Flea Baths for Dogs

Flea Baths for Dogs
I like to keep a close eye on how often Maggie scratches herself.

Once or twice a day is fine, but if she’s itching more often than not, it’s time to take a closer look at her fur.

Regularly inspecting your dog for fleas is always a good idea, especially if your dog spends a lot of time at public dog parks like Maggie does.

Thankfully, she hasn’t had fleas yet, but I still want to know how to handle them if she does.

Here’s everything you need to know about giving your dog a flea bath, so you can make them more comfortable as the flea problem gets taken care of.

What is a Flea Bath

If I ever spotted fleas on Maggie, my first instinct would be to give her a bath.What is a flea bath how do you give one to infested dog

That seems like it would be the most effective way to wash all the tiny bugs off of her in one try, right?

That depends on what products you use.

Regular shampoo won’t necessarily cut it, since it won’t target the fleas specifically. It can kill the adult fleas but won’t do anything to disrupt the flea’s lifecycle, so your dog will be reinfested the next day[1].

A flea bath is when you bathe your dog with a flea shampoo and possibly even a comb in order to remove fleas and their eggs from your dog’s fur.

You can use dish soap too, but it won’t be as effective as purpose-made flea shampoo.

How to Give a Dog a Flea Bath

Even though a flea bath is different from a regular bath, you don’t need to be trained by a professional in order to do it the right way.

Paw & Pals Flea Tick Scrub natural flea shampoo rosemary aloe vera oatmealFollow these steps and your dog will quickly go back to their flea-free life.

Step 1: Prepare the Bath

Prepping for a flea bath starts when you get the flea shampoo.

Read all of the instructions on the back, as they’ll all differ slightly.

Make sure you know how long to leave the shampoo on and if you need to apply it multiple times during the first week of treatment.

Step 2: Start With Their Neck

Fleas like to jump, so when they notice bath water flushing them out, they’ll immediately jump to high ground.

It’s much harder to wash a dog’s head, especially since bath water can infect their ears[2].

Instead of starting where you see the most fleas, apply the flea shampoo to their neck.

Lather them up really well, so when the fleas try to jump on higher ground on your dog’s head, they get stuck in the targeting shampoo.

Step 3: Comb the Fleas Out

If you have an extra strong flea shampoo, combing the fleas out may not be part of the directions on the bottle.

However, it’s an extra precaution you can take to ensure you’re getting the fleas out on your first bathing attempt.

A fine-toothed comb will easily pick out the fleas.

Just remember to repeat the shampoo application if you find yourself rinsing most of it off before it’s had enough time to work.

Step 4: Blow Dry Completely

Blow dry dog after flea bath do not just towel dry prevent reinfestation

Use a blow dryer, not a leaf blower! Photo by Randy Son of Robert (CC BY 2.0)

Once you’re done with the actual bathing, you should blow dry your dog until they’re completely dry.

Maggie has thick fur, so this would take a good half hour to an hour, but it would be so worth it.

While you dry, keep going through your dog’s fur with that fine-toothed comb.

There will probably be both living and dead fleas that got tangled up and wouldn’t rinse out.

Tips for Giving Your Dog a Flea Bath

Sounds pretty simple, right?

Here are a few extra tips to make your dog’s flea bath even more effective.

Really Use That CombFlea adult larva egg remover comb for dogs after shampoo bath remove infestation

Your comb is going to be your best friend.

Don’t be afraid to spend some time picking those fleas out.

Your dog might be a little grumpy from the bath, but the extra time will ensure that most of them are gone with the first bath.

Wash Everything Afterwards

Picture the remaining fleas that will survive the first flea bath.

Where will they go after your dog gets out of the tub?

They’ll make themselves at home in your bathroom rugs and towels!

If you have your dirty laundry hamper nearby, that could be their new home too.

Wash everything in your bathroom once the bath is done so you don’t get any second-generation fleas.

Decontaminate Your Home

Fleabusters RX for fleas plus kills fleas carpet couches furniture home house

Various flea-killing products exist to help keep the flea population from bouncing back after your vacuuming spree

Before you noticed the fleas on your dog, they were hanging out wherever your dog was.

That means there are potential fleas and eggs in your home!

The best way to get rid of fleas around your home is to vacuum. Vacuum every other day for up to a month[3].

If you want to go the extra mile, you can also get your carpet steam cleaned.

There are also sprays for other surfaces of your home that can’t be vacuumed, like your couch.

You should also wash all bedding routinely until the fleas are completely gone.

There are more flea medications than you think. Click here to learn what they are and how they work!


It turns out, taking care of fleas isn’t a one-time deal.

Your dog and your home should be inspected and cleaned routinely for up to a month to make sure all the fleas and their eggs are gone. You should treat your yard, too.

That makes me feel a lot better about being so proactive about checking Maggie for fleas.

The earlier I can catch them, the more effective the first few rounds of flea control will be.


Will Giving a Dog a Bath Kill Fleas?

If you use a flea killing shampoo, then yes, a bath can kill many of the fleas on your dog.

The best way to make sure fleas are removed and killed during a bath is to comb through your dog’s fur as they bathe.

Do Flea Baths Work?

Flea baths are an extremely effective way to banish a flea infestation.

If you’ve given your dog a flea bath and still see many remaining in the days afterwards, make sure you’re decontaminating your home too.

How Long After Giving Your Dog a Flea Bath Do the Fleas Die?

Fleas will die if the shampoo is left on your dog for the length of time described on the bottle.

Rinsing your dog too quickly or not working through their fur with a comb will make it more likely that the fleas survive the bath.


  1. https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070304182350AAHLgRG
  2. https://wagwalking.com/grooming/bathe-a-dog-without-getting-water-in-ears
  3. https://www.terminix.com/blog/diy/how-to-get-rid-of-fleas-in-the-house/
About the author

Emily Pierce

Emily Pierce is a self-published novelist, award winning short story writer, and freelancer. When she’s not writing, she enjoys baking and making clothes for dogs.