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Apple Cider Vinegar Flea Treatment for Dogs

Last Modified on Feb 07, 2016

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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Remedies for Fleas - Apple Cider Vinegar

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ACV for Fleas332015-11-01
ACV for Ticks12007-09-10
Citrus Peel Infused in White Vinegar12015-02-19

ACV for Fleas  
112 User Reviews | 34 YEA | 1 NAY | 1 BETTER BUT WITH SIDE EFFECTS | 1 WARNING!

Posted by Jamie (Hemet, Ca) on 11/01/2015

I started spraying apple vinegar on my white dog for about a week now and his fur is turning black, only on his neck though. Is that normal? Should I still be using it? I did ratio 50:50 apple vingear and water into. Spray bottle.

Replied by Mary Ellen
Finksburg, Md

Can I use the ACV/H2O mixture on my 4 1/2 lb 10 week old terrier puppy, or is she too small?

Posted by Sarah (Philadelphia, Pa) on 10/31/2015

[YEA]  I used apple cider vinegar on my two adult cats, & it worked so well. The fleas died on contact, & some didn't but they slowly died after, I didn't think it would work, but it has. So I definitely recommend this to people. I just learnt about this 2 days ago, & I bought it at the grocery store. You can spray it on your cats or give them a bath in it. It doesn't hurt them so it's safe.

EC: Thank you, Sarah!

Just a reminder, since you didn't add this to your post, that Apple Cider Vinegar must be always be diluted with water (50/50) before you apply it to any pet.

Replied by Sarah

Do I just put it in my dogs neck or all over? Can I use it on my cat too? I've already made up a 50/50 mixture.

Posted by Carolyn (Rockford, Il) on 10/04/2015

I'm attempting to use ACV for my animals for fleas as the topical treatment did not work and with having a crawling baby I didn't want to use more. It seems to be working fine on my two dogs, but one has been itching so bad that he has a bald bleeding spot on his legs. I have avoided putting the treament on there for now for fear that it will burn and hurt the wound.

Is there any ideas on how I can help that heal quickly so I can apply treatment to that leg and ensure fleas do not return?

Replied by Om
Hope, Bc Canada

Carolyn (Rockford Il.) for open wounds use turmeric powder. It is a natural antibiotic and you can google this, mentioning Ayurveda. I use it always.

When the wounds are healing, apply coconut oil. That's all that is needed.

Namaste Om

Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn

Hey Carolyn!

Please set out a few lamp traps to catch any fleas in your environment; this will keep the fleas off both furkids and skinkid.

If this were my dog I would take him to the vet to rule out a skin infection that might require antibiotics. If that is out of the question you might consider hitting the pet section at your local farm supply/Fleet Farm - you can find topical wound creams in the farm animal section as well as the pet section. I often find the same name antibiotics used for dogs in creams or salves for the larger animals and the larger animal products are often more cost effective.

One other thing to consider is alkalizing all of your pets drinking water with baking soda; this helps make them less appealing to the fleas and also has a calming effect on the skin.

Replied by Judy

You can give your dog 1 claritin for allergies and that will help the itching. My vet told me the other day and it is working. Good luck

Posted by Angie (Upstateny) on 09/06/2015

[YEA]  I am so glad I found this site...I have tried a few of these suggestions as we have had a terrible infestation of fleas this summer. My poor fur babies I feel for them. I own 2 pomeranians and to watch them constantly scratch even after being sprayed and bathed and we treat the house and we have bought spray for the yard...but within a few days of peace, they are covered all over again and the cycle repeats and its costly. Not to mention I am the only one besides the dog that gets bit from the fleas and I react bad to the bites(allergic reaction type)....

Anyways, have tried the diluted ACV Spray and its working, we are starting to see them less and less as we just started. Also I have always mixed frozen peas in my dogs dry food so they get their roughage and it also keeps them from eating grass and helps in digestion. Well I soaked the frozen peas in ACV and mix it in there food now and they eat it just fine as well. If I try to put it in water they wont drink it. So Im crossing my fingers we will be totally flea free very soon..thank u so much for this site

Replied by Amanda

Just wondering if the frozen peas diluted with Apple Cider Vinegar worked?

Posted by Ernie (San Jose Ca) on 08/30/2015

[YEA]  Thanks Earth clinic and posts, this has helped my Boxer Rocky sleep last night! And wow! I checked him out this morning and no signs of fleas! I sprayed him with 25% ACV and 75% water in a spray bottle last night followed by a bath using dish soap. I did two soap washes to remove all fleas. There was tons! Anyway I then let him dry off a bit and resprayed him with ACV and off to bed we went. This morning I couldn't wait to see if this would work but even after letting him out in the backyard where all these bastard fleas are, NOTHING ON HIM! So I sprayed him again only because I know I didn't do 50/50. He is still scratching here and there but probably from scabs and irritated skin. So far so good! Hope this is my solution!

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?
Replied by Shelene

ACV is an attractant for gnats, which are about as small as fleas, so that was probably what jumped in the bowl.
Replied by Chrisse

In my research regarding fleas I came across the suggestion that you leave a bowl of soapy water on a white paper towel and fleas will be attracted to that. Maybe this is what OP meant?
Replied by Rosanne

I learned many years ago that if you sprinkle Borax powder (you can find it in Walmart) on the carpet. Leave for approximately 24 hours then vacuum. This will kill any fleas as well as the eggs. I do this once a month. Very effective.
Replied by Bob
Rosedale, Md

Bowls of water with liquid soap in them work well. You need the soap to break the surface tension of the water. If you use just water the little buggers will jump right out!

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!

Replied by Virginia
San Diego. California

Try salmon oil for cats skin 1/2 tsp. dogs have skin allergies and scratch alot - they are defiecient in omega 3 ...ask your vet too.
Replied by Linda
Allentown, Pa

Yes, there are proven favorable results using ACV for pet fleas. Please remember that it is common for pets to have flea bite dermatitis. This manifests as irritated, reddened areas predominantly on the the back at the tail midway to the head and in the folds/groins of the legs. Applying this solution to these inflamed areas can cause pitiful discomfort to the animal because of the acidity. Think first. Apple Cider Vinegar was not meant for broken, irritated skin.

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!

Replied by Bridget
Orlando, Florida

How often do I need to use ACV on my cat, do you still use spot treatment on your dog or just the spray. And if I use the salt idea on the floors how often do I need to do this. I have an indoor cat.

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.

Replied by Cheryl

I'm so clueless but what's one part ACV and Water? I want to get it exactly right two dogs and one is suffering so bad and he has issues with wax and shakes his head and scratches all day everyday. The vet ear cleaner is $20!! Help!

EC: One part of each means equal parts of each. For example, 1 cup water plus 1 cup ACV.

Replied by Sasha
Johnson, Vermont


I have been looking for a natural way to deal with fleas. The chemicals do not work, and I have immune system issues. I also have always gone natural for my daughter, dogm children and myself. Definitely going to try this and get back to you. Thank you for this information. I was truly at wits end.

Replied by Tmiko
Houston, Tx

I only have white distilled vinegar on hand. Can I use it? Mild case of fleas on 7lb maltese.
Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn

Hello Tmiko!

The white vinegar is safe to use topically -so yes, you can use it.

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