Best Flea Shampoo for Dogs - Comparison and Reviews

Becky - author

Author: Becky Roberts
Last Updated: October 2019​

Fleas are a common problem in hot climates, where they are capable of laying up to fifty eggs in a single day. If your dog has fleas, you can be sure that your home is most likely infested as well, which can be irritating for both you and your pooch. The earlier you take action, the more likely it will be that you can prevent a full-blown flea infestation.

Dog with fleasWhen it comes to controlling fleas, you can either adopt a preventative or curative approach. If you live in an area that has fleas all year-round, it’s worthwhile to check out preventative measures to control flea populations on your dog and in your home. If fleas are seasonal in your area, you can use a curative approach and only worry about the flea problem if and when it arises.

In this case, your best bet for flea treatment is the trusty flea shampoo. Modern formulations are much gentler and kinder on your dog’s skin than they used to be, and today’s products are much less toxic than older flea shampoos in general.

If you’ve ever gone shopping for flea shampoos, you’ll know that there are hundreds of products available on the market. There are shampoos made from only natural ingredients, shampoos made with potent insecticides, and many other types of flea products besides. If you want the best protection possible, you need to find a shampoo to suit your needs that’s effective, gentle, and affordable.

Our guide lists some of the best shampoos on the market, that are a good value for money and have proven their efficacy. We’ve reviewed both natural and synthetic shampoos so that you can make an informed decision on what the best option is for your particular situation.

Best Flea Shampoo for Dogs 2019 - Reviews

1. Adams Plus Flea and Tick Shampoo with Precor

The main aim of any flea shampoo is to get rid of any infestations on your precious pooch. Adams Plus goes much further and offers long-lasting preventative protection as well. What makes this shampoo so special is that it contains an active ingredient that kills fleas in all stages of their life cycle, from eggs to fully-grown adults. It also offers three weeks of protection from pre-adult fleas, completely breaking the flea’s natural life cycle and stopping any infestation in its tracks.

It is the ideal shampoo to use if your dog has a heavy infestation, as the pesticide is incredibly effective, not only against fleas but also against ticks and lice. The protective effect of the insecticide allows your dog to roam freely outdoors without you having to worry about any potential future infestations coming in from the outdoors. It also protects your dog from ticks, which carry many potentially fatal diseases.

You’d expect that a shampoo with such strong, active ingredients would be quite harsh on your dog’s skin, but Adams Plus Flea and Tick Shampoo with Precor contains many other ingredients to soothe and calm your dog’s skin. The aloe and oatmeal extracts work to soothe any irritated skin and protect the skin from the harsh pesticides. The coconut oil helps moisturize the skin and also leaves your dog’s coat feeling soft and shiny.

And the best part? Despite being incredibly effective at killing fleas, lice, and ticks while still being relatively gentle, it’s a very affordable product as well. While a bottle can last for multiple washes, you’ll only pay around $15 per bottle, much cheaper than many similar products.

Best Flea Shampoo for Dogs 1Best Flea Shampoo for Dogs 2

Pros

  • Affordable and great value for money
  • Suitable for extensive use on all animals, including cats and puppies, as well as adult dogs. It’s also non-toxic to cats, so you don’t have to worry about potentially fatal exposures
  • Thanks to its innovative long-term protection, it stops the flea’s life cycle dead in its tracks, ideal for managing infestations
  • The added extracts and coconut oil help keep your dog’s skin and coat in excellent condition
  • In addition to controlling fleas, ticks, and lice, it also contains deodorizing agents, so your dog will smell pristine after their bath
  • The shampoo can be used weekly to control and prevent flea and tick infestations
  • Adams has a vast selection of products, and their call center staff are always on hand to discuss their products with you

Cons

  • Some animals may find synthetic pesticides too harsh on their skin, despite the mitigating ingredients

2. Wondercide Natural Flea and Tick Shampoo Bar

If you’re looking for a natural alternative to synthetic insecticide-based shampoos, the Wondercide Natural Tick and Flea shampoo bar is an excellent choice. It’s a fantastic option for people who don’t want to use synthetic pesticides on their pooch and is an excellent preventative measure as well.

Unlike other shampoos, the Wondercide shampoo comes in the form of a soap-like bar. This form cuts down on the plastic packaging while also being less messy than a traditional shampoo bottle. Each bar can be used up to four times on a medium-sized dog, but this will depend a lot on how much you use during each bath.

The less you need to use, the longer the bar will last. Some users have said a bar has lasted them up to a dozen washes, making the Wondercide shampoo bar great value for money.

The main active ingredient in the Wondercide shampoo bar is geranium oil and citronella, which has proven insect-repelling properties. It also has several other compounds, which combine to moisturize and protect your dog’s skin and coat, including shea butter, palm oil, aloe vera, and honey.

The bar repels fleas and ticks. It also has antifungal and antimicrobial properties to protect the skin from infections, such as ringworm.

Some people will swear by natural-based anti-flea shampoos, while others are skeptical about their efficacy. Ultimately, whether this shampoo will work for you or not will depend on a number of factors, including your location and the number of fleas in your area.

If you live in an area with few ticks and fleas and you want to protect your dog, then this may be a great product for you to use. However, if your dog has a severe flea infestation, it’s unlikely that this product will eliminate the fleas as well as synthetic-based products.

Wondercide Natural Flea & Tick Shampoo Bar for Dogs & Cats - Kills & Repels Fleas - Geranium 4oz Bar 2 Pack

Pros

  • Comes in a bar which is less messy and easier to use than shampoo
  • All-natural ingredients and environmentally-friendly packaging
  • Gentle enough to use on all dogs, even senior dogs or puppies
  • Contains antimicrobial ingredients to keep your dog’s coat and skin healthy

Cons

  • Some dogs really don’t like the smell
  • Some dogs can be allergic to citronella oil
  • Not as effective as synthetic-based shampoos

3. Sentry Flea and Tick Shampoo with Oatmeal

If you’re looking for an affordable, yet effective pest control option, the Sentry Flea and Tick Shampoo with Oatmeal is a great choice. The price is surprisingly reasonable for a relatively large bottle that will last many baths, depending on the size of your dog.

The Sentry shampoo contains two active ingredients, permethrin, and piperonyl butoxide. Technically, piperonyl butoxide isn’t an insecticide, but it facilitates the potency and durability of the permethrin.

Sentry shampoo kills all fleas and ticks which come into contact with your dog; quickly. The product also creates a protective barrier against further infestation on your pet, which lasts about ten days. It’s an excellent product to use if you’re in a location with outdoor fleas and ticks. You don’t have to worry that your dog will bring these creepy-crawlies into the home with them.

This shampoo can also kill flea eggs for up to 30 days after the bath, which is essential to keeping a flea infection under control and eradicating it completely.

The shampoo offsets the harshness of the permethrin and piperonyl butoxide because it also contains oatmeal to soothe your dog’s skin and reduce irritation and swelling. The oatmeal is also great for combating itchy and dry skin, providing your canine companion with relief as well as killing off any fleas. The Sentry shampoo also contains ginger extract for a great, fresh smell that deodorizes your dog without leaving any medicinal smell.

It is also pH balanced and specially designed to both deodorize and take care of your dog’s coat, leaving it soft, shiny, and flea-free.

While every effort has been made to keep the shampoo gentle, it does contain insecticides, meaning that this product isn’t suitable for dogs under 12 weeks, as they can be harmed by some of the active ingredients.

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Pros

  • Offers both immediate relief from fleas and has a protective effect not lasting longer than ten days
  • Kills many pests, including fleas, ticks, mites, and lice. It also targets flea eggs and larvae for up to 30 days after use
  • Pleasant smell

Cons

  • Can’t be used on a regular basis

4. Hartz UltraGuard Flea and Tick Dog Shampoo

Some dogs need more baths than others, particularly if you take your dog for walks in the great outdoors. Many flea shampoos contain harsh ingredients that can dry out your dog’s skin and cause bad reactions if used often. Hartz UltraGuard dog shampoo is designed for dogs that are bathed regularly and can safely be used on a weekly basis.

It contains a few soothing agents that protect the skin and ensure that your dog’s skin feels great after the bath.

Hartz UltraGuard contains only one active ingredient, phenothrin, which kill fleas and other parasites on contact. It works on all sorts of dog parasites, including fleas, ticks, lice, and mites.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t provide long-lasting preventative protection and will not kill flea eggs.

This disclaimer means that using this shampoo will kill all the adult fleas on your dog, but it won’t halt the flea’s lifecycle. To control an infestation, you may have to use a flea comb to get rid of any eggs and larvae in addition to regular shampooing.

However, the lack of preventative care offsets the fact that you can use the shampoo on a regular basis with no ill effects. It’s a great choice for mild infestations and preventative bathing, but you will need something stronger if your pooch is suffering from a heavy flea infestation.

The main reason why you can use this shampoo so often is that it contains several ingredients, such as oatmeal which helps soothe the skin. These extra ingredients will protect the skin from the active insecticide and will also speed up healing from potentially itchy flea bites.

It also has a great smell and contains deodorizers, leaving your pooch flea-free and smelling great.

The manufacturers do recommend that this shampoo should only be used on dogs that are six months or older, as phenothrin has been shown to be irritating and harmful to younger dogs.

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Pros

  • Smells great
  • It’s an affordable shampoo, making it an ideal candidate for your dog’s regular shampoo regimen
  • Contains oatmeal that soothes the skin and speeds up the healing from flea bites
  • Will kill a wide variety of adult pests, including ticks, fleas, mites, and even lice

Cons

  • Can only be used on dogs older than six months
  • Doesn’t have a protective effect
  • Only kills adult pests, so it won’t break the flea’s lifecycle, making it unsuitable for treating large-scale infestations

5. Mycodex Flea and Tick Shampoo P3 Triple Strength

Mycodex is a well-known dog shampoo brand that has been around for decades. The main selling point of this shampoo is the triple dose of pyrethrin, which kills fleas and ticks on contact. Just a five-minute bath is enough to kill all pests that are bugging your pet. However, it doesn’t provide ongoing protection, so you have to use it on a regular basis to combat flea infestations.

It does also kill flea larvae and eggs, making it a great choice for breaking the flea’s lifecycle to prevent further infestations.

What makes the Mycodex P3 shampoo so special is the number of extra ingredients in the shampoo. Not only does it contain a strong, active ingredient, but it also contains a few extras designed to keep your dog’s skin and coat in excellent condition. It has both coconut oil and lanolin to provide a lot of extra moisture and has aloe to soothe your dog’s irritated skin.

Mycodex is a brand that is used by both veterinarians and dog breeders to keep fleas under control. It’s a product that works as a flea treatment but is also one of the best dog shampoos on the market.

Leaving the shampoo in for a couple of minutes penetrates deeply into your dog’s skin and coat, cleaning it of all loose skin and dirt. The result is a dog that has a great coat and skin and is free of pests as well.

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Pros

  • Good for dogs with sensitive skin
  • Helps with skin conditions as well as pest control
  • Kills all types of pests as well as flea eggs and larvae
  • Has a pleasant fragrance and leaves your dog’s skin and coat looking amazing
  • Recommended by vets and dog breeders

Cons

  • You need to use it regularly to get the best results
  • Can be expensive, especially if you’re using it long-term
  • Doesn’t offer post-wash protection

How to Choose the Best Flea Shampoo

When you’re looking for a flea shampoo, there are many factors that you need to keep in mind. There are so many different types of products that offer various types of flea control like dog flea collars, and which one you’ll buy will depend a lot on your personal circumstances. If your dog has a mild flea infestation in the middle of summer, you won’t need to buy the same product as someone who lives in the desert and is exposed to fleas and ticks all the time.

Dog looking

Flea Shampoo Features to Look Out For

When looking for a flea shampoo, make sure to consult with an expert before you buy anything. Some dogs are more sensitive than others and will require a different type of shampoo. Senior and younger dogs will also need different treatments than a healthy adult dog. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, here are a couple of extra features you should keep in mind:

Efficacy

Ultimately, you want a product that works. It doesn’t matter whether it contains natural or synthetic insecticides; your focus should be on whether the shampoo does what it says it does. While the best way to find out is to try it, you can also check out reviews online and see what others say.

Make sure to read reviews of people in a similar situation, as what works for one dog may not work for another.

What do you need to treat?

While you’d assume that most shampoos with kill all insects and creepy-crawlies, the truth is they do not. Some shampoos are great against fleas but don’t work against ticks or mites. Make sure to read the label to see that you’re getting the right product for your needs.

If you require specialist treatments, like for mange or other skin conditions, make sure to speak to your vet.

Bottle size

Instead of just comparing prices, make sure to work out how much you’re paying per ounce, which will give you a better idea of value for money.

Scent

Most flea shampoos have a strong medicinal smell that will linger. If that smell bothers you, then try to find a shampoo with a more pleasant fragrance.

FAQ

Does normal dog shampoo kill fleas?

No. Normal dog shampoo doesn’t contain the necessary active ingredients to kill fleas. It may wash some fleas off, but it won’t kill them, and they’ll simply come back in greater numbers.

Does flea shampoo expire?

Yes, though many flea shampoos have long shelf lives. Expired flea shampoo won’t do your dog any harm, but it will be less effective at killing fleas. Make sure to check the expiry date if you haven’t used the shampoo in a while.

How often should I wash my dog with flea shampoo?

The answer to this question will depend on the severity of fleas in your area. If your dog is suffering from a flea infestation, then you want to use the flea shampoo according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Most flea shampoos contain harsh chemicals that if used too often can irritate your dog’s skin and cause allergic reactions.

Some flea shampoos can be used once a week, while others can only be used on a less frequent basis, so check the label and follow the instructions accordingly.

It’s a better idea to try to use flea shampoo as little as possible. If your dog has a flea infestation, use a shampoo that protects against fleas as well as kills fleas on contact. If your dog only gets fleas occasionally, it’s a good idea only to use flea shampoo when you see fleas on your dog.

How do I stop fleas from coming back?

One of a dog owner’s worst nightmares is recurring flea infestations. If you’ve taken the time to get your dog free of fleas, there’s nothing worse than having them come back in a couple of months. Since prevention is better than cure, you should take a few steps to prevent fleas from coming back, especially if you’ve just gotten your dog flea-free.

If your dog has had a recent infestation, you should either wash their bedding thoroughly or just throw it out. If you have carpets, make sure to vacuum them regularly and use flea powder to stop fleas from living between the fibers. Also get rid of any used vacuum bags that contain fleas, which are resilient and may simply come back from the bag.

If you have a lot of fleas in your area, consider hiring a professional pest removal service. They’re expensive, but you can be guaranteed that fleas won’t be back any time soon. You can also use preventative measures such as dog flea collars or topical creams to protect your dog and stop them from picking up fleas and ticks from the outside.

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