How Do You Get Rid of Ringworm on a Dog – Guide 2023!

Most domestic animals including the canines have the possibility to acquire ringworm. Ringworm is actually a skin infection caused by fungi. Even people can also have ringworm and it is called as the athlete’s foot. This is a contagious disease which spreads out from the dog’s skin easily so it is important to treat it right away. But, how do you get rid of ringworm on a dog?

As we go along, we will share this kind of skin condition in dogs and how does it affect our furry buddy. Moreover, you will also get to know the methods of diagnosing this condition in canines and also the signs and symptoms involved. Aside from that, the ways of treatment of ringworm on dogs and prevention tips that may be very helpful in keeping those fungi away are all here. So, keep on reading and help your pooch from this kind of skin condition.

The Dog’s Ringworm

how do you get rid of ringworm on a dog

As its name implies, ringworm or dermatophytosis is not actually a worm. It is generally a condition that affects the skin, nails, and the hair and the responsible causative agent is the fungus. Basically, ringworm results in scaly patches and baldness on the skin which is circular or ring in appearance. However, there are times that the transmission of ringworm is due to contact with the infected hosts.

This skin condition in dog heals on its own provided that the dog is healthy. That’s why using a natural treatment will make the recovery faster and lessen the discomfort of the dog. But, how do you get rid of ringworm on a dog? Before we jump to that, let us first identify how it looks like and how this condition spreads out?

Ringworm appearance in dogs

The fungi responsible for the occurrence of ringworm make use of keratin on the outside portion of the skin, hair, and nails as its food. Commonly, the hair follicles are the ones affected among canines which make the hair shafts break on the skin line. Because of that, there is a formation of round patches with hair loss. And as the skin condition progresses, the lesions appear irregular and transmitted all over the body of the canine.

Mostly, there are areas where hair loss or alopecia appears looking it circular in shape. Once it grows larger, the center part heals and starts to have hair regrowth in the center of the lesion. Yet, the affected hair shafts can easily break because of its fragility. However, the lesions may not cause itchiness on dogs yet there are times that inflammation and scabby coverings may develop.

Generally, lots of ringworm cases in dogs appear in patches of alopecia spread throughout their body. There are times that onychomycosis or fungal infection of the nails may develop. With this, the occurrence of rough, brittle, and broken claws may be experienced. On the other hand, there are dogs that will not show any signs of the conditions even if ringworm is present on their skin.

The problem is that they are still able to transmit the ringworm to other animals without any obvious lesions. These dogs are called as asymptomatic carriers of ringworm. They can generally be a major problem in areas having multiple numbers of animals like in shelters or kennels.      

Ringworm Transmission in Dogs

This skin condition in dogs may be very contagious and the transmission is generally through direct contact with the fungi. The infected animals or person may generally pass the condition. Actually, it is a maximum of 18 months in which the spores of the fungi keep dormant over environment surfaces or inanimate objects.

The good news is that infection is not always the result of acquiring the fungi caused by ringworm. Basically, the level of contamination within the environment is a great factor in the development of infection from ringworm. One example of this is the age of animals exposed to the said fungi.

In humans, having ringworm is highly prone to the elderly, young ones, and adults with a weakened immune system or sensitivity of the skin. The healthy adults may also get infected with ringworm if there is a broken skin even a simple scratch. 

How to Diagnose Ringworm in Dogs

There are three primary ways on how to diagnose and identify the presence of ringworm in dogs. The ways are as follows:

1. Identification

This method simply needs determining the usual lesions of ringworm formed on the skin of the dog. However, the downside is that it is not accurate and highly reliable as it may result in misdiagnosis. Due to this, confirmatory tests are still needed to identify the presence of fungi.

2. Fluorescence Method

Through this method, the infected hairs of the dog are placed under the Wood’s lamp, a specialized ultraviolet light. Under a dark room with Wood’s lamp will give a yellow-green fluorescence for M. canis fungi. The bad news is not all of the fungi can be seen under the Wood lamp. Moreover, there are substances that may give the false-positive result of this method like skin ointments making this method not always reliable.

3. Fungal Culture

Among the three diagnosis method, the fungal culture is the most accurate one. A fungal sample of the hair or skin cells of the dog are collected and cultured. The growth of a positive culture is possible on a couple of days. However, in some cases, fungal spores grow slowly and the result will be seen up to four weeks time. That’s why you can never have a negative result of a suspected sample for about a month.

How Do You Get Rid of Ringworm on a Dog – Know the Signs

Initially, one way on how do you get rid of ringworm on a dog is to know the signs involved. Here are they for you to look for:

how do you get rid of ringworm on a dog
  • Abnormalities on the dog’s coat and skin
  • Presence of scales on the dog’s coat
  • Reddish or crusty skin
  • Lesions accompanied by itchiness and discomfort
  • Hair loss on circular patches which normally appears on the edge of the neck, tail, and head

How Do You Get Rid of Ringworm on a Dog

There are two ways on how do you get rid of ringworm on a dog. First is through the conventional method. Just like on curing a dog ear infection, how do you get rid of ringworm on a dog using the conventional way entails risks and negative reactions on a dog. The second approach on how do you get rid of ringworm on a dog is by taking natural remedies at home which is gentler on dogs and can generally take you on a safer side.

*Conventional Treatment for Ringworm on a Dog

Basically, if you take your dog suspected with ringworm on a vet, he’ll definitely prescribe a couple of medicines. For him, this is an effective way on how do you get rid of ringworm on a dog.

Antifungal treatment

Antifungal treatment primarily has two methods of application which is the oral and topical. Generally, if you want to know how to get rid of ringworm on a dog, it is important that you understand that the antifungal treatment may last for about two months or more. This is the period in which it is safe to say that ringworm is completely eradicated.  

1. Oral antifungal drugs

The oral antifungal medicines are generally prescribed for severe cases of ringworm. Here are the commonly prescribed oral antifungal drugs which will basically help on how do you get rid of ringworm on a dog:

  • Griseofulvin – the most common antifungal drug on how do you get rid of ringworm on a dog
  • Itraconazole
  • Ketoconazole
  • Terbinafine
  • Fluconazole
2. Topical treatment

This antifungal treatment is an essential way of how do you get rid of ringworm on a dog. Generally, it helps in speeding up the healing process and, at the same time, reduces the possibilities of spreading out the disease. Moreover, to have better access on the dog’s skin and make the topical treatment more effective, vets may suggest shaving the coat of long-haired dogs. Shaving also helps in removing the fungal spores present on the dog’s coat.

  • Lime sulfur dips – this is a good choice under the topical treatment on how do you get rid of ringworm on a dog. Most of the time, the vets will prescribe using the sulfur dip on a daily basis for around 3 to 4 days. Just make sure that the skin and fur are dry before application and remember not to rinse it off. Moreover, always keep in mind that sulfur smells bad and that it can generally stain the fur and home surfaces.
  • Chlorhexidine and Miconazole shampoo – another way on how do you get rid of ringworm on a dog is by using these medicated shampoos.
Side Effects of Using Conventional Ringworm Treatment

Generally, one of the reasons why most pet owners do not keep on using this approach on how do you get rid of ringworm on a dog is due to its negative effects and associated risks. The medicines are basically categorized as suppressive drugs. This means that the symptoms are taking deeper into the body. Initially, these drugs can make your dog better but eventually, the symptoms will come back.  

Actually, lime sulfur dips involve risks as they are corrosive which may cause burns on the skin. Aside from that, they can cause harm to the respiratory tract and irritation on the eyes. It might also be possible to drink the solution by your dog which can be dangerous and life-threatening.

Meanwhile, antifungal medicines also have negative effects on dogs. In general, they can cause:

  • Birth defects
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Liver problems
  • Vomiting

Moreover, individual drugs also their own set of risks:


This drug can increase the enzymes on the liver and it can be a factor in producing another skin problem like dermatitis. Additionally, it is not absorbed by the GI tract so it must be taken along with food.


Excessive drinking and urination, dandruff, thinning or dryness of the coat, and kidney problems are the major side effects of using Fluconazole on treating ringworm on a dog.


Compared to other antifungal drugs, ketoconazole can generally cause upset stomach, temporary male infertility, and coat color lightening. On a lighter note, vitamin C is needed for better absorption.

*Natural Ways on How Do You Get Rid of Ringworm on a Dog

Basically, aside from the conventional treatment, you can also opt for natural remedies on how do you get rid of ringworm on a dog. Steps involved are easy to follow and it can only take about 2 to 3 weeks in order to completely address the problem. But be very cautious as ringworm can be transmitted to humans as well, so better to wear any protective gear like gloves when you use this treatment method.

Apple Cider Vinegar
how do you get rid of ringworm in a dog

How do you get rid of ringworm on a dog using apple cider vinegar? Actually, apple cider vinegar contains antifungal properties making it beneficial for ringworm treatment. Yet, it is still better if you use the organic and unfiltered form of apple cider.

Initially, soak a piece of cotton ball on the undiluted vinegar. Afterwards, apply to externally to the area of infestation. Repeat this process on a maximum of 3 times every day.

Oil of Oregano

The most popular property of oil of oregano is its antibacterial effect specifically over staphylococcus bacteria. However, it also contains an antifungal effect which is highly beneficial for the treatment of ringworm. The way on how do you get rid of ringworm on a dog involves dilution of oil of oregano. Just do this always every time you opt for this method.

Basically, the dilution of oil of oregano requires about 1 to 3 drops of the oil in every teaspoon of olive or coconut oil. Apply the diluted oils into the affected area. Do this for about 3 to 4 times daily.

Lemongrass Essential Oil

How do you get rid of ringworm on a dog through the use of essential oil? Basically, the lemongrass has the ability to heal wounds associated with ringworm infection. Moreover, it helps in preventing the spread of diseases.

Generally, you need to dilute 3 drops of lemongrass oil in a carrier oil of about 1 teaspoon. You can use almond oil as a carrier oil. Afterwards, rub the oil on the affected area around 3 to 4 times daily.

Neem Oil

Basically, the neem oil entails numbers of medicinal uses. One of it is its antifungal properties that are highly useful in treating ringworm. With just 5 drops of neem oil, you can already add it on to 1 teaspoon of jojoba oil. In a glass jar, shake the mixture well and eventually apply it to the area of infection three times daily.


Garlic is not only good for human’s health; it is also highly beneficial for dogs. Generally, giving garlic to a dog is a helpful way on how do you get rid of ringworm on a dog. Moreover, using it to the dog’s skin is also applicable.

Just simply cut the clove of garlic in half portion. Allow it to stand in the air for a few minutes so that it will release the allicin or the main component of garlic that has a medicinal effect. Eventually, rub the garlic with the cut side over the ringworm patches on the skin of the dog. Repeat the process using fresh garlic 3 times daily.

Preventing Ringworm on Dogs

Yes, it is good to know the ways on how do you get rid of ringworm on a dog. But, it is also good news that ringworm on dogs is generally preventable. Basically, how do you get rid of ringworm on a dog is to prevent it. Here’s how:

Always make the dog clean and dry

Bear in mind that ringworm likes to stay in dirty environments. So, in order to keep them away on your dog, make your dog clean and dry as always. Basically, bathing and grooming your dog on a regular basis are good ways to monitor the skin of your dog. But, always remember not to over bathe your dog. Moreover, if your dog went on swimming, dry him off after.

Have separate bedding and dishes for your dog

Ringworm spreads out easily and can also affect other pets. To stop it, it is better to make separate bedding and dishes with all your pets.  

Visit the vet

Ringworm on dogs can also be distributed all throughout their body. In case you notice a generalized infection, consult the veterinarian right away. Although it is not common, generalized ringworm may also be an indication of immunodeficiency such as the Cushing’s disease.

Keep your house clean

Basically, keeping your house clean will help to stop the spread of the ringworm to other pets, to you, and to your family. That’s why the best thing to do on how to get rid of ringworm is to clean your house often.

  • Generally, you need to make sure that the entire dog’s hair inside your house will be removed. So, you need to vacuum frequently to eliminate the dog’s hair and danders on your house surfaces.
  • Wash and disinfect the hard surfaces. It is usually better to use natural disinfectants like white vinegar. It generally contains a high concentration of acetic acid which makes it a good natural disinfectant option.
  • Keep the infected dog in one part of the house and restrict him from roaming around. Make sure that you confined him in an area that is the easiest to clean such as rooms made of hard floors instead of those with carpets. Remember that dog’s hair can embed deeper on a carpet which will be hard to remove even with the use of a vacuum.

Final Thoughts

How do you get rid of ringworm on a dog entails two methods which are the conventional treatment and the natural approach. Generally, natural ways to treat canine’s ringworm are safer than the conventional one. Drugs for ringworm under conventional treatment involve risks and harmful side effects on dogs. So, following the natural ways of preventing the ringworm will basically keep this canine’s disease at bay.