Our kitchen cabinets typically house more than just ingredients for the table, but also ingredients for safe and effective natural remedies. Apple cider vinegar is such an ingredient and one that you should always keep handy because it offers many benefits for dogs, too! Keep reading to learn more about this miracle product.
What is apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar, or ACV, is fermented apple juice. Just like other vinegars, ACV is made by allowing the sugars in the apple juice to ferment and turn into alcohol and then into acetic acid. ACV is less acidic than other vinegars; its pH value varies from 4.25 to 5, whereas white vinegar has a pH value of 2.4.
Apple cider vinegar may also contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals; the kinds and amounts of nutrients present vary depending on how the product is made.
When buying ACV, choose an organic and raw product as much as possible to get its full benefits. In the kitchen, ACV is used in much the same way as white vinegar, as a flavoring agent.
What are the benefits of apple cider vinegar for dogs?
For Itchy Skin
Apple cider vinegar can be used as a topical treatment for itchy skin. Mix equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and water, and spray or dab onto the itchy spots. This ACV remedy is effective against poison ivy rashes and yeast infection on the skin.
For Wounds and Infections
ACV is a powerful antiseptic, but it will sting if the wound is still raw and you apply pure vinegar. Make a solution of 10% ACV and 90% water to treat minor wounds and skin infections. Use a cotton ball to apply the solution directly to the affected area. Cover the wound with gauze, if possible, to prevent Fido from licking it. Constant licking will keep the wound from healing and his saliva will make the wound more susceptible to bacterial infection. Treat the wound several times a day.
For Fleas and Ticks
ACV is an effective flea and tick repellent. Make a 50/50 solution of the cider vinegar and water; place in a spray bottle; spray your dog before taking him outside. Make sure to avoid his eyes, nose, and mouth when spraying. You can directly apply the solution in areas that ticks and fleas favor, such as behind the ears, in the armpits, and at the base of the tail. You can also mix 2 tablespoons of ACV into Fido’s food or water for an added layer of protection, especially during flea and tick season.
Additionally, you can make an ACV body rinse for your dog’s overall skin health. In a clean jar, mix together half a cup of ACV, half a cup of brewed and cooled green tea, and 1 cup distilled water. Cover the jar and shake the mixture well. Use the mixture as Fido’s final rinse after giving him a bath. Massage Fido and let the rinse soak for a few minutes, and then you can rinse him again with water or leave the ACV mixture on until it dries. Alternatively, you can also mix a few tablespoons of ACV into your dog’s shampoo.
In addition to repelling bugs, the rinse can also help restore healthy skin pH and soothe itchiness, rashes, and welts. You can store the rinse in an airtight container inside the fridge for up to two weeks. It is also an effective spot treatment for minor skin irritations.
For Ear Cleaning
The 50/50 ACV and water solution also works wonders in cleaning smelly ears. Soak a cotton ball with the solution and gently clean Fido’s ears. Keep cleaning with new cotton balls until the cotton comes away with no more gunk. Do not pour the solution into your dog’s ears. If your pet has an ear infection, your vet can prescribe ear drops to properly treat it.
For Stinky Paws
Fido’s paws are warm and damp and create the ideal environment for the growth of bacteria and fungi which, in turn, can make their paws itchy and smelly. Obsessive licking of his paws is a sign that they may have a bacterial or fungal infection. This can be easily treated by dipping his paws, one at a time, in a bucket of water mixed with half a cup of ACV, and then gently dry with a towel. Soak his paws in the ACV bath at least three times a day, every day, until the infection goes away.
Using apple cider vinegar for dogs
When using ACV topically or internally, watch out for any adverse reactions and immediately discontinue treatment if there are any.
Always mix ACV with Fido’s food or water following a 1:3 ratio, at the most - or 1 part ACV to 3 parts food or water. Do not feed him ACV at full strength or you will risk acidifying his stomach.
For topical applications, you should also always dilute the ACV with water. When directly applied to the skin, full-strength apple cider vinegar can alter your dog’s skin’s pH. Avoid contact with the eyes, nose, mouth, genitals, and anus.
Some dogs may experience diarrhea when fed ACV; you can simply reduce the amount to remedy the condition. However, if your pet’s stool does not improve, stop giving him the vinegar.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Dogs - Final Thoughts
Apple cider vinegar offers a number of health benefits for your best bud. It is always best to seek your vet’s advice regarding any home remedy for Fido that you’ll be trying for the first time or any new supplement that you want to give him. Monitor your dog for any adverse reactions throughout the treatment period.
Always use raw apple cider vinegar; buy organic, if possible. The product should asy cold-pressed, mother of vinegar, or raw to indicate that it has not been heavily processed.
Consult a holistic vet about other safe and effective options for naturopathic and homeopathic remedies and supplements for overall wellness for your furry pal.