How Long After Flea Treatment Can You Bathe A Dog?

Last updated: June 3, 2020 at 11:48 am

Every dog owner should be doing three things on a regular basis to keep their dog’s skin and coat in tip top condition – give them a healthy diet, give them regular flea treatment and bathe them regularly. 

The subject of today’s article focuses on flea treatments and bathing, particularly when the flea treatment is administered by spot on.

How does spot on treatment work?

To understand why bathing and spot on treatment are not too compatible we need to understand how spot on treatments work. Spot on treatments are a pesticide which is harmless for dogs when applied to the back of their necks. It seeps in through the hair into the circulation system as well as spread via the natural oils of a dog’s coat.

The oils act as a prevention and the pesticide in the circulatory system acts as a cure for any fleas which try to bite and suck blood. Fleas which ingest the dog’s blood will more or less die instantly.

You can now start to see why bathing could be a problem if the pesticide rests in the oils.

What happens if you bathe a dog after applying a spot on flea treatment?

dog in a bath

Dog shampoo is designed to clean their hair and skin and with that a lot of their natural oils will be removed (which will be naturally replaced). Therefore, dog shampoo will effectively reduce the effectiveness of the pesticide in the fur but the effectiveness of the pesticide in the blood remains. 

How long after flea treatment can you bathe a dog?

You shouldn’t aim to apply flea treatment after bathing a dog. Instead, we recommend bathing a dog 24-48 hours BEFORE applying the treatment. Generally, spot on flea treatment lasts for around a month so you’d be looking at bathing them once a month to maximise the treatment and your bathing schedule. 

If that isn’t suitable then we recommend to wait 48 hours after bathing to apply flea treatment again. Modern topical treatment has been designed to be hardy so bathing does not remove all of the flea treatments effectiveness.

Alternatively, there are dog shampoos which include some flea treatment in the ingredients.

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