companies that make flea and tick shampoo also offer products for the home and yard.
- While you are in the process of cleaning your home, remember to throw away your vacuum bag each time you use the sweeper. Fleas love hiding in vacuum bags.
- Wash your pet’s bedding. Fleas are so small that they can hide in the stuffing of the bedding as well. Wash the whole bed, or you may need to consider purchasing a new one.
- Wash your pet’s toys.
- Fleas can be killed with hot water. Make sure to use the hottest water possible when cleaning your home’s surfaces and your pet’s belongings.
- After you have finally rid your home of fleas, make sure to use preventative treatment to keep an infestation from happening again.
Best Flea Shampoo for Dogs Doubles as a Tick Shampoo
Many of the products we have discussed also treat for ticks as well. We all know how harmful ticks can be on humans, but what about our pets?
Ticks, like fleas, feed on the blood of their hosts. They are attracted to warmth and motion. Ticks hang out in nature in tall grass or wooded areas, where they wait for a host. Once a tick finds a mammal to attach to, it will not detach until its meal is complete – either several hours or several days.
The life cycle of a tick includes eggs, larvae, nymphs, and adults. Anything but the eggs will attach to a host. In fact, the tick will not continue to develop unless it finds a meal.
Ticks are incredibly prevalent because of their lifespans. Ticks can live for several months to years. Female ticks can lay either hundreds or thousands of eggs at a time.
Humans, as well as animals, can suffer symptoms from a tick bite. Symptoms include weakness, lameness, joint swelling, and anemia. Sometimes it may take months or years before symptoms are relieved.
Ticks can also cause tick paralysis. Although this is usually a temporary condition, it can be horrifying for the pet and its owner. Tick paralysis is the gradual onset of difficult walking that may develop into a paralysis. Luckily, these signs typically resolve themselves as soon as the tick is removed from the dog’s coat.
Where Do You Look for a Tick on Your Pet?
Ticks often can be found in crevices or areas with little or no hair. Check your dog around his ears and the areas where the legs meet the body. Also look inside skin folds and between your pet’s toes.
If you find a tick on your pet (or on yourself), it is essential to remove it as soon as possible. Although not all ticks carry disease, if it does carry one it is more than likely to pass to your pet the longer it is attached to its body.
How to Remove a Tick
To protect yourself, wear thin gloves while you are removing a tick from your dog.
Use tweezers to grasp the tick at the point of attachment. Do this as close to the skin as possible.
Pull the tick straight away from the skin slowly and steadily. Do not twist or turn the body as you pull.
Although most of us would want to flush a tick down the toilet, it is a good idea to keep it in an airtight container labeled with the date. Having this tick may be helpful in identifying an illness should symptoms appear later.
Keep an eye on the area where the tick attached for at least a week. Clean the area daily and apply a weakened form of iodine to the sore.
How to Prevent Fleas
Fleas and ticks can be extremely harmful to our dogs and cats. Do what you can to prevent a flea or tick born illness from affecting your beloved four-legged friend. Treat your pet with something – whether it is a topical treatment you monthly put on your pet’s coat or a shampoo that is listed in this article. Choose between natural or chemical remedies. Make sure you follow the directions on the back of the product regardless of the type of product you are using.
Take your animal to the vet regularly, but also at the first sign of disease. Even harmful parasites like tapeworms can be treated if caught early.
Look for ticks on your dog every time he or she spends any time outdoors, and always be vigilant for those darn hopping fleas.