Chances are, you may have already heard a bit about the benefits of apple cider vinegar (acv) for dogs. No stranger to acv (I use it in my hair), I personally started adding it into Kitsune's bath water to help soothe his itchy skin (due to allergies). Kitsune isn't crazy about the taste of acv, not that I blame him, but I've also been adding a bit of it to his food. It seems to help with his allergies. Besides allergy relief, as a dietary supplement acv is said to provide a plethora of health benefits.
So exactly what can apple cider vinegar do for your dog?
- Used topically, acv can condition the fur, help fight bacterial/fungal skin infections, and soothe the skin.
- It is also said that acv can help to naturally repel biting insects such as fleas and ticks. You can add a few teaspoons of acv into a spray bottle filled with water and use that to spray down your pet before going into areas where contracting fleas/ticks is a concern. Just make sure, when using vinegar topically, to keep it away from your dog's eyes (it stings)!
- Given as a diet supplement, acv is said to have many benefits such as helping to relieve arthritis, improving digestion, aiding in bladder and kidney health, releaving allergy symptoms, and fighting against fungal/bacterial infections.
- Acv can be used to clean ears, paws, etc., and can help prevent yeast infections.
- Many owners have reported that acv, used as a dietary supplement, has been able to greatly reduce or even eliminate their pet's tear stains. It's much healthier than many of the products sold for this purpose.
- I use acv as a nontoxic cleaner to clean up after my pets. It does a great job at eliminating urine odors if your pet has an accident, and can be used to clean pet dishes and counter tops rather than using harsh chemicals.
Are all brands of apple cider vinegar created equal?
Not necessarily. How picky I am about what type of vinegar I buy depends on what I'm planning on using it for. If I'm buying acv to rinse my hair, or clean my counter tops, I usually just go for the cheapest bottle of store brand acv. However, if I'm buying it to mix in with Kitsune's food, I end up buying more expensive brands. Always the best for my furry friend. But there is a reason why I pay more for the higher end acv if I'm planning on using it as a supplement.
If you're going to add acv to your pet's food or water, you want to look for acv brands that say they contain 'mother'. The mother of the acv will usually appear as a cloudy sediment on the bottom of the jar. You may have noticed that this is absent in some brands of acv. It's a weird sounding term, but the mother is basically a collection of things like good bacteria, enzymes, and proteins. It is widely believed that the mother of the acv is the part that contributes most to its health benefits.
How much apple cider vinegar should I give my dog?
I mix acv in with Kitsune's food usually twice per week, sometimes more often if his allergies are bothering him more than usual. I only give him about a teaspoon a day. Kitsune is 20 lbs. Be careful about adding too much acv to your dog's water or food. I've never heard of it being dangerous if given in larger amounts, but acv does have a strong smell and flavor and may cause your pet to refuse his/her food if too much vinegar is added.
Apple cider vinegar is safe to use undiluted topically. As I said before, just be very careful to keep it away from your pet's eyes. If your dog has any open wounds, or his skin is raw/inflamed, using acv, especially if your using it undiluted, can sting. I always dilute acv with at least one part water if I'm going to use it topically, if for no other reason than because this makes the bottle last longer.
Apple cider vinegar is a natural supplement that you can feel good about giving your furry friend. However, like with any new food/supplement, always take your individual pet into account. If you have any questions about introducing a new supplement into your pet's diet, always make sure to do your own research, and talk with your pet's veterinarian.
Do you currently give your pet acv? Have you noticed any improvements to his/her health?