Fleas, good old fleas. Once fleas get to your pet it can seem nearly impossible to get rid of them. A single flea can lay up to 2,000 eggs. To properly take care of an active flea infestation requires a host of treatments, including oral medicine and topicals. But flea (and tick) shampoos can provide another layer of protection against pesky fleas on your pup.
What does flea and tick shampoo do?
Flea and tick shampoos use special formulas to eliminate fleas and ticks upon contact. One wash is enough to start killing pests. Many shampoos also help to prevent fleas and ticks from returning, typically up to a week after bathtime. Shampoos are a great method for dealing with ticks because they start working instantly.
How should you use flea and tick shampoo?
Each shampoo comes with its own instructions. You’ll want to follow the steps outlined on your bottle and your veterinarian. The directions below are a summary of multiple brands’ instructions, to give an idea of the general process.
First, wet your dog’s coat thoroughly with warm water. Some shampoos will require you to dilute them. Shake well before opening. Staring with the head and moving back, gently work the shampoo into your dog’s fur, building a lather. Let stand for five minutes and then rinse thoroughly. Keep the shampoo away from your dog’s eyes and any other sensitive areas.
To reduce stress, you can familiarize your pet with the products before you use them. Let your pet sniff and inspect the shampoo bottle before bathtime. Let sniff the shampoo before application.
Many shampoos recommend you pair them with flea and tick spray for best results. You should never use dog shampoo on cats, as canines and felines have very different allergies.
How do you choose the right shampoo?
Most shampoos are one size fits all. Flea and tick shampoos are almost always bundled into one. The only restriction is that flea and tick shampoo should not be used on puppies 12 weeks or younger.
If your dog is currently dealing with a nasty flea infestation, you probably want to select a stronger shampoo. If you don’t want to use anything synthetic on your pet, there are natural shampoos available.
So, which shampoos are the best?
Out of all the shampoos on the market, this Sentry shampoo is our favorite. With this shampoo, the fleas just fall off. It comes in two scents: sunwashed linen and tropical breeze. Both are sure to smell like heaven and get rid of any nasty dog smell.
When it comes to longevity, this shampoo is top-notch. One bath gives up to 10 days of flea and tick protection and kills any flea eggs for up to 30 days after use.
Most importantly, this shampoo (and the rest of our list) is free of any potentially harmful insecticides that are known to cause irritation and allergic reactions.
TropiClean’s flea and tick formula is made with essential oils to deliver a safe, natural, and effective shampoo. It comes in two variants: maximum strength and plus soothing. One rinse gives up to 7 days of protection.
We recommend the "Plus Soothing" version, which adds cocoa butter to help soothe any irritated skin.
For the pups that need a little extra flea-killing magic, Vet’s Best is an excellent option. This maximum-strength shampoo pairs essential oils and insecticides to kill fleas, flea larva, flea eggs, and ticks and ensure your pet is free of any pesky pests. The rosemary and peppermint scent leaves your dog smelling and feeling refreshed.
Sergeant’s Guardian is another well-regarded and highly-rated flea and tick shampoo. It kills adult fleas and eggs to eliminate current infestations and prevent re-infestation for up to 30 days. This shampoo comes in a fresh-smelling clean cotton scent. In addition to warding off any pets, this shampoo will have your dog rocking a soft, healthy coat.
And the best part? It's less than $4 for over 18 oz.
Unlike the other shampoos on this list, Veterinary Formula’s flea and tick shampoo is made to be safe for dogs, cats, ferrets, and even horses. This shampoo is carefully pH balanced at the optimum level for your pup’s coat. There are no soap or paraben products for minimum irritation. With just one wash, the ticks will be falling off.