As dog owners we will all face flea problems at some point.
Growing up in the country with three Jack Russells my family constantly battled fleas.
We quickly learned that a good flea shampoo is the best place to start.
Thankfully, there are many high quality flea shampoos on the market today.
But with so many options, how do you know what you’re buying?
We wanted to make your life easier so we put together a list of the best flea shampoo for dogs.
Best Flea Shampoo For Dogs 2018
1. Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor – Best Overall Shampoo
Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor is the number one flea shampoo for dogs for good reason. While most flea shampoos only kill adult fleas, Adams is the most effective at killing fleas in all life stages.
What also makes this shampoo standout from the rest is the addition of Precor.
Precor is an insect growth regulator. This means it prevents pre adult fleas (larvae and eggs) from maturing into biting adult fleas for 28 days after use.
This shampoo also has the added bonus of aloe, lanolin, coconut extract, and oatmeal. These all help to moisturize your dog’s itchy and dry skin as well as leave their coat shiny and soft.
This is a highly effective flea shampoo due to the use of chemicals such as pyrethrins.
When using a chemical flea shampoo it is important to not use it around your dog’s eyes, nose, or mouth.
A majority of people report that this flea shampoo has a pleasant scent and is effective at eliminating large amounts of fleas on their dogs. Some people have reported that it doesn’t seem to prevent fleas much longer than a couple of days to a week.
2. TropiClean Neem and Citrus Pet Shampoo – Best Natural Shampoo
The best part about this flea shampoo is that it has all the above benefits while being 70% organic and only having eight ingredients. One of the main ingredients is neem (also known Indian Lilac). This acts as a natural safe insecticide and a flea repellent.
This shampoo is soap free so it will not affect spot-on flea repellents.
Many people have mentioned that this shampoo has a nice citrus scent and lathers easily. They have also noted that it makes their dog’s coat noticeably softer and shinier. Some people have complained about the shampoo having a watery consistency.
If you want an effective natural flea shampoo without chemicals this is the shampoo you’re looking for.
3. Wahl Natural Flea & Tick Shampoo – Affordable Natural Shampoo
It comes in a 24 oz bottle compared to the common 18 oz bottle and it’s a concentrated shampoo. This means you’re getting more shampoo and because it’s concentrated you don’t need to use as much to get a good lather.
It is PH balanced making it gentler on dogs with sensitive skin. It’s paraben, PEG-80, and alcohol free which also make it safer for both you and your furry friend.
It contains rosemary, mint, and cedar oil which are supposed to naturally repel fleas for up to a week. However, there have been some customers that complain that it doesn’t offer lasting flea protection after use.
Most customers like this product because it’s naturally derived, effective at killing fleas, and has a nice scent.
Wahl flea shampoo is a good choice if you’re looking for a cheaper natural shampoo that kills fleas but won’t necessarily deter fleas after the bath.
4. Mycodex Flea and Tick Shampoo – Vet Recommended
This shampoo contains three times the pyrethrins of a common flea shampoo. Pyrethrins are a low toxicity chemical that are effective at killing fleas immediately.
Chemical flea shampoos can dry out and be harsh on a dog’s skin and coat. However, this flea shampoo does a good job of moisturizing and soothing your dog’s skin with aloe, lanolin, and coconut extract.
This shampoo is more expensive than the average flea shampoo. Although, the price is justified if your dog has a lot of fleas and you need to be sure that they are all killed.
We recommend Mycodex flea shampoo for someone that doesn’t mind paying a little more for a chemical flea shampoo that is effective at handling bad flea problems.
5. Vet-Kem Ovitrol Plus Flea and Tick Shampoo – Best For Smooth Shiny Coat
This flea shampoo contains precor similar to Adams flea shampoo. Precor is an insect growth regulator that is supposed to prevent flea eggs from hatching for 28 days. However, some people claim that their dogs have fleas again after a few days.
What makes this shampoo stand out the most is the effect it has on your dog’s skin and coat. It is enriched with oatmeal, coconut extract, lanolin, and aloe.
It works well for soothing dry skin and stopping dogs from incessantly scratch themselves. This shampoo also makes dog’s coats noticeably smoother and shinier.
We recommend this shampoo for dog owners that are looking for a potent flea shampoo that will stop itching and leave their dog’s coat smooth and shiny.
How To Use Flea Shampoo In 7 Easy Steps
First time giving your dog a flea bath?
Here’s a few quick steps to ensure not a single flea is left on your pup:
1. Read the flea shampoo instructions and warnings carefully. Be sure to only use it on the animal it’s specified for.
2. Get your dog’s neck completely wet and leave the rest of their body dry (be sure not to use hot water as dog’s can easily overheat).
3. Apply and lather shampoo around the neck. This helps prevent fleas from moving to your dog’s face where fleas can hide in crevices around the eyes and ears.
4. Wet the rest of the body and lather deeply with shampoo. The more thoroughly the shampoo gets in the coat and onto the skin the more likely it is to eliminate all fleas, larvae, and eggs.
5. Let the shampoo sit for at least 5 minutes.
6. Thoroughly rinse the entire body. If the shampoo does not have moisturizing ingredients it is recommended to use a conditioner after the bath.
7. Be sure to dry your pooch as much as possible to prevent them from possibly licking and remaining chemicals left on their coat.
How to Prevent Fleas (A Flea Bath is Just the Beginning)
Once fleas have been identified, the first step is to give your dog a flea bath using one of the best flea shampoos for dogs.
Next, a flea collar or repellent can be applied to your pooch to deter fleas from getting back in their coat.
After taking care of your dog you then need to eliminate all flea infestations from the environment.
- Vacuum thoroughly
- Wash all clothing and bedding
- Apply an insecticide
A great natural flea killer is diatomaceous earth. It’s a non toxic white powder that can be sprinkled where fleas might live such as your dog’s bed.
Types of Flea Shampoo
Chemical flea shampoos are by far the most common and tend to be the most effective. The downside is that they have the potential to be harmful if used inappropriately.
Common Chemical Ingredients:
Pyrethrins have been used as insecticides for over 100 years and are a commonly used insecticide in many modern flea and tick products. They are natural extracts that are produced in the flowers of chrysanthemums.
They work by affecting the flow of sodium out of nerve cells of insects. This causes repeated and prolonged firings of the nerves resulting in death.
Pyrethrins are often combined with piperonyl butoxide. Piperonyl butoxide is a chemical that enhances the performance of pyrethrins.
Pyrethrins are generally considered safe and have very little toxic effect if ingested by a pet.
Poisoning is rare but the symptoms include increased salivation, tremors, vomiting, and possible seizures. If these occur you should contact your vet immediately. These effects will typically be gone within 24 hours.
Pyrethroids (e.g. Permethrin, Phenothrin, Etofenprox)
These are synthetic or laboratory made pyrethrin compounds. They can be slower acting than natural pyrethrins but have longer lasting effects.
Due to their long lasting effects permethrin is typically used in shampoos and other products that repel fleas. Pyrethroids work by affecting the nervous system of insects just like pyrethrins.
Pyrethroids have a low toxicity, although it is higher than that of natural pyrethrins. The symptoms of poisoning from pyrethroids are the same as pyrethrins. Pyrethroids should not be used on cats or kittens.
Natural flea shampoos for dogs are a chemical free alternative that has gained some popularity. Rather than chemicals, they tend to use citrus extracts and essential oils to eliminate and repel fleas.
Citrus extracts are extracted from the peels of citrus fruits. They are no more effective than traditional products other than leaving your dog’s coat with a citrus fragrance.
It’s important to keep in mind that “natural” does not always mean safe. Citrus extracts and essential oils can be toxic to dogs if not diluted. They can also cause allergic reactions and skin rashes in both dogs and humans.
Fleas are most common during the summer months and tend to thrive in warm moist environments. In places like Florida they can live year round.
Fleas main source of food is animal blood. They use their saliva to break down skin to more easily penetrate it. Flea saliva is a skin irritant which is the cause of all the itching associated with flea bites.
The Flea Life Cycle
The four main stages of the flea life cycle are egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Depending on environmental conditions this cycle can last from a couple weeks to several months.
One of the difficult things about fleas is that they are constantly laying new eggs.
One female can lay up to 50 eggs per day. To get rid of fleas on our pets and in our environment we have to eliminate both living fleas and the eggs.
Final Words: Best Flea Shampoo for Dogs 2018
Our number one pick for the best flea shampoo for dogs is Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor. It’s a well-rounded flea shampoo that does it all.
It has the unique ability to effectively eliminate fleas in all life stages while providing a degree of flea prevention with Precor. In addition, it relieves itching by moisturizing and soothing your dog’s irritated skin and coat.
If you prefer an all natural flea shampoo than TropiClean Neem and Citrus Pet Shampoo is what we recommend. It’s still effective at killing fleas and moisturizing but without the use of chemicals.
But remember a flea shampoo is only the first step of eliminating your furry friends flea problem. You have to eliminate fleas in the environment as well or they will continue to spread.