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  • Writer's pictureVickie Foster

Homemade Doggie Flea Shampoos

The dog days of summer are still here and with it comes fleas. Itchy fleas are one of our and our dog’s pet peeves. An easy solution is a cooling bath for your dog with some flea shampoo. The biggest downside to store-bought flea shampoos is that they are loaded with chemicals.

According to the FDA, if flea shampoos are used incorrectly they can make your dog sick or even burn their skin. There is also a chance that they can be overloaded with topical flea medication. We suggest you ask your veterinarian for help to see which flea shampoo is the best for your dog's needs.

In the meantime, we researched some DIY flea shampoos for you to try. The DIY shampoo recipes below are a safe alternative for stopping pesky fleas from bothering your dog so let’s take a look!

Apple Cider Vinegar Recipe

This recipe uses apple cider vinegar and dish soap. The vinegar is acidic and that will help it kill any fleas. This will also kill any bacteria on your dog’s skin to help reduce flaky skin. Additionally, the Dawn soap will prevent the fleas from floating in the water and thus drown the pesky fleas!

Here are the ingredients you'll need:

  • 1 Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar

  • 1 Quart of Warm Water

  • 1 Cup of Liquid Dish Soap (If your dog has sensitive skin, Dawn has a special soap that is tailored to be gentle)

  • Large bowl

  • Spray bottle

Steps to making the shampoo spray:

  1. Mix the vinegar and warm water in a large bowl then slowly add the dish soap.

  2. Mix all the above ingredients together and pour into a spray bottle.

  3. Shake the bottle to mix the ingredients.

  4. Put your dog in its preferred bathing tub.

  5. Spray your with the shampoo mixture and massage the shampoo into your dog’s fur for 5 minutes.

  6. Rinse completely with warm water then towel dry your dog.

Besides killing fleas, this apple cider vinegar shampoo will give your dog a smooth and soft coat!

Lemon Recipe

This recipe will give you a fresh-smelling pup in addition to keeping fleas away. Much like the apple cider vinegar, the lemon’s acidity will kill the fleas. Lemon also kills bacteria on your dog’s skin that helps reduce itching. The addition of castile soap or baby shampoo will soothe your dog’s skin. Castile soap contains olive oil that will make your dog shiny and smooth! You can buy baby shampoo or castile soap online or at your nearest drug.

Here are the ingredients you'll need:

  • 1/2 Cup of Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

  • 1 1/2 to 2 Cups of Warm Water

  • 1/4 to 1/2 Cup of Baby Shampoo or Castile Soap

  • Medium-sized bowl

  • Container with lid to store shampoo

Steps to making the shampoo:

  1. Squeeze half a cup of lemon juice into a medium-sized bowl.

  2. Add warm water and mix well.

  3. Next, add the baby shampoo or castile soap and mix well.

  4. Pour into your container and put the lid on it until you’re ready to use it.

When you’re ready to shampoo your dog, get them wet. You’ll want to pour the shampoo on your hand and work it into your dog’s fur down to the skin. Once massaged into your dog’s fur, let it sit for a few minutes. Rinse your dog thoroughly and repeat as desired. Towel dry your pup and you’re all ready!

Repeat the bath once a week to help kill fleas and keep new ones away.

Final Thoughts

Use these recipes for a natural and safe alternative to chemical-laden store-bought flea shampoos. If your dog’s fleas persist, please see your veterinarian to discuss the best options for your pup. We hope this was helpful!


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All proceeds from Thousand Hills Pet Resort support New Life K9s. New Life K9s provides service dogs to veterans and first responders with PTSD at no cost to them.




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