Vinegar to Kill & Prevent Ticks

By Jane Meggitt

If you don't like the idea of using powerful chemicals on your pet to repel ticks, you've likely toyed with the idea of using "natural" ingredients to keep these blood-sucking creatures off Fido. Apple cider vinegar has many fine and healthy qualities, and is generally preferred for use in animals over distilled white vinegar. Whether apple cider vinegar is an effective tick repellent is an open question.

Killing Ticks

Theoretically, you could put enough vinegar on your dog to kill ticks. The downside: That much acetic acid, the primary component of vinegar -- would harm the dog as well. Putting a significant quantity of an acidic substance on his skin could seriously damage it. That doesn't mean that apple cider vinegar might not repel ticks when sponged onto the coat in appropriate doses.

Repelling Ticks

After giving your dog a bath, sponge on some apple cider vinegar on his coat to help prevent skin flaking. The apple cider vinegar should also repel ticks -- and fleas -- and you don't have to bathe him every time to get the effect. Sponge enough apple cider vinegar on him to thoroughly wet the coat, then let it air-dry. Perform the thorough sponging once a week during tick season. Keep a bottle of apple cider vinegar diluted with purified water handy to spritz on your dog before he goes outside.

If your dog is light-colored, substitute [distilled white vinegar]( for apple cider vinegar. The latter may stain the coats of light canines.

Food or Water

Apple cider vinegar makes your dog's blood more acidic when taken internally, according to Dogs Naturally magazine. More acidic blood turns off fleas and ticks. By adding 1 teaspoon for each 50 pounds of body weight daily to his food or drinking water, his blood acidity level should rise sufficiently to repel insects without harm. Still, it is always wise to consult your veterinarian before adding any supplements to your dog's diet.

If you're using apple cider vinegar to repel ticks rather than a veterinary flea and tick preventive, it's crucial that you check your dog for fleas once or twice daily. Besides a visual inspection, use a flea or other fine-tined comb to remove unattached ticks. If your dog does have a tick sucking his blood, dab some vinegar on the creature -- white or apple cider -- to ease removal with tweezers.