Unfortunately, fleas are a common part of life for dogs. While fleas are not necessarily signs of a dirty home or improper hygiene, it’s important to take the necessary steps to get rid of these parasites as soon as possible.
Fleas can cause prolonged itchiness and discomfort for your pooch, along with hair loss and secondary skin infections in more serious cases.
Luckily, you can use a number of effective flea shampoos to get rid of the pesky bugs as well as soothe your dog’s skin.
In this article, we’ll go over what you should look for when picking out a flea shampoo, how to use them, and five of our favorite flea shampoo options.
Best Flea Shampoos for Dogs
Without further ado, here are our favorite flea shampoos for your doggo.
Just be sure to run your choice by your vet before you begin using it, as some dogs are more sensitive to flea-killing shampoos than others.
1. Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor
About: Adams Plus Shampoo is designed to kill adult fleas and is infused with coconut extract and oatmeal to soothe your pup’s skin.
- PEST CONTROL: Kills fleas, ticks, flea eggs, flea larvae and lice.
- FOR SENSITIVE SKIN: Rich, creamy, sensitive skin formula with soothing aloe, lanolin and oatmeal.
- PROVEN EFFECTIVE: Contains an insect growth regulator (IGR) to kill and prevent flea development for...
- USE ON DOGS & CATS: Safe for use on all dogs, cats, puppies and kittens 12-weeks and older.
Features: This flea and tick shampoo is made with pyrethrin, which is a very effective flea-killing agent, as well as an insect growth regulator named (S)-methoprene. This growth regulator helps slow the parasites’ development for 28 days.
While the active ingredient pyrethrin is very effective at killing adult fleas, it should be noted that cats are very sensitive to this ingredient, so don’t use it on your feline friends.
Adams Plus Shampoo comes in a 12-ounce bottle and has aloe, coconut oil, and oatmeal to help ease your pup’s itchy skin. It can also be used on most dogs over 12 weeks of age, making it a great pick for households with multiple pets.
To use this shampoo, you’ll only need one to two tablespoons. Massage the shampoo into your dog’s skin for about 5 minutes before thoroughly rinsing it out.
Owners found this shampoo to be extremely effective at killing fleas on contact, noting a number of parasites falling off during the initial wash. Many customers also loved the soft, powdery scent of this shampoo.
For some pets, this shampoo wasn’t effective at fully eradicating the fleas. In which case, you may choose to opt for a stronger solution, or use this shampoo alongside traditional medication.
2. Hartz Flea & Tick Shampoo
About: Hartz Flea & Tick Shampoo kills adult fleas and ticks within 10 minutes of contact for thorough flea elimination.
- Age Range Description: All Ages
- Included Components: Hartz Ultraguard Rid Flea & Tick Shampoo For Dogs - Fresh Scent (18 Oz)
Features: This shampoo can be used to kill adult fleas, and it acts as a preventative treatment. It comes in an 18-ounce bottle and features the active ingredient pyrethrin, which is commonly used in topical flea treatments. It has a nice pine-based scent to help make it gentler on your nose.
For the best results, massage this shampoo into your pup’s coat for an additional 5 minutes before rinsing out thoroughly.
Owners found that this shampoo worked as a great flea and tick killer. A couple of users noted fleas dying on contact and loved the moderate scent of the shampoo.
For a small number of dogs, using this shampoo led to some hair loss. You may want to check with your veterinarian before using this shampoo if you pup is known to have sensitive skin.
3. Sentry Flea & Tick Shampoo with Oatmeal
About: Sentry Flea & Tick Shampoo is a flea-killing shampoo that is made with soothing oatmeal to ease your pup’s irritated skin.
- CLEANS AND CONTROLS: SENTRY oatmeal shampoo cleans, deodorizes and conditions your dog's coat, and...
- IDEAL FOR DOGS: This rich, conditioning formula with oatmeal kills pests that can harm your pet....
- RID YOUR DOG OF FLEAS: SENTRY Flea and Tick Oatmeal Shampoo for dogs and puppies has a great...
- FLEAS: Fleas are insects that can start your pet scratching with one bite. They have exceptional...
Features: The active ingredient permethrin in Sentry Shampoo kills fleas on contact and deters parasites for 10 days after a wash. It also has a sweet Hawaiian ginger scent that’ll leave your pooch smelling fresh and clean.
This shampoo is pH balanced and made with oatmeal to soothe itchy skin. It comes in bulk 18-ounce and 64-ounce sizes making it a great pick for owners with large pups. It is safe for pups 12 weeks and over.
Customers loved the Hawaiian ginger smell and loved how the shampoo left behind silky soft coats. The shampoo killed adult fleas on contact and many owners made this product a part of their regular care routine.
Some customers found this shampoo to be a bit too watery, so make sure you opt for the larger size if you have a larger pooch.
4. Paws & Pals Flea and Tick Shampoo-Conditioner Scrub for Dogs & Cats
About: Paws & Pals Flea and Tick Shampoo uses all-natural ingredients like rosemary and cedar oil for flea and tick protection. It’s also gentle enough for puppies, making it an excellent pick for owners of young doggos.
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Features: This all-natural shampoo is a perfect pick for pups with sensitive skin since it is certified paraben-free and BPA-free. The shampoo is made in the USA and utilizes a number of essential oils to deter pesky fleas and ticks.
The shampoo also has soothing aloe vera and oatmeal to ease itchy skin. It comes in a 20-ounce bottle for bulk use. Notably, it can be used on both dogs and cats.
Owners loved the non-toxic nature of this shampoo and found it very effective at deterring fleas. Dogs loved the soothing oatmeal and aloe of the shampoo.
While this shampoo is pretty effective at deterring parasites, it may need to be used in conjunction with other products to deal with severe infestations.
5. Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Advanced Strength Dog Shampoo
About: Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Shampoo is plant-based and designed to kill fleas on contact without the use of synthetic chemicals.
- 2X FLEA KILLING EFFECTIVENESS not only kills fleas, flea larva, flea eggs, and ticks on contact but...
- VET'S BEST FLEA & TICK ADVANCED STRENGTH SHAMPOO does not contain harsh chemicals, but rather 100%...
- NO ADDED FRAGRANCE – Made with 100% certified natural essential oils the Vet’s Best Flea & Tick...
- SAFE TO USE for dogs and puppies 12 weeks or older when used as directed. Can be applied indoors or...
Features: Vet’s Best Flea Shampoo is made with natural rosemary and peppermint oil to kill fleas and ticks naturally. It’s safe for dogs over 12 weeks and has no added fragrance making it a great pick for pups with sensitive skin.
Notably, you can wash your dog outside with this shampoo since it’s entirely plant-based. It comes in a 12-ounce bottle and should be left on for 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly from your pup’s coat. This shampoo is manufactured in the USA.
Owners loved how effective this shampoo was at eradicating fleas even with all-natural ingredients. Customers noted that the shampoo also left their pup’s coat feeling fluffy and soft.
Some users found the scent of this shampoo to be a bit too strong. While some owners had other issues with the product, the manufacturer was quick to reach out and offer support.
How to Pick a Flea Shampoo for Dogs: Things to Look For
Picking out a flea shampoo can prove to be a difficult task, especially if your pooch has a severe infestation, flea bite allergies, or sensitive skin.
Here are a couple of factors to take into consideration when picking out the perfect product for your pup.
Perhaps the most important factor to consider when picking a flea-killing product is the active ingredients it uses.
Many flea soaps and shampoos utilize pyrethrins or (S)-Methoprene, the latter of which is sometimes called an insect growth regulator or IGR. These ingredients are also commonly used in popular flea and tick treatments.
Other shampoos will utilize essential oils or other plant-based extracts. Note that although these ingredients are natural, they’re not always gentler than other options, nor are they necessarily as effective on your pup’s skin.
Always consult with your veterinarian before incorporating a new product into your dog’s bathing routine.
Depending on the ingredients used, flea and tick shampoos can sometimes have a harsh, medicinal scent.
If you’re looking for a shampoo to use regularly or if you’re particularly sensitive to smells, make this factor a priority. A number of flea shampoos have added rosemary, lavender or citrus extracts, which can help make for a more pleasant scent.
Residual action refers to a particular shampoo’s ability to kill insects over time. Most flea shampoos kill adult fleas on contact. However, others have formulas that will continue to kill fleas that hop on your dog for up to a week or so later.
Hence, the stronger the residual action of a shampoo, the longer your doggo will be protected after the initial bath.
Look out for shampoos with Insect Growth Regulator or IGR. This ingredient can help slow the growth of developing parasites the initial treatment may miss.
Certain essential oils may help repel pesky parasites, so look out for these infusions as well.
Made in the USA
Made in the USA products all have to be up to a certain standard regulated by the US government. The FDA regulates all animal products that include any sort of insecticide, which makes this factor incredibly important for flea shampoos.
While other imported shampoos may be just as effective, they may not have the same safe guarantee that comes from “Made in the USA” products. Try to look out for this label for added peace of mind.
Safe for Puppies/Cats
If you live in a household with multiple pets, it may be best to look for a shampoo that can be used on both cats and dogs.
Fleas can be transmitted through animal contact so it’s important that you check all animals in your household should there be an infestation.
Moreover, many flea shampoos are only suitable for dogs over 12 weeks old. If you have a puppy, pay careful attention to the label of your potential shampoo product. Just consult with your vet before using any flea-killing shampoo on young puppies.
Additionally, many flea-killing products — especially those containing pyrethrin — can be very dangerous for cats.
Do Flea Shampoos Work? Tips for Getting Good Results
While flea shampoos are often effective, there are some key tips to keep in mind to get the best results possible.
1. Understand Your Product
While most high-quality flea shampoos will remove and/or kill most of the fleas on a dog, they will not remove the eggs likely all over your pup’s bedding and the rest of your home. This means you will likely need to use the shampoo regularly in order to eradicate fleas completely.
Some owners opt to purchase a flea comb as well to help remove the killed parasites and flea eggs from their pup’s coat. These can be used in conjunction with flea shampoo during the bathing process for the best removal results possible.
2. Bathe According to the Manufacturer’ Instructions
Unlike some regular dog shampoos, you’ll often need to let flea shampoos sit for at least 5 minutes before rinsing.
Make sure you follow the directions on the bottle exactly as written for a safe, effective treatment. Sitting times and rinsing procedures do vary from product to product, so be sure to double-check the instructions every time you give your dog a bath.
3. Check with your Veterinarian
It’s always good practice to check with your vet before adding a new product to your pup’s routine. This is especially important if your pooch is very young, has an underlying skin condition, or suffers from sensitive skin.
4. Use Shampoos Alongside Other Treatments
Some owners find it most effective to use topical flea treatments in addition to bathing their dog regularly with a flea shampoo. This option can be more convenient as you’ll probably need to use flea shampoo repeatedly to wipe out the infestation.
Flea shampoos are great at killing fleas on contact and deterring future buggers, but you may find the best results using them with regular flea and tick medication.
Once you clear out the ticks, you’ll also want to consider utilizing preventives against future outbreaks, such as through the use of a dog flea collar.
Be sure to consult your vet before merging any treatments together to be extra safe.
Fleas are never fun for anyone, but with the help of some of these shampoos and a little patience, Fido will be flea-free in no time at all!
Remember, every dog is unique, so what may work for one household may not work for your own. Give yourself time to find the perfect flea treatment for your pooch.
Have you found any success with these flea shampoos? What does your dog’s flea prevention routine look like? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!