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Apple Cider Vinegar Flea Treatment for Dogs

Last Modified on Aug 30, 2015

Safe, Effective, and Natural Flea Control

Regular apple cider vinegar treatments can be the safe and effective way for you to get natural flea control for your dog and for the health of your family. Fleas can be a real pest, causing your pet to itch woefully and carrying infections into the animal's blood. So everyone is looking for an effective flea treatment for dogs. Unfortunately, most of the standard measures are toxic for our pets and family. This includes your standard flea collars, flea and tick treatment pills, and topical treatments as well. No such health warnings come on a bottle of apple cider vinegar (ACV), and this health supplement has been used for people and animals throughout the centuries!

Natural Flea Control with Apple Cider Vinegar

Applying diluted apple cider vinegar to your pet's skin can make your dog seem unsavory to fleas and ticks. You can rub a bit of it into your dog's fur or dilute ACV with water in a sprayer and spray your pet whenever he or she is going outside (cover their eyes!). Alternately or in addition, adding a splash of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar to your dog's water bowl can act as a flea repellant as well while also improving your pet's overall health. The amount of apple cider vinegar you'll want to use against fleas will depend on your dog's weight and breed. Check out the tips from our readers below for guidelines, but start small and work your way up to an effective dose.

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Most Popular Fleas - Apple Cider Vinegar Remedies:

ACV for Fleas31

User Reviews

ACV for Fleas   31  1   

Posted by Kandace (Fillmore, California) on 07/23/2015

[BETTER BUT WITH SIDE EFFECTS]  I started using ACV a week ago and so far I think it's working except for the side effect of loose stools. I have two Scotties. My Wheaton I used the last vial of Revolution and then used the ACV on my black Scottie.

My Wheaton also gets ear infections that are yeast origin. That is also working. What I don't know is how often do I treat the ear? After I clean the ear, he shakes his head for about a half an hour.

Replied by Jessie
Mi, Usa

Dear Kandace,

For your dogs ears:

I would treat the ears once or twice a day for a week or ten days. Perhaps once a week for prevention after initial treatment.

Apple Cider Vinegar should be diluted to 50% or less to use in the ears. Full strength will burn and be uncomfortable.

Posted by Paul (Bulverde, Texas) on 06/30/2015

[YEA]  To get rid of fleas in the house, I just put small bowls of vinegar in each room and bingo watch them jump in. After 5 days I change the vinegar.

Replied by Lori

If they are attracted to the bowl of ACV that they just "jump right in" how does it work to dispel them when sprayed right on the dog?
Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn

Hey Lori!

Scratching my head along with you on this one/fleas attracted to bowls of vinegar. I will have to try it to see if it works. Flea season seems to be gearing up for our area, and right now for me saucers of soap water under small desk lamps placed on the floor have worked very well.

Replied by Mel

I'm wondering the same thing: how can ACV be an attractant AND repellant?

Posted by Oldwhatshisname (Usa) on 06/18/2015

[YEA]  I have 10 dogs and 4 cats and yes, I live on a farm. The outdoor dogs are infested with fleas and I have tried everything to get rid of the fleas but with so many animals I can't afford the popular vet prescription brands. I read about apple cider vinegar and tried it in a 50% dilution on one of the medium sized, short haired dogs. After about a minute, the fleas started moving to get away from where I applied the solution. I then wet her down all over and used a flea comb to get what I could see off her. So there's one down and nine dogs to go.

I will try adding ACV to their water bowls and see how that works.

Replied by Jennifer
South Africa

ACV for Fleas:

A silly question however one I'm hoping someone could answer. Does mixing ACV with a probiotic not "damage" the probiotic. ACV is amongst other things an anti-bacterial and probiotic has all the "good" bacteria. I'm a bit of a lazy chi mom and pre-mix all my goodies together in advance then add a teaspoon onto their food daily so wondering if I could add the ACV to mix?

Mix is currently...

  • Vit C
  • Omega 3 oil
  • Probiotic
  • Vit E

added to at least 3 liquidised (juiced) vegetables and then a teaspoon each over their food twice a day.

Replied by Walle's Mom
Houston, Texas

[YEA]   Thank y'all my WALLE just got BIG RELIEF n the fleas r gone. My poor baby is getting some rest.
Replied by Jessie

Can anyone tell me if regular house brand apple cider vinegar will work as a spray to rid a small dog of fleas. I was thinking 50/50 spray. I know for ingestion purpose I need the stronger (mother) vinegar but will the regular work for a spray?
Replied by Mike

[YEA]   It appears that some missed the difference. The spray for your dog is with ACV. The bowl that attracts them is water and dish washing detergent. The detergent attracts them but they get stuck when they get in. It works wonders for gnats as well. Have tried both and they are successful beyond belief. Check it out. And no toxic chemicals.

Posted by Karen (Ecuador) on 04/21/2015

[YEA]  Hola. One of my cats had a bald spot on his throat. After some research I decided to use ACV, full strength directly on the spot several times a day. In less than a week I could see hair growing back in and the cat licking the spot proved that Apple Cider Vinegar did him no harm. I am a believer. In the move to Ecuador, I discovered that both cats are allergic to fleas here and developed scabs around their heads and bums. I gave each a bath then a rinse in Apple Cider Vinegar water -very traumatic for all us BTW ;) - dried them and then massaged their fur and skin with coconut oil. the scabs have begun to disappear on one cat but the other one just has so much trouble with skin problems I think it will be awhile. They both freak if I spray them, so once a week, more often with one cat, I apply a diluted mixture of Apple Cider Vinegar and water and rub in everywhere. I do spray all bedding and any other cloth material with the same mixture.

Fleas and ticks are a huge problem here. I just read elsewhere that adding brewer's yeast to their food everyday repels fleas so I will try that as well. Just no instruction on how much! Plus more frequent combing and brushing.

Replied by Shooshoo
Dessau, Germany

[YEA]   I have a cat with lil bald in his tails, can I bathe him in ACV? I bathe him with octenisan and apply clotrimazol twice perday.

I prefer to maintain alone at home, since I know the process healing of ringworm is based on home treatment, can you advise me better? Thanks!

Posted by Elise (Sydney, Australia) on 02/23/2015

[YEA]  Thank you earth clinic for this site. I was going out of my mind with my poor dog's itchy skin and odour For the past 2 years. I tried everything. Yesterday I sprayed a solution of equal parts of Apple cider vinegar- water and baking soda all over her, instantly she seemed better for it. I also have amother dog, sister to the other, who shakes her ear, so will give the apple cider diluted a go and coconut oil. What a relief not to use those horrid flea control sprays anymore, thanks again. Elise.

Replied by Helen
Georgia, Us

How much baking soda did you put in there?
Replied by Amy
Knoxville, Tn

How much ACV would I put in a 50 pound dogs water to deter fleas?
Replied by Xo
La Mirada, Ca

One of your posts said dilute apple cider vinegar equal parts with water and add baking soda, I believe. How much of that?
Replied by Betty
Waukegan, Il

[YEA]   I have retired show dog shi tzus with very, very thick fur. I sprayed the table with insecticide before using the apple viniger, water and baking soda. The fleas died and my pup immediately got relief. Thank you, Thank you for this tip.
Replied by Marla

Can I substitute white vinegar for Apple Cider Vinegar?
Replied by Wendy

Depends on what you use the vinegar for.

1. For cleaning your countertops, toilet bowl, mirrors, you can use white vinegar.

2. For your own health or for the health of your dog, ONLY use organic Apple Cider Vinegar (also known as OACV). This is because the OACV contains nutrient-rich sediment called "the mother" at the bottom of the bottle. Just shake the bottle before using.

For your own health, put 2 Tablespoons of OACV into a 16-33 ounce bottle of filtered or distilled water, and add a 1/4 teaspoon of Baking Soda.

For your dog, add 1 Tablespoon mixed in with dog food at each meal. If you feed your dog dry food, you might want to add a tablespoon of canned dog food to make the meal more enticing to your dog.
Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn

Hey Wendy!

I LOVE your posts! I just wanted to clarify on 'the mother'/'nutrient rich sediment'.

In unfiltered ACV you have a nutrient rich sediment - this is NOT the 'Mother'. The 'Mother' can often be seen as a strand or stringy thing, and it quite literally is a strand of enzymes and connected protien molecues. Some purists will recommend you do NOT shake the Mother or scramble it up when you are pouring from your bottle of ACV.

Replied by W

For the flea problem, mix a spray bottle with 1/2 distilled water and 1/2 OACV (organic Apple Cider Vinegar). Spray it all over the dog (NOT in his eyes! ) getting him completely soaked. Let him air-dry. He'll smell like a salad for a few days, but it's a small price to pay to get rid of fleas!

Also make sure you've thoroughly cleaned all the dog's bedding, and you've vacuumed all over your home! You may also research here on this site how to use food-grade diatomaceous earth to get rid of fleas.

Replied by Wendy

Hi Theresa!

Thanks for the info! I didn't realize that distinction re OACV. btw, I love your posts, too!

Posted by Theresa Donate
(Mpls., Mn) on 02/21/2015

[YEA]  ACV works to prevent fleas in two ways; topically in a spray or after bath rinse it helps balance the PH of the skin and smells not attractive to the fleas. Internally in the diet be it food or water it helps balance the ph of your dog's system to make them less appetizing to the fleas -and also has proven helpful in many other ways when taken internally.

For a spray, I use white vinegar and save the expensive for food use; 1 part vinegar into 5 or 10 parts water. In the water bowl it is 2-3 tablespoons per quart or same amount in the food am and pm.

If you are sure you are dealing with a bad case of fleas, consider a simple flea trap made with a small desk lamp and a white plate. Put the lamp on the floor in the area where your pet sleeps or spends a lot of time, and the plate under the lamp. Add water to the plate and then put a few drops of dish soap. Turn the light on at night and check for black specks in the morning. This simple trap can be moved from room to room and can quickly halt an infestation.

Replied by Nancy
Bakersfield, Ca

I need something for my dog for fleas. Anything plz I have spent so much money on the over the counter stuff and it does not work or it coats way to0 much. All my baby does is scratch all day... I need something fast, can you help?
Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn

Hey Nancy!

Are you sure it is fleas you are dealing with? If they won't leave your dog alone, are you being bit? If you have seen fleas, are certain it is in fact fleas, I would set up a simple flea trap in each room using a small table lamp set on the floor, and under the bulb place a white plate and have dish soapy water in the plate. Just turn it on at night and then look for black specks in the water in the morning. The lamp trap is an effective way to eliminate a flea infestation in your home or dog area.

If this were my itchy dog I would first consider diet; if any of the first 5 ingredients on the ingredient label on the dog food are corn or grain, it is time to upgrade to a premium grain free kibble.

Changing the diet helps immensely but the results take time. In the mean time I would alkalize my dog's drinking water by adding baking soda - 1 teaspoon per 1 liter of water and this as the only drinking water available. After 1 week I switch doses to 1/2 teaspoon baking soda to 1 liter of water, and after another 7 days switch to 1/4 teaspoon baking soda for another week or as a long term maintenance dose.

Does your dog smell funky? A yeasty smelling dog would warrant borax in the water per Ted's borax protocol for dogs.

For the itchy skin I would use either Ted's mange remedy, or Ted's Anti-fungal/Anti-staph dip; this brings immediate relief that lasts about 24 hours, so must be repeated frequently. After bathing you can mix up the second remedy and keep it in a spray bottle to spot treat particular areas.

Posted by Lisa (US) on 02/15/2015

[YEA]  For fleas, I soaked chicken liver in ACV and then cooked it with it. Mixed it up with rice and my dogs loved it. Good way to get it into their system.

Posted by Mage (Australia) on 11/04/2014

[YEA]  For fleas, just add the apple cider vinegar to the dog's bath water. This is all I do, my pets have not had fleas in 4 years

Replied by Jackie
Ohio, US

How much do I use of the ACV to put in the dogs water? I was wondering if when dog drinks it, will it help from inside out for the fleas? as well keep them healthy?
Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn

Hey Jackie!

I would use 2-3 tablespoons per quart. The ACV works by balancing your dog's PH; healthy balanced PH makes your dog less appetizing for fleas and helps keep your dog healthy in many other ways.

Posted by Marianne (Toronto, Canada) on 10/22/2014

[YEA]  Hello!

I was given your website by an employee of Global Pets here in Toronto Canada. I have a Shih Tzu who has had a terrible summer of scratching due to fleas and allergies. She specifically mentioned using Apple Cider Vinegar to help rid the fleas. I have used it on Max for the first time today, but wanted to contact you to say how happy I am to have found your site! I'm sure I'll be visiting it often as I really don't like to give Max anything that has toxins/chemicals and am always looking for a natural way of curing his ailments.

Thank you so much for the info and don't ever stop what you're doing! Cheers.

Marianne and Max

Posted by Toni (Jacksonville, FL) on 07/25/2014

Hi, my dog Peddie scratches so much, I need to get some more ACV and I need to be putting it in his water. He is 3 years old. I don't have transportation to take him regularly to vet. Please, tell me what can I do. I love my dog, he's been a life saver for me.

Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn

Hey Toni!

If you feel you need to add ACV to your pet's water then that is what you should do.

You might also want to bathe him if he has fleas on his body.

Another way to combat fleas and itching is to alkalize your dog's drinking water; put 1 teaspoon of baking soda into 3 liters of water and have that as your dog's only drinking water for 1 day; increase to 2 spoons per 3 liters for the 2nd day; on the 3rd day add 3 teaspoons of baking soda to 3 liters of water -and do this for a total of 5 days. After 5 days drop it down to one half teaspoon of baking soda per 1 liter of water - this is an ongoing maintenance dose. This helps to change your dog's PH so he is not so attractive to fleas. You can add the ACV to this baking soda water when it is at the maintenance dose.

Also there are mobile vets now - you can have the vet come to you if you have no transport:

Replied by Suseeq
Sydney, Australia

Just put some vinegar in a spray bottle and spray dog every day until fleas are gone. Only needs about three days, then spray when necessary, I haven't sprayed my dog for over 6 months.
Replied by Fulu
Nevada, US

I wanted to know do I add water with the vinegar or just the vinegar by itself?
Replied by Om
Hope, Bc Canada

ACV for flea spray needs to be diluted. Some dogs can't hack the smell. So try 50/50 w. water.

Namaste , Om

Posted by Daisy (Los Angeles Ca) on 02/23/2014

[YEA]  I had just about had it with my dog trixies scratching. I felt so bad for her, she would scratch and bite her vagina. Her hair was shedding like crazy, creating black marks and her belly was red and dry. I thought maybe it was the detergent, smog, house cleaners, or her love of swimming. I've never seen a flea on her so I never suspected it to be fleas.

Yesterday I poured half ACV and half water into a spray bottle and sprayed her down. Half an hour later I bathed her with Dr bronners baby shampoo. It worked!!! Thank god for earth clinic!

Posted by Lynnie (Columbus, Ohio, Usa) on 10/06/2013

[YEA]  Went online this morning to research a "natural" remedy to rid my Miniature Schnauzer of a few fleas. She currently is on flea medication from the vet, but it just wasn't working, also was very pricey. Found this wonderful site & used the 50/50 Apple Cider Vinegar in a spray bottle. As soon as I sprayed her, the fleas came to the surface of her fur and died. She was so relieved, she laid down for a nap. So nice to have my baby dog not scratching & chewing herself raw. Will also start adding to her water. Thank you so much!

Posted by Mrsg (Jupiter, FL, USA) on 06/13/2013

[YEA]  I have a 10 month old Maltese. I add ACV to my dog's food and water, also use it as a rinse after shampoo and I think I helps keep fleas and ticks away.

Posted by Betty (San Antonio, Texas) on 03/23/2009

[YEA]  ACV- is what I use...I wouldn't be writting if I didn't see results for myself...I have been putting a TBSP. daily in dogs food and also spraying him with water/ACV mix every other day....I must say that it is working great...My dog Zeek (Sharpei mix) was tearing his legs and back side by his tail up!!!! His Vet had me try the prescription diet to rule out food wasn't before I spent more $$$$ on allergy tests I researched and came across the uses of ACV for possible flea allergy etc...I prayed that this would help...guess my prayers are being answered...he no longer has sores on his legs and back side by his tail....I'm so happy and feel so great that he is no longer mutalating himself...he has an occasional itch or scratch here and there...but nothing compared to before I started using ACV...I also give him a TBSP. or two of plain yogurt or cottage cheese ever so often in his food...Tuna in oil and sardines...I do bathe him with Medicated shampoo but it was the ACV that I truly feel has healed his sores and has prevented him from biting and scratching himself as before...I hope it continues to work and for others as well!!!

Replied by Christina
Effingham, Sc

My dog has the same problem with tearing up the backs of his legs, behind and his tail. He has spots that are really red and look raw. Also his tail is the worst he just naws at it all the time and it has sum broke skin and is raw and he doesn't want me touching it. Anyway reading about the acv has got me VERY excited and happy that it my help my baby because I feel so sorry for him. One flea bite for him is like 100 at once. I want to try the acv but my concern is will it burn or sting, I don't want to hurt him. The itching and allergies are bad enough. So does anyone know if it will burn?

EC: Yes, apple cider vinegar will absolutely burn and sting on raw skin if not diluted with water 50/50!

Replied by Laura
Mansfield, Oh

So I have a question?? if ACV works so well on pets themselves would it work on carpet and furniture??? I have a dog and 2 cats.. And I found one flea and now all 3 have them.. Not completely infested but I don't wanna be either. Please HELP!!!

EC: Hi Laura,

Many more suggestions on our flea remedies page here:

Replied by Ruth R
Chesapeke, Va

Does regular apple cider vinegar that you get from Walmart work?
Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn

Hey Ruth!

If you are taking the ACV internally, the most effective kind is the one that is raw/unpasturized and unfiltered/contains the active culture or the 'mother'.

The best way to make sure you have the right kind is to read the label and look at the contents - the *right* stuff will be cloudy with sediment at the bottom of the bottle.

Replied by Robert
Reading, Pa

Look up " Reel Raw " dog food and feed your dog species appropriate raw food. Prescription foods are named that to make you think they are medically necessary. They are low grade foods sold at twice the price and have nothing to do with medical prescriptions. Just another scam perpetrated by your unscrupulous Vet and the dog food companies, like heartworm medication and flea and tick topical treatment which are all NEUROTOXINS which will eventually ruin your dogs health If you wouldn't give it to your child, don't give it to your dog . Please, look these things up, the danger of all the shots and toxins your friendly Vet wants to sell you. Love my dog Amber, Robert
Replied by Jade
New York, US

[YEA]   I have 3 Yorkie's, a Maltese and two German shepherds and have been dealing with fleas for years. I absolutely adore my dogs like children and am very careful about what I give them to ingest, topical flea treatments are also a form of ingestion since it goes through the skin into the body. As a nurse I always felt the flea medications were very dangerous, and when I researched them I found they are in fact Neurotoxins. That's all I needed to hear, there was NO chance I was using any of them again.

I've tried many natural over the counter pet meds and none worked, so I've resorted to flea combing and that only irritates the skin more, I'm at my wits end with fleas. I am SO excited to have stumbled on this wonderful page so I can try ACV, I do believe after reading from all of you and the research on this page that it will work. I'll be out tomorrow to purchase it.

I came on here originally because my GSD has a very red inflamed ear and I don't want the Vet's usual toxic drugs prescribed which will only treat the sickness short term, if their body is not in homeostasis/ balance, it will return. I am going to give this a try for her ear as well and pray!

The reason I am posting prematurely to trying ACV is that I did find after changing their diet, the skin allergies have minimized drastically and their coats are looking healthier, I thought I'd share this with all my fellow dog lovers here as it has helped my dogs. I was feeding what I thought was good food as it claims but was unaware that grain is just a cheap filler that can cause severe allergic reactions. I researched a wonderful site to find a reasonable priced grain free food,

I now give them a combo of "Taste of the wild" grain free kibble, Alaskan Salmon oil, eggs and chicken livers/fats cooked. They not only lick their dishes into the next room, but they are noticeably healthier and it's only weeks since the change. I know when I go off my regular vegetarian diet w/no sugars etc, I feel pretty bad for days. It never occurred to me the same was happening to my dogs. Grain is not part of their natural diet in the wild, and is actually Very unhealthy for them. There are some reasonable brands, even BJ's Berkley and Jensen is grain free and a 4 star choice on a budget. Good luck to all, Happy holidays! I will re-post with an update after I try the ACV.

Replied by Suseeq
Sydney, Australia

Jade, I've been using white vinegar spray on dogs coat for years; in fact, I rarely have to touch up.

Posted by Maribel (Detroit, Michigan) on 11/15/2008

hi everyone but i have a question... i see that some people reccommend the acv and some don't but is it safe to use it on pregnant dogs or lacting dogs, and or on the pupies??? I have a 1yr. 11 month old chihuahua that has been now itching badly and we hav seen fleas on her. we have not been putting any flea products on her since sh'e 6 weeks pregnant. we usually put something on her every month or was her once a week. but like i said she's pregnant and their isn't much we can do. even though now that shes been pregnant for these 6 weeks my children, husband and i ahve been getting bite by these fleas. so i was wondering if someone can tell me if it is asafe to use the acv and the borax for here and my children in the house??? please help i'm going crazy with this..,.. and my children are getting bit all over...

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