When our doggie girl was a puppy, we loved taking long walks at a dog-friendly arboretum near our house. To our dismay, one day she brought home fleas.
It Freaked Us Out!
We rushed her to the veterinarian. The vet gave her a pill that kills the flea eggs from the inside and gave us a bottle of a commercial flea shampoo and flea removal instructions.
When we got home, we looked at the warnings on the flea shampoo bottle and it said we needed to avoid contact with our skin (wait what?) and strongly recommended wearing gloves when using the shampoo.
There was no way we were going to bathe our puppy in a flea shampoo with those crazy warnings on it.
We did some research and came up with a safe homemade dog flea shampoo that was gentle on her skin and had ingredients we could find around the house.
All we needed was Dawn, apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar), and water.
As it turns out, each one of these ingredients works great to get rid of fleas, plus have other benefits.
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Dawn Kills Fleas
Yes, we tested this theory first hand when our dog got fleas (to our horror). It turns out that Dawn kills fleas in minutes. It does it by breaking up the fleas’ exoskeleton.
Apple Cider Vinegar is a Flea & Tick Repellant
Another ingredient that we use in our homemade dog shampoo is apple cider vinegar.
When you use a 50% apple cider vinegar and 50% water solution and spray it on your dog’s fur, it will work as a natural flea and tick repellant.
Bonus: Apple Cider Vinegar Also Helps Sooth Hotspots
If your puppy suffers from hotspots, you can also try this shampoo.
Apple cider vinegar is a natural antifungal and will help soothe your doggy’s skin.
To help soothe your dog’s skin, especially if it’s itchy and dry, you can apply topically.
Add 50% apple cider vinegar and 50% water and spray on the affected area.
Tip: Do not apply apple cider vinegar directly to an open cut or raw skin on your doggie; it will burn.
The Flea Shampoo Ingredients
Here’s a list of the Homemade Dog Flea Shampoo Ingredients:
- Dawn (1 cup)
- Apple Cider Vinegar (1 cup)
- Water (4 cups)
The portions above are more than enough to shampoo a small dog.
If you have a larger dog or are doing more than 1 dog, you can increase the amounts and just maintain the ratios.
Directions for Using The Dog Flea Shampoo
Mixing The Shampoo
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, then transfer the shampoo to a squeeze bottle (like an old shampoo bottle).
If you don’t have a squeeze bottle you can pour it out of the bowl directly only your doggie, but the squeeze bottle makes this process easier.
Remember to give the bottle a good shake before using it.
Dog Flea Shampoo Application
Use the homemade flea shampoo like you would any other dog shampoo – applying it liberally and massaging it into the dog’s coat.
Let the flea shampoo sit for 5 minutes.
Rinse thoroughly with warm water. You may want to do this a second time just to make sure (that’s what we did).
Once you’re done, towel dry. That is all there is to it!
Tip: Leave the flea shampoo on your dog for about 5 minutes. When you rinse, the flea eggs will dislodge from the dog’s hair and go down the drain. Make sure you rinse thoroughly.
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How Often To Use The Shampoo
We used the dog flea shampoo every day for about a week. Mainly because it freaked us out but we also wanted to make super-duper sure that our dog didn’t have fleas anymore.
When we did the first shampoo we saw fleas in the water but that initial bath was the only time we saw them. After that first shampoo, we didn’t see them again.
Based on our experience this non-toxic homemade dog flea shampoo works extremely well. If you’re freaking out about your doggie having fleas (like we did), then keep doing the shampoos for a week.
Otherwise, I’d say keep doing the shampoos until you no longer see fleas in the water when rinsing the flea shampoo off.