If you’re searching for the best Flea Shampoo for Dogs, you’ve probably done everything to keep ticks and fleas off your dog. You’ve avoided walking in tall grass, pulled your dog away from that stained couch that’s been rotting on the sidewalk for weeks, and you’ve even stopped taking Fido to the park to socialize with other dogs in fear that one of them has fleas.
But alas, despite your efforts, those pesky parasites have somehow infiltrated your dog’s coat, your home, and what feels like your entire life.
You’ve already tried the homemade remedies you’ve found online, but the dish soap and vinegar mix seem ineffective in this crisis situation.
Luckily, there are many tried-and-true dog shampoos out there that will quickly and effectively rid your pooch of fleas and ticks so that he can get back to playing and you can get back to, well… fumigating your home.
Our Top Picks
- Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor for Dogs
- Wahl Dog/Pet Flea and Tick Shampoo
- Sentry Flea and Tick Shampoo with Oatmeal
Ticks, Fleas, and what to look out for
So how do you even know if your dog has ticks or fleas? Hopefully, you are already paying close attention to your dog’s coat and skin during regular grooming. If you’re not, it’s a good idea to carefully check your dog for fleas at least once a week, especially if he spends a lot of time outdoors or around other dogs.
If your dog is frequently in tall grass, in the woods, or if you live in an area where ticks are prevalent, we recommend checking your dog every single day for ticks. This can be done by dragging your fingers through their fur with enough pressure to feel for any unusual bumps on the skin (Source). Ticks can range in size and color depending on how long they have been embedded. Smaller ticks that are black or dark brown have been on your dog for less time than a large tick that is grey or white.
Ticks can be very dangerous to dogs (and to humans), with infections possible within 24 hours (Source). Any ticks found must be removed as soon as possible, by using a special shampoo or other treatment, by gently using tweezers, or by taking your dog to a veterinarian. Ensure that the entire tick is removed from the dog’s skin, and then gently wash the affected area.
There are several ways that you can tell if your dog has fleas. The most obvious sign is unusual scratching, licking, or biting of areas like the head, neck tail, armpits, and groin (Source). You should also look out for unusual red patches of skin or hair loss (signifying an allergic reaction). Another telling sign is the presence of black or reddish-brown “dirt” on your dog or in your home. This “dirt” is actually your dog’s digested blood that the fleas have expelled. It is important to take steps to rid your dog of fleas as soon as possible since they can be extremely irritating and cause infection. Fleas can spread rapidly, so you should also check your home and yourself for fleas if you find evidence of them on your dog.
Repellents vs. Treatments
When choosing the right products for your dog, make sure you understand the difference between repellents and treatments. While repellents may help keep fleas and ticks away from your dog, they may not be useful once your dog has already been infected.
There are many tools and tricks that can be used to combat fleas and ticks, and it can get pretty confusing to sort them out and decide which is best for your dog. For example, you may be familiar with the oral medications that you can give to your dog that will prevent or kill existing fleas or ticks. These medications can be expensive, and they are not always 100 percent effective. In addition, you must decide if you want to take the risk of administering a medication orally rather than topically (just to the affected area). Oral medications to prevent and treat ticks and fleas might be the best option for dogs who are at high-risk of coming in contact with the parasites.
Other solutions include special flea and tick collars, and sprays. The flea and tick collars and sprays work to repel bugs from coming in contact with your dog. Some sprays can even be used after exposure to kill fleas or ticks. While these prevention techniques are usually more natural than others, they are not very effective and aren’t recommended for dogs who are at high-risk for getting fleas or ticks.
The best place to start in your fight against fleas and ticks is to use a flea and tick shampoo to bathe your dog. These special shampoos can kill fleas, their eggs, and ticks. In addition, they provide the added benefits of soothing a dog’s skin and can prevent recurrence of fleas for a short time until you can eliminate their source.
What to look for in a Flea and Tick Shampoo
There are three general types of flea and tick shampoos available: chemical-based, natural, and organic.
If you are just looking for the best, most effective, and quickest way to rid your dog of fleas, don’t even bother with natural or organic shampoos. While chemical-based shampoos do pose a greater risk of causing adverse side-effects, most dogs will not have any issue in tolerating them, and they will be very effective at killing unwelcome parasites. Important active ingredients to look for if you want a fast-acting, chemical-based shampoo is pyrethrins, pyrethroids, and dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate (docusate sodium).
Natural and organic flea and tick shampoos do not contain any chemicals but fight fleas and ticks using natural plant extracts and oils. For example, clove oil and cottonseed oil have shown some effectiveness in killing fleas and ticks. Organic shampoos contain all-natural ingredients (oils, butter, and extracts) that are certified to be organic.
Use personal preference to pick the best shampoo for your dog, and rest easy knowing that even if you are looking for a more natural solution you can still get rid of those pesky fleas and ticks.
What is the Best Flea Shampoo for Small Dogs?
If you have a smaller Dog, you don’t necessarily need to get a specific type of Flea Shampoo. Just make sure you read the directions carefully, especially for concentrated shampoos as the amount you need to use may be much smaller than that of a larger Dog.
What is the Best Dog Flea Shampoo?
Below is a selection of great Flea & Tick Shampoos for Dogs. We’ve included both natural and chemical options, the one you select will most likely come down to personal preference. If you are just trying to prevent fleas, then you may be more comfortable with an all natural solution, however, if you have a serious outbreak you may want to seek a safe chemical formula.
If you want fleas and ticks to be gone immediately, this is the shampoo that you should use. Not only does it kill mature fleas, but this shampoo also kills flea eggs, flea larvae, and lice. Safe enough for use on puppies, this shampoo contains pyrethrins as one of the active ingredients. It also contains soothing aloe, coconut extract, and oatmeal to help moisturize a dog’s skin and prevent further itching and irritation.
Aside from its flea and tick-eradicating properties, this shampoo has a nice smell and leaves coats feeling soft and shiny. When using, it is very important to read the directions carefully. This shampoo must be left on your dog for at least five minutes, which may be difficult for some dogs. Be sure that all of the product is rinsed off very well to avoid irritation from any leftover shampoo.
While this shampoo is excellent for treating flea and tick issues, it does not prevent adult fleas and ticks from getting on your dog after bathing. It does, however, regulate the growth of eggs and larvae (preventing them from becoming biting adults) for up to 28 days.
- Contains the right ingredients to eradicate both fleas and ticks in all stages of their lifecycle
- Can be used on puppies
- Contains moisturizing ingredients that help to heal skin and prevent itching
- Leaves coat soft and shiny
- Pleasant smell
- Must be left on the coat for at least five minutes, which can prove difficult
- Must be rinsed very well
- Contains chemicals, some may prefer a more natural alternative
If you are looking for a natural option, this shampoo is an excellent choice. While it does not contain pyrethrins or other chemicals, it contains all-natural and plant-derived ingredients like aloe vera, lemongrass, sage extracts, and coconut to fight fleas and ticks. It is a concentrated formula that lathers into a thick foam to thoroughly coat the skin. Because it is concentrated, it is very easy to overuse the product, so care should be taken to only dispense a small amount.
This product will only kill mature adult fleas and ticks, and will not prevent them from coming back. It is recommended for those who are looking for a quick and natural way to remove occasional fleas but should not be used on dogs that frequently have flea and tick problems. Since it is a natural shampoo, it can also be used on puppies or dogs that are allergic to flea and tick-repelling chemicals.
- All-natural with no harmful chemicals
- Lathers into a thick foam
- Concentrated so it lasts longer
- Can be used on puppies or dogs that are allergic to other flea/tick removal solutions
- Does not kill eggs or larvae
- Does not prevent fleas from coming back
With a good mix of natural and chemical ingredients, this shampoo is effective at killing fleas and ticks while soothing irritated skin. This shampoo contains permethrin and piperonyl butoxide as its active ingredients but also contains oatmeal for deodorizing and cleansing.
The Sentry Flea and Tick Shampoo can kill fleas and ticks up to ten days after application, but most fleas and ticks will be gone after the first wash. Instructions must be followed closely because this shampoo must be left on for at least five minutes and up to 15 minutes for maximum effectiveness. In addition, it is very important to keep the product away from a dog’s eyes.
This shampoo will leave a dog’s coat soft and smooth and has a pleasant ginger fragrance.
- Effective chemical ingredients coupled with natural oatmeal
- Kills fleas and ticks for up to 10 days after bathing
- Leaves coat soft with a pleasant smell
- Must be left on the coat for 5 to 15 minutes
Final Thoughts on the Best Flea and Tick Shampoo for Dogs
With all flea and tick problems, bathing your dog is only one step of many to get rid of the parasites once and for all. Since fleas can spread rapidly, you may also have to eradicate them from your entire home to get the problem under control. In addition, if fleas and ticks are a constant issue, it may be worthwhile to avoid taking your dog to the places where you suspect he is getting the fleas and ticks.
While the fight against fleas and ticks may be frustrating, using the right shampoo is a great way to gain the upper hand and rid your dog from them once and for all.
We highly recommend Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor for Dogs to treat flea and tick problems.
Not only is it highly effective on mature parasites, it also kills eggs and larvae, which most other shampoos do not do.
If you prefer an all-natural solution, or your dog has fleas infrequently, Wahl Dog/Pet Flea & Tick Shampoo is a good choice.