Apple cider vinegar has long been used as an ingredient in recipes, but did you know apple cider vinegar may offer benefits to boost a dog’s health as well?
If you’re unfamiliar with the benefits of apple cider vinegar for dogs and how to use it, we’re here to help. We spoke with a vet expert about the ins and outs of offering their dog apple cider vinegar.
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Apple Cider Vinegar Is Safe for Dogs—in Moderation
Before we get into the benefits, it’s important to note that, yes, apple cider vinegar (ACV) is considered safe for dogs—as long as it’s used in moderation.
While it doesn’t contain any harsh ingredients, too much apple cider vinegar can irritate your dog’s stomach, says Dr. Dwight Alleyne, DVM, a practicing veterinarian in Georgia.
The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for Dogs
ACV for Ear Infections
To keep ear infections at bay, it’s important to ensure our dogs' ears are clean. For pet parents who love holistic care, using apple cider vinegar for dog’s ears is an option. That’s because ACV‘s properties may help slow growth of bacteria and yeast in the ears, says Dr. Alleyne.
“It just needs to be used in moderation to avoid additional irritation in the ears,” he adds.
Again, ACV is not an ear infection home remedy and should be used as a preventative only.
Here are tips to using ACV as an ear infection preventative:
- Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and distilled water, and wipe down your dog’s ears.
- If you suspect your dog has an ear infection, however, promptly schedule a vet appointment to have the infection treated professionally before starting a preventive regime.
ACV as a Dog Shampoo
Bathing a dog with ACV may help with certain skin irritations such as hot spots, according to Dr. Alleyne. And according to a 2018 study published in Scientific Reports, apple cider vinegar does have many antibacterial properties.
However, ACV is not meant to treat serious skin conditions, and you should take your dog to the vet if you have concerns.
Here are tips to using ACV as a dog shampoo:
- ACV should be diluted with water. Mix equal parts ACV with water (1:1). This helps prevent skin irritations.
- Before application, check your dog’s skin for open wounds of notable size. If you see any, do not apply ACV and call your vet.
ACV as a Flea Repellant
ACV is not an effective flea treatment. It can, however, be used as a flea repellant. Because apple cider vinegar has such a strong smell, it does have the ability to repel fleas.
That being said, it may be more trouble than it’s worth. “The problem is that the longevity of effectiveness after application is very short,” Dr. Alleyne explains. “Therefore, frequent applications may be required, which may not be practical.”
Here are some tips to using apple cider vinegar as a flea repellant:
- Mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
- For dogs with sensitive skin, test a small area first to make sure there isn’t a reaction.
- Avoid spraying your dog’s face.
ACV as a Dog Supplement
As to whether ACV is an effective supplement, “while there has been a lot of anecdotal evidence from pet owners that ACV can improve certain health conditions, there hasn't been much definitive scientific evidence to support this,” Dr. Alleyne says.
Still, because it’s generally not harmful when used in moderation, many pet parents believe adding apple cider vinegar to their dog’s water or food as a natural remedy or as a preventative provides health benefits.
As far as how much ACV to offer your pup, that depends on their size. Here are Dr. Alleyne's guidelines:
- Small to medium dogs: 1/2 to 1 teaspoon daily
- Larger dogs: 1/2 to 1 tablespoon daily
What Kind of ACV Should I Give My Dog?
Use organic and unfiltered ACV. That’s the best kind of ACV product to use, per Dr. Alleyne.
“The product needs to be all natural to minimize side effects,” he says.
Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar seems to be popular among pet parents.
The most common way to give your pup apple cider vinegar is to add the recommended amount to your dog’s water.
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