Ringworm can affect many of our four-legged friends, including dogs. The name is a bit confusing … because ringworm isn’t a worm at all.
It’s a fungal infection your dog can get on his skin. In humans, athlete’s foot is a kind of ringworm.
While it’s not a fatal disease, it’s extremely contagious and can spread fast from your dog to humans or other animals. So you need to know how to spot this fungal infection and how to treat ringworm in dogs at home.
Keep reading to discover natural ringworm treatments for dogs that are both safe and effective.
What Is Ringworm In Dogs?
Ringworm (Dermatophytosis) in dogs is not a worm, as mentioned earlier It’s an infection of skin, hair, or nails … and it’s caused by fungus. Microsporum canis is the most common type of dermatophyte infecting both dogs and cats.
The disease causes bald, scaly patches or acne-like bumps on the skin. These patches are usually round … hence the name ringworm. Most ringworm cases spread through contact with infected animals. Sometimes contaminated grooming tools may be to blame.
Ringworm in a healthy adult dog should clear up on its own. But natural treatment will speed up recovery and reduce your dog’s discomfort. It’ll also lower the risk of him passing it on to other family members … both pets and humans.
Note: According to the Merck Veterinary Manual … ringworm infection is more common in young or debilitated animals and in Yorkshire Terriers.
Signs Of Ringworm In Dogs
How can you tell if your dog has ringworm? Here are a few signs that to watch for:
- Abnormalities in the coat and skin. Regular brushing can help you spot these sooner.
- Scaly-looking dandruff deep in your dog’s coat.
- Red or crusty skin.
- Hair falling out in circular patches. This usually happens on the ridge of the neck, the tail or the head.
- In severe cases, you’ll see lesions that make your dog itchy and uncomfortable.
So … when your dog gets this fungus, what’s the best way to manage it?
Keep reading to find out how to treat ringworm in dogs at home. Fortunately there are a number of dog ringworm treatment home remedies that you probably have in your kitchen or medicine cabinet already.
Home Remedies For Ringworm In Dogs
Here are some natural ringworm treatments for dogs. Each of these remedies can take 2 to 3 weeks to clear up the problem. So be patient!
Caution: Ringworm is contagious. So you may want to wear disposable latex gloves to apply these remedies. (If you’re allergic to latex, nitrile is the next best option).
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has antifungal effects. Use organic, unfiltered ACV.
Soak a cotton ball with the undiluted ACV and apply it topically to the affected area. Repeat up to 3 times daily
Oil Of Oregano
Oil of oregano is popular for bacterial infections … especially staph infections. But it also has antifungal properties and can help with ringworm.
Always dilute oil of oregano, using 1-3 drops of oil of oregano per teaspoon of olive or coconut oil. Apply it 3 to 4 times a day to the affected area.
Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass essential oil can help heal the ringworm wounds. And it can stop them from spreading.
Use 3 drops of the oil diluted in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil like almond oil. Rub it 3 to 4 times a day on the affected area.
Neem oil comes from the neem tree in India, and has many medicinal uses. Its antifungal properties can help with ringworm.
Add 5 drops of neem oil to 1 tsp jojoba oil in a glass jar. Shake well and apply three times a day to the affected areas.
Garlic’s an amazing food that has so many uses for dogs. Feeding your dog garlic can be helpful for ringworm … but you can also use it topically on the skin.
Slice a clove of garlic in half. Let it sit a few minutes to release the allicin (the main medicinal property in garlic). Then rub the cut side onto the ringworm patches on your dog’s skin. Do this 3 times a day, using a fresh clove of garlic each time.
If you want to feed fresh garlic as well, chop it up and let it sit for 15 minutes before feeding. Give these daily amounts:
- Small dogs ¼ clove
- Medium dogs ½ clove
- Large dogs ¾ clove
- Giant dogs 1 clove
Ringworm In Your Home
Ringworm is very contagious. You’ll need to take measures to protect yourself, your family and other pets.
- Keep your house very clean.
- Vacuum often to get rid of dog hairs or skin particles lying around your house, as they can be contagious.
- Wash down any hard surfaces with a natural disinfectant. White vinegar with high acetic acid concentration is a good option.
- Keep your dog with ringworm restricted to parts of the house that are the easiest to clean. That means rooms with hard floors, not carpet, are best.
- It’s best to keep your dog off your sofa or bed until the ringworm has cleared up!
Now … how do you stop ringworm from happening again?
How To Prevent Ringworm In Dogs
The good news is that ringworm is preventable. There’s a lot you can do to protect your pets and your home from a ringworm infestation.
Keep Your Dog Clean And Dry
Ringworm thrives in damp, dirty environments … so keep your dog clean and dry. This helps make sure that ringworm never gains a foothold. Regular grooming or bathing can help you keep an eye on your dog’s skin … but don’t overbathe your dog!
Always remember to dry off your dog if he gets caught in the rain or after he goes swimming!
Give Your Dog Separate Bedding And Dishes
Stop your dog from spreading ringworm to other pets. Give him separate bedding and dishes. Ringworm is highly contagious … so this will help stop the disease spreading from one animal to another.
When To Talk To Your Vet
If your dog has generalized ringworm (throughout his body) … contact your vet. It’s unusual, but can be a sign of Cushing’s disease or another immunodeficiency.
Follow the above natural prevention tips to keep ringworm at bay. But, if you dog does pick up ringworm, you can avoid strong, potentially harmful, antifungal medications. You can easily use a natural ringworm treatment for dogs that’s both safe and effective.