Apple Cider Vinegar For Dogs

Apple Cider Vinegar for Dogs: Benefits and Uses

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been praised for its numerous health benefits for humans, but did you know that this natural elixir can also work wonders for our canine companions? Incorporating apple cider vinegar into your dog's routine can bring about a range of benefits: from promoting better digestion to improving skin health and tackling pesky parasites, this age-old remedy has proven its worth in the realm of canine care.

Table of Contents

apple cider vinegar for dogs

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from fermented apple juice. It is produced by crushing apples and extracting the liquid, which is then allowed to ferment.

During the fermentation process, sugars from the apple juice are converted into alcohol by yeast. Later, bacteria are added to the alcohol to further ferment it into acetic acid, which gives vinegar its characteristic sour taste and pungent smell.

"The mother" is a term used to refer to the cloudy, stringy, and web-like substance that may be present in raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar. It appears as a collection of beneficial bacteria, enzymes, and proteins formed during the fermentation process.

These substances are believed to have potential health benefits, and some people consider apple cider vinegar with the mother to be more nutritious and therapeutic compared to filtered vinegar. 

The mother is not present in all types of apple cider vinegar. It is more commonly found in organic, unfiltered, and unpasteurised varieties. Before using apple cider vinegar with the mother, it is advisable to shake the bottle to distribute the beneficial substances throughout the liquid.

Is Apple Cider Vinegar safe for dogs and puppies?

Yes. When used in moderation ACV has many benefits for dogs but remember, not all ACV is created equal.

When choosing apple cider vinegar for your dog, opt for raw and unfiltered varieties.

A raw product is essential because it is not pasteurised, preserving the beneficial living enzymes – the mother - present in ACV. These live enzymes are crucial for your dog to fully benefit from the health properties of apple cider vinegar.

ACV is generally considered safe for puppies when used in moderation and appropriately diluted. However, puppies have more sensitive systems than adult dogs, so it's crucial to exercise caution.

What are the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for dogs?

ACV offers several benefits for dogs when used appropriately.  ACV has an alkalising effect on the body, which helps to balance pH levels and maintain overall health.  

  • Improves Digestion: ACV aids digestion by promoting the production of stomach acid, which can be beneficial for dogs with mild digestive issues.
  • Relieves Itchy Paws and Skin: When diluted and used as a topical solution, ACV can help alleviate itchy skin caused by yeast imbalance, allergies or insect bites.
  • Flea and Tick Repellent: ACV's strong odour is believed to act as a natural repellent against fleas and ticks when applied to a dog's coat.
  • Ear Cleaning: Diluted ACV can be used as an ear-cleaning solution, helping to maintain ear hygiene and prevent ear infections.
  • Promotes Urinary Health: Some believe ACV can prevent the formation of certain urinary crystals and support urinary tract health in dogs.
  • Joint Health: ACV may help reduce inflammation in joints, making it beneficial for dogs with arthritis or joint discomfort.
  • Oral Health: When mixed with water, ACV could aid in reducing plaque and tartar build-up, promoting better oral health.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Digestive Health in Dogs

ACV supports canine digestive health in several ways:

  • Acidification of Stomach: ACV can help increase the acidity of the stomach, which aids in the digestion of food and the breakdown of nutrients.
  • Probiotic Properties: ACV contains beneficial probiotics and enzymes that may promote healthy gut flora, supporting digestion.
  • Prebiotic Effect: The pectin in ACV is considered a prebiotic, nourishing beneficial bacteria in the gut and encouraging their growth.
  • Gas and Bloat Relief: ACV may help reduce gas and bloating in dogs by promoting better digestion and reducing fermentation in the gut.

The recommended dosage and way to feed ACV to dogs for digestive support varies depending on the size and condition of the dog. General guidelines are:

Dosage: Start with a low dosage and gradually increase it over time to assess your dog's tolerance. A typical starting dosage is 1/4 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of ACV per day for small dogs (up to 10kg) and 1 to 2 teaspoons per day for medium to large dogs (up to 45kg).

Dilution: Always dilute ACV before feeding it to your dog. Mix the recommended dosage with water or food to avoid any potential irritation to the dog's throat or stomach.

Frequency: ACV can be given to dogs one to three times per day, depending on their individual needs and response.

Apple Cider Vinegar for itchy paws and skin in dogs

ACV helps to relieve itchy paws and skin in dogs through its various properties:

  • Anti-Inflammatory: ACV has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation and soothe irritated skin.
  • Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Fungal: It contains acetic acid, which has natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. This can be beneficial in case the itching is caused by bacterial or fungal skin infections.
  • pH Balance: ACV can help restore the skin's natural pH balance, creating an environment less conducive to the growth of irritants.

Topical Application: Mix equal parts of ACV and water in a spray bottle. After bathing your dog, spray the diluted ACV solution onto the itchy areas of their skin. Gently massage it in, and allow it to air dry. Avoid spraying near the eyes, open wounds, or broken skin.

Apple Cider Vinegar Bath: You can also add about 200ml of ACV to your dog's bathwater. Let your dog soak in the solution for 5-10 minutes, ensuring the affected areas are submerged. After the bath, pat your dog dry gently with a towel.

Internal Use: Some dog owners also use a small amount of ACV in their dog's food. However, for this purpose, it's generally more effective to apply it topically. 

Caution: Always dilute ACV before applying it to your dog's skin. Undiluted ACV can be too strong and may cause irritation. Additionally, avoid using ACV on open wounds or broken skin, as it can sting and worsen the condition.

Apple Cider Vinegar for fleas and ticks in dogs

ACV works as a flea and tick repellent for dogs due to its acidic nature and strong scent, which fleas and ticks dislike. When applied to the dog's skin and coat, it creates an environment that is less attractive to these parasites, making it more difficult for them to stay and attach to the dog.

To use ACV as a flea and tick repellent for dogs, you can create a simple homemade spray:

  1. Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle. For example, you can mix 200ml of apple cider vinegar with 200ml of water.
  2. Gently shake the spray bottle to ensure the solution is well-mixed.
  3. Before applying the spray to your dog, it's essential to do a patch test first to check for any allergic reactions or sensitivities. Spray a small amount of the solution on a small area of your dog's skin and monitor for any adverse reactions for at least 24 hours.

Once you've confirmed there are no negative reactions, you can proceed with the following steps: 

While applying the spray, avoid spraying it directly into your dog's eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.

Starting from the neck area, lightly spray your dog's entire body, including the back, sides, belly, legs, and tail.

Be cautious around sensitive areas, such as wounds or irritated skin, and avoid spraying there.

Additionally, you can spray the solution onto your hands and gently rub it onto your dog's ears and around the neck to create a flea and tick barrier.

Apple Cider Vinegar for ear cleaning in dogs

ACV can be used as an ear cleaner for dogs due to its mild anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It can help to maintain the pH balance in the ear, which is important for preventing the overgrowth of bacteria and yeast that can lead to ear infections. However, it's crucial to use apple cider vinegar properly and avoid using it if your dog already has an ear infection, as it may worsen the condition.

Here's how to use ACV as an ear cleaner for dogs:

  1. Dilute the vinegar: Mix equal parts of ACV and water to create a gentle ear-cleaning solution. You can start with 1 tablespoon (15ml) of apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of water. If your dog has sensitive ears, you can dilute it further by adding more water.
  2. Check the ears: Before cleaning your dog's ears, inspect them for any signs of redness, swelling, discharge, or foul odour. If you notice any of these signs, do not use the vinegar solution, and consult your veterinarian instead.
  3. Application: Gently lift your dog's ear flap and pour a small amount of the diluted apple cider vinegar into the ear canal. Massage the base of the ear for a few seconds to help the solution reach deep into the ear canal. Allow your dog to shake their head to help loosen any debris.
  4. Clean the outer ear: Take a clean cotton ball or soft cloth and use it to wipe the inside of the ear flap and the visible part of the ear canal. Do not insert anything into the ear canal itself, as this can cause injury.
  5. Repeat if necessary: If there is a significant build-up of dirt or wax, you may need to repeat the process on the same ear or use a new cotton ball until the ear is clean.
  6. Dry the ears: Use a dry cotton ball or towel to gently pat the ears dry. Make sure to keep the ears dry to prevent moisture from promoting bacterial growth.

It's essential to be gentle when cleaning your dog's ears, as their ears are sensitive and can be easily injured. If your dog's ears appear red, inflamed, or if they show signs of discomfort during the cleaning process, stop immediately and consult your veterinarian. ACV should not be used as a treatment for existing ear infections; instead, seek professional veterinary care if you suspect an ear infection.

Apple Cider Vinegar for urinary health in dogs

ACV may offer some benefits for urinary health in dogs, although it's essential to use it carefully and in conjunction with holistic veterinary advice for this purpose.

ACV is believed to create a slightly acidic environment in the urinary tract, which can discourage the growth of certain bacteria and promote a healthy pH balance. 

  • Acidifying the Urine: ACV is acidic in nature, and when ingested, it can slightly acidify the urine. This acidic environment may help prevent the formation of certain crystals and stones in the urinary tract, particularly struvite stones, which tend to form in alkaline urine. By promoting a balanced pH level, ACV may contribute to urinary health.
  • Deterring Bacterial Growth: The acidic environment created by ACV might also help deter the growth of certain bacteria in the urinary tract. However, it's important to note that not all urinary tract issues in dogs are caused by bacteria, and in some cases, the use of ACV may not be appropriate or effective.

The dosage of ACV for urinary health in dogs depends on the dog's size and health condition. It's essential to consult your holistic veterinarian before adding ACV to your dog's diet for the purpose of urinary health.

The typical recommended dosage is to add 1 teaspoon (5ml) of ACV per 10kg of body weight to your dog's food. Start with a small amount and gradually increase it, if necessary, while monitoring your dog's response.

Dilution: Always dilute ACV before feeding it to your dog. Mix the recommended dosage with water or food to avoid any potential irritation to the dog's throat or stomach.

Caution: ACV should be used with caution in dogs with a history of urinary issues, kidney problems, or those prone to calcium oxalate stones, as it may exacerbate certain conditions. Additionally, excessive use of ACV can lead to electrolyte imbalances and other health issues, so it's crucial to follow your veterinarian's recommendations.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Joint Health in Dogs

ACV is believed to have potential benefits for joint health in dogs, but it's important to note that scientific evidence supporting these claims is limited. ACV contains various nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, that may have anti-inflammatory properties and could contribute to joint health. However, more research is needed to fully understand its effects on canine joint health.

Here's how ACV may potentially help with joint health in dogs and how it can be given for this purpose:

  • Anti-Inflammatory Properties: ACV contains acetic acid, which is thought to possess anti-inflammatory properties. Reducing inflammation can be beneficial for dogs with joint issues, as inflammation is often associated with conditions like osteoarthritis.
  • Nutrient Content: ACV is a source of some essential vitamins and minerals, such as potassium and magnesium. These nutrients can play a role in maintaining overall joint health and may support proper muscle function. 

Dosage: The typical recommended dosage is to add a small amount of ACV to your dog's food. Start with 1/4 teaspoon for small dogs (up to 10kg) and 1 teaspoon for medium to large dogs (up to 45kg). Gradually increase the amount, up to a maximum of 1 tablespoon for large dogs.

Dilution: Always dilute ACV before feeding it to your dog. Mix the recommended dosage with water or food to avoid any potential irritation to the dog's throat or stomach.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Oral and Dental Health in Dogs

ACV is believed to have some potential benefits for oral health in dogs, but it's important to note that scientific evidence supporting these claims is limited. ACV contains acetic acid and other compounds that may have antibacterial properties, which could help combat harmful bacteria in the mouth.

However, it's essential to use ACV cautiously and in moderation, as its acidic nature may cause harm if not properly diluted or if used excessively.

Here's how apple cider vinegar may potentially help with oral health in dogs and how it can be given for this purpose: 

  • Anti-bacterial Properties: ACV's acetic acid may help reduce the population of harmful bacteria in the mouth, potentially contributing to better oral hygiene.
  • Plaque and Tartar Control: Some proponents believe that ACV could help reduce the build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth, although regular brushing remains the most effective way to maintain oral hygiene in dogs.
  • Bad Breath Control: ACV's anti-bacterial properties might also help control bad breath caused by bacteria in the mouth.

Dosage: ACV should always be diluted before using it for oral health. Mix 10ml ACV with 20ml water to create a safe and effective solution. Using undiluted ACV can be too harsh and potentially damage the enamel of the teeth or irritate the gums.

Application: You can use a soft-bristled toothbrush or a clean piece of gauze to apply the diluted ACV to your dog's teeth and gums gently. Aim to focus on the outer surfaces of the teeth and the gum line.

Frequency: It's best to start with a few times a week and observe your dog's reaction. If there are no signs of irritation or sensitivity, you can gradually increase the frequency. However, daily use is generally not necessary and might lead to excessive exposure to acid.

Caution: If your dog already has dental issues or sensitive gums, consult with your holistic veterinarian before using ACV.

apple cider vinegar

In conclusion, apple cider vinegar emerges as a versatile and effective natural remedy for enhancing your dog's health and well-being. From digestive support to flea prevention, and itch relief to joint health, ACV offers numerous benefits.

Remember to opt for raw, unfiltered ACV to preserve its live enzymes and avoid harmful chemicals. Embrace this powerful elixir to promote a happier, healthier life for your beloved canine companion.

With Woofs & Wags,

Laura, Dolly & Reggie

Back to blog