Skip to Content

Can I use white vinegar on my dog?

White vinegar is a common household product that many pet owners have in their homes. Some people use white vinegar for cleaning, others use it for cooking. With its versatility, it’s natural to wonder if white vinegar is safe to use on dogs.

Is White Vinegar Safe for Dogs?

The short answer is yes, white vinegar is safe for dogs. White vinegar is made through the fermentation of ethanol. This makes it a mild acid. White vinegar contains 4-7% acetic acid and 93-96% water. Such a diluted acetic acid content classifies white vinegar as a weak acid, making it safe for dogs.

In fact, white vinegar has many uses for dogs. It can be used for cleaning, reducing odor, treating minor skin irritation, and even protecting dogs against ticks and fleas. However, it’s important to dilute white vinegar before using it on dogs. Undiluted vinegar can be too strong and irritating when applied directly to a dog’s skin.

Cleaning with White Vinegar

White vinegar is a great eco-friendly cleaning agent. It can remove stains, cut through grease, disinfect surfaces, and make items sparkle without harsh chemicals. White vinegar can be used to clean many surfaces in your home and dogs areas such as:

  • Food bowls
  • Water bowls
  • Toys
  • Beds and bedding
  • Crates
  • Leashes and collars
  • Muzzles

When using white vinegar for general cleaning and disinfecting:

  • Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle
  • Spray directly onto surfaces
  • Let sit for a few minutes
  • Wipe away

For tough stains or dirt, allow the vinegar solution to soak for 5-10 minutes before wiping. Always rinse with water afterwards.

Cleaning Food and Water Bowls

It’s important to regularly clean your dog’s food and water bowls to prevent bacteria buildup. White vinegar is the perfect tool for the job. Follow these steps:

  1. Add 1 cup white vinegar and 1 cup water to a bowl
  2. Let dog bowl soak for 15 minutes
  3. Scrub bowl thoroughly
  4. Rinse well with water

Cleaning Accidents

Nobody likes cleaning up dog urine or feces accidents but it happens. Vinegar helps eliminate odors and stains. Here’s how to clean up accidents with white vinegar:

  • First, blot up excess urine and remove any solids from fabrics or carpets
  • Liberally spray the area with undiluted white vinegar
  • Let sit for 5 minutes
  • Blot up remaining vinegar
  • Sprinkle baking soda over the area and let sit for 15 minutes
  • Vacuum up baking soda

The vinegar will help remove odors and stains while the baking soda will absorb any lingering smells.

Odor Removal

Regular dog smells and occasional accidents can leave an odor in your home. Due to its antibacterial properties, white vinegar is excellent for removing unpleasant pet odors. There are a couple ways to use it:

Smelly Carpet Odor Remover

  • Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar and 1 cup warm water to a spray bottle
  • Spray onto affected carpet areas
  • Let sit for 5 minutes
  • Blot with a towel

Smelly Room Odor Remover

  • Fill a bowl halfway with white vinegar
  • Place bowl in stinky room
  • Let sit overnight
  • In the morning, pour vinegar into drain

The vinegar will absorb the ambient odors while it sits. This method is safe with pets in the home.

Pest Control

White vinegar can ward off pests like fleas and ticks from your dog. It changes the pH of your dog’s skin, making it inhospitable to the pests. Here are some ways to use white vinegar as a pest repellent:

Repel Fleas and Ticks

  • Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in spray bottle
  • Spray directly onto dog’s dry coat, avoiding eyes
  • Work into fur with fingers to coat entirely
  • Allow to air dry, do not towel dry
  • Apply weekly or after going outdoors

Flea and Tick Repellent Spray

  • Add 1 cup white vinegar, 1 cup water, and 15-20 drops citronella or eucalyptus essential oil to spray bottle
  • Shake well before use
  • Spray onto dry coat before going outside
  • Reapply every few hours

The citronella and eucalyptus oil help further repel the pests.

Minor Skin Irritations

Diluted white vinegar can be applied to minor dog skin irritations like rashes, itchy spots, and bite marks. It provides relief and reduces itchiness. Only use after diluting vinegar by half with water. Do not apply to open wounds or broken skin.

Mix a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water. Use a clean cloth to apply it onto the affected skin area. Do not rinse off. Allow to air dry. You can apply 2-3 times per day. The vinegar promotes healing while calming inflammation and itchiness.

Ear Cleaning

White vinegar helps remove dirt, debris, and oil from dog ears. Over time, buildup in the ears can cause odor, discharge, and discomfort. Follow these steps to safely clean your dog’s ears with white vinegar:

  1. Fill ear canal with 1 part white vinegar and 1 part water solution
  2. Gently massage the base of the ear to work in solution
  3. Let sit for 20-30 seconds
  4. Use cotton balls to remove solution and debris
  5. Repeat until cotton ball comes out clean
  6. Finish by drying ears thoroughly with a clean towel

Never use vinegar solution on open wounds or ear infections. Schedule a vet appointment if your dog has signs of an ear infection like head shaking, odor, redness, swelling, discharge, crustiness, or pain.

Whitening Dog Fur

White vinegar can be used as a rinse to brighten white dog fur. Over time, white fur can become dingy. Vinegar helps break down buildup and restore brightness to the coat. Here’s how to make a whitening vinegar rinse:

  • Mix 1 cup white vinegar with 2 cups warm water
  • After bathing dog, pour mixture onto coat
  • Gently work into fur, avoiding eyes
  • Let sit for 5 minutes
  • Rinse thoroughly with cool water
  • Towel dry as normal

Use this whitening treatment as needed, such as weekly or biweekly, to keep your dog’s white coat looking its best.

Dog Urine Grass Spots

Having your lawn turn yellow from dog urine spots can be frustrating. The nitrogen in canine urine essentially “fertilizes” the grass, causing it to grow faster and taller than surrounding grass. This causes yellow or brown patches.

White vinegar helps correct the pH of the soil to neutralize the nitrogen. Here’s how to treat dog urine spots on grass with vinegar:

  • In a spray bottle, mix 2 parts water to 1 part white vinegar
  • Spray the urine patches generously until damp
  • Allow the vinegar solution to dry
  • Reapply weekly if needed

Over time, the vinegar will help remove yellow and brown discoloration.

Hardwood Floor Cleaning

White vinegar safely cleans sealed hardwood floors. The mild acidity cuts through dirt without dulling the finish. Vinegar also helps remove sticky grime tracked in by dogs. Follow these steps:

  1. Add 1⁄2 cup white vinegar to 1 gallon warm water
  2. Dip a mop into the solution and mop floors
  3. Let air dry

Buff dried floors with a soft cloth. Vinegar leaves no film or streaks behind.


White vinegar is a safe and effective household item for dog owners. It can be used for cleaning, deodorizing, pest control, skin care, and more. White vinegar offers a chemical-free way to clean and care for your dog. Be sure to always dilute vinegar before applying it directly to your dog’s skin or coat. With its versatility and antibacterial properties, white vinegar should be a staple in every dog owner’s home.