How to Use Bleach for Skin Problems in Dogs

By Joanna Ehlers

Though undiluted bleach is toxic to dogs, it is a powerful disinfectant that may be used to disinfect the dog's home or living environment. Certain skin conditions and parasites that plague man's best friend can be eradicated with a bleach dilution. A trusted veterinary professional should be consulted when dog owners suspect that their pet is suffering from a skin disorder.

Combating Ringworm

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Ringworm is a fungus that leads to crusty bald patches on a dog's coat. The fungus is capable of spreading to cats or even humans if precautions are not taken. Although the unsightly infection can be cured by antibiotics and topical shampoos or ointments prescribed by a licensed veterinarian, the dog's owner may need to take charge in the home to prevent the infection from spreading further. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends diluting 1 part bleach to 10 parts of water for disinfecting the dog's living quarters. Other measures include frequent vacuuming and disposing of the vacuum bag after use.

Pesky Parasites

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Flea bites can cause agonizing itching for dogs. Certain dogs may develop allergies to fleas, and the parasites can cause arthritis to flare up in older pets. A single flea can produce 2,000 eggs over a course of 50 days, making it imperative that dog owners remove them from the home. The Clermont Animal Hospital in Batavia, Ohio recommends washing a pet dog's bedding, stuffed toys and soft items in very hot water with bleach, which will kill fleas and their larvae.

Doing the Laundry

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Cleanliness can go a long way toward preventing skin irritation as well as a host of other problems. A dog's bedding should be washed once a week, according to VetStreet, and bleach can be used in small amounts. If the bleach leaves a residual smell after the bedding has been washed, the bedding should be set out to air-dry. Should the bedding still smell or appear dirty even after a wash, it should be thrown away and replaced with new items.

Use Caution

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As with any household cleanser, it is important to keep bleach out of reach of curious canine noses. Undiluted bleach can cause health problems ranging from coughing to vomiting and chemical burns. Depression, loss of appetite and diarrhea also may occur. In the event of accidental ingestion, the Merck Manual Pet Health Edition recommends giving milk or water for the dog to drink. If the dog's skin is exposed to bleach, his owner can give him a bath with a mild dishwashing detergent followed by a thorough rinse.