So, your dog has fleas — now what? While there are countless oral and topical treatments that can help with long-term flea prevention, sometimes you need something that will work immediately. Flea dips are a tried-and-true solution for those times when you just can’t wait.
Many effective flea dips are available over the counter, meaning you don’t need to go through your dog’s vet to buy them. These formulas can be an excellent resource when you don’t have access to stronger treatments or are trying to head off an infestation before it grows worse.
Of course, not all flea dips are created equal. To help you in your fight against these tiny pests, we’ve reviewed the best flea dips for dogs currently on the market. Let’s jump right into our favorites:
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Pet MD Lime Sulfur Dip||
|Best Value||Adams Plus 3006017 Pyrethrin Dip||
|Premium Choice||Happy Jack 1045 Kennel Dip II||
|Classic’s Lime Sulfur Dip||
|Zodiac 100518515 Flea and Tick Dip||
The 7 Best Flea Dips for Dogs — Reviews 2020
1. Pet MD Lime Sulfur Dip — Best Overall
For owners that feel like a flea dip is the best treatment option for their dogs, our top pick is the Pet MD Lime Sulfur Dip. This formula is made in the United States and designed to treat fleas and a range of other parasitic, bacterial, and fungal infections. It also helps relieve common causes of itching and general skin irritation at the source.
This vet-formulated flea dip is concentrated, and the 16-ounce bottle makes 4 gallons of solution when mixed with water. Since it is so powerful, it does have a strong odor and should be used under ventilation. Some owners even reported a lingering smell in their home after using this flea dip.
2. Adams Plus Pyrethrin Dip — Best Value
Unfortunately, many effective flea treatments cost a small fortune. If you’re on the hunt for the best flea dip for dogs for the money, then we suggest checking out the Adams Plus 3006017 Pyrethrin Dip. This formula helps deter fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, biting flies, and other pests that may live on your dog’s skin while also delivering soothing aloe and lanolin.
According to Adams, this formula is safe for all dogs that are 12 weeks or older. Each treatment lasts an average of seven days and is completely unscented. Although this dip comes in a 4-ounce bottle, owners report getting over a dozen treatments out of one bottle.
Like many over-the-counter flea dips, this formula does contain chemicals that can be hazardous in large doses. Many owners also reported little or no change in their dogs’ flea infestation.
The Happy Jack 1045 Kennel Dip II is a premium option for dogs and their owners who want to jump straight to the best. This treatment is water based and formulated with eco-friendly chemicals that fight fleas, ticks, flies, and other common pests.
After diluting with water, this flea treatment can be mixed as a dip, sponge-on formula, or a spray that can be used on your dog’s crate, bed, and other potentially infested areas. Happy Jack claims that each treatment lasts up to 30 days.
While this flea dip does include safety instructions to prevent accidental poisoning, owners report that these instructions don’t account for differences in size. Owners of small and toy breeds should use less solution per gallon of water than recommended.
4. Classic’s Lime Sulfur Dip
The Classic’s Lime Sulfur Dip is an antimicrobial and antiparasitic formula, providing relief for infections and other skin concerns. This flea dip comes in a variety of different sizes, from 4 ounces to 16 ounces, and the manufacturer recommends using 4 ounces of formula per gallon of water.
Unlike pesticide-based products, this formula uses calcium and sulfur to naturally fight fleas, lice, ringworm, and other skin infestations. Since it’s gentle and treats so many common causes of skin irritation and itching, this flea dip is a great first line of defense before turning to harsher chemicals.
Before you use this flea dip, the manufacturer does warn that it can stain. The formula also has a strong odor, which some owners complained about.
5. Zodiac Flea and Tick Dip
The Zodiac 100518515 Flea and Tick Dip is another great option for dog owners fighting fleas and other pests. This formula comes in an 8-ounce bottle, and the manufacturer recommends mixing 4 ounces of solution for every gallon of water.
This formula is an alcohol-free option for dogs with dry or sensitive skin. This dip will quickly take care of fleas, ticks, lice, and ear mites and can be used as a dip or as a sponge-on treatment. According to Zodiac, this formula is safe for use on dogs 12 weeks and older.
While this flea dip is advertised as alcohol free and non-drying, it’s important to note that it does still contain harsh chemicals and should be used with extreme care. Overall, the efficacy of this formula seems to be hit-or-miss from owner to owner.
6. Bio-Groom Flea & Tick Pyrethrin Dip
The Bio-Groom 12508 Flea & Tick Pyrethrin Dip is a strong, fast-acting formula for owners looking to stop fleas in their tracks immediately. This flea dip is available in a standard 8-ounce bottle, or you can purchase a gallon bottle for extended treatments.
This dip works against common pests like fleas, ticks, and lice. It also helps deter biting insects, including flies and mosquitoes, for up to two weeks after use. According to the manufacturer’s instructions, this formula is safe to use on puppies that are one month and older. Like most flea dip products, 4 ounces of formula should be diluted in a gallon of water.
Unfortunately, many users reported seeing little or no change to their dog’s fleas after using this dip. Also, while the bottle states that this product can be used on puppies as young as four weeks, it is much safer to wait until a dog is 12 weeks old before exposing them to the active ingredients found in this formula.
7. Martin’s Flea Tick and Mange Dip
Last on our list is the Martin’s Flea Tick and Mange Dip. This formula is a staple among farmers and hunters with working dogs that are prone to picking up fleas, ticks, and other skin-borne pests. One pint-sized bottle can make 8 gallons of flea dip when mixed according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Along with fighting off fleas and ticks for up to four weeks, this dip also repels biting flies and other insects that might target your dog. It is safe to use on dogs that are four months and older and doubles as a treatment for flea-infested bedding and other surfaces.
The most common complaint about this formula is that it doesn’t work as effectively as expected. While some owners reported some improvement in their dogs’ flea problem, others saw no change after use.
Despite the fact that almost half of the U.S. population owns a dog, we still haven’t found a foolproof way to manage fleas and other skin-borne pests. On top of that, many of the most popular flea treatments, including dips, can come with serious risks.
Here’s what you need to know about fleas, your dog, and what to do when the two come together:
What exactly is a flea?
Fleas are tiny, non-flying insects that live as parasites on a variety of larger animals. Though they can’t fly, fleas are infamous jumpers, making them difficult to spot if you aren’t paying attention.
As parasites, fleas use their hosts for food, shelter, and breeding. Often, dog owners will discover a flea problem not because they see an actual flea, but because of the bites and eggs they leave behind.
Fleas aren’t just annoying and painful, though. When a flea bites its host, it can also pass on dangerous pathogens like bacteria or internal parasites.
Where do fleas come from?
While regular flea dips can help manage or prevent an infestation in the first place, the relationship between our dogs and their unwanted passengers is often more complicated than we realize. After all, these tiny critters don’t just appear out of nowhere.
Fleas live and breed on a variety of different animals, including other pets, wild critters, and us humans. If your dog winds up with fleas all of a sudden, there’s a good chance they came into contact with another animal that was already infected. This interaction could have happened at the dog park, a boarding kennel, or even your own backyard.
However, fleas can also exist on surfaces like carpeting, grass, car interiors, bedding, and clothing. Since there are so many different places that your dog could pick up fleas, most treatments focus on the individual dog rather than the countless potential flea sources.
How do you know if your dog has fleas?
Even if you haven’t seen a flea on your dog or in their bedding, there are a few telltale signs that will give an infestation away:
- Scabs on your dog’s skin
- Excessive scratching
- Red or irritated skin
- Patches of hair loss
- Black or white specks on your dog’s skin or bedding
Remember that dogs aren’t the only creatures that host fleas. If your household is infested, you may notice these signs on other pets, as well as yourself.
Are all flea treatments safe?
If you’re like many pet owners, then you might think that treating your dog for fleas is no big deal. Realistically, though, at-home treatments (including flea dips) can be risky.
Almost all flea treatments contain a type of pesticide or other harsh chemicals. While these chemicals are safe at a low dose, using too much on your dog can be extremely dangerous. Flea dips and other treatments should always be used according to the manufacturer’s directions and your dog’s body weight.
If you own both cats and dogs, it’s also crucial to note that many dog flea treatments are not safe for cats. Never expose a cat to a flea treatment unless you know it is safe.
When should you see a vet for fleas?
There are countless over-the-counter flea treatments out there, so you might think making a vet appointment is an overreaction. In many cases, talking with your vet can make it easier and safer to deal with a flea problem.
Veterinarians can prescribe a variety of different treatments, from pills to shampoo, that are stronger than what is available without a prescription. Your vet can also provide detailed instructions for treating your dog based on their size and any other health concerns.
Though it’s true that effectively treating a flea infestation can take a great deal of trial-and-error, flea dips are one of the first lines of defense against these tiny parasites for a reason. As long as you carefully follow the instructions provided, along with any advice from your vet, they are almost entirely risk free.
If you’re searching for an effective flea dip for your dog, our first pick is the Pet MD Lime Sulfur Dip. This concentrated formula fights fleas, as well as a variety of other parasites, bacteria, and fungal skin infections. It is made in the U.S. and independently tested for guaranteed safety.
For owners who have a budget, the Adams Plus 3006017 Pyrethrin Dip is the best value formula on the market. Like other solutions, it fights fleas along with other biting insects like flies and mosquitoes. Plus, this scent-free formula includes aloe and lanolin to soothe irritated or itchy skin.
Finally, the Happy Jack 1045 Kennel Dip II might have a higher price tag, but it makes up for it with a premium formula. This environmentally friendly flea dip is water based and repels fleas and other skin-borne pests for up to a month. It can even be used on your dog’s bedding and toys to ensure that no flea is left standing.
As you can see, there are many different over-the-counter flea dips just waiting to provide much-needed relief to your dog’s itchy, irritated skin. Hopefully, with a little help from our reviews, you’re now well on your way to eradicating these pests for good!
Featured Image Credit: Michele Walters, Public Domain Pictures.net
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 7 Best Flea Dips for Dogs — Reviews 2020
- Buyer’s Guide