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Does Vinegar Kill Ticks? Everything You Need to Know

There are no studies to suggest that vinegar works on killing ticks. But this doesn’t mean you can’t try it. Some people claim vinegar can kill and repel fleas and ticks on dogs and in homes.

Although super-efficient, classic antiparasitic substances found in veterinary products can cause allergic reactions or intoxication in pets.

For this reason, more and more dog owners are looking to use more natural methods to kill and repel external parasites on their pets or households.

Using vinegar to kill ticks on your dog or in the house is a natural method you can try, but no one guarantees its effectiveness.

In this article, you’ll learn what vinegar is, if vinegar kills ticks, effective methods of killing ticks, how to use vinegar to remove a tick from your dog, and more.

What Is Vinegar?

Vinegar is an aqueous solution of 5-8% acetic acid. It is usually produced through double fermentation. First, the sugars are converted into ethanol, then ethanol into acetic acid. It is mainly used for cooking but some people also use it to repel fleas and ticks. 

Vinegar is made with several ingredients:

  • Wines
  • Cider
  • Alcoholic solutions
  • Honey
  • Refined ethyl alcohol

It is obtained by acetic fermentation of these ingredients, using bacteria of the genus Acetobacter.[1]

White vinegar, wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar are often used to repel and kill external parasites.

What Is Vinegar

Does Vinegar Kill Ticks?

Vinegar does not kill ticks but can have an irritating effect on them. In some cases, this acidic solution can cause ticks to detach from the skin of the host. Vinegar can also have a slightly repellent effect against ticks.

Many people claim that vinegar is effective at killing ticks, but there are no studies to confirm this.

You may think that because vinegar is made from alcohol, it is effective against ticks. But it’s not. Vinegar does not work like rubbing alcohol.

The fermentation process through which ethyl alcohol is subjected makes the vinegar practically non-alcoholic[2]. Since vinegar is non-alcoholic, it does not have the properties needed to kill a tick from your dog.

The only way vinegar can kill a tick is if you put the tick in vinegar after you have removed it from your dog. Vinegar is corrosive[3] and can eat through the tick’s exoskeleton, leading to its death. 

This method is also not backed up by studies.

Can Vinegar Kill Ticks

Efficient Ways to Kill Ticks

The most effective way to get rid of your pet’s ticks is to apply or administer antiparasitic substances regularly. Antiparasitic products are specially designed for pets, representing the safest way to kill ticks, although they can cause allergic reactions in rare cases.

Everyone has vinegar around the house, and while some people claim that household items are good against ticks, that’s not always the case.

Sometimes they do more harm than good. Other times, they don’t have an effect at all.

Instead of using home remedies to kill ticks, use veterinary products specifically designed for the purpose of removing ticks. These products are specially designed for pets. All veterinary products undergo certain safety and efficacy tests before being released for sale. This way we know they’re safe for pets.

There are a lot of effective methods to kill and prevent ticks, and all of them are based on using antiparasitic products.

These products can cause allergic reactions in sensitive pets or intoxication in dogs, but this is not the product’s fault.

Poisoning is usually a human fault and happens for two reasons:

  • Improper application resulting in the dog licking the product.
  • Using a concentration too high for the dog’s weight.

Respect the concentration of antiparasitic products to avoid possible inconveniences.

Chewable tablets are recommended for dogs sensitive to topical antiparasitic products, such as spot-on pipettes or collars. Studies have shown that they have no clinically significant side effects.[4]

Efficient Ways to Kill Ticks

Does Vinegar Prevent Ticks?

Vinegar does not prevent ticks from your dog and does not make them leave. Using vinegar in your dog’s food is also a bad way to prevent ticks on your pet. Ticks are dangerous for dogs, but you should choose other prevention methods than vinegar.

Some people claim that a 1:1 solution of vinegar and water can prevent ticks, by spraying your dog’s legs with the solution before leaving the house.

This method is not effective, but it is also not dangerous for your dog. It is safe to try, but results are not guaranteed.

Others claim vinegar can stop ticks from climbing on your dog if you add it to your dog’s food or water regularly. This is not recommended as vinegar is corrosive and can result in acidic burns, and esophageal and stomach injuries if consumed regularly.[5]

Vinegar is not toxic to dogs and does not cause allergic reactions, so you can use it safely on your dog if you want to try to prevent ticks. But keep in mind that ticks are extremely dangerous parasites that can cause deadly diseases in pets. 

It is recommended to use veterinary products, and not vinegar to prevent ticks.

different kinds of vinegar

How to Remove a Tick From Your Dog With Vinegar

You can try to remove a tick from your dog with vinegar, but this method is not guaranteed to work. To do this, soak a piece of cotton in distilled vinegar and cover the tick with it; the tick should come off on its own.

To try to remove a tick with vinegar, you will need:

  • Distilled white vinegar.
  • Cotton.
  • A container to dispose of the tick.

When you’ve acquired the equipment, follow these steps:

  1. Soak the piece of cotton in vinegar.
  2. Cover the tick.
  3. Wait a few moments.
  4. Dispose of the tick.

Keep in mind that traumatizing the tick can make it infect your dog with diseases faster (if it carries bacteria and other pathogens in its body). 

Covering a tick with a piece of cotton soaked in vinegar can cause it to spill its infected contents from its gut and salivary glands faster.

How to Remove a Tick From Your Dog With Vinegar

How to Remove Ticks From Dogs

Removing ticks from your dog should be an easy process. You can use tweezers or special tick tools, and in a couple of seconds, you’re done. Grab the tick close to your dog’s skin and pull up, without twisting.

Here’s what to do to remove ticks from dogs.

  1. Always use gloves. You don’t want the tick’s insides on your hands in case it tears.
  2. Grab the tweezers or tick tools.
  3. Use a flashlight if the tick is in hard-to-get places, such as the ear canal.
  4. Pick the tick with the tools as close as possible to your dog’s skin.
  5. Avoid picking the tick’s abdomen. You don’t want to tear the tick and spread possible infections into the bite area.
  6. Don’t make unnecessary moves with the tick between the tweezers.
  7. Pull up gently, but steady.
  8. Dispose of the tick. Put it in alcohol, or acetone, or wrap it in an adhesive tape.
  9. Inspect the area for embedded mouthparts. Ticks can tear and leave their mouthparts in the skin.
  10. Disinfect your pet’s bitten area.
  11. Monitor your dog for several weeks for strange behavior.

Contact your veterinarian if the mouthparts of the tick are still attached to the skin and you cannot remove them, you can’t remove the tick, or if your dog develops symptoms of tick-borne disease.

Related: How to Remove Ticks From Dogs


What Kills Ticks Instantly?

Antiparasitic sprays and other veterinary products kill ticks on dogs instantly. You can kill a tick instantly if you submerge it in alcohol, acetone, or chlorine after you have removed it from your dog (with tweezers or tick tools). Do not use these substances on your dog.

Does White Vinegar Keep Ticks Away?

No, white vinegar or any other type of vinegar won’t keep ticks away from your dog. You can try making a solution with white vinegar to use in your home.

About Iulia Mihai (DVM)

Dr. Iulia is a certified veterinarian with more than 10 years of experience in the field. With extensive knowledge of diet, care, and medication, she helps Misfit Animals provide readers with accurate knowledge on technical topics.

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