You’ve probably noticed by now that you can’t go anywhere without seeing something about how apple cider vinegar (ACV) is the miracle food that is missing from your diet. Magazine articles claim that ACV can help with everything from bad breath to diabetes, from weight loss to high cholesterol. Maybe you’ve tried it and it’s worked for you, and maybe you’ve been wondering if your dog could try it as well. After all, your dog has bad breath and a chubby belly too. Could apple cider vinegar help? Well, there are some folks who say it can. Here are few ways that people have used ACV with their dogs, but make sure you talk to you vet before trying them.
How Apple Cider Vinegar is Sometimes Used with Dogs
All the claims surrounding apple cider vinegar’s health benefits for dogs can be broken into two categories—external and internal.
Possible Benefits of External Use
Control dandruff and odor by pouring ACV onto your dog’s coat after a bath (make sure you aren’t pouring it on any open cuts or sores as ACV is very acidic and will burn). If your dog has light-colored fur, you might want to use distilled white vinegar instead, so the ACV doesn’t stain the fur orange.
Treat “hot spots” (inflamed area of skin often caused by allergies or insect bites) and itchy paws by spraying ACV onto the dog’s inflamed skin. Be careful, though. ACV is highly acidic and may burn. Try a small area first.
Clean inside your dog’s ears with ACV (split 1:1 with warm water) by dropping in the ear and then rubbing the ear. This may also help treat ear infections.
Wipe ACV on your dog’s coat and skin to help prevent fleas.
Possible Benefits of Internal Use
As a general supplement for digestive health, mix a small amount of ACV (one teaspoon per 50 lbs. of weight) into your dog’s food twice a day.
To fight a urinary tract infection and prevent kidney and bladder stones, add between one tablespoon per 50 lbs. and one teaspoon per 15 lbs. Of body weight to your dog’s food, depending upon your dog’s tolerance for ACV.
Doing What’s Best for Your Dog
On one hand, many dog owners and advocates of natural health remedies laud the benefits of apple cider vinegar for their dog’s health and wellbeing. On the other hand, many veterinarians are less enthusiastic about the claims made about the benefits of ACV for dogs. Many vets express concern that the high acidity of ACV may be causing pain and irritation to your dog when applied topically and that some pet owners may be trying to treat serious conditions with ACV that should be treated with prescription antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and other medications. But although apple cider vinegar may not be a cure-all (nothing is!), It is hard to dismiss the positive claims about ACV, especially if you’ve experienced them for yourself. So take this information with you when you talk to your vet. That way you’ll be better prepared with questions to ask, remembering that both of you have the same goal--a healthy and happy pooch!