Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is often seen as a miracle cure for everything. From itchy skin to digestion issues, some people feel it can clean up pretty much anything in your dog. But what’s the truth about apple cider vinegar for your dog?
I’m here to tell you about the benefits of apple cider vinegar for your dog. I’ll tell you about what you need to look for in apple cider vinegar … as well as the topical and internal benefits of apple cider vinegar.
What To Look For In Apple Cider Vinegar
Before you begin using apple cider vinegar, there are a few things you should know. The first is that you should look for raw, organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Organic ACV will allow you to avoid pesticides … and other toxic chemicals used in commercial farming.
And a raw product means it’s not pasteurized. Pasteurization kills off the living enzymes in the ACV. Your dog needs those live enzymes to reap the health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
The main difference you’ll see between raw and pasteurized ACV is the “mother”. The mother is the bacteria and yeast used to ferment the apple cider into apple cider vinegar. The mother will make the ACV cloudy. Or you might see a blob at the bottom of the bottle that looks kind of like a spider web.
Shake the bottle before use. After this, you’re ready to go!
Topical Uses For Apple Cider Vinegar
There are numerous topical uses for apple cider vinegar that can help your dog. Here are a few of the most useful:
ACV can help relieve itchy skin and rashes caused by yeast and poison ivy. The best way to apply it is by making a 50/50 solution of apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Apply it directly onto itchy spots.
Caution: Do NOT put it on open wounds. The vinegar will sting if the wound is raw.
If you can’t apply topically and yeast is your main concern, you can feed ACV to your dog in her food or water. In The Veterinarians’ Guide to Natural Remedies for Dogs, Martin Zucker explains that yeast doesn’t do well in an acid environment. So feeding 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of ACV twice daily can help.
Itchy skin is often accompanied by itchy ears – and nobody wants that.
But should you clean your dog’s ears regularly? Usually, the answer is no.
If you notice wax or gunk in your dog’s ears, it’s best to leave them alone. Dirty ears are usually a sign your dog is detoxing something from the inside! So let the body do its work … and the gunky ears will often clear up on their own.
But if your dog’s itchy and uncomfortable, then you need to help.
In that case, you can clean gunky ears using a solution of half ACV/half purified water,
- Clean dirty ears using individual cotton balls soaked in the solution.
- Swab out the ears until the cotton ball comes out clean.
It’s very important to only wipe the visible parts of the ear. Your dog’s ears’ internal workings are very delicate and you don’t want to damage them. So …
- Don’t pour solutions into his ears – use a cotton ball or pad.
- Never use cotton swabs like Q-tips.
Flea and Tick Repellent
Even the healthiest, cleanest dog may end up playing host to these critters. Fortunately, ACV can once again come to the rescue.
Before your dog goes out, spray him with a 50/50 solution of ACV and water.
And for some added oomph, put ACV in your dog’s food or water during flea and tick season. Add up to 1 Tbsp for a 50 lb dog. You may want to start with less, in case your dog doesn’t like the taste. The acidity will help make your dog less appealing to ticks and fleas.
RELATED: Natural solutions for tick season …
Apple Cider Vinegar Tea Body Rinse
As an alternative to the 50/50 apple cider vinegar and water mix, you may want to try an apple cider vinegar tea body rinse. This body rinse can be useful to restore skin pH, soothe itchy skin, calm rashes and welts. It has some added benefits for keeping biting flies, fleas and gnats at bay as well.
Mix the following ingredients together in a glass bottle or jar with a cap. Shake well before use:
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup brewed green tea (cooled)
- 1 cup distilled water
After bathing, apply this room temperature rinse to your dog’s coat and skin … then massage it in. Rinse well and pat dry. Or. you can let the apple cider vinegar mix air dry for the added benefit of bug relief.
You can also pre-make this blended mixture and store the glass jar in the refrigerator. But allow it to warm to room temperature before use. It’ll be good for 1 or 2 weeks. If you spot any mold on it, throw it away.
Pet Stains And Odors
ACV is very useful in helping to clean up pet stains and odors. For stains, a 1:3 ratio of ACV to water mixture can help clean up a pet stain as well as reduce and possibly eliminate odor. Spritzing ACV on your dog’s bedding or favorite spot can help reduce musty doggy smells.
Internal Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar
Beyond the topical uses of apple cider vinegar, there are a number of ways that apple cider vinegar can help your dog internally as well.
Blood Sugar Levels
ACV may be able to help with regulating blood sugar levels in your dog. Studies show that consuming apple cider vinegar for 8 to 12 weeks can reduce blood sugar levels. This could help prevent diabetes .. or in an already diabetic dog, could mean he needs less insulin.
There are a number of cardiovascular benefits to apple cider vinegar. The acetic acid that is present in ACV can help reduce high lipid levels and high blood pressure. This can lead to better heart health for your dog.
There is evidence that ACV has antimicrobial properties. In particular, ACV can help restrict the growth of toxic bacteria like E. coli, S. aureus (staph infection) and yeast like C. albicans (candida). This means you can use it to help manage infections in your dog … including urinary tract infections.
Urinary Tract Infections
There is some evidence that ACV may be able to help with urinary tract infections (UTIs). Research is still ongoing … but there are some indications that ACV may be able to reduce the inflammation that causes UTIs.
ACV may be able to help your dog keep his mind sharp. Recent studies show that foods that contain phenolic compounds can help lower Alzheimer’s risk in humans. So they could help protect your dog from Canine Cognitive Disorder (CCD). ACV contains a number of these phenolic compounds including:
- Gallic acid
- Caffeic acid
- Chlorogenic acid
- P-coumaric acid
ACV can help reduce oxidative stresses that come with obesity. Oxidative stress occurs when free radicals (unstable, damaged molecules) begin to harm the cells in your dog’s body. Oxidation is a normal process in the body, but if free radicals become unbalanced, the damage can contribute to numerous health issues … including complications from obesity.
One study noted that feeding male rats a daily dose of ACV reduced the oxidative stressors. This lowered the risk of obesity related diseases.
It’s a well known fact that gut health is incredibly important to your dog’s overall health. That’s because nearly 90% of your dog’s immune system is in his gut. Probiotics are good bacteria that support your dog’s gut health. And prebiotics feed those good bacteria to help them work better.
The fermentation process used for raw ACV makes it a useful prebiotic. ACV’s prebiotic properties support the good bacteria in the gut, helping with digestion and keeping the gut nice and healthy.
The first thing you need to know is that you should not give your dog undiluted ACV. Always mix it into his water or food. Give the following daily amount depending on the size of your dog:
- 1 tsp for dogs up to 14 lbs
- 2 tsp for dogs 15 to 34 lbs
- 1 tbsp for dogs 35 to 84 lbs
NOTE: When you use apple cider vinegar internally or topically, remember to monitor your dog for any adverse reactions. Dogs who are sensitive to ACV may vomit or get itchy skin.
The Bottom Line
Apple cider vinegar may not be the miracle-working solution some claim it to be. But it definitely has benefits that your dog could use. ACV can relieve your dog’s itching, repel fleas and ticks and can be used as an ear cleaner.
ACV can help your dog internally as well. ACV can help regulate blood sugar levels. It’s great for the heart health of your dog and it can help prevent toxic bacteria from gaining a foothold.
It can help your dog in so many ways and you probably already have it in your kitchen cabinet. So why wouldn’t you want to use this convenient, multi-purpose remedy?
Yagnik D, Serafin V, Shah AJ. Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression. Scientific Reports. 2018; 8: 1732. Published online 29, Jan 2018. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-18618-x.
Kondo S, Tayama K, Tsukamoto Y, Ikeda K, Yamori Y. Antihypertensive effects of acetic acid and vinegar on spontaneously hypertensive rats. PubMed.gov. Dec 2001. 65(12):2690-4. doi: 10.1271/bbb.65.2690.
Halima BH, Sonia G, Sarra K, Houda BJ, Fethi BS, Abdallah A. Apple Cider Vinegar Attenuates Oxidative Stress and Reduces the Risk of Obesity in High-Fat-Fed Male Wistar Rats. PubMed.gov. Jan 2018. 21(1):70-80. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2017.0039. Epub 1, Nov 2017.
Shishehbor F, Mansoori A, Sarkaki AR, Jalali MT, Latifi SM. Apple cider vinegar attenuates lipid profile in normal and diabetic rats. PubMed.gov. 1, Dec 2008.11(23):2634-8. doi: 10.3923/pjbs.2008.2634.2638.
Fushimi T, Suruga K, Oshima Y, Fukiharu M, Tsukamoto Y, Goda T. Dietary acetic acid reduces serum cholesterol and triacylglycerols in rats fed a cholesterol-rich diet. PubMed.gov. May 2006. 95(5):916-24. doi: 10.1079/bjn20061740.
Hwang SJ, Kim YW, Park Y, Lee HJ, Kim KW. Anti-inflammatory effects of chlorogenic acid in lipopolysaccharide-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells. PubMed.gov. Jan 2014. 63(1):81-90. doi: 10.1007/s00011-013-0674-4. Epub 15, Oct 2013.
Tripathi S, Mazumder PM. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) and their pharmacological approach towards Alzheimer’s Disease (AD): A Review. Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technology, Birla Institute of Technology-Mesra. 12, March 2020.