How to Get Rid of Fleas Using Apple Cider Vinegar – All Natural & Thrifty

by Jenni on May 23, 2012

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Photo Credit:  Findavet.us

If you have pets that go outside regularly then more than likely, they have encountered a flea or 2…or 2000!  I have a Rat Terrier dog, named Pepper, who has had her fair share of flea encounters!  If you’ve had trouble with them, then you know how miserable it is for the poor pooches so I’m here to tell you how to get rid of fleas – the natural & thrifty way!

We live in the country where fleas are abundant!!  I usually associate the word abundant with GOOD things, but fleas are – well…the pits!! We’ve tried all of the medications, shampoos, pills, and sprays known to man to help us get rid of fleas, but they kept coming back.  I would even give her her monthly dose of “down the back” medicine a week early and it still didn’t keep them at bay!


I started doing some research and found that there is a little household staple that works in getting rid of fleas and I decided to give it a try. Within a week, she was FLEA FREE…literally!!!  Apple Cider Vinegar! Yep…that’s it!  Now, I will say that since we’ve been doing this (which has been for about 3 months now) I still see a flea or 2 every once in awhile when she’s been outside but they don’t stay on too long.

Fleas can’t stand the smell or taste of the Apple Cider Vinegar, however,  for humans vinegar is a natural remedy for many ailments…some even say for Cancer!

Side note: check out this Health book on the Benefits of Vinegar…it’s crazy what all vinegar can do for our bodies!!

Personally, I use about a teaspoon a day of Apple Cider Vinegar added to Peppers food.  You can also add it to their water, but I tried that and she wouldn’t drink it so I just started putting it in her food daily.  Also, I have a small spray bottle that I add a 50/50 mixture of Apple Cider Vinegar and water to.  I use it to spray her down sometimes before going outside to keep those little buggars from jumping on her.

The Apple Cider Vinegar is very good for many other reasons…check out how I clean with vinegar!  Getting back on track – if your dog has skin that is too dry or too oily, this will help in balancing the PH in their skin!  It’s also great for dogs who suffer from arthritis or even dust mite allergies.  When you give them a bath, put a drop or 2 in their ears and it dries up any excess water which can cause ear infections.

Extra piece of advice.  If your dog has fleas bad enough that you’re finding them on your couches, in your carpet, or in your bed – lightly spray those areas with the mixture I mentioned above. After the sprayed areas dry, vacuum really REALLY well. Take your vacuum away from the house immediately AFTER you’ve vacuumed and dump the filter/canister so the fleas don’t get back out and any eggs don’t hatch.  I recommend doing this EVERYDAY or even a few times a day until you see less and less, then eventually none!

If you’re tired of paying all those high prices for Flea medications and shampoos that just aren’t working…give this a try.  I think you’ll have success like I have!!  Be sure and let me know if this works out for you!

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{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

CinnyBBS May 27, 2012 at 2:00 am

Really? That works? I’ll have to keep that in mind!
Whirlwind of Surprises

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Kourtenay May 27, 2012 at 2:20 am

Apple Cider Vinegar is good for SO many things..just never thought of it helping with fleas. I just recently heard that it’s also good for those pesky weeds that grow between side walks.

When I was growing up, my dad would use what was called Seven Dust. He’d shake it on the lawn and that helped keep the fleas from getting on our dog. Not sure if that stuff is still around though since I don’t have a dog now.

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Jenni November 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Kourtenay – We use Seven Dust on our roses and stuff here to keep bugs and beetles off of them so I’m sure it would work on fleas too. Our yard is just too big. We’d have to buy a pallet of it ;)

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Chelsea Klassen January 3, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Wow! I never knew about this use! Thanks for the post!

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Shanaka @ Mama Bee Does January 3, 2013 at 2:42 pm

I’ll need to share this with my Mom as she just got a dog and keeps it in the house.

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Crystal @ ColorMeCrystal.com January 3, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Great tip! Storing this one in the memory banks. We’re battling fleas right now. Stupid weather hasn’t stayed cold enough to kill them.

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Teri Gelseth January 4, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Do you think regular distilled white vinegar would work for the furniture? I already use this for cleaning and would rather keep the raw apple cider vinegar for eating ( us and pets) this would explain why our goats and rabbits etc never get fleas! I always add it to there water but for some reason when we moved I forgot it for the dog.

I have a wine bottle with a spout four pouring that we used all the time for the pets water and one that matches my oil next to the stove. Pop in a few cloves of garlic and keep the vinegar topped off and you have a super healthful homemade additive with too many benefits to list in a comment! woot!

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Jenni January 5, 2013 at 12:23 am

Teri,

I would think that just regular distilled white vinegar would work just as well for the furniture. The vinegar itself is what is repulsive to the fleas…the apple cider is just naturally sweeter tasting so that’s why it’s easier to get the pets to eat it from their food. Again, I tried mixing it in my dog’s water and she wouldn’t drink it. Just adding a small amount to her dog food and mixing it up she doesn’t mind. I’ve also heard that using a spray bottle mixed with water and a little Dawn dish liquid and spraying over your furniture works too.

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Teri Gelseth January 5, 2013 at 12:47 am

yay! i will give it a go and see. cant believe I forgot about that but then again never associated it with fleas per se

Teri
terigelseth.com

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Jennifer Sikora January 5, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Does the dog smell like vinegar at all?

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Jenni January 5, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Jennifer – I don’t notice it with my dog just by putting it in her food. When I spray her down with it I can smell it a bit but it doesn’t last long. Winter is settling in now and I still add it to her food but I don’t worry about spraying her with it before going outside. We have snow on the ground now, BUT the closer to spring it gets I will start again.

Another thing, the vinegar will balance out their PH so it will sort of help neutralize any odor.

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StephanieR January 11, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Thank you for this great tip! We live in the county also and the fleas last summer were just awful. They were so bad the little boogers where being tracked into the house and eating my Mini-Me alive. We will be using this tip this yea.

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Shauna January 12, 2013 at 4:03 pm

WOW… I had no clue! What a great tip. Flea dips and sprays can be so expensive…

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Lynsey @ Blogging Planner January 12, 2013 at 9:18 pm

First, that picture is SO cute. And yep I LOVE this remedy. I interned at a Vet office a hundred years ago, and he had a lot of very low income clients who would bring their poor furbabies in just covered in fleas. We actually got this vinegar by the case and would give it to our clients. Its THAT good. Great post!

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Jenni January 12, 2013 at 10:54 pm

Lynsey – that is awesome that you guys did that. It’s frustrating when your pets are miserable and all the money you throw away on meds don’t work anyway. We’ve had alot of luck with this so we keep using it :)

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Bonnie Caselman January 13, 2013 at 7:02 am

I’m surprised the dogs will eat the food with the vinegar on it. It seems like a such a strong smell.

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Jenni January 13, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Bonnie, she didn’t like it much at first but I only use a very small amount since she’s a small dog. She’s used to it now and doesn’t even pay attention to it. Be sure to use the apple cider vinegar though, it tastes sweeter.

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Katrina @ The Interrupting Cow January 13, 2013 at 10:50 am

So do you feed it to him for other health reasons, or does it get in his system to keep the fleas away that way? I noticed you also use the spray…

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Jenni January 13, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Katrina – I use it specifically to keep the fleas away but it’s beneficial in other ways too. When you get into a routine of giving it to them everyday, it eventually gets into their system and skin. I only spray her in the summer months when the fleas outside are bad. Since we live in the country, they are abundant. Just spraying her with hit before going outside is like adding an extra barrier so they won’t jump on her.

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Catherine Taylor January 13, 2013 at 9:19 pm

Interesting. I wonder if it could work….

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marthalynn January 14, 2013 at 11:05 am

Wow! I love this! My mom’s poor dog suffers from dry skin. I’m printing this out right now and mailing it to her.

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Sharon Siqueiros January 15, 2013 at 1:58 pm

We don’t have fleas, but some of my plants have little critters and I’ve been using the 50/50 spray on them and it works!!

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Jenni January 15, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Sharon – that’s great! Keep a close eye on the plants though, I’ve heard that vinegar is a great weed killer. I wouldn’t want your plants to start turning brown!

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Chelsea Klassen January 15, 2013 at 2:20 pm

That’s a great tip! I will pass it on!

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Colleen Boudreau January 15, 2013 at 6:18 pm

This is great! We had a big flea issue two summer’s ago.. it was horrible!

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Leah CB January 18, 2013 at 1:16 am

I’m doing this. I read about this a few months ago myself! We have been over run by fleas. The cost of the medication is killing me. I add the vinegar to their drinking water. Maybe about a half teaspoon or so, neither the dogs nor the cats care. I also spray them down with a mixture of it. (On a side note, that mixture is great for a bad behavior deterrent, I use it for annoying barking, chewing, and jumping on people! It really works great. I do use 2 drastically looking different bottles though so to try not to associate it) I also use a part vinegar/water mixture when I bathe them. After shampooing and rinsing I rinse them good with the mixture, even my cats. Just be careful with their eyes. Personally I feel this is better than all of the chemicals & a heck of a lot cheaper :)

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JKAPS January 18, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Vinegar is great for so many things. I’ve recently started to use it to rinse/wash fruits and vegetables before I use them. My family is happy. I was scaring them by using dishsoap. They were certain I wouldn’t get it completely washed off someday.

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tami s January 19, 2013 at 11:46 am

I don’t have pets, but great information. I use vinegar for so many things I couldn’t list them all.

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Jenni January 19, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Tami – you’re so right. My dad uses it for heartburn even. He swears by it!

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Gina Brickell January 19, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Wow, I have NEVER heard of this before!!! I’m definitely going to try this! I may have a difficult time getting my dog to eat the food with it in there, but I’m going to try spraying it on her and see if it works. Thanks for the tip!

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Jenni January 20, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Gina – You can try starting with like half a teaspoon or something just until she gets used to it. My dog stuck her nose up at it at first too…but then she got hungry enough and didn’t care. I put just enough now in her food and stir it around really well until it’s all sort of just barely wet.

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Trish F January 20, 2013 at 10:39 pm

Wow, I could of used this tip summer of 2011. The fleas were so bad we had to use capstar and I bombed. Next time I will try the apple cider vinegar. Thanks for passing this on.

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Nancy January 21, 2013 at 12:34 pm

i’m excited to know this! our dogs have problems every summer & the commercial stuff is so expensive. thanks!

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Jenni January 21, 2013 at 9:39 pm

You’re right Nancy…super expensive!!

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Holly Trudeau January 21, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Apple Cider Vinegar is a jack of all trades! lol, I also use it, mixed with dish washing detergent, to catch fruit flies. It’s also a great skin toner, when watered down of course :)

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Jenni January 21, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Holly – it definitely is! I’ve heard of people catching fruit flies with it before. Those little buggars are so bothersome! I’ve never thought of using it as a toner. I might have to give that a try :) Thanks for the heads up!

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Marsha Scott March 2, 2013 at 7:07 pm

I wonder if you could use it for cats? They are so hard to get anything on in the summer time. I wonder if mixing it in their wet food would work?

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Jenni March 2, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Marsha, honestly I have no idea. I’ve never had cats so I’m not sure but I’d think it would be alright. I’d definitely research on Google before just to be on the safe side.

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Leah CB March 8, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Hi,
Popping back in again. I add it to my cats drinking water & they don’t mind. I also rinse them (diluted) after a bath. (My cats don’t mind baths, haha) If you’re cats don’t like baths you could wipe it on down to the skin.Start off gradually in the drinking water. Maybe an 1/8th tsp and work up from there. It’s also great for cleaning ears.

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Jenni March 8, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Great to know Leah! Thanks for updating for us!!

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Lisa June 13, 2013 at 12:42 am

Your cats like baths? I’m jealous – my family thinks its funny to take pictures of me all bloody after my cats whip on me for giving them a bath. I am definitely going to try this to avoid more cat baths… my nose is almost healed

Pam April 21, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Can this be used on cats too? If not does anyone have suggestions for them.. I have both, dog and cat in the house and they seem to just pass them back and forth..

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Jenni April 21, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Pam, I’m not certain about using this method for cats. I don’t own any cats (I’m allergic) so I would definitely ask your vet prior to using. It may be fine, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. Good luck and let us know what you find out!! It would be helpful to others I’m sure!

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James April 30, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Gave this a try after using shampoos and sprays on my puppy and it worked perfect for the South Florida flea fields.

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Jenni May 1, 2013 at 1:45 am

That’s great!! Glad it worked well for you. I hear those buggar’s are pretty bad in Fl.

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Nikki May 25, 2013 at 11:02 pm

We live in the Philippines so the tropical weather makes it easy for these fleas to infest our dog. I just tried this solution this morning during my dog’s bath. It was so effective. Immediately the fleas surfaced in my dog’s coat like they couldn’t hold on anymore and lost their sucking powers. They must really hate ACV! Will do this regularly!

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Jenni May 26, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I’m so glad it worked well for you Nikki.

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Denise June 14, 2013 at 9:32 am

I have started using Apple Cider Vinegar on my dog Luckie about one week now and it really works. I apply it by using cotton wool and rubbing it into his skin, the fleas just fall off. It is really good. Thank you.

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Jenni June 14, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Awesome Denise! I love to hear good reports!

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Mona-Nickle June 16, 2013 at 4:33 am

Just wanted to say that I started using Apple Cider Vinegar to combat fleas when I moved back to Louisiana. One of the ways I got my dog – Nickle to eat her food with ACV was to add a 1/2 tsp of no sodium chicken broth. Both the ACV and broth made a little gravy, she loved it. I did that for about a week afterwhich I only used the ACV. Clear the fleas immediately. Also added ACV to the laundry when I washed her bedding and did the 50/50 spray on the furniture. It works!!

I love ACV. I drink it daily and add it to my bath once a week.

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Jenni June 17, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Wow…thanks for sharing the tip about the chicken broth! That’s a great little trick. Sometimes they will stick their nose up at the ACV in their water to drink so that’d be a great way to introduce them if they’re being picky at first.

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Rita June 17, 2013 at 12:02 pm

I have tried this and it works like a charm!!! I have 4 dogs in my house (5, until I had to put my senior girl to sleep last month,) and not a flea on them! It took a little while to kick in after I started adding the vinegar to their water bowls, but it has been working since! I occasionally see a random flea on my rat terrier, but our yard is large and they like to play & lay in it, so I can handle 1 here & there!

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Jenni June 17, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Awesome Rita!! So glad it’s working for you!!

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Bobbi July 6, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Jenni, do you apply the ACV to wet or dry dog food? My pit gets dry and my 14yr old gets moist. Also, I’ve heard that organic is better than the pasteurized. Any thoughts?

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Jenni July 8, 2013 at 10:51 am

Hi Bobbi! We give our dog dry dog food but I would think that it’d be fine in wet food too. Let us know how it goes!

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Sally July 26, 2013 at 10:06 am

Hi Jenni,

My English Bull Terrier Dottie has had a few fleas lately and the bites have caused her to be itching almost constantly and have red blotchy skin. Have just started adding ACV to her water and she seems to have almost stopped itching and her skin isn’t as blotchy! We also added a little bit to a spray bottle with some Lavender oil in too (which helps calm down inflammation and itching) and this really seems to have worked and really quickly too!! We were just saying the other day that we didn’t think we would ever get rid of the flea problem, as we didn’t want to do down the chemical route and nothing else natural really worked and now we are so happy that the ACV seems to be working so well!!

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Katy September 6, 2013 at 6:21 pm

One of our dogs has been overwhelmed with fleas in spite of TriTak, daily diatomaceous earth on him and in the house, and daily vacuuming of the him and the house. Our other dog and cats have minimal issues with fleas. As soon as I saw this blog, I started with the ACV. It’s been just two days, but already he’s calmer and isn’t going into frenzies because of how much he itches. I’m still seeing some fleas on his back legs, but it appears that the fleas may not be biting him as much as they were before.

I created flea wipes by soaking paper towels in an ACV/water solution. I’m storing them in a Corningware casserole with a plastic lid. My dog is a Mastiff/GSD mix, very large and very strong. He’s not especially a fan of being sprayed. The wipes are excellent. I can get his fur damp down to the skin and he feels as though he’s getting a massage. The paper towels are a little flimsy when they get wet. At Sam’s Club, I just bought a box of Scott Rags in a Box which are paper towels made to clean commercial kitchens. They are supposed to be strong and absorbent. I hope they work even better.

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Jenni September 7, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Yay…I’m glad he’s getting some relief. I’m happy that the ACV is working out for you. Nice idea with the wipes. I’ll have to try that!

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Katy September 8, 2013 at 12:27 am

The Scott Rags in a Box are fantastic as ACV wipes. They are thick paper towels that are as strong as cloth. They are about the size of a man’s handkerchief and are very absorbent. I pre-soaked several of them with ACV/water. I was able to use one towel to fully dampen the fur of a 112 lb dog. I can use one wipe to go from his head to his tail and there is no shredding. I could probably even wash the Rag in a Box and use it again. Since I got 350 paper towels for around $13.00 and because I’m wiping off dead fleas and flea dirt, I’m just throwing them away when I’m done.

The ACV is a miracle. Before ACV, Major was constantly in a frenzy of scratching and was tormented. Today is Day 3 – Major seems to still have some fleas on his abdomen and back legs, but they don’t seem to be bothering him as much. I’ve been vacuuming Major once a day, wiping him with ACV/water wipes two or three times a day, and giving him about 2 teaspoons of ACV morning and night. I pray that he continues to make good progress. Thanks again.

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Jenni September 8, 2013 at 1:48 am

Oh, yay for Major! I’m really glad it’s working out so well. I do recommend vacuuming where he lays too each day or a couple of times a day. Some fleas will start jumping off of him to get away from the ACV in his skin so making sure to vacuum where he’s around will be helpful too. Make sure to empty your vacuum bag or canister OUTSIDE after each vacuuming!! I hope you keep making progress!!!

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Peggy September 10, 2013 at 11:50 pm

I have a 31/2 month German Shep pup, she is on the bigger side, any suggestions on how much ACV I should give her? I started putting a small amount in her water last night, she has no issue drinking it, but want to make sure I give her enough, but not to much!

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Jenni September 11, 2013 at 10:46 am

Peggy, I use about a teaspoon for my little rat terrier. I’m not certain how much you can give larger dogs. I would start out small and then gradually give her more. Once you notice the fleas disappearing…I’d say you’ve hit the right amount of ACV. Since she is just a pup and still growing quite a bit you might have to keep gradually adding more to her water or food. I’d say that somewhere between 1 and 2 teaspoons for a larger dog would be enough. Good luck!!

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Susan September 18, 2013 at 12:05 am

Fantastic Article. ACV is amazing for dogs both taken internally and externally. I feel so bad for dogs whose owners are ignorant of the powerful health benefits. My dogs have clean breath, tons of energy, strong immune system all thanks to KetchPup®. “The Original Ketchup for Dogs.” This product contains ACV as one of the 5 organic ingredients. You see, dogs love the benefits, but some hate the taste. Blending it in with this sauce masks the strong taste and they LOVE IT. I squirt it over their food and they lick the bowl clean. Hope this helps others as you experiment with apple cider vinegar for your dog,
Susan

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Tara October 12, 2013 at 11:19 pm

I read that ACV is good for hot spots on dogs. My dog has them so bad and he wont leave them alone. I have tried rubbing triple antibiotic ointment on him but it has not helped. I got desperate and went to Google for answers. I read everywhere that ACV helps with the skin problems. Is this something anyone on here has tried and can tell me that it works? Also, do you think it would hurt my dog?

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Jessica March 8, 2014 at 3:17 am

Instead of trying to mix in their food can I give them apple cider vinegar with a syringe so I know they’re getting all of it. I’m so desperate to try anything…. I’ve apparently wasted a ton of money on flea meds that arent working all name brand too, what a joke! I’ve even tried other home remides I need something that will actually work

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Jenni March 8, 2014 at 11:00 am

Jessica, I’ve never given my dog the vinegar that way and I’m pretty sure that your dog would probably fight you on it. They don’t particularly like the taste of it, so that’s why it’s easier to mix in their food. Good luck!

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