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Will a Bath Kill Fleas?
All dog owners have encountered fleas: the most annoying, frustrating, time-consuming "skin disease" (if we may call it that) of all. Fleas feast on our pets but aren't too picky and will feast on humans, too!
Yes, fleas do not hesitate to attack us humans or any other blood source. This is where the more severe problems arise: flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), tapeworms, and stomach flu/fevers that affect humans as well as pets.
Of course, aside from medical reasons, there are many reasons to want to rid your pet of fleas. Here's how to control them effectively with soap.
How to Use a Bath to Get Rid of Fleas
The quickest and easiest way to get rid of fleas without spending much money is by giving your dog a bath with any bar of soap or dish soap.
Does Just Any Soap Actually Work?
Keep in mind the reason this works is not due to the chemicals in the soap but because lack of oxygen sends them to their soapy death.
You don't have to use any special type of flea soap. If using a type of soap that hasn't been tested for animal use is not something you want to do, you're welcome to spend extra, but it's not necessary.
Many pet owners use the soap they use on their own bodies on their dogs. There have been no reports to my knowledge of negative side effects of using regular soap, but perhaps an organic chemical-free flea shampoo is an option you might want to look into.
- You want to be sure you begin at the top from the head/ears (being very careful not to pour water inside the ears). If you begin in the middle of the dog's body, the fleas will all flee to higher ground in an attempt to avoid the soap and water, and since the head is the hardest part to soak thoroughly, it's best to start there and work/chase the fleas down.
- Scrub and soap Fido up enough that you can see the suds.
- Once you've done that, continue to massage from head to toe for about 10 minutes in order to get rid of the eggs.
- Rinse your pet off. Be careful not to get water into the ears, eyes, or nose.
Make Sure Fleas Don't Come Back
Now we want to prevent having fleas again in a week or two, so we are going to use some good old fashion borax from the laundry room to apply onto carpets and any upholstered furniture these little vampires may have hanging out in.
First, put your dog in a separate area due to the borax being untested for toxicity in pets. Sometimes they are just a little too curious!! Once borax has been applied, go ahead and vacuum everything it was applied to before letting our pet back into the room.
Final step: Wash everything the dog plays with, lays in, and wears. Even the leash needs to be washed in a hot water cycle to kill fleas and eggs. Plain old laundry soap will get the job done. Keep in mind fleas can live without a host for several weeks but the eggs may survive for months!
That's it—you've solved your problem and now have a flea-free pet and home!
Negative Reactions to Topical Flea Sprays
Below, you'll find a photo of a dog suffering from an allergic reaction to a topical spray that was used in hopes of getting rid of the fleas in its fur.
Unfortunately, it did more harm than good. This is one of the reasons I prefer using a natural ingredient, such as common household soap.
If I choose to use some type of spray, it is in no way to be used on my pets.
I simply use this on carpets and around furniture in the home and yard to reduce eggs and larvae survival. This greatly reduces the chances you'll encounter fleas again anytime soon.
If the spray is applied to areas or furniture where pets will be playing, wipe down with a damp rag within a few hours to remove excess product they may lick up or taste.
Just because it is organic and not poisonous or deadly does not mean we should allow our dogs to eat it!
Natural Ways to Keep Fleas Away
Once the bloodthirsty parasites are gone, there are many things that can be done to keep them out. Simply by taking a few precautions a future flea infestation can be avoided.
- Keep your dog away from other pets! Many owners are unaware of a flea infestation until it's already out of control.
- Check regularly for any signs of fleas. The best way to stop fleas is to catch them when the numbers are low and they haven't laid eggs yet.
- Use a non-toxic flea trap. This a great way to help prevent fleas from sneaking into your house and onto your pet. Don't use poison!
- Fleas love humid environments. Keep your home cooler and your chance of harboring fleas drop 15%.
- Bathe your pets often. It not only reduces the chance of fleas but they'll be clean, smell fresh, and will thank you for it!
- Fleas hate lavender, so anything that contains lavender (soaps, lotions, or perfumes) will literally have them on the run. Just be sure not to directly apply these chemicals to your pet. Simply using them in the home will help.
- Cedar oil has been used to prevent flea infestations even by the U.S. Army in the desert to combat sand fleas.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2011 luisj305
Jose junor on May 24, 2020:
Goodnight, quick question could i use apple cider vinegar for fleas on my dog ..and if yes how would you recommend the application
luisj305 (author) from Florida on August 24, 2016:
My best tip would be to use a flea comb to get as many as you can out and somewhat of a light sponge bath on the rest of the body.
Do this slow being EXTRA careful not to bother the sensitive area recently worked on.
The young puppy is surely very uncomfortable and this will soothe the irritated skin effectively and allow relief. Good luck!!
RS2154 on August 22, 2016:
Any ideas on how to get rid of fleas on a recently spayed 8 week old puppy? It cant be bathed for 10 days due to the stitches from the spaying? Also any medication I've found says only for dogs 12 weeks or older?
Isabel on July 13, 2016:
Very helpful an quick to the point
luisj305 (author) from Florida on March 03, 2015:
Marcela thanks for reading! I knew you would solve your pets flea problem with this guide!
Marcela Barrios on February 26, 2015:
This is easy to follow for me and works good for my dog and for my cat too. Thank you luis.
luisj305 (author) from Florida on January 04, 2015:
Your welcome Wolfs Paw, they'll surely be gone for good now! Soap is the way to go, chemicals should always be avoided.
Wolfs Paw on January 04, 2015:
Great hub and tips. I always use dish soap and feel it gets rid of fleas. I feel it's better than using chemicals on your dog as well. Thank you for sharing!
luisj305 (author) from Florida on July 22, 2013:
Really? That's interesting and would probably leave your dog smelling better than regular soap, or lemon scented dish soap!
Lois Ryan from Upstate NY originally from Long Island on July 21, 2013:
Excellent hub abd I hear Skin So Soft by Avon works wonders as well
twig22bend on May 24, 2013:
Great information on fleas and alternative methods of getting rid of them. I wish I had of known about your hub earlier. Thanks for sharing.
pestcontrolproduc on May 17, 2013:
Great article! May I make a suggestion? After you get fleas off your dog, make sure you keep fleas off yourself. It works out better when you put the clothes you were wearing while you were smothering fleas in doggie shampoo into the laundry just as quickly as possible after you finish with your dog's bath. Hot water washing will kill any fleas that jumped off your dog and onto your clothes.
tebo from New Zealand on March 19, 2013:
Some very good ideas to keep fleas at bay. I have a dog and seem to be doing alright on the flea front, but some of these ideas do make the problem a little easier to deal with.
Susan Bailey from South Yorkshire, UK on March 18, 2013:
What a very odd looking dog! Highly unusual and caught my eye straight away. Lavender sounds like a great idea, will get rid of the doggy smell too. Great hub.
Jean-ette on March 18, 2013:
Thanks for this Hub. Flea medication is so expensive. I hate to have to buy it every year and my dog goes crazy when I put it on him. I love the smell of Lavender and will give that a try this year. Hope my dog likes it too!
Ruth McCollum from Lake Oswego, Oregon on March 17, 2013:
THANKYOU! You know what's funny ? i LOVE lavender I have it everywhere and my husband said the other day the cats weren't "chewing" as much. My dog just passed but I'm going to show my mom and friends this article. :) Following you now.
luisj305 (author) from Florida on March 17, 2013:
Hi Shanmarie, I think Dawn is usually mentioned because it is one of the leading brands in dish soap and most are familiar with it. I've used Dawn, and Palmolive, they've both worked and I stick to them.
John Paolo B.Magdaluyo from Philippine on March 16, 2013:
Great hub! My dog once suffer from hundreds of fleas and I spent lot of anti fleas soap but never been effective. Anyway I tried something which is similar to your advice (I did used bar soap for cloths) and just one bath they are all sent to their peaceful sleep.
Voted up and shared!
Shannon Henry from Texas on March 16, 2013:
Do you have a specific dish soap you recommend? I've always been told that Dawn is good for flea removal.
luisj305 (author) from Florida on March 16, 2013:
Hi Shai, using chemicals are tricky even if they mention being safe. Some pets will be fine after using them, but others can have serious irritation that can go unnoticed if we don't pay close attention.
For the picture, thanks to Beverly & Pack for taking an awesome photo, of a great idea.
Chen on March 16, 2013:
Great hub. I really hate using the chemicals on dogs. Lavender and cedar oil is a good tip I did not know about. But I have to say what really caught my eye is that beautiful looking dog photo-- so unique.
Jmillis2006 from North Carolina on March 15, 2013:
Interesting hub. Hopefully fleas will stay off of my pets this summer as I treat them monthly with spot on treatment.
luisj305 (author) from Florida on March 14, 2013:
No problem, Beth. Your dog will love the massage technique!
Beth37 on March 14, 2013:
Good to know with summer coming up, thanks. :)
luisj305 (author) from Florida on January 26, 2013:
I have yet to see Amitraz around in pet shops of my area, maybe if it shows up I'll give it a try. Thanks for the comment!
Jef from Philippines on January 03, 2013:
Tick and Fleas have always been my dog's problems. What I use is a solution called Amitraz. I have used Frontline before but Amitraz is a lot cheaper! :)
luisj305 (author) from Florida on July 31, 2011:
Thanks a lot everyone, your comments really let me know im off to the right start here at hubpages. Thanks for the warm welcome!
fashion on July 31, 2011:
This is very interesting and informative article.Thanks for this useful hub.
Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on July 31, 2011:
I never realized that you could use dish soap or bar soap for getting rid of fleas. Interesting article.
Welcome to HubPages.
maddot from Northern NSW, Australia on July 30, 2011:
Good interesting hub Luis. It's coming into flea and tick season here in Australia and your washing technique is great.