Apple Cider Vinegar For Dogs: Is It Really Beneficial?

Apple Cider Vinegar For Dogs: Is It Really Beneficial?

Alex Seilis

From itchy skin to digestion issues, some people claim apple cider vinegar can clean up pretty much anything in your dog. But what’s the truth about apple cider vinegar for dogs?

The truth is that apple cider vinegar for dogs can help in many ways.

We'll share the topical and internal benefits of apple cider vinegar below … but first, it's important to make sure you're buying the right kind so that it's safe for your dog.

Is Apple Cider Vinegar Safe For Dogs?

Yes, apple cider vinegar (ACV) can be safe for dogs, but there are a few guidelines to follow to make sure it's beneficial and not harmful.

First, it's important to choose raw, organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. This type of ACV is free from pesticides and other harmful chemicals commonly found in non-organic farming practices.

Additionally, opting for raw ACV means it hasn't undergone pasteurization. Pasteurization destroys the beneficial enzymes that are crucial for your dog's health. These enzymes help your dog to fully reap the health benefits of ACV.

Another key feature of raw ACV is the "mother" – a collection of bacteria and yeast formed during fermentation. The mother appears as a cloudy substance or a stringy blob at the bottom of the bottle, resembling a spider web. It’s packed with probiotics and other healthful components.

To ensure your dog gets the full benefits, always shake the bottle before use to mix the mother evenly. Now you're ready to go.

Before we get into the best topical and internal uses, let's make sure we're dosing things correctly …

Apple Cider Vinegar For Dogs: Proper Dosage

Don’t give your dog undiluted apple cider vinegar. Always mix it into her water or food. Give the following daily amount depending on the size of your dog:

  • 1 tsp for dogs up to 15 lbs
  • 2 tsp for dogs 16 to 35 lbs
  • 1 tbsp for dogs 36 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.

Topical Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar For Dogs

ACV For Dog Skin Allergies

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) can help relieve itchy skin and rashes caused by various irritants. The best way to apply it is by making a 50/50 solution of apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle and applying 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.

Donna Starita Mehan DVM explains in The Veterinarians’ Guide to Natural Remedies for Dogs that yeast doesn’t do well in an acidic environment. So, feeding 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of ACV twice daily can help.

ACV For Dogs’ Ears

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 is itchy and uncomfortable, then you need to help. In that case, you can clean gunky ears using a solution of half ACV and half purified water.

  1. Clean dirty ears using individual cotton balls soaked in the solution.
  2. Swab out the ears until the cotton ball comes out clean.

Caution: 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, never pour solutions into your dog’s ears and never use cotton swabs like Q-tips.

ACV For Fleas On Dogs

Even the healthiest, cleanest dog may end up hosting these critters. Fortunately, ACV can once again come to the rescue.

Before your dog goes out, spray her with a 50/50 solution of ACV and water.

For some added oomph, put ACV in your dog’s food or water during flea and tick season. Add up to 1 tablespoon for a 50-pound dog.

Remember: 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.

ACV 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, and 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 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. 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.

Internal Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar

Blood Sugar Support

ACV may help with maintaining healthy blood sugar levels in your dog. Some studies suggest that taking apple cider vinegar for 8 to 12 weeks can help manage blood sugar levels.

Cardiovascular Health

The acetic acid in ACV can help maintain healthy lipid levels and blood pressure, which can contribute to better heart health for your dog.

Supports A Healthy Gut

ACV may help support a healthy gut by restricting the growth of potentially harmful bacteria like E. coli and yeast like C. albicans (candida), supporting a balanced microbial environment in the body.

Urinary Health

There is some evidence that ACV may help maintain urinary health. While research is still ongoing, some indications suggest that ACV may support a healthy urinary tract.

Cognitive Support

ACV may help support cognitive health due to its phenolic compounds. These compounds include gallic acid, catechin, caffeic acid, epicatechin, chlorogenic acid, and p-coumaric acid.

Weight Management

ACV can help support oxidative balance, which is important in managing weight. Maintaining oxidative balance helps protect cells from damage and supports overall health.

Digestive Health

Gut health is crucial for your dog’s overall health. The fermentation process used for raw ACV makes it a useful prebiotic, supporting the beneficial bacteria in the gut and helping with digestion.

Final Thoughts

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 support your dog’s skin health, repel fleas and ticks, and be used as an ear cleaner.

Internally, it can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels, cardiovascular health, and overall microbial balance.

With so many potential benefits, ACV is a convenient, multi-purpose remedy worth considering for your dog’s health regimen.

FAQ

What does apple cider vinegar do for a dog? Adding apple cider vinegar to your dog's diet can support digestive health, help with ear infections, and act as a natural flea repellent, making it a versatile supplement for your pet.

How much apple cider vinegar do I put in my dogs drinking water? To add apple cider vinegar to your dog's drinking water, use 1 teaspoon for dogs up to 15 lbs, 2 teaspoons for dogs 16 to 35 lbs, and 1 tablespoon for dogs 36 to 84 lbs.

Can apple cider vinegar help dog skin allergies? Yes, diluted apple cider vinegar can help relieve environmental or seasonal allergies by soothing itchy skin caused by yeast and other irritants.

How often should I put apple cider vinegar on my dog? For best results, pet parents should apply a diluted apple cider vinegar solution to their dog's body or dog's fur once or twice a week to help with skin issues and as an apple cider vinegar bath for general skin health.