Does your dog have fleas and you are thinking about getting some dog flea shampoo?
Does this scenario sounds familiar…your dog seems to be scratching all the time? Something in the back of your mind tells you to stop being irritated and watch him objectively for a moment. You notice that he is scratching mostly around his neck and collar, stopping only to reach around to chew and lick just above his tail. Your suspicions mount because these are places where fleas like to congregate.
A quick inspection of your dog's skin by parting the hair behind his ears, under his chin, and just above his tail reveal the culprit. What would normally pass for small specks of dirt is actually flea dirt. Flea dirt is the feces of the flea and they look like fresh ground pepper or dirt. You may also see the live fleas. So you may think it is time to break out the dog flea shampoo and give your scratching pooch a bath. Features to Consider in Dog Flea Shampoo Quality – Spending a little extra on a good quality dog flea shampoo is well worth it. Look for one that will kill and repel the adult fleas, as well as kill the flea eggs in order to prevent infestation and the need for repeated bathing.
Ingredients – Pyrethrins are the most common insecticide ingredient. You can also get natural herbal insecticides that are safer to use, especially for puppies and smaller dogs. Also, look for ingredients like oatmeal and tea tree oil that will help to sooth skin irritated by flea bits and constant scratching. Insecticides may also dry out your dog's coat, so you may want to choose a dog flea shampoo that includes a coat conditioner.
Efficacy – You want to choose a dog flea shampoo that will get rid of the fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and other annoying pests, but you don't want to harm your dog in the process. So, while pyrethrins are usually the most effective insecticide, it is best to check with your veterinarian before you use any insecticide product on your dog. Some breeds may be more sensitive to these chemicals, and the size and overall health of your dog should be considered.
Scent – You may want to choose a dog flea shampoo with an added scent, but be careful of heavy scents that may further irritate sore spots on your dog's skin from flea bites and scratching.
Reason for Use – Using a dog flea shampoo to control fleas and other pests can be very effective, but it is not the only way to get rid of fleas. Consider your dog's living environment, bathe ability, coat texture and nature before you choose a flea bath as your means of flea control. There are other means of flea control that may be more useful for you. A flea bath given incorrectly can do more harm than good.
Desirable Features of Dog Flea Shampoo
Works well – Like any shampoo, dog flea shampoo should effectively cleanse your dog as well as kill and repel fleas and flea eggs. Also, be sure that you choose a dog flea shampoo that is formulated with a lower pH designed for use on dogs.
Lathers easily and Rinses well – Dog flea shampoo should lather quickly and easily without producing too many suds. It should also rinse thoroughly so that is does not leave a toxic residue on your dog's skin or coat.
Tearless – Unfortunately dog flea shampoo does not come in tearless formulas. It will be important to keep dog flea shampoo out of your dog's eyes because the ingredients needed to get rid of fleas would cause discomfort if it got into your dog's eyes.
Shiny coat – The ingredients in dog flea shampoo that kills and repels fleas may also tend to dry and dull your dog's coat. So, look for a dog flea shampoo that includes a coat conditioner in the formula, or finish your flea bath with a dog flea conditioner to help maintain your dog's shiny coat.
Ideal Choice of Dog Flea Shampoo
For medium to large dogs that spend some time outdoors, a dog flea shampoo with pyrethrins is probably your best choice.
For smaller dogs, puppies, and older dogs that may not be in the best health, more natural ingredients like d'Limonene derived from citrus may be a better choice for dog flea shampoo.
In all cases, look for a dog flea shampoo that includes soothing and conditioning ingredients like oatmeal and tea tree oil to counteract the harsh, drying effects of the insecticides.
Tips for safely using Dog Flea Shampoo
Check with your veterinarian before using any insecticide on your dog. And follow all label directions carefully and completely to ensure the health of your dog. Combining other insecticides with a dog flea shampoo could become harmfully toxic for you and your dog.
When bathing your dog with a dog flea shampoo begin by wetting only the neck, making sure to get water all the way down to the skin. Then, lather the neck thoroughly with your dog flea shampoo. This will create a barrier against the fleas that will prevent them from traveling up and congregating in your dog's ears and eyes and on his face. These areas are more difficult to effectively and kindly use shampoo. Once you have the neck lathered, wet the rest of your dog, and lather him up, paying careful attention to the area above the base of the tail and any where else you noticed him scratching or licking. Let the lather sit for a few minutes and then rinse thoroughly, again paying close attention to areas where your dog likes to lick and chew. You don't want him accidentally ingesting the insecticides by grooming himself after his bath.
Lastly, don't depend upon a dog flea shampoo alone to control fleas, ticks and other pests. Environmental controls are important to minimize exposure, and medications can be prescribed to help break the flea life cycle.