Friday, July 19, 2013

Chasing the flea circus out of town on Vinegar Friday


Fleas. Don't you love 'em? 

Umm, not particularly, GG. 

Yeah, I'm with you on that. Fleas are not only a nuisance to your pets, they can actually cause serious problems for your furry companions and your family. Anyone who's had a flea bite or two can attest to that.

 My cat, Theo, is allergic to fleas, as was my Maine Coon, Hadaash. They both would end up with horrible scabs all over their skin from the bites. 

In my book, Vinegar Fridays, I address the issue of fleas and other pests in Chapter 14 (Furry, Finned and Feathered Friends). Here's what I had to say:

Back in Chapter 8, I told you about the wonders of using apple cider vinegar in a footbath for amazingly soft feet. Well, this next tip is something I discovered following my first ACV footbath.

Theo and me 2011
Not wanting to waste the solution, I looked around for something to do with it. Of course, I didn't want to water my drought-ridden garden with it, as vinegar could hurt the plants. I spied my one-eared cat, Theo, who has a sensitivity to bug bites and had chewed his tail practically raw. As a matter of fact, his entire back and neck were covered in scabs. Much of this was from the fleas that had recently hopped on board. Because of the bug bites and his constant scratching and chewing, Theo's fur was really nasty. It was rough and not at all soft to the touch . . . that was until I got the brilliant idea (if I must say so myself) to pour the ACV-infused footbath over him. While he did resist a bit, I must say, this strong kitty submitted rather easily as I held him by the neck with one hand and dumped the lukewarm water over his entire body. The results? I had an unbelievably soft and fluffy cat. Seriously. This worked.

After seeing what it did for Theo, I decided to repeat the process with Bella, my no-tailed Manx. She, too, submitted to what most cats would consider serious abuse! After she was dry, I was amazed at how her long black fur felt just like a bunny's! An added bonus: vinegar kills fleas!

The chewed off fur grew back nicely on Theo's tail. I doused him again later that week and in no time, he started looking, and feeling, mighty fine. Now if only I could find a vinegar cure for his shriveled up, practically non-existent ear!

In cooler months, when I don't want my cats running around sopping wet, I pour undiluted ACV on a hand towel and give them  good rubdown. This helps, but does not deliver the same results as a thorough drenching.

While most of you will hesitate at giving your cats ACV baths, you might want to try it with your dogs. It is astonishing how soft the fur becomes. I recently discovered this is one of the secrets of beautiful shiny show dog fur! Once cup of vinegar in a quart of water is a good ratio for bathing your cat or dog. I also recommend using vinegar rinses on horses, for soft and glistening coats.

Adding a tablespoon of organic ACV to your cat's, dog's, or horse's water or food can help with a variety of issues, including arthritic conditions, kidney stones, bar4n flies and flea control. Plus, they will reap the benefits of a shiny coat without the discomfort of an ACV drenching!

Later in the chapter, I address the issue of fleas again:

A good way to kill  them without resorting to potentially lethal chemicals is to bathe them in baby shampoo followed by an ACV/warm water rinse. I strongly advise using only organic shampoos that are actually safe for babies, and not the ones most people think of as safe -- check out the ones sold by Earth Mama Angel Baby and Leaf & Bud Naturals, my personal favorites. You will see the dead fleas wash right down the drain.

The reason I mentioned potentially lethal chemicals is because of a news story that ran awhile back. There were dogs and cats that became violently ill after having a popular vet-prescribed flea medication applied topically. It's scary to think you may be harming your pet when you're just trying to protect him.

All the commercial flea products make me nervous when there are small children in the house. They love to hug their doggies and kitties and just may end up with an armful, or mouthful, of flea-killing chemicals. Yuck. Flea collars are especially troublesome in households with children. Just think about it -- your child grabs the dog by the collar and then grabs a cookie with the same, unwashed hand. Not good. Not good at all.

You also want to spray your pet's bedding with apple cider vinegar every few days to keep fleas from settling in. A bonus: the ACV will deodorize the bedding, too.

As I mentioned above, adding a tablespoon of vinegar (ACV or DWV) to your pet's water bowl (4-5 cups of water) will keep fleas from returning.

There are more vinegar-related animal tips in the book, including 
  • what to do when your pet is sprayed by a skunk
  • how to treat hoof thrush
  • what's a good treatment for hot spots
  • stopping a cat fight
  • keeping your kitty from spraying in the house
  • getting rid of urine and feces odors and stains on the carpet
  • how to safely clean your bird cage, fish bowl or aquarium
  • how to use vinegar to address common behavior problems
  • what to do about incessant barking
  • keeping barn flies at bay
Isn't it awesome how something as natural as vinegar can fill your home with purrs and wagging tails, and can keep things a bit more pleasant down on the farm? Vinegar . . . you gotta love it!

Keeping it green with vinegar,



  1. Tried the ACV on my 4 cats who seemed riddled with fleas. Works like a charm! Thank you! :)

    1. Yea!! And... you're welcome. :)

    2. This is a temporary fix if your house is already infested, however. Sometimes the vinegar just can't keep up with serious flea problems.

  2. Wow, I knew there were many uses for vinegar, but I never though of using them to get rid of fleas! Thanks for the great tips! I will be pinning this for whenever we have flea issues!! :D

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Heather. You might not want to wait until the flea issues arise. Just add a splash of vinegar to the water bowl every time you fill it and you may be flea-free for good!


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