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How to Get Rid of Fleas on Dogs with Vinegar

 
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: March 25, 2018
How to Get Rid of Fleas on Dogs with Vinegar

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Vinegar is an effective method of eliminating fleas from dogs with mild to moderate infestations. If your dog has a serious infestation, then the fastest and most effective way to eliminate them is go to a vet immediately. They will provide you with the best type of antiparasitic product to work quickly and may start treatment at the clinic. If, for whatever reason, you don't have access to a vet or these specialized products, then this home remedy might be a good stopgap to at least begin to get rid of the flea problem. This is to say that going to the vet will always be the most effective course of action when treating your flea problem. With smaller infestations or you simply don't have access to other options, AnimalWised shows you the steps you need to follow on how to get rid of fleas on dogs with vinegar.

You may also be interested in: How to Get Rid of Fleas in Cats

Does vinegar work for fleas on dogs?

Vinegar can indeed be an effective product in getting rid of a dog's fleas. The reason is down to the sour taste which vinegar possesses. This sour taste is down to something called ascetic acid. If the idea of putting acid on your dog sounds troubling, then it shouldn't be any more worrisome than thinking about the vinegar we put on a salad. It is harmless for our dog's skin when used externally to get rid of parasites. It is not fun for the fleas who can't stand its smell and are small enough to be harmed by even this relatively low acidity. When you use vinegar on your dog to get rid of fleas, they are likely to evacuate the host to get away from this product. The type of vinegar you can use can be white vinegar, red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Other vinegar such as balsamic might work, but can also cause other issues.

It should be noted that vinegar can also work well as a tick or flea repellent for dogs. It works in a similar way as a flea remover, making the host be unpleasant for fleas to want to infest in the first place. To use it in this way, simply mix the vinegar in with your dog shampoo and apply as usual. Bear in mind, it won't be a permanent repellent and will need replenishing with regular washes to be effective.

What do I need to get rid of fleas on my dog with vinegar?

To eliminate fleas from your dog with vinegar, the first thing you need to get is the vinegar. We believe apple cider vinegar or regular white vinegar to be ideal. Once you have this, you will need:

  • Warm water
  • A container to place the dog (such as a bathtub)
  • A towel
  • Anti-lice brush
  • Lemon (optional)

An anti-lice comb is a comb with close together teeth designed to comb through a dog's fur and pick up lice or other parasites, such as fleas. It is also a useful brush if you have a dog breed with easily matted hair as it can be great for undoing tangles. It is used here to comb through the coat so that you can pick up and fleas which have tenaciously hung around. A comb for humans with the closest teeth you can find can be used instead, but may not be as effective.

How to Get Rid of Fleas on Dogs with Vinegar - What do I need to get rid of fleas on my dog with vinegar?

Steps to eliminate fleas from your dog

Once you have everything at hand, it is time to get rid of those pesky fleas. It is, however, important to know your dog has fleas in the first place and isn't scratching for another reason such as scabies or dermatitis. If you don't have a bathtub at home you can use (or feel uncomfortable using), then any large enough tub to contain your dog will do. That is as long as it is clean enough to use without causing more problems.

If the infection is very slight (i.e. you can only see one or two fleas), then you can dilute the vinegar in some warm water first. If you diulte it too much, however, it won't have much effectiveness. Applying the vinegar directly to your dog's fur won't hurt unless you get it in their eyes or they have an open wound. You can choose to add some lemon juice to the vinegar to both boost the anti-flea properties as well as even out the smell.

The steps to follow are:

  • Dilute the vinegar in warm water (if you choose to do so)
  • Pour the vinegar (or vinegar solution) over your dog's fur, making sure it is spread evenly. Be very careful not to get it in the eyes or nose.
  • Massage the dog's body so that the vinegar is evenly distributed throughout their coat. You should see the fleas start to exit the host. This is why it is a good idea to do this outside, otherwise you will need to check the area afterwards to ensure no fleas are hanging round to infest you, your upholstery or other pets in the home.
  • Repeat with more vinegar if necessary.
  • Pass the anti-lice comb through the body of the dog so that you can check for any more fleas and remove dead or remaining ones.
  • Rinse the dog of excess vinegar and then bathe the dog with an appropriate dog shampoo as usual. An anti-parasitic shampoo is ideal as it will help prevent further flea or tick infestations along with the vinegar.
  • Dry the dog well with a towel and make one last inspection.

Bear in mind that if the flea infestation in your dog is very serious, vinegar might not be enough to get rid of all of them. This is why this home remedy is only recommended for mild to moderate infestations. It could be that you don't have access to a vet or pet supplies if you find a stray dog somewhere out of town. It could be a Sunday night when nothing is open and you want to deal with the problem immediately. Whatever it is, this is a home remedy which is not as effective as going to the vet, but just might work for you. If you see that some of these fleas have escaped into your home, here is a helpful article on how to get rid of fleas from your house.

Is it OK to use vinegar on puppies?

It is absolutely fine to use vinegar for fleas on puppies, but only if you do so with care and attention. in dogs of such a young age, precautions need to be made to ensure their delicate selves are not harmed. This means being extra careful around the nose and eyes of the puppy. Vinegar in the nose can cause a lot of sneezing and getting it in their eyes may result in irritation. It also means being careful to hold them in place without hurting them, especially with energetic dog breeds which might be tempted to flail about and make the job difficult.

In adult dogs, you can add the vinegar directly to the dog's coat. In puppies, the vinegar should be diluted first. Here are steps for removing fleas from a puppy with vinegar:

  • Dilute a tablespoon of vinegar in a cup of water (add a few drops of lemon juice if you wish)
  • Take a clean cloth, moisten it with the solution and pass it over the body of the puppy, avoiding the eyes and nose
  • Repeat the steps if necessary before using the anti-lice comb
  • Remove the product with warm water and bathe the puppy
  • Dry well

If you want to, after applying vinegar to eliminate fleas in puppies you should bathe them with a special shampoo designed for these young dogs. If this does not work, take the dog to the vet. Being a young dog, you don't want them to get any related diseases caused by fleas.

How to Get Rid of Fleas on Dogs with Vinegar - Is it OK to use vinegar on puppies?

Other natural remedies for flea removal in dogs

Perhaps vinegar is the best home remedy for flea removal in dogs, but it is not the only on available. Other effective remedies include:

  • Citrus fruit such as lemon or lime
  • Chamomile infusion
  • Brewer's yeast
  • Lavender essential oil
  • Rosemary essential oil
  • Thyme essential oil

Again, you will need to be careful with these products and not let them affect sensitive areas. Essential oils in particular can cause pain and irritation.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Get Rid of Fleas on Dogs with Vinegar, we recommend you visit our Home Remedies category.

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