Does Vinegar Kill Fleas on Dogs?

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Vinegar is used for various solutions around the home, including cleaning, disinfecting, and killing weeds.

Though it is an effective cleaner, the question today is: Does vinegar kill fleas on dogs?

Fleas are not only a nuisance but when they bite our dogs it can leave behind painful bites and cause flea dermatitis, in addition to causing disease and transferring internal parasites like hookworm.

Fleas are among the most tenacious pests around and are difficult to eliminate from our dogs and home.

These determined parasites need to be eliminated on all levels of their life cycle; otherwise, the infestation will continue. 

Although there are many home remedies for fleas, not all of them work well or are safe to use on or around our dogs.

When considering a home remedy, our number one question should be: Is it safe to use on our pups?

So, when researching the efficacy of using vinegar to kill fleas on dogs, I also wanted to explore how safe it was to use on our canines, too.

The answers I found were a bit of a surprise, and I have shared my findings below, along with answering the question of safety, and finally providing other options for killing fleas on dogs.

Does Vinegar Kill Fleas?

According to Dr. Hanie Elfenbein, DVM[1], vinegar does not kill fleas or any of their life stages.

Although vinegar is an acid, it is not strong enough to eat through a flea’s exoskeleton.

Also, vinegar does not have a high enough acidity level to kill flea larvae or their eggs.

Also read: Does Lemon Juice Kill Fleas on Dogs?

Does Vinegar Kill Flea Eggs and Larvae?

Vinegar is not an effective treatment for killing larva or eggs. It is critical to kill all life stages to eliminate fleas in your home and on your dog.

And just killing the adult fleas is not enough because eggs and larvae will continue to develop over time.

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Many people believe their dogs have gotten fleas again; however, more often than not, the fleas were never eradicated.

Does Vinegar Repel Fleas?

There is no hard evidence that vinegar repels fleas; however, it is believed that it is an effective repellent.

It needs to be stated that if your dog is already infested with fleas, the fleas will not leave their new home and food source when spritzed with vinegar.

If your dog currently has fleas, using a product that kills them is the best and fastest way to get rid of them.

One holistic veterinarian, Dr. Judy Morgan[2], states that allowing your dog to consume apple cider vinegar can repel fleas.

Morgan advises that adding a few drops of apple cider vinegar to your dog’s drinking water is enough to act as a repellent.

Vinegar spritzs have been used for help deter fleas in around the home.

If you would like to use it as a spray repellent, you will want to use a 50/50 vinegar and water solution.

Use caution when spraying since the strong smell of vinegar can also repel your dog.

You do not want to use vinegar on your dog’s bed, blankets, or other areas they enjoy spending time. (You can even use it as a dog repellent[3]!)

This is why it is essential to kill all life stages of a flea when eradicating a flea population from your home and dog.

Does vinegar kill fleas on dogs safety effectiveness ticks

How Effective is Vinegar?

There is no documented efficacy of vinegar as a repellent, but I can’t help but believe that if holistic vets recommend it, it likely is an effective repellent.

Again, if you have a flea infestation, it is essential to get rid of the fleas before relying on repellents.

Also Read: Does Bleach Kill Fleas and Flea Eggs?

Is Vinegar Safe for Dogs?

Unfortunately, the statements on safety of using vinegar in or on your dogs varies from veterinarian to veterinarian.

Some state that the use of vinegar orally can cause adverse effects to your dog’s teeth and internal system.

However, holistic veterinarians have used vinegar as a remedy for certain ailments, so much depends on who you ask.

However, I think that all vets would agree if you administer vinegar to your dog it is vital they are under close veterinary supervision.

Due to the contradicting information, it is best to contact your veterinarian before adding vinegar to your dog’s regimen.

Is Vinegar Safe for Puppies?

Vinegar is not safe for puppies as their systems are still developing and far more sensitive than adult dogs.

It is highly discouraged to use vinegar in any form with puppies.

Is Vinegar Harmful to Dogs?

According to Dr. Hanie Elfenbein, administering vinegar orally can cause unfavorable effects on your dog’s health.

Some of the negative effects Dr. Hanie Elfenbein mentions include erosion of tooth enamel and damage to the esophagus and stomach lining.

The reason why vinegar can cause harm to your dog but not to a flea is because repetitive exposure to vinegar can cause corrosive effects over time.

Some of the adverse effects that you may notice to your dog’s health include vomiting, GI upsets, and dental sensitivities. 

How to use vinegar to repel kill fleas in home on dog

How to Use Vinegar for Fleas?

Creating a spray is the most effective option to use vinegar as repellent around your home or yard.

Unfortunately, there is no information as to how long this solution remains effective.

Alternative Options for Killing Fleas on Dogs

If you are looking for an alternative home remedy to kill fleas on your dog, there are a handful of options available, like: 

  • Baby Powder – Baby powder is a safe way to kill fleas on your dogs because it suffocates the fleas. However, it does not prove effective against eggs or larva; if you would like to learn more about using baby powder, click here
  • Coconut Oil – Coconut oil is one of the most effective ways of killing fleas safely on your dog. It can be used both orally as well as topically. Also, coconut oil kills all life stages of the flea. To learn more about using coconut oil for eliminating fleas, please click here
  • Essential Oils – There are a few essential oils effective at killing fleas on your dog. To learn how to use essential oils to kill fleas, click here

Additionally, using commercial products such as NexGard, Frontline, or Bravecto are all great options at killing fleas quickly.

Many of these flea products kill fleas within 4 hours and are effective at eliminating all life stages. 

Conclusion

Unfortunately, vinegar is not an effective way to kill fleas on your dog

However, it does have potential as a repellent around your house.

I use vinegar and salt as a weed killer in my yard since it is safe for my dogs and works to repel fleas too. (Can salt kill fleas?)

The good news is several home remedies can help with killing fleas on your dog safely.

Moreover, using home remedies in combination with safe prescription products is likely the best way to eliminate and keep fleas away. 

Remember, before trying new home remedies that your dog ingests, it is ideal to contact your trusted veterinarian first.

FAQs

Can You Put Vinegar on Dogs for Fleas?

Technically yes, you can put vinegar on your dog for fleas.

However, it will act as a repellent, but it will not get rid of existing fleas.

Fleas tend to remain on dogs even when vinegar is applied. 

Does Vinegar Kill Ticks?

Vinegar does not kill ticks.

The acidic level in vinegar is not high enough to eat away at the tick’s exoskeleton.

Does Vinegar Kill Flea Eggs and Larvae?

No, vinegar does not kill flea eggs or larvae. 

Resources

  1. https://www.petmd.com/parasites/apple-cider-vinegar-for-fleas
  2. https://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/7-vinegar-uses-pet-owners
  3. https://www.thespruce.com/use-dog-repellents-2132575
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