If your dog has fleas, a bath with the right product can help him not only get rid of the fleas but also leave him smelling fresh and clean. Flea baths -- with either natural or commercial products -- can be effective, but they don't always work as a preventive against future flea infestations. Always talk to your vet before using any new flea treatment or product.
Homemade Baths and Remedies
Fleas dislike vinegar, so giving your dog a vinegar bath is an effective way to kill fleas. To do so, simply bathe your dog using either a regular shampoo or a flea shampoo and use a rinse made of apple cider vinegar diluted in fresh water.
Fresh lemon juice also works to kill fleas. Cut the lemons in quarters and boil. Use the lukewarm water to rinse your dog after a bath. Some people have used coconut oil to massage their dog's skin, since coconut oil seems to keep fleas, ticks and other pests away.
Other natural flea repellents include essential oils of lavender, citronella and lemongrass. To use, simply add a full dropper of your chosen essential oil -- or a combination of several -- into a spray bottle filled with water and spray your dog's coat. The oils will kill any remaining fleas and will act as a preventive.
When bathing or rinsing your dog, stay away from the face. Even natural products can irritate the eyes. To clean the face, dip your hands on the product, then rub over the hair of the face, making sure nothing gets into the eyes, nose or mouth.
Flea Shampoos and Dips
If you need to try something stronger, you can find commercial shampoos or flea dips at your local pet store or through your veterinarian. Flea shampoos, rinses and sprays can be used during or after a bath to kill fleas. Always follows the directions on the bottle to make sure the treatment is effective.
Commercial products to kill fleas contain a number of pesticides, including pyrethrins, pyrethroids and sodium lauryl sulfate. Some of these chemicals can be toxic to young puppies or if used incorrectly, so follow directions carefully.
Some commercial flea shampoos can't be used on puppies. Read labels carefully or ask your vet what to do if you have a young puppy with a flea problem.
Flea infestations can be harmful to your pet as they carry disease and can cause anemia, so using a preventive is key. Talk to your vet to find out what's best for your animal.