The Best Tick Shampoo for Dogs in 2020

Oster Flea and Tick Shampoo Fresh Breeze 3When it comes to parasites, few bother us more than ticks. These disease-spreading arthropods pose a serious threat to our dogs, which means you need to find a way to ward them off. In addition to being aware of the risks, you’ll also need to ensure that you’ve got a great way to kill any roaming in their fur.

For most of us, that means finding the best tick shampoo for our dogs. If you’re not sure which is proper for you and your animal, however, then you’ll want to read on, and we’ll help guide you to the right one for you and your pet.

Our Top Pick

Adams Plus Flea & Tick ShampooAdams Plus Flea Tick Shampoo 1

Adams delivers with the best-reviewed flea and tick shampoo around. It costs a little bit more, but it kills parasites on contact, keeps them off your animal for four weeks, and is even great for their skin and hair. 

Unless you have a pup or an organic preference, we recommend grabbing it as soon as tick season looks like it’s coming down the turnpike.

The 4 Top-Rated Tick Shampoo for Dogs

Editor’s PicksBrandRating
Best OverallAdams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo4.9
Best Tick Shampoo for PuppiesSentry Flea & Tick Shampoo with Oatmeal4.7
Best Natural Tick ShampooTropiClean Natural Flea and Tick Shampoo for Dogs4.6
Budget OptionOster Flea and Tick Shampoo4.4

When Do I Need a Tick Shampoo for my Dog?

medium coated tan dog running on green plants photography 939523The warm season is the main time of year for ticks in most of the United States. That said, you or your groomer need to take a look at your dog regularly for ticks and fleas if they’ve been outside on a regular basis.

In a fortunate coincidence, it turns out that most compounds that are effective against ticks will also take out fleas as a side effect.

Many of the effective compounds contained in tick shampoos can also be effective as a repellent. This creates further deterrence for your canine’s hitchhikers, and it’s a bit more than just a fringe benefit.

They’re pretty much essential for any kind of hiking in the woods with your dog as well during the warmer months of the year. A bath beforehand can help prevent a lot of problems down the line.

What Am I Looking for in a Tick Shampoo?

You’ll need to look for a few main things when you’re picking the right tick shampoo out for your pet.

Active Ingredients

The active ingredient in your tick shampoo is what you’re really looking for. Ideally, it should kill any parasites on your animal in the first place and help repel them.

The active ingredient usually determines how hard it will be on your pet’s skin as well, but not always. There are other ingredients that can make it easier or harder there.

TropiClean NaturalFleaandTickShampoo IngredientsD-limonene is the best of the organic chemicals. It has a light, citrus smell, and kills parasites easily. The more important part is that it will also keep repelling ticks afterward. Unfortunately, it’s also not as effective as some of the stronger ingredients around, although it does a fine job in the right concentration.

Pyrethroids are the most common synthetic ingredient which is still in use. They’re generally derived from a class of compounds called pyrethrins, which are found in chrysanthemums.

There are other synthetic chemicals that used to be in common usage, but they can be dangerous to either the dog or the person bathing them and should be avoided.

Skin Friendly

Since they’re often used as frequently as once per week, it’s important to make sure that your dog is able to use the tick shampoo in question. The wrong ingredients can make them harder on skin or fur.

This is the biggest variable for most. Dogs with sensitive skin may need special attention paid to picking the right tick shampoo from the rest.

Easy to Get Out

woman in black and white polka dot dress holding white and 3662865Not all dogs will have this problem. If you have, for instance, a short-haired breed like a Pitbull, then you’re not going to have much trouble no matter how thick the shampoo is.

On the other hand, for a dog like a Husky or Afghan, you’ll want to make sure that you can brush out the shampoo without requiring hours of work. Some are just easier to get out of hair at the end of a bath, and while they may work a little bit better than thinner versions for repelling fleas, it can also make a regular task much longer and more burdensome.

The Top 4 Flea and Tick Shampoos

Best Overall

Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo

Adams Plus Flea Tick Shampoo 1When we began to research which tick shampoos were best, Adams was the name that came up time and time again. It’s well-tested in the field to kill ticks and keep them from showing up in the first place.

That alone makes it our favorite. Anything which is recommended by vets and the people who use it on a regular basis is good. It’s also great for your dog’s skin, containing aloe, oatmeal, and a few other conditioners that lead to an excellent finish on your canine companion’s coat.

It’s even safe for cats. This tick shampoo claims to protect for 28 days, and it actually seems to do exactly what’s described on the label. It’s nothing short of a miracle for those who regularly take their dog in tick-infested areas.

That said, it’s the most expensive on our list. It’s also not necessarily suitable for puppies who need something with a bit less strength.

4.8/5
Our Opinion:

For the average dog owner, however, Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo is the way to go. It’s almost unbeatable.

  • Long term protection
  • Soft on the skin
  • Field-tested
  • Pleasant scent
  • Not suitable for puppies
  • More expensive than most brands

Best Tick Shampoo for Puppies

Sentry Flea & Tick Shampoo with Oatmeal

Sentry Flea Tick Shampoo 63 5FZ 1While not as high-end as Adam’s, Sentry Flea and Tick Shampoo is a great option for puppies. It has a little less strength to it but still has some awesome ingredients to help keep your dog healthy despite the treatment.

The oatmeal is a nice touch, but it’s not quite as good on the skin as our favorite. This is still a synthetic insecticide, so if you’re looking to go organic, you’ll need to take a look at our next pick. That said, it works well enough to kill those on the dog at the time.

It’s also a decent conditioner overall. It’ll leave your dog’s coat nice and shiny while taking care of them. It seems to do best on fleas, however, and it doesn’t inhibit future growth or repel ticks and fleas for any appreciable amount of time. It’s also not great for cats.

4.5/5
Our Opinion:

Still, this is an excellent option for puppies. You can use it to clean them up after outdoor treks, just be aware that it lacks the repelling qualities of our top pick.

  • Great for puppies
  • Conditions hair and skin
  • Kills fleas and ticks on the dog
  • Great ginger scent
  • No repelling chemicals
  • Not good for cats

Best Natural Tick Shampoo

TropiClean Natural Flea and Tick Shampoo for Dogs

TropiClean Natural Flea Shampoo Soothing 1If you’re looking for something more natural, then you’ll find TropiClean Natural Flea and Tick Shampoo is right up your alley. Instead of pyrethrins, it uses a combination of essential oils to kill off parasites when they get on your dog.

It works for 7 days after application as well. The oils stay in your dog’s coat and keep the ticks and fleas off. A once-weekly bath during tick season isn’t hard to manage, and it’s a good idea anyway if you and your canine are regularly out in the backwoods.

The oils seem to kill on contact, fleas and ticks are both dead as soon as it’s been applied. Many people have reported that they’ve seen the critters fall off in the bath after applying it.

That said, it seems to do to repel fleas than ticks, which is a bit of a letdown. It’s still a healthier option to use in many cases, but those who are seriously into hiking with their dogs may want to give it a pass. It also has a relatively strong scent due to the essential oils contained within.

4.5/5
Our Opinion:

For a natural, organic option to kill fleas and ticks, TropiClean is the way to go. It's not Adams, but it's the best of the non-synthetic options on the market.

  • No synthetic insecticides
  • Kills parasites on contact
  • Repels fleas quite well
  • Easy on the skin
  • Doesn’t repel ticks as well as fleas
  • Very strong scent compared to others

Budget Option

Oster Flea and Tick Shampoo

Oster Flea and Tick Shampoo Fresh Breeze 1Looking for something a bit cheaper? Oster delivers with this effective but budget-priced tick shampoo for dogs. The active ingredient is natural here, derived from Chrysanthemum flowers, and many people swear by it.

It kills fleas and ticks in all parts of their life-cycle. It’s also well-engineered for dogs with sensitive skin and hair, containing oatmeal and a few other ingredients to help it work as a conditioner as well as a parasite-destroying shampoo.

The fragrance is light here. That’s usually a good indication of a hypoallergenic product, and we couldn’t find anyone who’d had allergy problems crop up.

Is it the best? Not really. It doesn’t repel fleas and ticks for very long, although it does kill them, and you’ll need to bathe your dog after each trip to really make the most of it.

4.5/5
Our Opinion:

Still, for the price, a little bit of extra work and bonding time with your canine isn’t such a big deal. Try it out and see if it works for you.

  • Great price
  • Weak scent
  • Good for skin and coat
  • Kills fleas and ticks easily
  • Not great at repelling parasites
  • Some dogs don’t like the smell

How Dangerous Are Ticks and Fleas to My Pet?

animal dog pet cute 2007Ticks and fleas are common for animals to acquire at some point if they’re outdoors. The bites themselves aren’t a serious problem in most cases; instead, there are other factors to consider.

The first is scratching. A dog with frequent problems being bitten by parasites will end up scratching far too frequently and vigorously. Depending on the dog, this can mean anything from hair loss at the site to actually scratching until they bleed. This usually only happens in the case of serious infestations, but it’s a big risk.

The other problems are more insidious.

Ticks actually release a blood thinner to make it easier to feed. Some release other toxins, and they can even induce paralysis in unfortunate cases. It’s rare, but it does happen.

Other complications can include infections, especially if your dog is a vigorous scratcher.

adorable animal breed canine 374906Just like with people, however, the primary problem is always Lyme disease. If treated early on, it’s rarely a debilitating condition, but when not caught early, it can affect a dog for the rest of their life. We’ll discuss in a moment how to make sure that you catch it early, but the important thing to remember is this: even a couple of bites can lead to serious complications for your dog.

How Do I Remove a Tick From my Dog?dog sits on green grass 2737393

You should check your dog for ticks after any outside venture. While they’re rarely found in serious quantities in yards, they’re a serious problem any time you head out in a hike in warm weather.

So, you’ll also need to know how to remove them.

Do not just rip them out and hope for the best. This can leave the head of the tick in your dog, which means that they’re at risk for further infection. Always inspect the tick after it’s been removed and make sure that the head came with it.

Instead, you’ll need a pair of tweezers. Keep strong, steel tweezers with a fine tip around for the best results.

animal dog pet 374908Ticks have barbed “teeth” and secrete a glue-like substance to hold them onto their hosts. You’ll need to pull directly outwards after grasping as low on the tick as possible. Pull slowly to avoid the mandibles breaking off in your dog.

Always check the area for irritation over the next couple of days. You’ll also need to make sure that you bag the tick so that a veterinarian can identify it.

81eeV2KdFUL AC SL1500You can also purchase a tick removal hook, which is basically a small crowbar designed to remove ticks. They’re great for both dogs and people and definitely something that any avid outdoorsman should have on hand.

Removing ticks is only half the battle, however. Monitor the site of the bite if you don’t go to a vet. Any rashes or inflammation that last for more than the first day are a sign that you need to get to a vet. Lyme disease isn’t something to mess around with.

Tick Shampoo FAQwhite and brown dachshund with black framed eyeglasses 1009922

When it comes to ticks, there’s an endless series of questions to be asked. We’ve decided to answer some of the most common queries and invite you to ask in the comments below if you feel that we didn’t thoroughly answer your questions!

What else can I do to repel fleas and ticks from my dog?

Talk to your veterinarian about medications. The prescription-strength stuff is usually very effective, and allergies to it aren’t common. It’s just expensive. Most flea and tick powders are effective as well. Look for the inert ones containing diatomaceous earth as their primary ingredient, and you’re on the right track.

Should I treat my yard during tick season?

The yard and the house are both good places to treat. The interior of your home can be handled with diatomaceous earth if you have trouble with fleas. Tick sprays containing permethrin-type compounds are available. Just be careful if you have a pond with fish: these compounds will also kill your valued pond pets.

Can I use human tick spray on a dog?

No. Most sprays used on humans contain a compound called DEET, which is harmless to us as long as we don’t try eating it. For dogs, who often lick themselves, it can prove very toxic. Symptoms include vomiting, seizures, and death. Don’t risk it, and just use a tick shampoo before you go out.

How often should I use tick shampoo for my dog?

During the season, at least once a week is advisable for any dog who has access to areas where ticks are present. If you’re regularly hiking with your dog, then a bath afterward is an excellent idea, just make sure to go over them for ticks as dead ones can stay embedded.

Are there any ways to avoid ticks while hiking?

dog lying on top of a fallen tree trunk 3265298



Depending on the area, you may just need to pick a spot where they’re unlikely to occur. Tall grass and warm weather are both good indications that you’re going to run into ticks. That said, the little pests can be found pretty much everywhere during tick season, and the problems are minimal as long as you’re aware.

Are some types of ticks more dangerous than others?

Deer ticks are the ones you really need to look out for in most places. In the Southeastern United States, the Lone Star Tick can also cause problems. This is why we recommend keeping the tick to show a veterinarian and monitoring the site of infection for a few days afterward. It’s good practice if they’re on you as well and begin to show further problems.

My dog has a rash/is excessively irritated at the site of the bite. What do I do?

See a vet! Immediately. Lyme Disease is only a problem if it isn’t treated within the first week after exposure. Long term complications can include lethargy, kidney failure, and a slew of problems for your dog. It’s much better to be safe than sorry in this case.

Tick-Free is the Way to Bewoman carrying adult fawn dog 1612846

Finding the best tick shampoo for dogs isn’t as hard as you’d think. The important thing is to make sure that you actually use it, even if you’re also relying on medications to remove the parasites from the picture.

So, are you ready to get started on the way to a tick-free summer?

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