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Can Humans Use Their Pets' Flea and Tick Shampoo?

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Black-Legged Ticks Carry Lyme Disease

Black legged ticks carry lyme disease.

Black legged ticks carry lyme disease.

Does Shampoo Kill Ticks on Humans?

Flea and tick shampoos for cats and dogs have different types and amounts of chemical pesticides in the product. Some shampoos used on dogs contain pesticides and concentrations that could kill a cat. It is important to only use cat and dog shampoos as labeled when using on your pets.

Using My Dog's Tick Shampoo After Going Into the Woods

This is what my new soon-to-be brother law said to me this morning. Apparently, it's a practice sanctioned by my own father. He, and they, had been using puppy shampoo to wash with after their weekend trips to the woods. After talking about it for a minute we decided it was probably ok if you didn't do it very often. I mean really, you have to wash your dog with it for it to work and you come in contact with the shampoo then.

The idea seemed ok but I still wanted to know more before I could put my own stamp of approval on it. I am not a doctor, veterinarian, biologist or other such professional, just a curious American with a desire to know. The problem with ticks was the basis of the original conversation that began this quest for enlightenment. This past season was particularly bad for ticks in the woods, especially in the spring during turkey season. My dad and brother-in-law had been having a hard time keeping the ticks off of themselves and had resorted to using mild flea and tick shampoo to rid themselves of the pests.

Will Lice Shampoo Kill Ticks?

Lice shampoo is an alternative to using dog shampoo to control ticks. The active ingredients are often the same in both products. Pyrethrum extract is one of the two active ingredients in Rid lice shampoo. The other is Piperonyl butoxide, a chemical that helps the pyrethrum to function.

Ticks can hide close to the skin, passing on deadly germs.

Ticks can hide close to the skin, passing on deadly germs.

Pyrethrins for Tick Control

Pyrethrins, and their synthetic cousin pyrethroids, are a natural and safe form of pest control. The pesticides are derived from chrysanthemum flowers and have been in widespread use since the earliest part of the 20th century. Pyrethroids are synthetic versions of pyrethrins and are now the most common form used in pest control. Pyrethrins are an active ingredient in many flea and tick dips, sprays and shampoos used today. Pyrethrins are also used in the garden and home to control pests on plants.

Even though they are natural products, pyrethrin and pyrethroids can be toxic if overused or ingested. They should be used with great care. Avoid getting them in your eyes, nose or throat. Pyrethrins can cause shaking, vomiting and seizures. If you are using a pyrethrin product and suffer these symptoms or witness them in others please see a doctor immediately.

Why Use Your Dog's Tick Shampoo?

Many people are turning to pet and dog shampoo as a safety measure against ticks. I don't mean that people are dipping themselves in pet shampoo on a regular basis. What I mean is that some people at high risk of picking up ticks like hunters, hikers, campers, and gardeners are using dog shampoo to rid themselves of the pests.

It does make some sense. Ticks are small and cling to skin and hair with numerous tiny curved feet made specifically for the job. They are hard to spot and can hide in folds of skin and hair. Ticks cling to people and pets, sticking their heads under our skin and sucking our blood. Ticks are known to carry a variety of diseases and blood born pathogens and pose a serious threat to human health. Ticks can be very small and hard to only takes one to pass on Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Dog tick shampoo for human use may sound weird but it is an effective form of tick control.

Dog tick shampoo for human use may sound weird but it is an effective form of tick control.

Tick Shampoo for People

I have not been able to find a tick shampoo made for people. I supposed this is why my dad and brother in law are using dog shampoo. The best I can find are numerous recommendations for using puppy shampoo. Puppy shampoos are milder versions of the regular strength and provide the same protection. I think that for human use this would be the best choice. Other sprays or shampoos may contain harmful, or more potentially harmful, levels of pesticides. They may also be unnecessarily harsh on human skin.

The active ingredients in puppy shampoo are very nearly the same as what you might find in lice shampoo for humans. The two listed in Hartz Flea and Tick Shampoo are phenothrin and pyreproxyfen. The first is a synthetic pyrethrin and the second is a pyridine based insecticide.

Ticks Carry Lyme Disease And Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Ticks are a real threat to humans, livestock and wild animals. The insects are parasitic and can carry several diseases harmful to man and beast. Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are two of real concern to humans. These diseases can leave victims permanently impaired or even dead if not treated properly.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever threatens human lives in North and South America. This pathogen is carried by the American Dog Tick, the Brown Dog Tick and the Rocky Mountain Wood Tick. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, abdominal pain and a rash that does not always develop.

Lyme Disease is spread to humans through infected blacklegged ticks. Symptoms include fever, headache, rash and fatigue. Untreated, this infection will spread into the joints, heart and nervous system. Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics.

All-Natural Flea And Tick Control

A number of all-natural products that are on the market for preventing and controlling fleas and ticks. These products are primarily the essential oils of plants that insects find distasteful. This kind of prevention can work for personal and pet use but will do nothing to control an infestation of the home.

Essential oils have been used for centuries to control pests and soothe the skin. Many come with the added bonus of enriching and moisturizing your skin as well as making it smell good. Essential oils that are frequently used to help repel fleas, ticks and lice are Cedarwood, Tea Tree, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Rosemary, Thyme, Linalool, Citrus, Cinnamon, Citronella, Bay and Eucalyptus.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: Can I use my pet's flea and tick dip on my body?

Answer: I suggest using a body wash.

Question: How can I get rid of fleas in my house and on me if my husband won't let us call a pest control company?

Answer: Probably by taking everything out of the house and washing it all, and use flea powder on the furniture and rugs too. Maybe use a bug bomb.

© 2012 TMHughes


Taya Oconner on July 22, 2020:

I washed my hair a few times with dog shampoo but now my hair is really dry and feels fake what should I do