As more people are becoming aware of the super harsh chemicals contained in flea shampoo, many owners are searching for alternatives. As it’s a fairly common question I decided to find out whether baby shampoo actually works to kill fleas on dogs. This is what we found out.
Does Baby Shampoo Kill Fleas on Dogs? Myth or Truth
Baby shampoo can kill fleas on your dog, but it’s not because it’s baby shampoo. In fact, any shampoo can kill fleas if the suds are left to soak in long enough before rinsing off. This effectively suffocates the fleas.
By leaving in the shampoo for 10 minutes or more you will essentially suffocate the fleas. They will wash out when you rinse off your dog.
So while there is some truth in the statement, it’s not because it’s specifically baby shampoo that it works.
If your dog has fleas and you try using baby shampoo but do not leave the shampoo suds in long enough, the fleas will likely remain once rinsed.
Working up a thick lather of shampoo will effectively replace the oxygen among the hair. This is what helps to kill fleas without the use of harsh chemicals.
Remember, killing the fleas on your dog is only part of the problem. Up to 90% of the flea population can potentially remain in the dog bed, carpets, clothing, and more… So it’s crucial to focus on the entire house as well as your pooch.
What Other Shampoo Works to Kill Fleas on Dogs?
Apart from baby shampoo, the only other option to consider is either an all-natural dog shampoo or flea shampoo.
There’s a whole range of discussions on the internet about using weird and wonderful concoctions to remove fleas. But I believe it’s best to stick to what’s been tried and tested. And I’m even about to suggest avoiding the use of flea shampoo altogether, which I will explain shortly.
The most ideal shampoo to use on your dog whether he has fleas or not is always going to be an all-natural dog shampoo. That’s that. Not only is it made for dogs, but it doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals or ingredients that will be inside any other option.
All dog breeds are different and have different skin types and coats, but by using an all-natural shampoo you don’t run the risk of drying out the skin or stripping important excess oils from the coat.
So Is Flea Shampoo Bad For Dogs?
I share the opinion with many others that flea shampoo isn’t ideal for dogs. This is because of the harsh chemicals added for it to be “extra effective” at removing the fleas.
While of course, it’s important to get rid of fleas, it doesn’t have to come at the expense of your dog’s skin and coat health and even their internal health.
This is a quote from PETA. For those of you who may not have heard of PETA, it stands for People of The Ethical Treatment of Animals.
This specific quote is addressing spot-on flea treatment. But many of the same or similar ingredients can be found in flea shampoos too.
The most popular kind of flea control product on the market is the “spot-on” variety, sold under brand names like Frontline® and Advantage™. The active ingredients in these solutions include chemicals such as imidacloprid, fipronil, permethrin, methoprene, and pyriproxyfen, all of which have caused serious health problems in animals in laboratories.2 Even some of the inert ingredients can be hazardous to your animal companion’s health.PETA Organisation
Killing Fleas With All-Natural Dog Shampoo
Let’s run through a simple bathing session that should help you remove the fleas on your dog. It’s fair for me to mention that using shampoo alone may not work 100% you should always use a flea comb before and after to improve your chances.
Important Note: It’s best to start the bathing session from the head and work your way down your dog’s body.
Why? once you start getting your furry friend wet, the fleas sense the danger and will try to move up into more protected areas. For them, this means inside the ears. By starting at the head and working down, you are already giving yourself a better chance and removing all of the fleas.
What you will need:
1. Natural dog shampoo
2. Using a big tub is preferable but not necessary
3. Room temperature water (hot water or warm water isn’t advised)
4. Freshly cleaned Towel
5. Flea comb
1) Soak Your Dog
Starting from the head work your way down your dog’s entire body for at least 5 minutes with water.
2) Wash and Massage
Thoroughly wash and massage the coat with your chosen natural dog shampoo for at least 10 minutes. Be sure to work up a thick lather of suds. This amount of time will help to kill the existent fleas due to the lack of oxygen.
3) Rinse Thoroughly
Be sure to spend another 5 minutes properly rinsing off your dog, getting all of the suds and shampoo out from the coat. Once you see no suds, it’s recommended to rinse one more time to be sure!
4) Dry Thoroughly
Using a towel that you are sure is clean and flea-free, thoroughly pat down your dog and dry him as much as possible.
5) Once Dry, Use a Flea Comb
Once dry, use a flea comb carefully going through the coat and fur, inspecting all the time for fleas and eggs. This can be time-consuming and difficult but much safer than the toxic flea shampoos.
6) Keep your dog in a clean area while you provide a clean bed
Keep your dog outside if it’s warm weather or in a room you are sure is clean and flea-free until you change his bed. If your dog makes contact with any existing fleas, you may have another flea issue on your hands.
This method has been taken from my other post: Can You Bathe a Pregnant Dog Using Flea Shampoo
How To Prevent Fleas From Returning
As well as lathering up your furry friend in shampoo suds, it’s important to remove the fleas from all other places, otherwise, it’s almost guaranteed they will shortly return.
Fleas can be found on your dog’s bed, your carpet, the couch, clothes, blankets, or towels your dog uses, and even more places.
It basically calls for a serious spring clean of your home. Dusting and vacuuming will also be really important, before wiping down surfaces with a multipurpose cleaner.
I did just mention it, but your dog’s bed is a big culprit that can’t be ignored. Giving your dog’s bed a thorough wash is super important.
Important: It’s necessary to do all cleaning activities together at the same time. If you clean only one thing but leave others then fleas from the unwashed areas can potentially lay eggs again in newly cleaned areas. Try to clean everything and everywhere in one single day. Sorry!…
Is Baby Shampoo Safe For Dogs?
Baby shampoo is ok for dogs, but again it doesn’t beat an all-natural dog shampoo option.
Baby shampoo is made to be very mild and doesn’t contain harsh chemicals as it’s made for a baby’s delicate skin. So this means it can be safely used on dogs if no other options are available.
It’s very important to state the difference here between baby shampoo and regular human shampoo. Regular shampoo contains many chemicals that will prove to be too harsh for your dog. Human shampoo is made to be more acidic suitable for us, but this could potentially destroy the acid-mantle of your dog’s skin.
So please, never use regular human shampoo on your dog.
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Recommended Natural Dog Shampoo
If don’t currently have an all-natural dog shampoo or you are interested in trying a new one, I strongly recommend Buddy Wash Relaxing Green Tea & Bergamot Dog Shampoo & Conditioner
It has very few ingredients and all are natural. It has received hundreds of positive reviews and it’s super cheap!
Once on Chewy, you will see a range of different options they offer. This is their “relaxing” natural shampoo, but they also offer an “original” version as well. Which has even more reviews!
So there you have it! Does baby shampoo work to kill fleas on your dog? Well yes it does, but not because it’s baby shampoo. Any shampoo can work to kill fleas and this is because fleas suffocate if covered in a thick lather.
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