BELIEVE it or not!
YES! I admit it! I use Dawn dish soap (the non-ultra kind) to kill fleas in my shop. ANY shampoo diluted with a little bit of water and applied to a DRY DOG will kill fleas! Dawn just works FASTER and BETTER because it is a strong degreaser. I started using this technique after a shampoo manufacturer that makes no flea shampoo told me that it would work. He didn't say use Dawn, he said use ANY SHAMPOO, but an older groomer friend of mine said it worked, so I tried it. I had been dipping and was getting concerned having seen poisoning by dips occur in cats and dogs. I wanted to prevent it from happening to ME. So this was the solution for me. I have not dipped or used a pesticide other than Di-Limonene in over 12 years.
OK, hold on..... here is why it works.
Fleas have this ability to survive underwater. I have been told they emit a greasy barrier around their bodies forming a bubble to protect them from water and it holds oxygen in. By dissolving the grease bubble you allow water to get to the flea and they drown. Fleas are also very soft bodied. They DO have an exoskeleton that allows them protection, but soaps dissolve this and then they cannot breathe.
The way to use this product (or any other shampoo you choose) is SIMPLE! First I use a tearless shampoo, diluted according to the directions on the bottle on the face. I lather it up without wetting the face. It will kill the fleas on the head and face without damaging the eyes. Take a bottle (I usually use an old dish soap bottle) and mix 75% water with 25% shampoo. Then, starting with the head of the animal (keep away from the eyes to protect them), apply this mixture to the pet in a line that goes down the back of the pet. Massage it in, then using your sprayer, add JUST enough water to get the shampoo to lather a little bit and spread around the pet. It does not take much shampoo to do this! Add more water and shampoo as needed to apply this solution thoroughly to the dog or cat. I use a net scrubby that is designed for body wash to help spread the solution as well.
Allow it to sit for a minute or two, as many as 5 on heavily infested animals, and then rinse. I use my recirculating washer to rinse with as it also bathes the pet for me using the existing shampoo, which cuts down on water consumption, shampoo usage and time. I simply put fresh water in the tub while the pet is sitting and rinse it using the system after it has sat the required amount of time. This reduces the need for rinsing, washing and then rinsing again.
I then rinse and using a soothing shampoo rebathe the dog to ensure that all the soap is removed and the skin is treated to prevent itching. Conditioner can be applied afterward if needed, but rarely if ever do I have to add this after I am finished.
DO NOT WET THE ANIMAL FIRST! If you do, the fleas will react by creating that grease bubble we talked about earlier and you will be fighting a harder to kill flea than if you never give them a chance to do that!
As this technique is highly effective, I never use pesticides in my shop. I do keep Capstar on hand and dogs that are HIGHLY infested get a Capstar when they arrive or go straight into the tub just to be sure all the fleas are dead upon the pets departure from my shop. I also always make sure I notify the owners f their pets condition and what we did to help them with the problem, as well as suggesting they do their part at home.
Advertising this non-pesticide approach to pest control can be of HUGE benefit to you in your salon. By showing that you care enough not to poison the animals and the environment and yet care enough to help eliminate the problem, you gain a market share of the client base that CARES how their pates are treated and wants a safe effective way to treat their animals. You don't have to share the secret of Dawn or the fact that all shampoos will kill fleas if applied to a dry pet, simply say, "We use NO DANGEROUS CHEMICALS to kill fleas." I tell people who want to know how it works, but most don't care as long as it DOES!
Now, I know that Dawn is controversial, but honestly I have never had an issue using it. It it makes you uncofortable then use ANY shampoo labled for dogs. It will work, it just might take longer to kill the fleas than the Dawn does.
I live in an area where fleas are the new accessory and every dog has some it seems like. Some days EVERY dog does. By using Capstar (with owners permission) on really infested dogs and using the shampoo killing method we have no fleas in the shop.
I also do not use bombs or sprays on the floors. Once a week or so we set flea traps using a small lamp over a bowl of water left on all night. I put a drop of dish soap in the water to break the surface tension of the water and once the fleas jump towards the light they fall into the water and drown. I usually find two or three in the bowl. That is the safest way I have ever seen to kill fleas in the shop or house environment. You can also buy a flea trap that is made to trap fleas on sticky paper. they are as effective as the bowl of water, just more expensive.
Hopefully this helped a little bit in the flea eradication program we must all have in our shops and vans. Saftey and health first.