Vinegar to kill & prevent ticks

Updated April 17, 2017

Ticks are blood sucking parasites that attach to people, animals and birds. They can transmit Lyme disease and are hard to remove once they have attached to a host to feed. They can be as small as a pinhead, but once they feed and grow they can become the size of a pea. Dogs and their owners can get ticks while walking through dense vegetation, particularly in damp areas. Vinegar is a natural alternative to chemical tick control.

Repellent spray

A mixture of one tablespoon (15 ml) of apple cider vinegar in a pint of water can be sprayed on your dog to keep ticks and fleas at bay. You can also use this mix as a rinse after you bath him. Be careful to avoid the eyes as the vinegar will sting. The spray will condition the coat as well as repelling fleas, and is very inexpensive to make.

Drinking water

Add a tablespoon of white distilled or apple cider vinegar to a large bowl that your dog drinks from regularly. It makes the blood more acidic and less attractive to ticks and other biting pests. If the dog will not drink the water then try adding a much smaller amount of vinegar initially until the dog will drink it. Build the amount up over time until you get to about a tablespoon.


Adding vinegar to your pets food will raise the acidity of the blood to deter ticks. If you make your own dog food that includes pureed vegetables, add the vinegar to this part of the food. Aim for about a tablespoon day for a medium sized dog. Vinegar inhibits the growth of bacteria so you can make a week's supply at a time and it will last in the refrigerator for this time.


If you find an attached tick then you will want to remove it as soon as possible. Do not tug at the body as the mouthparts will remain behind and become infected. Pour vinegar directly on the tick then grasp it with tweezers on the head as close to the mouth as possible. Pull slowly then drop it in a small container of vinegar then flush it away. If you have no tweezers, try looping dental floss or cotton around the tick's head close to the skin to get it to detach.

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