Ringworm can be contracted by any animal, not just dogs. This is a relatively rare condition seen in dogs; however, there are several ringworm treatments and home remedies that help combat the infection. From using apple cider vinegar to coconut oil, we’ve selected a few things you can try at home that are quick and easy.
However, it’s best to understand what ringworm is and how it affects dogs before trying any of these at-home solutions.
What Is Ringworm?
Despite the name, ringworm is not a worm, but a fungus instead. The ringworm’s name, or dermatophytosis, derives from the circular shape the fungus creates on the skin of humans, although the same lesions are not always classic on our dogs and cats.
Dermatophytes (ringworm species) are found in many environments and animals. Some like Microsporum gypseum, are found naturally in the soil; while others like Trichophyton mentagrophytes, are found inhabiting rodents. Dogs, cats, cattle, pigs, mice and humans, we all have different types of ringworm that can be contracted, though thankfully only a few are contagious.
Ringworm thrives in the surface layer of skin and on hair. In some cases, ringworm can spread to the nails/claws too. In dogs, about 70% of ringworm cases are caused by the fungus Microsporum canis. 20% of ringworm cases in dogs are caused by Microsporum gypseum, and 10% are caused by Trichophyton mentagrophytes.
Ringworm is not incredibly contagious; however, there are several treatments and home remedies for ringworm in dogs that are fast and effective.
Causes of Ringworm on Dogs
There are several ways your dog may have contracted ringworm. Your dog’s environment plays a large role in what species of ringworm they might have.
The most common way that dogs contract ringworm is through direct contact with other animals that have the fungus. Since symptoms for the fungus may not appear immediately, hosts to the infection may not know they have it while they are spreading it, these are called “asymptomatic carriers.”
Your dog can also get ringworm if they have come into contact with any contaminated objects. This includes grooming tools, bedsheets, toys, and cages. Your dog is also at a higher risk of infection in environments where they may come into contact with several animals, like a kennel.
Aberrations to the protective layer of the outer skin, such as a healing wound or flea infestation, also increase the risk of infection. Poor hygiene and insufficient nutrition can enhance the possibility of your dog contracting the infection.
The fungal spores that create the infection can develop for up to 18 months, and spread through shedding or the breaking of infected hairs. Some forms of ringworm thrive in the soil, and your dog may show signs of ringworm on their muzzle/face if they happen to be backyard diggers or stick their heads into a rabbit or other animal burrows.
Symptoms of Dog Ringworm
While ringworm aren’t deadly in dogs, it can be contagious. Being able to contain the spread should be a priority for all owners since dogs can transfer the fungus to humans in roughly 10% of Microsporum canis cases (the only animal ringworm type to infect humans).
Ringworm typically causes hair loss in dogs on the affected sites. The loss of hair can appear in a circular pattern, and raised bumps may be seen, but patchy and waxy skin is more common. Inflammation or scabbed areas are common as well.
Ringworm affects the skin, hair, and, at times, the nails. Infected nails, hair follicles, and dead skin become so brittle they may break off effortlessly, while also causing the spread of the fungus.
Symptoms of ringworm may include:
- Hair loss (which may or may not be in a circular pattern)
- Inflamed skin with redness
- Some itchiness
- Dry and brittle hair
- Brittle nails
- Acne-like bumps
- Changes in coat thickness or sheen
There is an abundance of skin diseases and infections with similar symptoms, like dog mange. If an owner notices inflamed skin or hair loss, it does not mean their dog has ringworm.
Allergies or parasites may be the cause of some of these symptoms. The best way to find out if your dog has ringworm is by asking your vet. Ringworm can contaminate almost any part of the body. The face, tail, ear tips, and feet are the most common areas to show signs of an infection.
To identify ringworm, a microscopic examination of infected hair or skin particles must be conducted. Using an ultraviolet lamp (called a “Wood’s lamp”) will also help detect signs of ringworm. The ideal way to diagnose ringworm is through a fungal culture your vet would perform. Another, newer, way to diagnose the exposure and possible infection is through DNA testing (PCR) for the organism that your vet can perform.
Prevention of Dog Ringworm
Before jumping ahead to home remedies for ringworm in dogs, it’s important to note that prevention can be one of the best natural approaches to fighting this infection.
Fungus loves warm and damp environments. To prevent dog ringworm, regularly clean your pet’s bed, blankets, furry toys, and other fabrics that your pet frequents.
Keep in mind that carpets love to carry all types of nasty pathogens. The spores from the ringworm fungus can remain active in the environment for months and possibly years if not removed.
Removing dead skin cells and hair by vacuuming the house periodically is highly recommended. Owners should also disinfect areas of the home where their dog likes to hang out the most.
Always be on the lookout for signs. If your pet has contracted ringworm, your initiative can help stop it from spreading or getting worse.
Home Remedies for Dog Ringworm
There are a few natural treatments or home remedies for ringworm in dogs that owners have found helpful over the years. The most popular home remedies for dog ringworm are antifungal pet shampoo, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, and coconut oil. You can try each one easily from the comfort of your home.
Antifungal Pet Shampoo Ringworm Home Remedy
Although antifungal pet shampoo might not seem like a home remedy for dog ringworm, it’s one of the best ways to fight the infection. There are plenty of shampoos that are natural with few quality ingredients. However, you can also make an antifungal dip at home.
Mix one cup of lemon juice or one cup of vinegar with 10 drops of peppermint or lavender oil in one gallon of water. If your dog has a darker coat, it’s best to use vinegar, since lemon can sometimes lighten the fur.
Pour your store-bought or homemade antifungal shampoo on your dog from the neck down, avoiding their head. After pouring, make sure to scrub their affected areas thoroughly. Do this every other day for three treatments.
Apple Cider Vinegar Ringworm Home Remedy
Apple cider vinegar is known for its amazing health benefits in humans. However, it’s also a very effective home remedy treatment for ringworm in dogs. This natural treatment targets the symptoms of ringworm.
Apple cider vinegar can relieve itching and soreness in the infected area. To use, make a 50/50 solution of apple cider vinegar and water. Next, pour the liquid mixture in a spray bottle and spray the infected areas on your dog two to three times a day.
Coconut Oil Ringworm Home Remedy
Coconut oil is a miracle home remedy for several issues and dog ringworm infections are no exception. First, heat the oil so that it is warm, not hot, and apply directly to the infected area. Apply conservatively.
Many dogs may try to lick the coconut oil off. Although it’s safe to ingest, it’s counterproductive to the healing process. Instead, make sure to keep an eye on your dog or fit it with a cone if using this method.
Tea Tree Oil Ringworm Home Remedy
Tea tree oil can also be an effective ringworm home remedy for dogs. To make this treatment, dilute tea tree oil with water, creating a 90/10 solution (the tea tree oil being 10%).
Owners should then apply the solution generously using a cotton swab on the infected areas. Repeat this process 2-3 times a day for 7 days.
CBD Oil for Ringworm on Dogs
CBD products have taken the pet market by storm. Several owners have found that using CBD daily has helped their dogs in many ways.
Research is sparse when it comes to how CBD directly works with ringworm. However, CBD is known to help improve the overall quality of a dog’s life.
Ringworm causes scabbing, inflammation, hair loss, and some itching in dogs. CBD oil as a natural treatment or ringworm home remedy can help soothe a dog’s irritated skin and decrease swelling, which can result in a decrease of itchiness and scratching.
Skin or health issues, like those caused by ringworm, can sometimes cause irritability and stress in dogs. CBD promotes calmness and balance and helps dogs get rid of any pent-up nerves or discomfort.
The amount of CBD owners can give their dog depends on several factors such as weight, age, and breed. CBD is safe and non-toxic for humans and their pets.
If you are new to CBD, you might be wondering how to give your dog CBD. Here are a few tips to follow that can help push you in the right direction:
- Check for quality ingredients
- Follow the recommended dosages on all packages
- Ensure the product is produced for dogs
- Select a product that has undergone third party testing
If you’re unsure about using CBD, check with a holistic veterinarian for the best advice.
Related Article: "Can I Give My Dog Human CBD Oil? [Know The Difference]"
Ringworm is not a life-threatening infection, but, it’s still a disturbing infection that causes massive irritation.
Owners should be very wary when dealing with ringworm because it can easily spread to humans. Simple hygiene, like regular baths and grooming, can help dogs avoid contracting ringworm.
However, if your dog does get ringworm, it’s best to take them to the vet for a clear diagnosis. From there, owners can use several home remedies to combat ringworm in dogs. Keep your dog away from other animals and make sure to quarantine your pet at home if you believe the infection has been going around.
Like with most fungal infections in dogs, cleanliness and time are the most important factors in the healing process. If home remedies such as apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, or coconut oil do not work, ask your vet for further instruction. Check out the Holistapet homepage to learn more about our brand and products.