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Apple Cider Vinegar Flea Treatment for Dogs

Last Modified on Aug 23, 2015

ACV for Fleas   31  1   

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

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!

Posted by Jennifer (Doonan, QLD, Australia)

[YEA]  My 3 poodles have 2 tbsp in jug of water each day to prevent fleas. I also use it in their rinse water after a bath each week.

Posted by Jennifer (Doonan, QLD, Australia)

[YEA]  It truly works for eliminating fleas from dogs. Just a few drops in the drinking water each day BUT it does take about six weeks.I have also sprayed the dog's beds and cleaned rugs and floors every day so it is an ongoing chore to for the six weeks but I am now on top of the situation.I run a Poodle resort so I have quite a few dogs and to have solved the flea problem is an enormous relief.

Posted by MJ Fox (Ireland)

[YEA]  I use ACV in my rescue dogs' food twice a week and give them diluted ACV rub downs with a wet sponge or rag about every 10 days. There are no fleas on these dogs at all, which I think is a result of the ACV. I also use it full strength for ring worm and seem to be having some good luck with mange.

Replied by Mary
Fredericksburg, Va, USA
can you tell me how much you dilute the apple cider vinegar for the rub down.

thank you,

mary in va.

Replied by Luann
Bath, MI
50/50. water/ACV

ACV for Ticks   1  0   

Posted by Shirley (Midwest, USA) on 09/10/2007

[YEA]  Borax Bath, ACV remedies -- I have two dogs; both are less than 5 lbs. One has itchy skin so I started using the borax solution bath on both dogs. In about 3 hours after the bath, the one with itchy skin was scratching again. I didn't know what to do at that point so I rubbed dry baking soda over her whole body. While I had her on her back applying the soda under her legs, she went to sleep. It was that comforting to her. Anytime she starts scratching and it seems it won't quit and I don't have time to do a bath, I have been using the baking soda. She seems to love it and her skin stops itching for at least 3 days.

While she was in her comfort zone of no itching, she was walking better, running and playing and wasn't so scared all the time. So the itching was causing some social behavior problems too. I have tried both recipes of borax and peroxide and then I've done borax and ACV, Her skin still itches after each but she does seem a lot better then before, not quite as much scratching going on. One question though.

Do you think if I added some baking soda to the solution that would help her since the dry soda does wonders for her? They do not have mange or fleas. Also I have been putting a teaspoon of ACV in their drinking water all summer. Their water bowl holds 2 & 3/4 cups water. I do add about 1/16 teaspoon of baking soda to the vinegar. For a couple years I was putting the medicine on their backs for fleas and ticks. Ticks are the worst problem here. I decided to put the ACV in their water and I then stopped the spot on- medicine. They have gone the whole summer without getting one tick on them. We live in a heavily wooded area with lots of tall grasses where ticks love to wait for a host to walk by so they can latch onto them. Both dogs play in the woods a lot because they are always looking for something to chase Using the ACV water instead of the medicine has saved me a bunch of money and made both dogs a lot healthier.

Replied by Linda
Montgomery, Alabama
Shirley from Midwest, USA said she puts baking soda in her dogs water with vinegar. I hope she knows this combination creates carbon dioxide. This is used in my teaching science experiments to create volcano eruptions. I don't think she wants to give her dogs this combination. It could be deadly for her dogs. I hope she reads this.
Replied by Rainman
Central, Vt, Usa
Linda, if you are a teacher of science, you must know that carbon dioxide (CO2) is only a biproduct of the secondary reaction of this mixture. Basically acetic acid and sodium bicarbonate create the unstable carbonic acid which immediately breaks down into water and CO2 (fizzing). However, once the CO2 has been dispersed in the air you are left with nothing more than sodium acetate diluted in water (no more fizzing). Which is basically a common electrolyte. Simply put: Once the fizzing has stopped. . . So does the production of carbon dioxide. Do not consume while fizzing.
Replied by Louise
South Carolina
I read with interest all the posts pertaining to using Apple Cider Vinegar or white vinegar for flea control on dogs. Could someone tell me why Apple Cider Vinegar works better than the white vinegar? I just mixed up some white vinegar, a few drops cedarwood oil, and water to spray my dogs with. It seems to be working, but if Apple Cider Vinegar is better, I will switch.
Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn
Hey Louise!

I use both white vinegar and the raw, organic, unfilitered/'with the mother' type apple cider vinegar with my pack.

I use the white vinegar for cleaning or bathing or in a spritzer bottle; the vinegar scent isn't so attractive to fleas and it does a nice job balancing the PH of the skin when used as a rinse after a bath which helps keep the skin healthy.

The more expensive organic, raw Apple Cider vinegar 'with the mother'/live cultures I use medicinally /for taking internally. This can be added to the drinking water or added to food. This type of vinegar while acidic to start in the body has an alkalizing effect; this too serves to balance the body's PH which makes for a healthier body; a body out of balance attracts fleas - a balanced body is not attractive to fleas.

The other kind of apple cider vinegar is the cheap stuff; this stuff is just white vinegar with stuff added to it so it can be called apple cider vinegar. I don't bother with this type of ACV at all.

Replied by Wendy
Columbus, Oh
Read this earthclinic link. It explains why organic Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is so much more beneficial than white vinegar and other regular vinegars:

"There is nothing beneficial about commercial distilled vinegars except for pickling, cleaning and disinfection ---they have no health value! They do not contain the health values of organic, raw apple cider vinegar with the mother still intact and viable. Distilled white vinegar and cider vinegar sold in supermarkets are considered "dead" vinegars with none of the enzymes and other live factors that make raw, unpasteurized vinegars so valuable. Distilling removes the beneficial "mother" from the vinegar, thereby, destroying the powerful enzymes and life giving minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, natural organic sodium, magnesium, sulphur, iron copper, natural organic fluorine, silicon, trace minerals, pectin and other powerful nutrients. Also destroyed are natural malic and tartaric acids, which are important in fighting body toxins and inhibiting unfriendly bacteria growth (_____ 1- 4)."

Replied by Louise
South Carolina
Hey Theresa!!!!

Thank you so much for clarifying that. Yesterday I went ahead and mixed up some of my Bragg's vinegar, water, and cedarwood oil while I was waiting for someone to answer my post. I will use it , then I will go back to the white vinegar, and save the Bragg's for me. You sound like you really know about fleas and vinegar. Thanks again!


Citrus Peel Infused in White Vinegar   1  0   

Posted by Marcia (Costa Mesa, Ca) on 02/19/2015

[YEA]  I use apple cider vinegar in their water, but also citrus peel infused white vinegar topically, for flea control.

Citrus peels have two organic chemicals called limonene and linalool which kill all stages of the flea's life cycle.

Just pour a 1/2 gallon (or really as much as you want, cause it can also be used for general household cleaning too) - of white vinegar into a large glass, covered container and throw in whatever citrus peels you have - oranges, grapefruit, lemon, lime... doesn't matter which or how long as it's completely covered by the vinegar. Stir or shake it up every once in awhile and give it a week or two. Leaving it in sunlight will accelerate the process.

I use the solution, once a week, as a final rinse (don't rinse it off) after their baths. The citrus chemicals kill any fleas they may have picked up and smell of the vinegar, though not detectable to us, once the dog is dry, repels the fleas for the rest of the week.

The solution can also be put in a spray bottle for occasional spot treatment and it can even be used as a cleaning solution around the house!

Replied by Theresa Donate

Mpls., Mn
Hey Marcia!

I am going to try your remedy this spring!

Thanks for the tip!

Replied by Jen
I'm going to start 'brewing' some citrus vinegar this morning! I can't wait to try it!