Using Dawn dish soap to rid your pet of fleas is a surprisingly effective home remedy. The chemicals in Dawn prevent the eggs from sticking to your pet's coat while at the same time smothering the fleas.
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Look for Dawn dish soap, although any brand will do. According to many groomers, though, other brands may not be as effective. The Dawn flea bath is a cheap and safe alternative if you don't have any dog shampoo around, but can dry out your dog's skin and coat if used too frequently.
Dawn to wash dog fleas
Fleas have a tough exoskeleton that helps them float in water, which is why plain water won't kill them. Dawn dish soap contains surfactants and detergents that help break down the exoskeletons in adult fleas and make them sink to the bottom of the water.
The soap also allows water into the respiratory systems of the fleas by washing away the waxy outer coating of the flea that protects them from drowning. This, in effect, suffocates the fleas.
Using Dawn to wash dogs
Fill up a bathtub or appropriate-sized container with warm water and enough Dawn to create bubbles. Take a capful of Dawn and a small amount of water and lather around the dog's neck before placing your dog in the bath. This must be done very quickly or the fleas will crawl into your dog's nose and ears in an attempt to escape.
Place your dog into the water and quickly lather his entire coat. Make sure he is saturated and do not rinse. Take care when lathering around his face, avoiding his eyes. Lather the entire underside of your dog. Do your best to fully lather the entire area. Again, do not rinse.
Leave the lather on the dog for at least five minutes. This is necessary to ensure the fleas are killed. Then rinse the dog. Be sure to rinse off all of the soap to avoid over-drying your dog's coat.
Best soap for dogs
Although Dawn dish soap will remove adult fleas from your dog's coat, it can dry out your dog's skin, especially if you use it very frequently. For this reason, it is not the best soap for dogs and shouldn't be used more than once per week. This is especially true if you're dealing with a serious flea infestation because your dog's skin will likely already be irritated by flea bites.
To reduce skin inflammation and dryness, use a conditioner designed for dogs on your dog's skin and coat after washing him with Dawn soap. The conditioner contains moisturizing ingredients to help minimize the drying effects of the soap.
Best dog shampoo
To create a basic dog shampoo that is easier on your dog's skin and coat but also contains Dawn, mix 2 cups of water with 1/4 cup of Dawn and 1/2 cup of vinegar. Add two drops of lavender oil to help kill and repel fleas naturally.
Keep in mind that the best dog shampoo for those suffering from fleas is one that contains an insecticide specifically for use in dogs. Not only will these shampoos get rid of adult fleas, but they will also kill flea larvae and eggs. Plus, they will continue to kill fleas on your dog's skin and coat after the bath.
Eliminating fleas with Dawn
After your dog is dry, use a flea comb on her coat to ensure there are no fleas left on her body. If you do find any remaining fleas, drop the flea in a cup of water mixed with a teaspoon of Dawn.
Although you may have removed all of the fleas and eggs from your dog's coat with Dawn soap, they still lurk in her environment. Eliminate fleas in your home with Dawn by combining a tablespoon of Dawn with two cups of water. Use this solution to spray down your couches, curtains, and carpets. After 10 minutes, blot down the fabrics and vacuum these surfaces thoroughly.