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How to Give Your Dog a Flea Bath
From your Veterinary Medicine Guide

How to get the most out of a flea bath, the start of a good flea control program.

Difficulty Level: Easy    Time Required: 30 minutes

Here's How:
  1. Purchase a flea shampoo recommended by your vet or local pet supply store.
  2. Read the instructions carefully, and use only on animal(s) it is intended for. Some products are very toxic to cats.
  3. Water temperature should be slightly warm or even cool. Dogs can overheat easily and temperatures used for most human baths are too warm.
  4. Start by getting the neck fully wet, down to the skin.
  5. Leave the rest of the body dry at this point.
  6. Apply shampoo and lather thoroughly around the neck. This prevents fleas from gathering at the ears, eyes, and face, where it is difficult to shampoo safely.
  7. Get the rest of the body wet, shampoo thoroughly, and let sit for 5 minutes.
  8. Rinse very well. Flea shampoo can be very drying.
  9. If your dog doesn't have existing skin problems, it is wise to follow up with a flea control conditioner or normal conditioner.


  1. Do not depend on shampooing to get rid of fleas permanently. Talk to your vet about an appropriate method of flea control for your pet (spray, powder, collar, or spot-on treatment) and work on environmental control.
  2. Other methods of control are environmental insecticides (foggers and bombs, yard sprays), medications given to the pet to break the flea life cycle, and daily vacuuming.
  3. Carefully read all product warnings and follow instructions closely. Using more product than recommended is dangerous. Keep all products away from children. Wash hands thoroughly after use.

Related Information:

More How To's from your Guide to Veterinary Medicine

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