Can you use Dog Flea Shampoo on Cats?

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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

Best Flea Shampoos for Cats

Best Selling Cat Flea Shampoo

cant i use dog flea shampoo on cats


Adams Features

  • Best selling flea shampoo for cats
  • Effective at killing fleas and stopping flea life cycle
  • Active ingredients are safe for cats
  • Insect growth regulators stop flea life cycle
  • Comes in a larger 12 oz size

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

can you use dog flea shampoo on cats

Premium Flea and Tick Shampoo

can you use dog flea shampoo on cats


VetKem Shampoo Features

  • Kills adult fleas, ticks and lice
  • Insect growth regulator prevents eggs from hatching for 28 days
  • Baby fresh scent
  • Cleans and conditions coat leaving it soft
  • Concentrated
  • Enriched with oatmeal, coconut, aloe and lanolin

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

cat flea shampoo


Sentry Cat Flea Shampoo Features

  • Kills fleas, ticks, and lice
  • Smells like scrumptious coconut and berry
  • Coconut conditioners add luster to your cats coat
  • Best price out of all our choices
  • Can subscribe and save

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

Do you have a cat that won’t stop scratching?  Maybe YOUR scratching and getting bitten by something? You might be wondering, does my cat have fleas?
Symptoms that your cat may have fleas includes itching more than usual, biting, licking and grooming themselves more than they normally do, shedding and loss of fur, and black spots on their skin that look like dirt.

can you use dog flea shampoo on cats

How to Check your Cat for Fleas

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

You should start with a thorough check of the top areas that fleas love to hide on your pet including the neck, face, ears and by their tails.
If you find black spots that look like dirt or actual fleas, you have a flea problem!  What do actual fleas look like?  They are black and brown and a bit bigger than a pin head.
They move and jump super fast so if you spot one, there are definitely many more in your home and on your cat.
Check out this short video that shows you stop by step how to determine if your cat has fleas.
Did you know that most of the flea problem in your house and on your pet is due to eggs and larva, not adult fleas?
While you may start to fix the problem by bathing your cat in flea shampoo, you will also have to attack the fleas living in your house with yard and furniture sprays, washing bedding and toys and follow through with a flea collar and/or a topical flea treatment for your feline.

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.

can you use dog flea shampoo on cats

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.