The 411 on Flea and Tick Shampoos

There are many products on the market to help combat fleas and ticks, both directly from the veterinarian and off the shelf from the store. When the cost is high on the products available through the veterinary office, why not reach for an inexpensive shampoo found in the pet aisle of the store? Flea and tick shampoos only work if the chemicals come into direct contact with fleas and ticks that are present on the dog at the time of the bath. Also, any flea eggs coming into contact with the shampoo will be unable to hatch. The key point here is that it has to contact the parasite directly. It would be inadvisable to use these shampoos in and around your dog’s eyes and mouth. This means that any fleas or ticks on the head would not be killed.

In addition, these shampoos are very harsh on the skin and therefore, can only be used every six weeks. With no residual action after the use of the shampoo on a single day, the pet could potentially get another flea or tick the very next day. Without being able to treat for another six weeks, the pet would suffer in the meantime. Not to mention, the parasites being able to infest your home when they come in on your dog.

As a result, these over the counter flea and tick shampoos work, but not effectively. Previously, these shampoos were all that was available within the veterinary community to rid our pets of these parasites. Thankfully, we now have other options available to us which are more practical, effective and safe for your dog. The product’s that we recommend are either applied directly to the skin in a small area, or we have chewy treats which are given every 1-3 months, depending on the product to help aid in both the prevention and treatment of fleas and ticks. No one wants a ‘ticked’ off dog!

To summarize:

shampoo chart

Written by Dr. Megan Haines, DVM