Ringworm Remedies for Pets

Essential Oils

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Ky Mama (Clinton, Ky) on 11/24/2012

When my outdoor cats had ringworm, the stuff the vet gave me did not work. I mixed 1 part lavender essential oil, 1 part tea tree essential oil and 2 parts olive oil into a jar. Twice a day I applied this to the cats' ringworm spots. I did this for 2 weeks. (Cotinue to treat for a few days even after it looks healed. ) Apparently essential oils can be too strong for cats, so I diluted it, and my cats had no problem. I was sure it was safer than the vet prescription anyway. I used this same thing on my children when they got ringworm from the cats.

Replied by A
(Burt, NY)

Ringworm: TEA TREE OIL IS EXTREMELY TOXIC TO CATS PLEASE DON'T USE IT ON YOUR CAT........ Cats are also extremely sensitive to essential oils, please be careful.......

Replied by Pam
(Philadelphia, Pa)

WARNING!!! Tea tree oil is *highly toxic* to a cat's liver and should NEVER be used on them or around them--not even in an air diffuser that they could breath in. Just because one person used this without an adverse incident does not mean it is safe. Certain other essential oils are also toxic (others may be safe), and most safe ones need a nontoxic carrier oil (do not use undiluted). Always do your homework before considering any type if essential oil!

Flowers of Sulphur and Iodine

Posted by Zeb (UK) on 08/12/2014

Hi, to treat ringworm inexpensively; get Flowers of Sulphur and Iodine. Mix both together in equal quantity, and apply to skin. This works for Mange, Ringworm and mud fever! For Horses, I have used Stockholm tar as a bonding agent to the skin, but lard works just as well.

Gentian Violet

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Liana (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada) on 08/02/2010

My cat had ringworm that threw me into a panic as an amimal shelter north of Toronto began euthanizing dogs and cats after the outbreak until people began demonstrating and the shelter stopped killing their charges. I found the following remedy against ringworm on the internet and had excellent results: Gentian Violet topical solution (USP 1%).

First I used a q-tip to apply the GV solution. In a week or so, the balding spots on the cat seemed to improve. But then, the cat developed other bald spots which I understood was symptomatic of ring worm. I then encased my hand in a plastic bag, put around a tablespoonful of the GV solution on his balding spots and stroked his fur with it against the grain. I did this once a day for about a month. Now his bald spots are 95% gone and his fur has grown back, looking the way it was pre-ring worm attack. I am truly ecstatic with the results, and I have no doubt, so is the cat. The cat has had purple skin for a while because of the solution but does not seem to be bothered by it at all. Apple cider vinegar did not work well as he promptly scooted away as soon he smelled it. Btw, the cost per 15 ml bottle at the local pharmacies was CDN$5. 00 to $7. 00. I used 3 bottles only.

Grapefruit Seed Extract

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Deirdre (London, England) on 12/05/2006

Grapefruit seed extract "citricidal" cures ringworm. I used about 4 drops in 3 tablespoons luke warm water, twice daily, applied with cotton-wool pad. It got rid of my cat's ringworm in about 7 days.

Replied by Safiya

Hi, what were the symptoms you noticed on your cat's fur coat?

Head and Shoulders Shampoo

2 User Reviews
5 star (1) 
3 star (1) 

Posted by Jade (Murrieta, Ca) on 02/17/2010

I foster lots of dogs and cats and have occasional outbreaks of ringworm and mange. It was not uncommon for one of my family members to get ringworm from the affected pets. A nurse at a local hospital suggested we try head and shoulders shampoo...just wash hair as directed, and any affected areas. Within days the rash is gone.

We tried the same thing on the pets and got the same results. For ringworm, wash pet and let it soak for about five minutes. Rinse thoroughly. Repeat every couple of days.

For Mange, apply shampoo to coat and work up a lather. Let sit for 10 minutes to kill mites. Rinse thoroughly. Repeat every three days as needed till rash is gone.

Replied by Mgew
(Texas, United States)


I used Head and Shoulders on my cats for ringworm. You cannot used this very much at all on cats. Maybe only twice. Once at the onset and then when they have healed to make sure that all the fungus is off their fur. I did used it more often and it made my cats itch and their hair fell out around their shoulders. The selenium can be super drying. Use an alternative treatment for the ringworm itself. I use about 6 drops of apple cider vinegar in 2 oz of colloidal silver applied twice a day on the spots.

Replied by Rachel

The CS and ACV dabbing on the spots cured your cats of RW?

Just curious how long it took as I am doing the same doing a diluted APV and water wipe twice daily and also putting CS in their drinking water and food, about a teaspoon in their wet food twice a day and a teaspoon in their water daily, I use Mesosilver (Pure True Colloidal Silver) We just started 2 days in. Luckily it isn't spreading on them, Fingers crossed.

I hear it takes at least 5 days of CS ingestion to start clearing. We are taking it too so we don't get RW.

Anyone else have luck with Colloidal silver/Apple Cider Vinegar?


5 User Reviews
5 star (5) 

Posted by Marie (New York) on 07/26/2016

Ringworm: I tried apple cider vinegar on my dogs and it didn't work. I used providone iodine from the pharmacy and used it twice a day with a cotton ball on the visible spots and it went away. Then diluted in water like tea color and poured on them after bath, careful with eyes!!! It hasn't come back. Always buy the gallon. Better buy!

Posted by Betty (Texas) on 08/18/2013

My good old fashion vet, Who's been a vet for a very long time told me to use Iodine on my cat for ringworm. It worked very well! You just put it on with cotton balls or swabs to the affected spots. Use it every day for a week. My other cats never got it either. The Iodine puts a coating on there. Seals it so to speak. My cat was real bad in some places. His fur is growing back quickly now. You must not get it into the cat's eyes. It will stain material and your skin. So wear rubber gloves and old clothes. I hope this helps someone. It worked for my black cat Twilight. Betty Oh yea I tried the apple cider vinegar. It DID NOT WORK.

Replied by Susan
(Venice Fl)

I have a Prrsian kitten who has ringworm on one of his hinders which the vet shaved. This is so frustrating for him and for me. He is getting a topical cream but I would like to try the iodine but am not sure what kind to buy and how to apply it! Any feedback will be greatly appreciated. Susan

Posted by Jeannie (Austin TX) on 02/11/2006

I recently read (in Mother Earth News Archives, 1971) that cats are highly susceptible to iodine poisoning. I think there are safer alternatives to using iodine on/in a cat.

Posted by Dianna (Houston, AR) on 01/14/2006

I have wormed my dogs and cats successfully for twenty-seven years with iodine. It's slower than commercial wormers but safer and with less side effects. I no longer use it only because I found another natural wormer that's even better.

Replied by Montana
(San Antonio, Tx)

what was the better natural wormer? Feel free to email me directly, should you ever get this! Montana

Replied by Jenny
(Fall River, Ma)

could you please email me with the info also? Thank You, JV

Replied by Lorin
(Bakersfield, Ca)

I foster cats and dogs, and would also love to know. Thanks

Replied by Azorez
(Langley, Bc Canada)

It is absolute insanity to use iodine as a wormer internally. It is toxic and cats are especially sensitive to it... Who ever wrote this must be thinking that "Ringworm" is caused by a worm but is in fact a topical fungus.

Replied by Victoria
(Lakeland, Florida)

@ Dianna,

Sorry to bother you but, you seemed to know what your stuff when it comes to dogs & have alot of years experience with yours. So, If you don't mind I need some help. I'll give you a lil' history on him first before I ask. My pup is 4yr old pitbull who I recently got nuetered abt 2 months ago & just got all of his anual round of shots. I check his whole body daily, since he's extremely active so he is always going outside in my yard & getting into dirt an whatnot. But, was checking him the other night & I believe somehow he got ringworm from my lil' nephew cuz he had it recently. It isn't very far along because he only has a few spots starting, mostly concentrated on his belly area.

But, when you wrote ur comment & said you've (wormed) your dogs for a long time by treating them with Iodine, I wanted to make sure what you meant by that. Your meaning ringworm treatment right? Excuse me if I sound stupid by that question. Lol I really just wanted to try & find some other way of treating him without having to constantly go back & forth to the vet with all these extra costs & doing all these things they said I need to do. Because they wanna charge me alot for all these treatments & right now I really just can't afford all the extra costs but, I wanna try to do whatever I can for my baby. If you could plz help me out, & maybe tell me if there is any other remedies that might help? Or anything else I can do to keep him from scarring from the circles out of his fur? I would just greatly appreciate anything at all you can offer.

Thankyou so much for your time. Victoria

Posted by Catherine (Laval, Quebec, Canada) on 01/07/2006

When I was 21, I came back from the lake with what we call 'ringworm'. It is not a worm but a fungus. An older man I showed it to told me to put iodine on it. The red skin cleared within a few days. Ever since, I have been using it on abandoned cats that come in from the cold with various states of the fungus. It clears within days. Vets panic at the sight of ringworm because of the possibility of contagion to humans. Some will even suggest to put the animal to sleep. They have a tendancy to give chemical pills, I have no idea if they work. Apply the iodine on the rim of the spot as it is where the fungus lies and multiplies."

Catherine Bégin, researcher
Lost and Found Pet Network

Kyrie's Remedies

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Kyrie (New York, NY) on 09/24/2008

A cat's skin is much more sensitive than human skin so please consider this when using anything on them that stings.

Also, I have read in numerous places that essential oils, even on flea collars, can be lethal to cats. Putting motor oil, which is a carcinogen (as is petroleum jelly), on an animal that cleans itself with its mouth, I would think that could be dangerous. While I still wouldn't put it on a horse, they are different than cats and dogs and will not likely ingest it.

Now onto ringworm:
Both my cat and I are sick - we were both exposed to large doses of a pesticide, in an enclosed area, and now both of our immune systems are having issues. Add to that, we both caught ringworm, from a stray kitten, on a cross country trip. I have found, being that I have a compromised immune system (isn't working at all) that getting rid of ringworm has been difficult as I am having to get to the underlying causes in order to really get rid of it (in chinese medicine - dampness). Ringworm is related to all the things you hear about that start with the word tinea - such as athlete's foot, nail fungus, scalp itch, jock itch (pardon my bluntness). And as any one who has had any of these knows, it's really difficult to treat. So even when you treat the raised sore, you have often not gotten rid of it (I think it is systemic but I might be wrong). So, if you are ready to take it out completely, you will have to address not only the lesions but clothing, bedding, floors, etc. You may not show sores but you may have it (itchy scalp? White soft buildup? Crusty ears? Itching anywhere?).

So even tho it is caustic, I use bleach if I have to wash floors. And where I can't, I use plain old salt. For my kitty's ears, I took a damp washcloth soaked in a high saline solution (kosher sea salt) and just applied it directly to the ringworm. This kills it within a short period of time (10 minutes should be plenty). It stings while the fungus is alive and stops when it is dead. I have found one application to be sufficient if you treat the other areas. For humans, swimming in the ocean is a way to alleviate it on the skin, scalp, etc. What you have to be careful of is when you put your clothes back on - or your kitty goes and lays down where he usually does - he and you are probably reinfecting yourselves.

When not near the ocean, I like to take kosher sea salt baths - 1.5 lbs in bath water (this is a very heavy concentration but I like it). After I am done with the bath - I throw my clothes in the water and soak them before washing them. Unlike when I swim in the ocean which leaves a residue and dries out my hair, the kosher salt leaves my hair really wonderful. I don't use shampoo on those days and my hair has been stripped of all the impurities that build up (yeast/fungus in your hair makes it slightly gooey).

Supposedly dry cleaning kills it as well.

Now this is a lot of work. I'm pretty sick so its been hard clearing it and you might not be as susceptible, but your cat or dog who is scratching and you don't see anything, or their ears are red and sensitive might be harboring more of the fungus.

I once went to a health food store and the woman behind the counter told me that she had had it a while back and had successfully treated it. I did not have it at the time. I caught it again from her - and it was a particularly virulent strain - it took a lot to cleanse that one out. She had simply suppressed the lesions.

The other thing to do is treat yourself and animal on a nutritional basis. Good food, pure water, etc is a great help. Fungus loves sugar (see candida - it's a fungus as well), so out went all the junk.

I am being treated by a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner and he is helping me on a constitutional level so I don't self prescribe - I let him do his work. But I do take the baths whenever I know i've come into contact with a fungus (I am sens to it now and know - I sometimes pick it up outdoors or on my own keyboard). My cat gets homeopathic remedies which clear it out of his system. Berberis is a great acute for ringworm. In a pinch (and not in true homeopathic prescribing, ringworm is a remedy as well as well that can be ordered from Helios, and that also knocks it out).

My kitty lets me put the damp cloth on his sensitive ears without much of a fuss and its a good holdover until the remedy kicks in (can take up to 4 weeks or so to be fully cleared and may need to be repeated every 3 months depending on how deep a level it affected the animal). You'll know. He still gets it but it is getting weaker and weaker in him.

I am also going to start him on hydrogen peroxide therapy as well after reading this wonderful site!

Sorry this isn't incredibly simple but it works! I hope this can help someone.

Replied by Raberdash
(Ely, Nevada)

Please tell me the formula for the sea salt/water mixture for ringworm in pets. This appeals to me much more than Neem oil. Coconut oil didn't work for my puppy's paws because she kept licking it off! (It did work around her eyes, however.)

Lime Sulphur Dip

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Carole (Arroyo Grande, California, Usa) on 10/15/2010

I volunteer for Animal Services and foster cats and kittens. What we use for ringworm is sulfurated lime rinses. It's not popular with the cats, and it smells like sulfur (rotten eggs), and has to be done fairly often for a substantial amount of time but it apparently works. I haven't used it, but other volunteer fosters have used it. One brand name is Derma Pet. Hope this helps.

Milk From a Fig Leaf

2 User Reviews
5 star (1) 
1 star (1) 

Posted by Dallas (Dallas, TX) on 04/27/2007

For ringworm or any other fungal infection of the skin, I've always used the milk from a figleaf. You usually only have to do it once or twice. This is good for humans or pets.

Replied by Allison
(Houston, Tx)


I tried the sap (milk) from the fig trees for my ringworm problem on myself once a day for three days consecutively. Not only was it painful after the second application when the enzyme started to digest my skin, but it burned the skin off the area and left it raw. I gave it one more application bearing the pain hoping it will get rid of the ringworm. But it did not. I really thought it would work as I figure that the sap from fig trees are powerful enzymes that digest proteins, similar to bromalain and papain, enzymes from the pineapple and the papaya. Thus I strongly caution against trying this on your pets because their skins are much more delicate and this remedy would be extremely painful and animals don't have the verbal capacity to tell you that it is hurting them.

Replied by Courtney
(Toronto Canada)

I, m going to try combing my cat with a comb from the vets office, then right after that I will use a jaycloth, soak it fully in ACV, and wipe my cat down with it. The cat doesn't like it because it's wet, but I can usually get enough of her before she goes under a table. She will then start licking it off her back, and won't stop till she feels like. So it's ok for her to consume the ACV that way. It also makes her coat very shiny, and in no way affects her eating or drinking.

Replied by Mylu
(California, Missouri)

Mortor oil does work for mange. Used it 2 months ago dog is clear and healthy.


1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Pam E. (SoutWestern California) on 08/13/2022 127 posts

If there's any need to retreat for Ringworm, try putting an appropriate dose of pure MSM in each meal daily. My cats got ringworm, & I read that conventional vets quarantine + regularly/repeatedly bathe them in sulfur baths + constantly sanitize their living areas.... I started putting appropriate sized doses of MSM in their meals, & within a few days notice their sores healing up.

They healed noticeably more daily until they were gone. The problem is worst through humid weather, but it's pretty easy to continue supplying their food with pure MSM until things dry out sufficiently. Maybe something like this will work for you, too. I hope so!

Neem Oil

2 User Reviews
5 star (2) 

Posted by Pat (Sterling, VA) on 05/22/2007

I have fostered many cats with ringworm and the thing that knocks it out in days is neem oil. A bath twice a week for at least a month in a neem oil pet shampoo. Make sure you wash between toes which is how the spores are spread -- scratching the face and head. Then apply neem oil lightly directly to lesion twice a day for 3-4 days. It usually starts to heal the affected areas in 3 days.

Replied by Mom Of Dom And Dice
(Royersford, Pennsylvania)

Absolutely YEA! Dice came from rescue with sarcoptic mange, it eventually infected Domino as well. Months of pesticide treatment to no avail. Went to Wholefoods, they reccomended Neem Oil. After 2 weeks of treatment, the boys started growing their hair back! The itching and red areas subsided, and we got to have our puppies back! And they got to have their good lives back! I will occasionally use this oil treatment for hot spots, and we use Neem Soap for bathing in Spring and Summer, it helps keep mosquitoes off of them too! Although the smell is something that takes getting used to, it wears away... It appears that Dice may have ringworm (small patch) on his belly, so he is getting NEEM bath today and a treatment tonight of the pure oil from Wholefoods... I 100% support this treatment for a braod spectrum of skin issues in dogs! :) Also, no harm in them licking it, it is natural!!!

Replied by Katelyn
(Dallas, Tx)

Natural does not equal safe. Arsenic and lead are both natural, but no one would suggest they are safe. Neem oil has a number of contradictory studies- many of them showing it is dangerous in its pure form. Using highly diluted neem oil on your pet as a bug repellant is very different from applying pure neem oil directly to their body. I wouldn't recommend it. There is not enough proof of safety.

Replied by Meg
(Memphis, Tn)

I've recently had a lot of bites which of turn to lesions after going to the doctor they prescribed permethrin cream for mites or fleas and flagyl for parasites. I've been bathing in 100% virgin cold pressed neem oil and my cat stepped in the bathtub and licked his paw and begin salivating for about five minutes and now he seems fine. The veterinarian wasn't even sure what neem oil was so I'm asking for help.. if a small amount was ingested or just in his mouth it could hurt him? (he did not ingest or get any type of other essential oil's in his mouth).

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)

Hey Meg,

The main concern about neem products are the other things that may be added to them, like tea tree oil. Pure neem should not be an issue. If you are concerned give activated charcoal - mix a spoon into a can of tuna and see if your cat will take it. On a side note, you might consider the lamp flea trap if you are getting bitten by these pests.

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