Apple cider vinegar, also known as ACV, is a type of vinegar that people often praise for its human health benefits. However, you may not know that apple cider vinegar for dogs and cats may also provide some serious health boosts for your beloved pet, both inside their body and on their skin. Here’s what you need to know about ACV and how it can help your dog.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar For Dogs & Is It Safe?
Apple cider vinegar is similar to white vinegar, but made through the process of fermenting apples. The natural process leaves the vinegar chock-full of healthy stuff, like phosphorus, calcium, and potassium. ACV has some major historical roots in natural medicine too. The incredible concoction has recorded links back to 400 B.C., when Hippocrates and others used it as a natural remedy for colds and other illnesses.
It’s no surprise that our dogs can ingest some of the same things as us but is raw apple cider vinegar safe for dogs to consume? Generally, yes, it can be safe for dogs, but you should always check with a trusted veterinarian first to make sure it’s right for your dog. Your vet can also give you some tips to ensure that you’re administering the right amount for your dog’s weight and diluting it to prevent digestion issues or skin irritation.
How can apple cider vinegar for dogs help your pup? Let’s find out!
Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for Dogs
The uses for apple cider vinegar for dogs are similar to the uses for people, and there are several of them! Some of the top reasons you might use ACV for your dog include:
- Improving digestion. The natural properties of ACV can help improve digestion by reducing gas and bloating with its helpful enzymes A dog suffering from diarrhea or constipation might see some improvement with small doses of ACV.
- Relieving joint pain. ACV has powerful properties that can reduce joint inflammation from arthritis or old age.
- Ridding or preventing yeast infections. Yeast infections in dogs cause extremely itchy and flaky skin. ACV can prevent the spread of yeast and bacteria to halt the infection.
- Preventing and ridding UTIs. Urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria that invades the urinary tract, and this typically happens from an over-alkaline system. The acid of ACV can neutralize your dog’s pH to aid the infection’s healing.
- Prevent and clear ear infections. Using a small amount of ACV in your dog’s ears can help combat the fungus that causes the infection.
But, some of the best benefits for dogs focus on their skin. Dogs who are especially prone to allergies, dry or itchy skin, skin problems like demodectic mange or sarcoptic mange, or ticks and flea infestations may benefit the most from apple cider vinegar treatments. The liquid contains naturally-occurring acids that help slough away dead skin cells to expose new, healthy ones for clearer, less itchy skin. Also, the non-toxic ACV is a natural flea and tick repellent that won’t leave harsh chemicals behind on your pup.
Does My Dog Need ACV?
If your dog is prone to itchy skin, allergies, or digestive issues, they may benefit from the acetic acid of apple cider vinegar for dogs, which has similar healing properties as lemon juice. As with anything you give your dog though, you should check with your veterinarian first. ACV isn’t always the best choice for all dogs, especially when there might be a simple lifestyle change you can make to curb your dog’s symptoms. Your vet knows your dog’s health the best, so check there first!
How Should I Give ACV to My Dog?
Generally, a dog can safely ingest a small amount of ACV mixed with some drinking water as part of a dog diet. Many dog owners opt for mixing it in with their pet food to dilute the taste a bit, since it can have an extremely strong taste otherwise.
If you’re treating itchy skin and other skin problems, or want a shinier, healthier dog coat, you can use apple cider vinegar during your dog’s bath. Use about two to three tablespoons for every quart of water and rinse the mixture thoroughly from dog fur and dog body.
Or, you can make a spray solution using one part ACV to one part water for spraying on your dog with a spray bottle after his bath for itch relief throughout the day. This apple cider vinegar skin spray can also help repel fleas, ticks, and demodectic mange mites as an alternative to diatomaceous earth, and clean your dog’s ears. If you just want to spot treat some itchy patches or a hot spot on the skin, dab some organic apple cider vinegar and warm water on a cotton ball over problem areas. Some pet owners opt for a mixture of bake soda and apple-cider vinegar for a dog shampoo that can clear up itchy spots on the dog paw, skin, or body, giving their pup itch relief similar to aloe vera treatments.
How Much Apple Cider Vinegar Can I Give My Dog?
Understanding the right apple cider vinegar dosage for your dog is an important part of using this natural remedy safely. Too much ingested ACV can lead to diarrhea and other tummy problems because its highly acidic properties can disrupt digestion.
The dosage will vary according to your dog’s weight. Generally, small dogs can ingest one teaspoon, medium dogs can have two teaspoons, and large dogs can have three teaspoons. Talk to your veterinarian to find the right dosage for your dog and plan a schedule for dosing frequency.
How Long Will It Take to Work?
The time it takes to notice a difference in your dog’s symptoms after you use apple cider vinegar depends on what ails them. You should start noticing improvements with digestion within a couple of days of using a safe dosage and schedule. But, if you’re using ACV with your dog for weight loss, joint pain, ear infections, or skin issues, you might need to wait a bit longer to see results.
As with most medications and natural remedies, apple cider vinegar for dogs can take a little time to work its magic. Expect infections, skin issues, and pain to subside after about a week or so of using ACV regularly.
Are Their Any Risks of Giving ACV to My Dog?
If you use more than the dosage recommended by your veterinarian, an apple cider vinegar bath can be harmful to your dog. Although it’s a natural remedy, ACV is extremely acidic and can irritate skin, eyes, or the digestive tract. It could even increase the acidity of your dog’s urine. It’s best to always give your dog diluted apple cider vinegar, whether your administer it internally or externally, to prevent irritation.
Can I Make My Own ACV?
Yes! Learning how to make apple cider vinegar for dogs at home is relatively simple and can save you some money if you’re an avid ACV user for you and your pooch. Additionally, it could even be better for your dog because it isn’t overly processed and refined like some of the versions you buy in the supermarket, leaving the real benefits inside.
This recipe from Rodale’s Organic Life teaches you how to make your own raw apple cider vinegar at home. Be sure to follow the directions closely, as it’s extremely important to use a clean jar and filtered water for a safe fermentation process of unfiltered apple cider vinegar.
Is ACV the Best Holistic Route for My Dog?
The healthy benefits and uses for apple cider vinegar for dogs are many. This incredible, natural supplement can help everything from joint pain to flea prevention. But, that doesn’t mean all dogs need it as part of their normal health regimen. It’s best to talk to your veterinarian if you’re considering giving your dog ACV internally or externally, as they can recommend safe ways to use it, or even some other ideas for safe remedies for your dog’s symptoms.