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Apple Cider Vinegar Flea Treatment for Dogs

Last Modified on Apr 18, 2016

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

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.
Replied by Antwinette
St Petersburg, Fl
I understand that organic as with mother is the most effective, however I already purchased the diluted grocery store kind so do I need to mix 50/50 for a spray it can I just use it as is 5% acidty? I'll get the organic next time.
Replied by Bridget
Orlando, Florida
Robert you seem pretty knowledgable, I have a question for you. Rabies shots, if my can doesn't go outside at all unless the house was on fire. Would he need rabies shots, he is 17 years old.
Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn

Hello Bridget,

NOT Robert here, but I would like to answer ASAP: NO - your DOG does NOT need a rabies shot, or any other shot at this great age. If this were my geriatric pooch I would to a blood panel to ensure all organs are working properly and I would say NO to any thing else the vet might offer - no shots, no topical flea meds, nothing but the blood panel - because the blood panel will provide you good information. JMO.

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...

Posted by Virginia (Cushing, OK) on 08/07/2008

[YEA]  FLEAS/TICKS and ACV: Full Strength ACV on dog that was scratching constantly. His hair under his tail and on his abdomen had a red tint to it (he is white) and I am not sure it wasn't some kind of mange problem too since it had a terrible odor which wasn't helped by bathing. After spraying him down with full strength ACV the odor dissipated and his scratching has stopped. I sprayed him for 3 consecutive days at first but skip a day or two now. Thank you for saving me a vet bill...

Posted by Linda (Miramichi, Canada) on 07/10/2008

[YEA]  My little Venus has been going nuts with itching and biting..had 2 spots size of toonies on her with a scab, one with hair off and bald. She is on a regime from vet for fleas etc. In desperation, one hot day I sprayed apple cider vinegar and water {half and half}all over her skin and especially on those 2 spots. She stopped scratching for about an hour and a half. So we now put 5 ml/ 1 tsp. mixed with a tsp/ water in a 5 ml. syringe and shoot it into her mouth once a day. She wouldn't eat if we put it in food or drinking water. VOILA!!! NO MORE ITCHING AND BITING

Replied by Caren
Munroe Falls, Ohio
hi Linda

I read online that Apple Cider Vinegar is used for flea control and I was just wondering what is the correct dosage for our shihtzu?

Replied by Suseeq
Sydney Australia
Caren, you can use white vinegar... dilute it by half.
Replied by Deb
Hamilton Ont Canada
Hello can pregnant dogs use this vinegar and water solution? I have a shih Tzu due for puppies may 5th, shes digging like crazy.
Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn
Hey Deb!

You can absolutely give your prego girl the vinegar diluted with water - HOWEVER for oral usage use only the raw, unfiltered, live cultures/'with the mother', organic Apple Cider Vinegar as this is the type that provides health benefits.

Replied by Kristina
Carrollton, Ga
What is best to use on a dog that just had puppies? We want to get rid of her fleas
Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn
Hey Kristina!

If the dog has fleas, the puppies have fleas too. My approach would be to clean out the nest area well and install new bedding, in conjunction with giving the dam and pups flea baths. I would use a dish soap like Dawn - this will break down the oil barrier on the flea's body which will cause it to drown. While Dawn is strong and repeated baths will cause dry skin, one time bathing will not hurt them. You can add 1 teaspoon of ACV to 1 liter of your dog's drinking water to help change her PH to deter the fleas.

Replied by Suzie
Dallas, Tx
The absolute best home remedies for killing fleas on dogs and even pregnant dogs and pups is a bath in pure liquid Castile Soap, unscented. This soap alone kills fleas and it's completely safe for your dogs coat and skin! You can also mix it up in a sprayer to spray your yard. I also use Apple Cider Vinegar to spray on my dogs and in the home to kill the Fleas. Use 1/4 cup ACV with 3/4 cup water. You can also squeeze some lemon in the bottle in addition to the ACV. Spray the dogs, furniture, bedding, rugs, etc. these remedies work and do not harm your pet.
Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn
Liquid castile soap is made up of lye and olive oil; I wonder if the lye component is what kills the fleas. I always thought the soap broke down the flea's oil barrier which in turn allowed the flea to drown. In any event, I have had great results bathing dogs in Murphy's Oil Soap- the kind for wood floors, as well as any of the Dr. Bronner's products.
Replied by Peggy
Niles, Ohio
Hello there, I have 2 11 month old beagles and they have fleas like crazy! I gave them a bath earlier with flea and tick shampoo, a boat load of fleas went down the drain, dead but there's still living fleas on them! Do I use straight apple cider vinegar or dilute it and put it in a spray bottle?
Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn
Hey Peggy!

You can dilute the vinegar with water 1 part vinegar to 5 parts water.

If they got live fleas on them after a bath, sounds like you need to redo the bath. Start at the NOSE and work your way back. Get the nose and muzzle wet, either with the vinegar solution or Dawn dish soap for shampoo. Work around the eyes, and make sure you have all of the fur saturated. Work slowly over the head and when you get to the ears make sure you get inside - not the ear canal but the entire ear leather on both sides. Work your way around the neck - get it nice and saturated. Once you get the head out of the way the rest is much quicker and easier to do. If you use the dish soap as shampoo, make sure you rinse with vinegar to neutralize any soap and to balance the PH of the skin.

What may also be of help to you is a simple flea trap. You will need a small desk lamp, dish soapy water, and a white plate or shallow tray. Put the lamp on the floor in your pet's sleeping area and put the sudsy water under the bulb - just turn it on at night and then look in the morning for black specks. You can move this trap all over the house to trap newly hatched adult fleas and rid your house of an infestation.

Replied by Patricia
Laquey Mo
I have a shitzu that is biting himself in the back and tail. I believe he have some fleas as well. I just a bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar All purpose. This will first time I have tried it and I needed instructions on how to use it and much. Thank you for your help how about cats also.

Posted by kim (sebring, florida) on 03/01/2008

[YEA]  I got my german shepard from wretched people, they had taken him off his mother at 3 weeks old, the feeding and watering was horrific. I immediately began him on mothers milk for 4 weeks.

Later when he was 4 months old, i bathed him and treated him with flea treatment. IMMEDIATELY he broke out in a terrible rash with lesions and such. The odor made me physically sick. My dog is allergic to flea treatments, AND fleas. It was so bad, that i considered putting him down, it broke my heart to see him suffer so much. what kind of life is that? always constantly itching and bleeding. I found this site, i bathed him in acv and sprayed him down three times a day. all gone. now he is 9 months old. my son flea treated him for me while i was out of town. BAM, horrible, and i do mean horrible rash blood red, lesions, sores, constant itching and crying. I immediately sprayed him down with the acv solution and he fell asleep in about ten minutes, relief from the itching. I began just two days ago adding it to his water, and I can not believe the difference. A dog that is allergic to the chemicals in monthly flea treatments AND allergic to FLEA's has a miserable life. Thankfully due to the acv my dog has a chance at a good itch free life. I cannot thank you enough. It made me cry to see him in such torment. thank you to everyone who shares their stories, it saves lives and the quality of those lives.

Replied by C.K.
St. Louis, Missouri
Do not use garlic in ANY sort of dog food. It is toxic and can kill your dog, just like onions and grapes. It's simply foolish that someone would encourage you to feed that to your dog. I'd take fleas over a dead pet any day.

EC: Please read the (mostly positive) feedback on our Garlic for Dogs page.

Replied by Jennalee
Bedminster, Nj
This is not true. Garlic was found toxic to dogs who were given 270 fresh cloves a day. Most dogs wouldn't even get this amount in an entire year, forget about a day.
Replied by Barbjo
[YEA]   I have been giving garlic to my dogs for years. 3 are over 10 years old. In moderation it it not toxic. I've used brewers yeast with garlic tabs for flea control in the past. All dogs are alive and well.

Posted by Simon (Victoria, Australia)

[NAY]  We tried bathing his 10 dogs religiously in Apple Cider Vinegar (as prescribed above) for days to get rid of fleas. No luck.

Replied by Chris
Manila, Philippines
Pls help, I tried putting acv to my dog (5mo old shar pei) on his back which is almost bald, with red bumps, but he cringe and kept on shaking his whole body. I think the acv stings him. Per his vet he's got the localized mange. Did I do something wrong? how come he isnt relieved from the itch when I applied the full acv? I also tried the 50/50 solution and wont work with him also, he cant sleep with it. Pls help

EC: You can find more mange remedies here

Replied by Karen
[YEA]   The apple cider vinegar that is being discussed here is NOT the cheap stuff you get at the grocery. They are talking about raw/unpasturized vinegar. I learned this the hard way. When I changed to the "good" stuff, the fleas did go away, just as advertised. Please check into this and try again. It *does* work!
Replied by Marianne
Toronto, Canada
I have been reading some of the posts about using ACV to help rid fleas. my dog is having a really bad time with fleas. I've just sprayed with with a mixture of water and ACV and treated the house but, you say it's not the regular ACV that helps. Can you please tell me what exactly I should get and possibly where I can get it? thanks!
Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn
Hey Marianne!

I can't speak of using ACV for the house - but I would bet that the regular kind would work, and also the white kind would work.

That said, ACV for medicinally or to take internally, the only kind to use is the raw, unpasturized, organic, with live cultures [aka "with the Mother"] - this can be found at the grocery store but carries a higher price tag than the regular ACV.

Posted by Deirdre (Los Angeles, CA)

[YEA]  she doesn't need to use flea dips in the winter when she adds a tsp of organic apple cider vinegar to her dogs' meals (2x a day) every day. This doesn't work so well in summer months, she reports.

Posted by Vickie (Tampa Florida)

[YEA]  I have found great success with ACV ...My Boxer has no fleas or ticks & a shiny coat.

Posted by Katie (Emporia, KS)

[YEA]  If ACV doesn't seem to work on fleas, try Brewer's Yeast vitamin tablets and cedar chips for bedding. Most dog beds have cedar chips inside them, but you can also buy them straight for dog houses and such.

Replied by Cherie
Poconos, Pa
[WARNING!]   Cedar chips are not a good idea to use for pet bedding as the cedar secretes an oil that can cause blindness in animals.
Replied by Rebecca
San Antonio, Texas Usa
I'm thankful to have found all this info regarding ACV to help my poor pup who is itchy and miserable from flea allergies. Starting him and his sis on ACV right away.

Meanwhile, thought I'd share how I got rid of the fleas themselves: SALT. It's true. I bought regular old table salt in the cardboard tube containers at the grocery store. I'd read about putting it thru a processor to get the grains really fine but didn't do this, didn't need to do it.

Sprinkled salt in the carpet, on the furniture, in the doggie beds. Did NOT vaccuum before I did this.

Salt killed the fleas in the house. When the new fleas popped up in a couple of weeks from the eggs, not so many and I sprinkled fresh salt. Gone.

Also treated the yard, but here I was not successful until I used one of the bottle insecticides from Home Depot (spray using garden hose). Natural remedies failed in the yard.

Salt works in the house. Works GREAT. And, no fear about the pups - if they lick the salt, it's safe.

I did not salt the dogs, tho. I did wonder about doing it, and remembered that drink called a "Salty Dog. " LOL

Salt in the house and the hose spray outside, and we are flea free.

Now, ACV will hopefully clear up the flea allergies that remain ....

Thanks again to everyone and God bless!!!

Replied by Regina
Dierks, Arkansas
I've read on here in couple post to use brewer yeast tablets, do you get that in pet section or regular vitamn section?
Replied by Katherine
Newport, OR
Brewer yeas/nutritional yeast you can find in the bulk food section of your grocery
Replied by Bridget
Orlando, Florida
Rebecca this is great, how long did you leave the salt down on the floor before you vacuumed it up? Thanks

Posted by Lyn (Jeannette, PA)

[YEA]  I just wanted to comment on the fleas section. It is true that any shampoo will kill fleas, but it needs to be left on for 30 min. Also, if you have a flea infestation in your house, just spraying your animal wont help. You must treat where the fleas live. See, they only feed on your animal. I have tremendous luck using table salt and food-grade diatomaceous earth all over the house to kill fleas and prevent. The salt (I prefer organic unprocessed sea salt) cuts into the body of the flea and then allows the DE to dehydrate the animal. Salt by itself does seem to work also, I just like a faster approach. Keep in mind though that this means of defense does take up to 2 months to work as some fleas are still hatching. In really bad infestation, it could take longer. I think flea eggs can survive up to 280 days. I would also like to recommend quadruped pet products. I work at a holistic pet care center and this is what we use to bathe the animals. They do not contain(unlike most pet shampoos) any harsh chemicals. Also, all their products are concentrates so it is much cheaper than buying the harmful stuff from pet shops or grocery stores.

Posted by Sheerec (San Antonio, TX)

[YEA]  ACV for Fleas, itching and scratching works. My dog was itching and scratching everywheree very badly to the point,he had a small raw spot on his neck. I can say that it works. I put some apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle, sprayed him down and let him air dry. The severe scrathing stop and the raw place under his neck has healed.

Posted by Lana (Caro, Michigan)

[YEA]  I just tried the ACV on my Maltese, she's been miserable every Aug-Oct for years. Now she's resting quietly, within minutes. Thank-you so much! Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you! We've tried allergy shots, bathing, haircuts (she's practically bald now) benedryl, baby oil, seems like more things too, nonstop itching 24-7. Now she's happy again. Thanks so much!