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Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has popularity as a natural alternative for several health-related issues, and it does have some proven health benefits, it has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, reduces blood sugar levels and boosting weight loss. But is it an effective treatment for cat fleas?
There is no solid evidence that it kills fleas, but it may repel them if used in concentrated doses on the fur. Only 5% of the flea life-cycle is spent on the cat, the remainder of the flea life cycle (egg, larvae and pupae) is spent in the environment. As flea pupae emerge from their protective shell, they will re-infest the cat, unless the vinegar was regularly applied. Even then, there are no guarantees that it will repel all fleas if they are hungry enough. Regular application of concentrated ACV would also be harmful to the skin due to its high acidity and
Other treatments recommend ingestion of apple cider vinegar. Once again, there is no research to verify its effectiveness. For ACV to be safe, it would need to be very dilute (1-2 teaspoons in the cat’s water), which would be ineffective. Administered neat, ACV can damage the enamel on the teeth as well as the esophagus due to its high acidity.
Flea infestations can quickly get out of control and require a multi-pronged approach. The goal is to kill or remove the flea in all stages of development. If we only tackle the adult flea population, re-infestation will occur.
- Treat the cat with a flea control treatment
- Treat inside the house and the garden – vacuum, wash bedding, treat outdoor areas
Your veterinarian can recommend flea control products which are safe and effective. These products work in a variety of ways, some kill all stages of the flea life, and others prevent the development of flea eggs and larvae. In addition, many flea control products also treat intestinal worms at the same time. Treatment options include tablets, topical, sprays and injection.
Vinegar has its place in the house as a cheap and effective cleaner. It is non-toxic and safe to use around cats. But for control of fleas, a veterinary-approved treatment is far more effective.
Related articles: Quick guide to cat flea products