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How Long Should I Wait to Bathe My Dog After Applying Flea Treatment?

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Fleas are a common and unwelcome parasite that affects the majority of dogs. It is likely that they will make your dog irritable as they crawl through their coat, causing them to scratch excessively and continuously throughout the day.

As a result, you are likely to notice inflamed patches of hair loss and scarring. Aside from this, fleas can also transmit other parasites to your dog.

Many dogs with a flea infestation will be asymptomatic, so it is important to ensure that you keep them properly protected and keep up to date with their flea treatment.

How long should i wait to bathe my dog after applying flea treatment

It is recommended that you de-flea and worm your dog once a month. If you have an adventurous dog, there is a potential risk of them getting dirty on their daily walk around the same time that they are due their flea treatment.

Because of this, you may be wondering how long after applying their flea treatment you need to wait to bathe them.

The length of time that you are advised to wait may differ depending on the brand that you purchase the treatment from.

Generally, it is recommended that you avoid bathing your dog for two days following the application of the treatment.

Although most flea treatments are waterproof, you must allow sufficient time for the treatment to work its way into your dog’s body. Bathing them too soon enhances the risk of washing the treatment off, and as a result, it will be ineffective.

If you treat your dog using an oral medication, it is likely that you will be able to bathe them a few hours after giving it to them.

How does a spot-on flea treatment work?

If you intend to use a spot-on flea product to treat your dog, it is important to understand how it works.

A spot-on treatment contains ingredients that are harmless to your dog but poisonous to fleas. It is typically administered to the back of their necks via a pipette.

Once applied, it will then spread across their bodies via the natural oils in their coats, working to kill any fleas. There are many spot-on flea treatments that deliver noticeable results within a 25-hour period.

Will the flea treatment wash off if I bathe my dog too soon?

If you’ve recently applied a flea treatment to your dog’s coat, unless absolutely necessary, you should not bathe them immediately after. Instead, you should allow around 48 hours to pass before attempting to do so.

If you have taken your dog on a walk where they ended up getting themselves covered in mud, you may be wondering whether giving them a bath before the 48 hours have passed will impact the treatment’s effectiveness.

As mentioned, the majority of flea treatment products possess waterproof qualities, so after 48 hours, your dog can be exposed to rain or bathing water, and this won’t affect how well it works.

If you bathe them too soon, it is likely that the water will wash the treatment off before it has had a chance to work. It also depends on the type of treatment that you opt for.

The packaging of the product will inform you as to how long the manufacturer advises that you wait before bathing your dog.

If you have used a spot-on treatment or a flea collar, you need to allow the oils time to distribute over your dog’s body.

Not only is there a risk of the water washing off the product, but using a dog shampoo can also reduce the effectiveness of the treatment.

This is because the shampoo is designed to clean the fur, and when doing so, it will also remove many of the natural oils in their coats too.

Should you decide to bathe your dog in the first 7 days after application, you will need to use a shampoo that does not contain any stripping ingredients.

There are also specific shampoo products available that are made with flea-targeting ingredients. Using such products during this time will not make the product completely ineffective.

Can i wash my dog with dawn dish detergent

How long should I wait to bathe my dog after using Frontline Flea Treatment?

Frontline manufacturers recommend that you avoid bathing your dog or allowing them to get wet for 48 hours after using their flea treatment, similar to most other products.

This is because the chemicals remain on your pet’s skin rather than being absorbed into it, so bathing them sooner than 48 hours will render it ineffective.

How long should I wait to bathe my dog after using Advocate flea treatment?

Again, the manufacturers behind Advocate advise that you do not bathe your dog or allow them to swim in water within the first 48 hours after applying the treatment.

Can I bathe my dog before applying a flea treatment?

With some treatments, you will not need to bathe your dog before application. However, other brands may suggest that you bathe your dog beforehand.

You should bathe your dog 48 hours before you plan to apply the flea treatment, ensuring that their coat is completely dry before application, as this will maximize the product’s effectiveness.

Bathing your dog just before adding the treatment isn’t advised because topical spot-on treatments work with the natural oils in a dog’s coat. As such, a dirtier dog’s coat will have more oils which will help to absorb the treatment.

Are there any alternative treatments that will not wash off?

There are alternative treatments available that are not administered directly onto their coats via a spot-on treatment.

These alternative treatment methods mean that you don’t have to be overly cautious about bathing them and the consequences of exposing their coats to water.

An oral flea treatment comes in the form of a chewable or a pill. It is then ingested by your dog, and the medicine is transferred to the fleas when they bite.

Although oral flea treatment is considered to be more effective than most other types of treatment available, you may encounter a challenge when trying to give it to a dog that doesn’t like taking tablets.

Another option is a flea collar. Made from plastic, a flea collar slowly releases chemicals and pesticides that are poisonous to the fleas, and as a result, it will kill them off.

Although a flea collar may not be effective in every instance, they are ideal for pets who spend a lot of time outdoors and work well when used in conjunction with a spot-on flea treatment.

Final Thoughts

It is important to wait for the correct amount of time before bathing your dog after applying a flea treatment.

If you use a spot-on treatment and proceed to wash your dog shortly after, the product isn’t going to be effective in rectifying the issue. Instead, exposure to water will cause the treatment to wash off.

Those who do not think that they will be able to wait for the full 48-hour duration before bathing their dog may prefer to use an alternative treatment method that isn’t going to be affected by exposure to water e.g., a collar or oral treatment.

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About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.