How to Make Flea Shampoo at Home for Your Pet

Brown and black horse in a pasture trying to scratch his head with his leg

Fleas can be a common nuisance, especially for dogs and cats. But fleas are eager to exploit any opportunity, so they may also infest young foals and adult horses that are ungroomed, underweight or immunocompromised.

With more than 2,200 identified types of fleas, it’s important to know how to protect our pets from these blood-sucking parasites! But first, how do you know if your animal/pet has fleas?

Fleas: The Symptoms They Cause

  • Extreme itching, biting, chewing and licking.
  • Secondary infections from scratching.
  • Red, swollen scabs, lesions, wounds, hot spots or skin infections.
  • Discomfort.
  • Fur loss.

Did You Know?

A flea does not “bite” according to Dr. William Miller Jr., professor of dermatology at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine!
Instead, “it sticks its proboscis (nose) into the skin and sucks blood.”

While numerous commercial flea shampoos are available, many contain harsh chemicals for our pets. There are easy and effective ways to make flea shampoo at home using simple and gentle ingredients with natural flea-repellent properties!

Before we explore 3 DIY flea shampoo recipes, please review these important safety precautions.

Flea Shampoo: Safety Precautions

  • Always avoid getting shampoo into the animal’s eyes and ears.
  • First, test any shampoo on a small patch of their skin to check for allergic reactions.
  • Thoroughly rinse your pet’s fur to remove all shampoo ingredients.
  • If your pet has a severe flea infestation or skin condition, consult your veterinarian before using homemade flea shampoo.

Now, let’s get busy!

Lemon Flea Shampoo

Black Lab Ready for a Bath (Courtesy: Fontana/Pixabay

Lemon is well-known for its natural flea-repellent properties due to its acidic nature to kill fleas and bacteria while soothing itchiness and flakiness. For lemon flea shampoo, you’ll need:

  • 2 lemons
  • 2 cups of water


  • Thinly slice the lemons and place in a pot.
  • Add water to the pot and bring it to a boil.
  • Allow the lemons to simmer in the water for about 10 minutes.
  • Let the solution cool down completely.
  • Strain the liquid and pour it into a container.

To use:

  • Wet your pet’s fur thoroughly.
  • Pour the lemon solution over your pet, saturating the fur.
  • Massage the shampoo into your pet’s coat for a few minutes.
  • Rinse well with lukewarm water.

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Apple Cider Vinegar Flea Shampoo

Horse Getting Bathed (Courtesy: Christel SAGNIEZ/Pixabay)

Apple cider vinegar is another natural ingredient that helps repel and deter fleas while also soothing irritated skin. For this recipe, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1 quart of water

Instructions: Mix the apple cider vinegar and water in a large bowl.

To use:

  • Wet your pet’s coat thoroughly.
  • Pour the apple cider vinegar solution over your pet’s fur, avoiding the eyes and ears.
  • Massage the solution into the coat and let it sit for a few minutes.
  • Rinse your pet’s fur with lukewarm water.

(NOTE: Apple Cider Vinegar baths are great for horses as they moisturize the skin while lowering the pH responsible for a dry, dull coat. In addition to repelling fleas, this recipe will help reduce irritation and itchiness with its antimicrobial properties. Source:

Herbal Flea Shampoo

Sphynx Cat Ready for a Bath (Courtesy: Digital Photo & Design

Herbs like rosemary and lavender also have natural flea-repellent properties leaving your pet smelling fresh. Here’s how to make herbal flea shampoo (do not use essential oils and do not allow your pet to lick or ingest any liquid):

  • 2 tablespoons of dried rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons of dried lavender
  • 2 cups of water


  • Boil the water and add the dried rosemary and lavender.
  • Let the herbs steep in the water for at least 30 minutes.
  • Strain the liquid and allow it to cool.

To use:

  • Wet your pet’s coat thoroughly.
  • Pour the herbal solution over your pet’s fur, covering all areas of the body.
  • Massage the shampoo into the coat and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
  • Rinse well with lukewarm water.

In Conclusion

Making flea shampoo at home is cost-effective and allows you to control the ingredients for your pet’s overall well-being. By opting for natural remedies, you can effectively combat fleas, minimize your pet’s exposure to harsh chemicals and keep your pet comfortable and flea-free!

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As mentioned at the beginning of today’s blog, ungroomed horses can attract unwanted fleas. So be sure to keep and use only the best grooming tools to help repel and deter fleas on your equine.

Questions about our EasyGroomer Tools?
Call us at 860-573-0604 or email us at
to give your horses, dogs, or cats the BEST grooming experience!

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