Cleaner Paws is a mother-daughter run blog. Together we have over 40+ years of professional pet grooming experience and we hope to pass some of that on to our readers throughout our in-depth and non-bias reviews and buyers guides.
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This review guide was updated in November 2018.
Any dog owner who has had to fight a case of fleas will know how irritating the pests can be.
It may start with your dog occasionally scratching now and then but it can soon escalate into a full-blown attack that will need serious care and attention.
No one wants fleas taking over their sofa or jumping from their dog on to their bed. Your friends probably think the same, which could stop them bringing their dogs over or choosing a different route when taking their pooch for a walk to avoid passing your front lawn.
However, all this can be avoided with proper treatment of fleas.
Top 3 Best Flea Shampoo Comparison
Before diving straight into individual product reviews, we thought we would offer a general overview of the topic to start with. Beginning with why your dog gets fleas in the first place, whether they’re dangerous to you, your children and your dog as well as answering any other questions you may have.
How to Tell if Your Dog Has Fleas
Before buying and applying a specialist flea and tick shampoo to your pet you first need to establish that your dog has fleas.
In some cases, and particularly severe infestations it will pretty easy to spot fleas jumping and actively moving through your dog’s coat and off on to surrounding furniture.
One of the big telltale signs of a flea infestation will be your dog acting restlessly and either scratching or chewing at specific areas of their skin that are particular itchy or inflamed.
However, it is not always so straightforward to spot any unwanted flea or tick intruders.
Instead to tell if your dog has fleas you should inspect their skin and coat thoroughly looking out for a number of clues.
As already mentioned, in some cases the fleas themselves will be visible, but they can also be hard to spot. They move extremely fast and can jump very quickly so instead of trying to detect the fleas themselves you should also look out for:
- Signs of scratching, redness or blood
- Red and bumpy/pimple areas around your dog’s belly, groin or base of their tail
- Flea dirt
- Any bites or burrows that have been made on your dog’s skin
- Flea eggs
These checks can be carried out visually, but you can also use other tools if you wish as well.
A fine-toothed flea comb can be handy when looking for fleas and any flea dirt left behind. By running the flea comb through your dog’s coat, you will be able to drag out any unwanted visitors with it.
How Do Flea and Tick Shampoos Work?
Flea shampoo’s for dogs work by killing adult fleas with a combination of ingredients while at the same time thoroughly cleaning your pet.
This dual approach of washing your pet while at the same time combating these unwanted intruders makes flea shampoos an excellent solution for ridding your pet of flea and ticks.
However a word of warning, because of the effectiveness of this type of product, fleas can often be left floating in your bath after washing your dog with flea shampoo. This is obviously a good sign but can sometimes take new dog owners by surprise if they aren’t quite prepared for it.
The second word of warning is that it can be tough to stop fleas returning if you do not also treat your environment. Flea shampoo should be used in combination with many different approaches, some of which are discussed throughout this guide.
Are Flea Shampoos Safe?
Because of the nature of medicated flea shampoo’s, as pet owners, we have to be particularly careful about what ingredients we are treating our dogs with.
Shampoos that include chemical ingredients are obviously going to be the most effective in treating your pet for fleas. However, you also need to be aware of the long-lasting effect that these products may be having on your dog’s skin and coat.
One particular type of ingredient that has come in for criticism by many regulatory boards within the U.S. is the use of synthetic pyrethroids.
These should not be confused with pyrethrins, and the difference will be looked at now.
Ingredients to be Wary of – Pyrethroids vs. Pyrethrins
Now bear with us with trying to pronounce the names of either of these chemicals.
The majority of flea-fighting products you will come in to contact with will contain either one of the two above.
Flea shampoos differ from other types of dog shampoos purely because they have been manufactured to do one thing very well: kill fleas.
This means that some manufacturers in the process have decided to neglect the health of dogs being treated in the process which completely defeats the object and is something we want to help you avoid.
The critical difference is that pyrethrins are natural extracts that from certain types of plants while pyrethroids have been designed to be more efficient and ultimately longer lasting but have come from a laboratory and aren’t found in nature.
Pyrethroids are often found in pest control products and affect the nervous system of certain types of insects, as a result making them a great flea repellent.
Because of this, when choosing the best flea shampoo for your dog, it is essential that you pick a product that is safe and ultimately won’t harm them.
To do this, we recommend carrying out additional research on the topic and to choose a shampoo that has been proven safe through testing.
We also advise you refer to the ingredients being used on the packaging of the flea shampoo you select and consult your vet if you are still unsure.
Treating Your Environment as well as Your Dog
One of the biggest annoyances we hear from pet owners suffering from fleas is that whatever they seem to do, whether it is using the best flea shampoo or applying the latest flea collars, these pesky intruders keep coming back time and time again.
Although this is annoying, luckily there is something you can be doing which up until this point you may have been overlooking and that is to treat your home for fleas as well as your dog.
To put it simply, it isn’t enough to buy one of the flea and tick shampoos reviewed below, treat your dog and in think you’re done.
Fleas bite quickly, and then lay eggs which scatter into the environment around your pet. This environment can include your carpet, sofa or any bedding – both yours and your dogs.
Once nested these eggs then hatch and the cycle of infestation begins.
This means even if you manage to kill every flea lurking on your dog, they will be covered again the second they return to their bed. Not a pretty sight to imagine at all, particularly as one female flea can lay up to 50 eggs!
This means to effectively treat your dog for fleas you also need to address their environment as well.
You can do this with the use of flea preventative products alongside an effective flea and tick shampoo.
Thoroughly wash all bedding and furniture if you can, deeply cleaning your home to ensure you successfully eradicate any sign of fleas, and their eggs.
Top 10 Best Flea & Tick Shampoos for Dogs
When choosing the best flea shampoo for your pet, it is vital that you take many factors into consideration.
In the individual reviews below we have done our best to consider some of these including how they performed, both in the short and long-term when we trialed them, as well as looking at their value for money and other aspects such as smell and how well they lathered.
As well as these factors, as already mentioned in this guide, you should pay particular attention to the ingredients used within some of the products.
We have tried to review a mix of products that are both organic, containing all-natural ingredients while many remain medicated shampoos as we did find these to be the most effective in combating fleas.
If you do decide to go for one of these medicated shampoos we do advise you consult your veterinarian firstly, just to double check any chemicals being used and the effect they may have on your dog’s skin and coat. All animals react differently to certain types of products, so this remains a crucial consideration.
The fact you have made it this far obviously means you are serious about the job at hand.
All of the shampoos reviewed in this list will allow you to do just that, however all with differing effectiveness.
Some of the flea shampoos reviewed also offer additional benefits such as moisturizing your dog’s skin and coat as well as fighting odor to leave your dog’s coat smelling fresher than ever.
Here are the top 10 best flea and tick shampoos we reviewed for dogs:
Pet Pleasant’s anti-flea and tick shampoo is perfect for dogs with sensitive skin, containing no harsh chemicals that may irritate or inflame already problem areas.
The natural product means your dog’s skin does most of the work; the shampoo helps eliminate any little nasties without leaving any adverse effects.
The natural repellents get to work immediately once you apply the shampoo. Making it uncomfortable for fleas and ticks to remain on your pet, they soon look for elsewhere to take up residence meaning your fight to remove them has begun.
The natural ingredients of this product also deodorize your dog leaving them smelling completely fresh.
A quick glance through any online reviews should tell you everything you need to know with almost 100% customer satisfaction guaranteed and hundreds of happy pet owners who finally have an answer for fleas.
Sentry’s Flea and Tick shampoo comes packaging you wouldn’t immediately associate with a dog grooming product. Instead, it looks more like something you would see on your kitchen table but after reviewing the product ourselves we can confirm the contents are shampoo, and they are incredibly effective at helping to deter fleas from taking up residence on your lovely pet.
Priced very reasonably, Sentry’s flea and tick shampoo is hugely cost-effective, and one of the reasons it is so effective is the natural oatmeal ingredient that helps fight flea re-infestation.
We trialed the shampoo on two separate breeds of the dog, both large and small and saw the same positive outcome for both, particularly pleasing for such a budget-friendly product.
Wahl’s 100% natural dog shampoo is another highly rated product for combating a dog’s fleas. This product is scented with rosemary, mint and cedar oil meaning that not only is it an incredibly effective product for fighting fleas but it also leaves your dog smelling great as well.
We also found the natural ingredients to leave dog’s coats fresh after being washed.
The fact this product fights fleas so efficiently while being 100% natural is a huge bonus, and the shampoo continues to rack up rave reviews online from pet owners and groomers alike.
Bio Spot is another excellent anti-flea shampoo which we found to be one of the longer lasting products among those we trialed.
The majority of flea shampoos will advise you to use the product once a week to fight any re-infestation, and although that is still a sensible way to ensure you are winning the battle over fleas we noticed that only using this product once a month still had the desired effect.
Not only does this mean you are buying a highly effective flea and tick shampoo but it also means the product will last longer, meaning you will get more than your money’s worth.
Without having to worry about using a whole bottle to fight fleas, this shampoo will have the fleas worrying and not your pocket!
6. Hartz UltraGuard Rid Flea & Tick Shampoo for Dogs
Almost all dog owners are aware of the brand Hartz.
A leader for many years in the pet grooming market this flea and tick shampoo is well worth a try if you feel like you have exhausted other options in your bid to keep your dog free of insects.
This shampoo is designed with full grown dogs in mind and helps keep your dog free of fleas and ticks that may carry dangerous diseases.
Not only that but we found the scent to leave the dogs we tried the shampoo with to extremely pleasing on the nose, while not being too overpowering to unsettle the dogs themselves.
7. Sentry Pro Flea and Tick Dog Shampoo
The second shampoo product on this roundup from Sentry, the Pro flea, and tick dog shampoo is slightly more expensive, but the price should by no means put you off as we found this shampoo to be even more effective.
The ginger product scent makes a nice change from the usual ‘lavender’ smelling dog shampoos, and we found the product to be effective for killing fleas and ticks almost immediately.
This flea shampoo was also super long lasting, keeping them away for over two weeks and the product also advertises that it kills eggs for 30 days, giving you a helping hand in fighting off any re-infestation.
8. Vet-Kem Ovitrol Plus Flea and Tick Shampoo
Another shampoo we trialed that had a fantastic scent was the Vet-Kem Ovitrol plus.
Similar to the smell of a baby shampoo it left our dogs smelling like they were thoroughly clean and free of any unwanted fleas or ticks, a real bonus for dog owners.
Like the Sentry plus this shampoo kills off eggs and prevents them for hatching for 28 days meaning if you settle your dog into a regular grooming routine during this time you should give yourself the upper hand when fighting off fleas.
One last note is that the shampoo has a real texture to it, one of the reasons it leaves your dog feeling so fresh, and this also means a little product goes a long way so.
We have the bottle we trialed to be very long lasting which makes this shampoo budget-friendly as well.
9. Fresh ‘n Clean Flea and Tick Small Pet Conditioning Shampoo
The fact this Fresh ‘n Clean pet shampoo comes in at number 9 on our roundup shows how many great products you have to choose from when it comes to fighting fleas.
A respected brand by pet groomers for some time, Fresh ‘n Clean’s conditioning shampoo allows you to give your dog a thorough clean and is formulated without any harsh chemicals.
Natural pyrethrins are used instead, and we found the shampoo useful for killing off fleas for longer than two weeks meaning the product is rated very highly by fellow dog owners we recommended the shampoo to.
Many of these dog owners even mention having tried other shampoos unsuccessfully and that this product was the one that finally worked so might be worth a go if you have also trialed other flea shampoos yourself.
10. Natural Chemistry De Flea Concentrate Flea and Tick Shampoo
Now a slightly different type of flea shampoo to wrap this list up with but bear with us.
This natural chemistry flea and tick shampoo comes in a whopping 1 gallon sized, and you are getting a lot of high-quality product, because of this, you can almost be sure it is going to successfully help you combat any flea or tick issues in your home.
No harsh chemicals are used in the manufacturing process, and you can also use this product alongside other flea-fighting products to ensure you are giving your pet the best chance of living a healthy, happy and tick free life.
Not only does this shampoo kill off fleas and eggs but it also relieves skin irritations. Although the upfront fee might seem a lot the amount of product you get in return makes it worth it, and you can be sure after using the whole bottle your pet will be a lot cleaner than they are now, without any ticks or fleas to worry about!
So there you have our best flea, and tick shampoo for dogs roundup and we hope that from the list of ten best products you can pick out one that will work perfectly for your pet!