The Active Ingredients in Flea Shampoo

Flea shampoo helps to remove fleas from your pet.
Flea shampoo helps to remove fleas from your pet. (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Some of the telltale signs of fleas on your pet include constant scratching, chewing and licking around the tail, and small specks of dirt that resemble black pepper. Upon further examination, you might see fleas. One of your first instincts will be to bathe your pet with flea shampoos; many types are available. When selecting a flea shampoo, look for key ingredients. Also determine whether you want an all-natural flea shampoo.


This commonly used insecticide is made from chrysanthemums. Pyrethrin does not kill fleas but it does incapacitate them. Although it is one of the most effective insecticides and is not toxic to most pets, pyrethrin might cause a reaction in cats, which are more sensitive than dogs to pyrethrins. This can include excessive drooling.

Limonene and Linalool combination

People who prefer to stay clear of pyrethrin can choose flea shampoos that feature a limonene and linalool combination. When combined, these two products will kill fleas regardless to their stage of development, including flea eggs. These substances, made from citrus peel extracts, are among the safest to use on pets.

Lavender Oil

Although it will does kill fleas, lavender oil will repel them while it soothes your pets' skin. Lavender oil, found in natural flea shampoos, is also used around the home, both inside and out, as a preventive measure to repel fleas. It's safe to spritz from a bottle after dilution with water, or to apply directly to the skin of the pet between the shoulder blades. Lavender oil can help prevent flea infestations.

Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil, also popular in natural flea shampoos, is a powerful flea repellant. Its distinctive odor is repulsive to fleas. Safe for use directly on animals, bedding, and carpets, eucalyptus oil can also be safely applied to your pets' collar to help repel fleas, as long as the animal cannot chew the collar. Although eucalyptus oil is safe in small amounts, larger quantities can cause illness in pets. It is safe if used carefully in pet bedding, in outside areas where pets live, and for bathing.

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