Skip to Content

Will bathing my dog everyday get rid of fleas?

Bathing your dog everyday can help get rid of fleas, but it’s not a complete solution on its own. Here’s a quick rundown of how bathing can help manage fleas and what else you need to do for effective flea control.

How Can Bathing Help Get Rid of Fleas?

Frequent bathing with flea shampoo or dish soap can help wash away fleas on your dog’s skin and coat. The soap helps break down the exoskeleton of the fleas, causing them to drown. It also makes the skin and coat inhospitable for fleas.

However, bathing only targets the adult fleas on your dog at that moment. It does not kill flea eggs or larvae. Plus, some adult fleas may survive the bath by clinging to your dog’s skin. So while a bath can reduce the flea population, it does not eliminate the entire infestation.

Limitations of Bathing for Flea Control

There are some drawbacks to relying solely on frequent bathing to control fleas:

  • Bathing too often can dry out your dog’s skin. More than once a week may cause skin irritation.
  • It only kills the fleas on your dog at that time. New fleas can easily jump back on after the bath.
  • Does not prevent re-infestation from fleas in your home and yard.
  • Does not kill flea eggs and larvae, allowing the life cycle to continue.
  • Time consuming and labor intensive to bathe a dog daily.

For these reasons, bathing alone is not an effective long-term solution. You need to combine bathing with other flea treatment methods.

Use Bathing as Part of Your Flea Treatment Plan

When used properly, bathing can be a useful part of your flea control regimen. Here are some tips:

  • Bathe your dog once every 5-7 days. Too much bathing can dry out the skin.
  • Use a flea shampoo or soap with insect growth regulators to kill fleas and prevent eggs from hatching.
  • Make sure to thoroughly lather and rinse your dog. Focus on the neck, tail and underbelly.
  • Use a flea comb during and after bathing to remove dead fleas.
  • Follow up with monthly spot-on or oral flea treatments as prescribed by your vet.
  • Treat your home and yard to kill flea eggs and larvae and prevent re-infestation.
  • Continue bathing and medications until fleas are fully gone.

Other Flea Treatment Options

In addition to bathing, here are some other steps to eliminate fleas:

Medications from Your Vet

Veterinarian-prescribed oral and topical treatments are essential for killing fleas at all life stages. Some common options include:

  • Oral tablets like Nexgard and Bravecto that last 1-3 months
  • Topical spot-ons like Frontline and Advantage II that last 1 month
  • Collar treatments like Seresto that last up to 8 months
  • Injections like Bravecto that provide 3-6 months protection

Never use dog flea products without consulting your veterinarian first. Some treatments are toxic to cats. Proper dosing is also important.

Flea Control for Your Home

Kill fleas in your house with:

  • Flea sprays and foggers that kill adults and eggs
  • Vacuuming all floors, furniture and pet beds
  • Washing bedding in hot water to destroy eggs and larvae

Use flea products made specifically for the home. Do not use pet topical treatments in your house.

Outdoor Flea Treatment

Eliminate fleas from your yard by:

  • Using sprays and granules designed for lawns and gardens
  • Having a professional pest control company treat your property
  • Keeping grass mowed short to expose fleas to sunlight

Focus on shady, moist areas where fleas thrive. Treat once per month during flea season.

How Long Does It Take to Get Rid of Fleas?

With diligent treatment both on your dog and in your home, you should see a noticeable decrease in fleas within a few weeks. However, it can take 2-3 months to fully break the flea life cycle and eliminate an infestation.

Continue using monthly preventatives during this time. Flea eggs and larvae will continue to emerge and seek out a blood meal source. Consistency is key to get rid of fleas.

Flea Prevention Tips

Once you’ve eliminated all fleas, take proactive steps to prevent them from coming back:

  • Treat your dog year-round with oral/topical medications.
  • Check for fleas daily. Catch any infestations early.
  • Bathe dogs as needed, but not more than weekly.
  • Groom with a flea comb to monitor for live fleas.
  • Wash bedding frequently.
  • Vacuum and spray floors and furniture.
  • Have pest control treat your yard.
  • Keep your grass short and tidy.

With vigilance, you can keep fleas at bay and provide your dog relief.

When to See a Vet About Fleas

Consult your veterinarian if:

  • Fleas persist despite rigorous treatment
  • Your dog has signs of anemia like pale gums
  • You find tapeworm segments in your dog’s stool
  • Your dog has skin irritation, infection or flea allergy dermatitis
  • You need help choosing suitable flea products

Severe flea infestations can lead to blood loss, skin problems and parasites like tapeworms. Let your vet assess your dog if over-the-counter treatments are ineffective.

Can Fleas Make My Dog Sick?

Yes, fleas can cause a number of health problems in dogs including:

  • Anemia: Significant blood loss from flea bites can make dogs anemic. This is more common in young or small dogs.
  • Tapeworms: Dogs get tapeworms from swallowing infected fleas. Tapeworms cause digestive issues.
  • Skin Irritation: Flea saliva provokes allergic reactions in some dogs. This results in red, itchy skin and hair loss.
  • Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD): FAD causes severe itching, chewing and skin damage due to an allergy to flea bites.

Prompt flea treatment is important to relieve discomfort and prevent secondary health issues in your dog.

Home Remedies for Fleas

Some natural home remedies can supplements flea treatment, but not replace conventional medications:

Salt Water

A salt water rinse can help dehydrate and kill fleas. Mix 2 tbsp of salt with 1 quart of warm water. Avoid getting the solution in your dog’s eyes. Rinse thoroughly afterwards.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar balances your dog’s pH, making the skin less hospitable to fleas. Mix 1 part vinegar with 1 part water and rinse your dog with the solution. Do not get it near the eyes.

Lemon Juice

Some people report success with washing their dog in lemon juice to repel and kill fleas due to its acidity. Avoid the eyes and rinse thoroughly afterwards.

Rosemary, Fennel and Citrus

Rosemary, fennel, lemon and orange oils may help repel fleas when applied lightly to your dog’s coat. Do not use directly on the skin.

Brewer’s Yeast

Brewer’s yeast provides B vitamins that can make your dog’s blood less appealing to fleas. Give 1-2 tablets per day with food.

Check with your vet before using any natural remedies. They are not a substitute for proven flea medications.

Flea Collars

Some collars like Seresto contain effective flea repellents and insecticides. Benefits include:

  • Last up to 8 months
  • Release small amounts of medication continuously
  • Water resistant
  • Low irritation risk compared to sprays

Flea collars require no application by the owner. Make sure your dog tolerates the medication first.

Flea Shampoos and Sprays

Shampoos and sprays can kill live fleas during bathing. Look for active ingredients like:

  • Pyrethrins
  • Permethrin
  • Nylar
  • Insect growth regulators (IGRs)

Use products specifically for dogs. Rinse thoroughly and avoid the eyes. Reapply every 5-7 days.

Oral Flea Medications

Oral tablets and chews like Comfortis and Bravecto kill fleas and prevent reinfestation. Benefits include:

  • Kill fleas within hours
  • Provide 1-3 months protection with one dose
  • Easy to give at home
  • Used alone without topicals
  • Relatively inexpensive

Drawbacks include possible GI side effects and inconsistent results in some dogs.

Topical Flea Treatments

Spot-on liquid treatments like Frontline and Advantage work by absorbing into the skin. Pros and cons are:

  • Applied monthly
  • Waterproof once dry
  • Kill fleas and sometimes ticks
  • Safe for dogs and cats
  • Saliva can deactivate product
  • Do not kill immature fleas

Use as directed. Do not apply more than one product at a time.

Flea Foggers and Sprays for the Home

Foggers and sprays containing insect growth regulators (IGRs) can kill fleas at all stages of life. Tips for using:

  • Remove pets before use
  • Open windows, turn off air circulation
  • Remove exposed food and cover surfaces
  • Follow room size guidelines on label
  • Return after designated time
  • Ventilate well before allowing pets back

Regular vacuuming and washing of bedding is also key.

Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs)

IGRs prevent immature fleas from developing into adults. They come in several forms:

  • Oral tablets: Given monthly like Bravecto or Comfortis.
  • Topical treatments: Applied to the skin monthly like Frontline Plus.
  • Collars: Worn continuously, replaced every 5-8 months.
  • Sprays: Used in the house or yard monthly.

IGRs are safe for mammals but prevent flea larvae and pupae from maturing. Used with adult flea killers, they break the life cycle.

Flea Combs

Flea combs can help remove live fleas and eggs from your dog’s coat. Tips for using:

  • Comb in sections against the grain of hair growth
  • Dip comb in soapy water to collect fleas
  • Rinse comb between each stroke
  • Check for fleas, eggs and dirt in the comb
  • Discard collected debris in hot soapy water

Use a flea comb after bathing or to check your dog for signs of re-infestation.

Vacuuming for Flea Control

Vacuuming kills flea eggs and larvae while removing food sources. Be sure to:

  • Use a vacuum with a hose and attachment tools
  • Focus on carpets, floor cracks, furniture and pet beds
  • Use a high efficiency particulate (HEPA) filter
  • Seal and dispose of the vacuum bag immediately
  • Follow up with carpet spray in heavily infested areas

After vacuuming, the area will need to be treated with an insecticide to kill any remaining fleas.

How Do I Choose the Right Flea Treatment?

Consider the following when selecting flea products:

  • Your pet’s age, weight and health status
  • Other medications your pet is taking
  • Your pet’s tolerance for certain ingredients
  • Species specificity (dog vs. cat products)
  • Type of fleas in your area
  • Your home environment and yard
  • Cost and convenience of treatment options

Your veterinarian can help you evaluate available products and recommend the best flea control plan for your situation.


Bathing your dog daily can help temporarily wash away some fleas, but it’s not an effective stand-alone treatment. To fully get rid of an infestation, you need to combine frequent bathing with other methods like veterinarian-prescribed medications, thorough home cleaning, yard treatment and diligent prevention.

It takes consistency and persistence to break the flea life cycle. But with the right multifaceted approach, you can eliminate fleas and keep your dog comfortable and itch-free.