How to Use Dawn Dish Soap for Fleas on Dogs and Cats

How to Use Dawn Dish Soap for Fleas on Dogs and Cats


Nobody ever bathes a wolf or a bobcat and yet those animals seem to do just fine. Unfortunately, that is not the case. They are just as infested by ticks and fleas as our dogs and cats. Nature is tough, but at least we can protect our own pets. If we leave them as they are, they will soon be infested with fleas, ticks, lice and other nasty parasites. Fleas are the worst to control – they multiply rapidly by laying hundreds of thousands of eggs in our pet’s environment. So even if you have trapped and killed 10 fleas on your pet’s body, you can be assured that there are at least 50 new ones nearby in various developing stages. All this makes it very difficult for pet parents to handle, which is why I will show you an easy way to get rid of fleas. The best part about using this method of flea control is that you do not need to go out of your way for it and the ingredients you need are likely already present in your kitchen. Today you will learn everything you need to know about how to use Dawn dish soap for fleas on dogs and cats.

Is Dawn dish soap safe for use on pets?

Before concluding whether Dawn dish soap is safe for use on pets, let us first consider how skin pH works.

Dogs, cats and humans all have different pH of the dermis. Humans have slightly acidic skin mantle with a pH of 5.2 to 5.5. This acidic pH is needed for preventing bacterial and fungal skin infections. Dogs are neutral or slightly alkaline skinned species which makes them perfect breeding grounds for bacteria, viruses as well as parasites like fleas, ticks, mange and lice etc. Additionally, in dogs, the skin barrier is extremely thin – only about 8-10 cell layers thick, making it easy to absorb anything that is put on the skin. Cats and dogs usually have a skin barrier pH of 7.0 to 8.0 (cats sometimes a little lower). You should only use shampoo or other products that are close to that pH value. Failure to do so can cause inflammation of the skin and could destroy the good flora, making it susceptible to dryness, cuts, infections and parasitic invaders. This is also the main reason why you must never use cat shampoos on dogs and vice a versa. Similarly, never use human shampoos to bathe your pets as it can change the pH balance. It is always best to use products that are pH balanced and close to the users skin pH.

Fleas hate Dawn dish soap

Fleas have a thin exoskeleton cover which is why the Dawn dish soap easily penetrates their bodies, killing them instantly. Dawn dish soap also prevents flea eggs from hatching and eliminates all life cycle stages of fleas. This makes it an efficient weapon in your flea defense arsenal.

But is it safe to use on my pet?

Whenever a soap is labeled as soft, gentle and safe for human skin, then its pH is guaranteed to be around 7. Ivory brand dish soap is very caustic or acidic with a pH less than 6.0, whereas Dove hand soap is gentle and mild for human use with a neutral pH. The pH of Dawn dishwashing soap is also around 7. This makes it neutral for human skin and perfect for dogs and cats. Therefore, you can safely and effectively use Dawn dish soap for eliminating fleas on your pet as well as its environment. Avoid using it too often though, as this will dry out your pets skin.

How to use Dawn dish soap for flea control on dogs and cats

You can use Dawn dish soap for flea elimination in the following three ways.

1. When bathing your pet

It is recommended to start with a small quantity of Dawn dish soap:

  1. Mix 2-3 teaspoons of the soap with a liter of warm water and mix well to work up a lather.
  2. Wet the pet thoroughly, then pour the soap solution on its body.
  3. It is not surprising that fleas will start moving towards the pet’s head. Be ready with a flea comb to remove these.
  4. Continue massaging the pet’s body until all areas are covered with the soap lather.
  5. Leave the lather on for at least 5-10 minutes.
  6. Wash off with warm water.
  7. Repeat if needed.
  8. Gently dry the pet with a towel.

You can now use a flea collar, oral flea medicine or spot treatment to prevent new fleas.

2. In your pets environment

To kill fleas in the carpet:

  1. Mix one tbsp Dawn dish soap with 2 cups of water.
  2. Pour the mixture in a spray bottle.
  3. Shake well and spray all over the carpet, pets’ bedding, upholstery and floors.
  4. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Blot the carpet and upholstery with a towel or tissue papers.
  6. Vacuum the rugs and carpets well.

As the fleas and larvae have a weak exoskeleton, their skin absorbs the dish soap, damaging all internal organs. This instantly kills them.

3. Make a flea trap with Dawn dish soap

You can also make a homemade flea trap with Dawn dish soap:

  1. Fill up a shallow pan with water and add a few drops of Dawn dish washing soap on its surface.
  2. At night, place the trap in the room next to your pet’s bed.
  3. Turn off all lights except a small lamp suspended over the trap.

The fleas get attracted to the light and fall in the trap, where the dish soap kills them on contact.


Fleas are a nuisance and cause a great deal of harm to our pets. Dawn dish soap is an effective remedy for getting rid of fleas fast. The pH of Dawn dish soap is neutral which makes it safe for use on cats, kittens, adult dogs and puppies. Try it out and keep your home and pets flea-free.

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How to Use Coconut Oil for Fleas, Sores and Coat Problems on Your Pet

When many of us think of coconut oil, we may think of suntan lotion and exotic islands. Well, we’d be right, but coconut oil, even though it has been around for as long as there have been coconuts, has been underused for many pet and people ailments by the western world.

Some of the best brands of coconut oil are the ones that are cold pressed by hand, in rural villages far away. The use of coconut oil in those villages is mainly used for cooking, but they also use it for skin, hair and for medicinal purposes.

The United States used to use coconut oil in commercial products until the «saturated» and «unsaturated» war broke out. Coconut oil and butter got the short end of the stick in preference for margarines and vegetable oils. and still does to a large extent. Today, coconut oil is usually not even sold in the grocery store, and to find it, one must either order it online or get it in a health food store. It has many health benefits, and once you begin to use it, you may find that you really appreciate the broad applications it has.

There are different brands of coconut oil, and some of them are better than others. Over processing, the source of the oil (whether it comes from dried or fresh coconuts) and the method of extraction all contribute to the grade of oil. Oil from dried coconut is considered by many to be inferior in taste and texture to fresh, so if you look around for different brands, consider cold pressed and fresh. Some brands won’t tell you, so stay with those that do. Extra virgin coconut oil is preferable.

Dogs and cats can benefit from the use of this product on their fur and skin. It will add shine and help resolve sores and skin problems due to fleas, ticks, bites and other issues, and very quickly. It also acts as a repellent to these insects.

See some suggestions below that are definitely worth trying on your pet. Also, look online for other uses as a skin softener/healer, as an energy booster (it doesn’t metabolize like a fat), as an aid to fibromyalgia sufferers, and many other applications for people as well as pets.

Coconut oil has an anti-microbial action, and is effective on a variety of bacteria and fungi. It is also very soothing and does not sting.

Step 1

Add coconut oil directly to a pet’s food. If it is a cat, use approximately 1/8 tsp. mixed into one can of wet food. If it is for the cat’s skin, warm the oil in your hands first to liquify it, and give your cat an all-over body massage, working it down to the skin and especially where there are eruptions or sores from scratching and chewing.

Put about 1 tsp per 40 lbs of (dog) body weight mixed in wet food, or some dogs will take it right off the spoon. See what works. Spread liquified oil on areas that are sore, but be very gentle. If he (she) licks it off, don’t be too concerned, just replace it when that happens. If you give it to the dog on a spoon, perhaps there will not be so much interest in licking it off. Also work it through the dogs coat, down to the skin.

Step 3

Get a flea comb out and run it through her (his) fur after you put the coconut oil on. The fleas will stick to the comb, giving you time to get rid of them before they jump off. Fleas can’t move very well in this oil, and that is undoubtedly one reason fleas don’t like an animal who has it in their fur. Cats seem ambivalent to it, and when it is mixed into their food, they seem to accept it fairly well as long as it is mixed well with the food. They will also get a bit just licking their fur with it in it.

Step 4

Find out more online about skin problems and coconut oil for dogs, as the feedback has been remarkable. Learning more about this is very worthwhile. Just put in your search engine, «coconut oil dogs» and you will find loads of information on this. For cats, you may have to dig a bit harder, but there are testimonials on both from people who have tried it and swear by the rapid healing of skin and the flea/tick repellent action of this oil.

Safe Soaps for Cats

There’s nothing like soaking in a suds-filled tub to relax, but your cat probably won’t agree. After all, cats aren’t exactly the biggest fans of baths or water either for that matter. That’s perfectly OK, though, because felines are generally self-cleaning pets, requiring minimal grooming. Still, there are certain situations that may call for you to bathe your cat, much to her chagrin.

Although your cat may not enjoy a bath, some nice soapy water will clean away everything from dirt and grime to sticky, smelly, yucky, or potentially dangerous substances from his coat. That’s why it’s so important to pick a good soap that will effectively clean his skin and coat with ingredients that are safe to use on him.

Cat-specific soap is best

When it comes to choosing a soap that’s safe to use on your cat’s coat, the easiest and safest choice is one designed specifically for felines. These shampoos are formulated to keep your cat’s skin and coat clean and moisturized. They’re also pH balanced for her skin so they won’t dry it out.

If you’re using a flea shampoo on your cat, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and don’t use it on very young kittens, pregnant cats, or nursing mother cats. That’s because the insecticides these shampoos usually contain can harm them in some cases, so you’ll need to speak with your vet first.

Most important, don’t use soap designed for dogs on your cat. It could contain ingredients, like fragrances, insecticides, or essential oils, that are safe for dogs but not safe for cats.

Natural isn’t always better

Many natural soaps and shampoos contain plant-based essential oils to scent them. Although these oils impart a pleasant aroma to the soap and are perfectly safe for people, they aren’t safe for cats. In fact, essential oils are considered to be toxic to cats because your cat’s liver doesn’t produce the enzyme necessary to metabolize these oils. Because essential oils can be absorbed by the skin, it’s best to steer clear of them in any soaps that you plan to use on your cat.

Some essential oils contain chemicals called phenols and phenolic compounds, which may also be harmful to cats. For example, tea tree oil, peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, citrus oil, and pine oil are rich in these compounds, making them even more potent and potentially toxic to your cat.

If your cat is exposed to essential oils, she could experience symptoms like drooling, vomiting, trouble breathing, shakiness, low body temperature, or even liver failure. If you notice any of these symptoms, take your cat to the emergency veterinary clinic as soon as possible.

Baby shampoo and castile soap

Although not ideal, you can safely use unscented human baby shampoo or a gentle, unscented castile soap on your cat. These types of soaps and shampoos are closer to a neutral or alkaline pH than adult shampoos, which is better for cats because their skin is slightly more alkaline than human skin. These soaps also contain moisturizers that will help prevent your cat’s coat from becoming too dry. In fact, castile soap is made from vegetable oils, so it’s naturally moisturizing and gentle.

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Homemade Flea Shampoo for Dogs

As dog owners, you want your dog looking and smelling good, but you also don’t want them covered in fleas. A flea infestation not only makes your dog miserable, but they also make your entire home uncomfortable as they feed off humans and animals alike.

Rather than use a commercial pet shampoo containing toxic chemicals you can make your own homemade flea shampoo for dogs using one of our simple recipes. One of the best things about our DIY flea shampoo for dogs recipes is they only make enough for a single bath.

With our homemade dog shampoo for fleas and ticks, you never have to worry about storing excess shampoo, unless you want to. Another upside to the single-use benefit is if one of our homemade dog shampoo recipes doesn’t work for you, you can switch shampoos the next time you bathe your dog.

Common Ingredients in Homemade Flea Shampoo for Dogs

One of the greatest things about DIY flea shampoo for dogs is that several of the common ingredients found in each recipe are often things you already have on hand inside the home. Many homemade dog shampoo for fleas and ticks recipes use vinegar as the main ingredient.

Most methods allow you to choose whether you want to use white vinegar or using apple cider vinegar. Dawn dish soap is another common ingredient found in most homemade flea shampoo for dogs recipes as it binds all of the other parts together.

Different shampoo recipes will call for the use of baby shampoo in place of the liquid dish soap. Additional ingredients included in these simple recipes can be picked up in your local grocery or drug stores.

Is There a Way to Prevent Fleas on My Dog?

In addition to using one of our homemade flea killer sprays, there is a spray you can make to repel fleas and ticks. The spray is safe to use on your dog’s coat between shampoos and can also be used around the home and in the yard.

To make the spray, combine one cup of white vinegar and three cups of water inside a large spray bottle. Shake to mix well.

Easy-to-Make Flea Shampoo Recipes

Homemade Flea Shampoo for Dogs

Our first homemade dog shampoo kills fleas and is an ideal choice for dogs with sensitive skin. Discover how this shampoo can get rid of fleas without irritating your dog’s skin.

Can you use Dog Flea Shampoo on Cats?

Is your cat scratching like crazy? They may have fleas! Can you use your dog flea shampoo on cats?

All you have in the house though, is your dogs flea shampoo. Should you use it? After all, your cat is being driven nuts by those fleas and you want to give them immediate relief.

So, you look at the bottle and wonder, can you use dog flea shampoo on cats? I mean if its safe for my dog, it should be safe for my cat.

Dog and cat products are formulated differently because each species of animal has different reactions to ingredients found in flea shampoos.

Quick Facts: Using Dog Flea Shampoo on Cats

Can I Use dog flea shampoo on cats? No. You should never use dog products on cats and vice versa. The dog flea control products contain ingredients that are poisonous to cats. Read on for our recommended product for giving your cat a flea bath.

Flea Shampoos Safe for All Pets Chart

Picture Name
Adams Cleansing Shampoo
Vet-Kem Ovitrol
Sentry PurrScriptions

Best Flea Shampoos for Cats

Best Selling Cat Flea Shampoo


Adams Features

If you want to invest in the best flea shampoo for cats that works, look no further. Adam’s Flea and Tick Shampoo is a flea shampoo that is safe for cats and dogs, so you will only have to buy 1 product!

It is the most effective flea shampoo treatment for cats and it’s safe to use on puppies and kittens as well. Adams flea shampoo kills fleas, their eggs, ticks and lice so it’s like buying a 4 in 1 shampoo.

This flea shampoo also repels and protects your cat from flea infestation for 3-4 weeks after a bath. You can give your cat another flea bath right away if the infestation is bad, otherwise, Adams recommend every 7-14 days.

As always, do a spot check on your cat to make sure that they are not allergic to the ingredients in this shampoo. Adams has a large selection of flea shampoos and products that are safe to use on cats. They are priced better than a lot of the competition, and the best price is online.

View more Adams Pet Care products here: Adams Pet Care

Premium Flea and Tick Shampoo

Vet-Kem Plus

VetKem Shampoo Features

Vet-Kem offers a premium flea killing shampoo for your cats. I found that I had a ton of success in killing fleas in my home with Vet-Kem products.

This shampoo does double duty and also removes dandruff, dirt and scales. The enriched oatmeal and coconut leave your cat’s coat soft and manageable.

This flea treatment is very mild and doesn’t have the chemical or medicine type smell that some flea shampoos can have.

VetKem Shampoos are the end game for fleas. Pair this with the furniture and yard sprays and you’ll have fleas under control in no time. We recommend giving your yard and furniture/flooring a spray, washing your bedding (and your cats begging/toys) and then tackling your cat.

A long term spot treatment to prevent fleas on your cat would be the best long term solution once you’ve conquered your current infestation.

Best Budget Option

Sentry Purrscriptions Cat Flea Shampoo

Sentry Cat Flea Shampoo Features

For the budget conscious cat lovers out there, Sentry Pet Care makes their Purrscription Flea and Tick Shampoo for Cats. It is one of the best flea and tick shampoos for cats available. It is specially formulated and safe to use on your cats, as long as they are over 12 weeks of age.

Sentry products work fast to kill fleas dead. Happy cat owners love the fact that Sentry products quickly kill fleas: owners see dead fleas coming off as they bathe their cat.

The shampoo not only kills fleas, but conditions your cats coat making is soft and shiny. Applying Sentry Purrscriptions is as easy as wetting your pet in warm water down to their skin, and working the shampoo down to the skin.

The not so easy part is keeping it on your cat for a full 5 minutes to ensure you’ve killed all the fleas. Rinse very well with warm water and then towel dry your cat.

For the keeners out there, I’d run a flea comb through their fur to ensure you’ve captured all the fleas. As with any flea shampoo, for long term flea prevention, you will also want to invest in a topical treatment and/or a flea collar for cats.

Make sure you do a spot check of this product on your cat and wait 24 hours, to ensure that they are not allergic to the ingredients.

If you are looking for a flea shampoo that is also safe to use on kittens, Sentry has you covered with the Sentry Purrscriptions Plus Flea Shampoo for Cats and Kittens.

Sentry makes a ton of cat and kitten products to help get rid of fleas, from topical treatments to flea sprays for your home.

View more Sentry Products here: Sentry Pet Care.

Does your Cat have Fleas? Fleas on Cats Symptoms

How to Check your Cat for Fleas

Before treating your cat for fleas, you might wonder how do you check your cat for fleas.

Tips for Buying Flea Shampoo for your Cat

Can You Use Flea Shampoo on Cats?

Companies manufacture flea shampoos specially made for cats with ingredients that are safe for them like the 3 that we tested and reviewed above. Only ever use product on your cat that say they are safe. When in doubt call or email the manufacturer and get confirmation from them.

Ingredients to Avoid in Cat Flea Shampoo

Is your flea shampoo safe for your cat? While flea product specifically designed for cats should not contain toxic ingredients it is always a great idea to be vigilant and read the ingredients on the bottle. Things like tea tree oil and citrus extracts commonly found in dog shampoos is bad for cats.

If in doubt contact the manufacturer and ask directly.

Ingredients to avoid on the label include derivatives or synthetic forms of pyrethrins such as

  • allethrin
  • cypermethrin
  • deltamethrin
  • fenvalerate
  • fluvalinate
  • permethrin
  • phenothrin
  • tetramethrin and
  • etofenprox.

Additionally, according to petmd, any product containing large doses of citrus or peppermint extract are toxic to cats in very low doses and can result in liver damage, liver failure and even death.

How to Give your Cat a Flea Bath

Always make sure to read the instruction on the bottle, and follow them to the letter, before giving your cat a flea bath.

#1. Get a suit of armor. Just kidding, but be prepared for a fight. Usually if you have trained your kitten, then when they are adults, they won’t fight you as bad when it’s bath time.

#2. Wet your cat down to the skin in warm water

#3. Massage and lather the shampoo down to the skin

#4. Read the instructions, but usually you would leave a flea killing shampoo on your cat for 3-5 minutes to ensure you’ve killed all the fleas.

#5. Rinse well and towel dry your cat

#6. To be extra, comb through your cats fur with a flea comb. This best selling flea comb from Safari Pet products can get the job done

#7. Apply a topical flea treatment or flea collar to prevent any more fleas from infesting your cat

Just to be safe, watch this short video for step by step instructions.

What if I accidentally used my Dogs flea products on my Cat?

If you accidentally used your dogs flea products such as topical treatment or flea shampoo on your cat, bathe your cat right away with regular soap to get the product off of your feline friend. Then, call your vet immediately. Time is of the essence.

What Happens if You put Dog Flea Treatment on Cats?

Dog flea treatments have ingredients in them that are poisonous to cats. Your cats nervous system and vital organs will be affected. What happens if you use dog flea shampoo on your cat? Your cat will start having seizures, falling over, and acting completely strange, unable to walk. They will most likely be seriously injured or die.

Can I use cat flea shampoo on a dog?

Do not use cat flea medicine or shampoo on your dog.

If you are looking for a fast and proven solution to your dogs flea problems, and you want results, check out our post where we review the Best 3 Flea and Tick Shampoos for Dogs that are Proven to kill Fleas Fast.

Can you wash a cat with dog shampoo?

The answer is no. Dog shampoos are formulated for dogs and may contain higher levels of certain ingredients than a shampoo made for cats. Even if you’re using something all natural for dogs like Burt’s Bees dog shampoo, it isn’t formulated for cats and could harm them.

Cats also have different reactions to ingredients and some of the ingredients even in regular dog shampoo can be toxic to cats.

Don’t risk it and purchase a products specially formulated for your feline.

Can I use my Dog Flea Shampoo on cats?

Absolutely not. NEVER use a flea product made for dogs on your cat. Flea shampoos are specially formulated for each type of pet. You can never wash your cat with dog flea shampoo.

Can you use cat shampoo on dogs? NO! Don’t intermix products between your pets unless it specifically is formulate for both cats and dogs.

Why Can’t You Use Dog Flea Shampoo on Cats?

Ingredients such pyrethrins that are found in flea killing shampoo for dogs can seriously harm or even kill your cat. If you do not use a flea shampoo specifically made for cats, or flea products made for cats in general, they can make your cat very sick.

Can I use a Flea Shampoo for Cats on my Dog?

You might wonder if you can bathe your dog in cat shampoo since cat products might have less ingredients in them. The answer is the same: unless the product specifically says it is for BOTH cats and dogs, do not use it on your pooch.

It could seriously harm or even kill your dog. Even then, we recommend reading the ingredients list to ensure that nothing in the flea shampoo could harm your cat or dog.

We review the best 3 flea and tick shampoos for dogs proven to kill fleas in our post here.

Can I Use Advantage for Cats on My Dog?

No! Don’t use any cat products on your dog and vice versa. You could seriously harm them!

Can I use Human Shampoo on Cats?

Only use products made for cats on your cat. Human shampoo could have ingredients in it like certain essential oils that would be poisonous to your cat. Also the soaps and chemicals will be too harsh for your cats skin and fur.

Alternative to Flea Shampoo for Cats

If you do not want to use flea shampoo on your cat (maybe it is too young or pregnant or otherwise sick) there are alternative flea treatments you can use.

Alternatives to flea shampoo for cats include using Dawn dish detergent, diatomaceous earth in your yard, throwing down Borax or salt onto your carpets/floors and vacuuming/sweeping regularly, flea collars, topical flea treatments and furniture sprays.

How to Give a Cat a Flea Bath with Dawn

Can you use Dawn on cats? Giving your cat a flea bath with Dawn is the same as with flea shampoo. Make sure you’re using the blue dawn, that’s the one that works the best. You will drown those tiny biting fleas as you bathe your cat.

You will then flea comb your cat to remove all the dead fleas. There may still be some live ones on your cat too, which you’ll trap with your comb. You can wash them down the sink.

Dawn works awesome at getting rid of fleas that are on your cat, but it won’t prevent fleas from jumping right back on your cat. Look into longer term solutions like topical treatments or flea collars.

Flea Shampoo for Kittens

Kittens, especially those under 12 weeks of age, are particularly vulnerable (because they are so little) to the flea killing ingredients in flea control products. Remember, the majority for your flea problem is because of all the fleas in your HOUSE. The ones on your pet are a fraction of the one lurking around in your home.

Treat your home at the same time as you treat your pets and be vigilant. Only consistent effort will get rid of fleas for good. Try the alternatives above if you find fleas on your kitten and consult your vet if you can’t get rid of them yourself.

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