More and more often we are seeing pet parents make the switch from chemically based products to all natural remedies. When you take a look at the facts, it's really not surprising why so many prefer non-toxic alternatives when treating their beloved four-legged companion's ailments. No artificial ingredients? No harsh chemicals? And best of all, virtually no adverse reactions? Sign us up!
If you are new to the world of holistic health and wellness, welcome! It may surprise you just how accessible the majority of the remedies are. In fact, the all-natural healer that we are going to discuss today may very well already be in your pantry. With that, let's dive into the possibilities of Apple Cider Vinegar and how it can make a huge difference for both you and your dog's life.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar, also referred to as ACV, is a type of vinegar that has been getting a substantial amount of attention in the last several years for the ways in which it can improve human health. Fairly recently, many started to wonder if any of those benefits could also be found for our furry friends. The answer is yes. Studies show that ACV has impressive healing properties for both dogs and cats. Pet parents everywhere are thrilled at the results they are finding by using ACV both internally and externally on their animals.
Apple Cider Vinegar: A New Trend?
Apple cider vinegar is quite similar to white vinegar. The major difference is ACV is made through the process of fermenting apples. The result of the fermentation process is a substance that is full of iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and other essential vitamins and minerals.
With all of the health advantages, it's not surprising that the medicinal use of ACV is not a new concept. Even though the internet and health blogs have only picked up on the concept in the last several years, ACV has deep roots when it comes to holistic healing linking all the way back to 400 B.C. when Hippocrates was said to use the concoction in treating colds and other ailments.
Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for Dogs
You're probably wondering just how ACV may be able to help Fido. You'll find that many of the benefits are comparable to those found in humans.
ACV: A Natural Flea Killer
Apple cider vinegar is a natural flea and tick repellent. At one point or another, you'll likely have to deal with your dog getting fleas. The pests exist everywhere, even in climates you wouldn't expect. Many pet parents don't love the idea of a monthly chemically based prevention medicine, but obviously still want Fido to be flea and tick free. Here's where ACV comes in.
Spraying your dog with a 50/50 solution of ACV and water before they go outside is an effective way to prevent fleas and ticks from making landfall on your dog's fur.
Additionally, in many parts of the country, you may need extra protection during flea and tick season. ACV keeps the pH levels in the dog's blood slightly acidic which fleas detest. Therefore, dog owners have found that adding 2 tablespoons of ACV to their pet's food or water does the trick!
Relieving Itchy Skin with Apple Cider Vinegar
If you have a dog who can't seem to find relief from itchy skin, ACV may be able to help. Apple cider vinegar ACV can help soothe and relieve rashes caused by yeast. Furthermore, apple cider vinegar has the ability to prevent the spread of yeast and prevent yeast infections from developing.
Additionally, dogs who are prone to skin conditions such as demodectic mange or sarcoptic mange have found great results with ACV treatment. Apple cider vinegar contains naturally-occurring acids that help eliminate dead skin cells to expose new, healthy ones. Many holistic vets also suggest that treating developing hot spots with ACV can help dry them out and eliminate the need to shave the dog.
Pet parents have found that mixing a 50/50 solution of apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle and then applying the mixture to their dog's coat does wonders for itchy, dry skin. However, it is important to not apply the ACV concoction to open wounds or hot spots as the acidity will sting the raw skin. If applying the ACV to the dog's coat isn't possible, pet parents also have the option of feeding ACV via their pet’s food or water.
ACV: A Natural Ear Cleaner
Speaking of yeast, itchy skin is usually accompanied by itchy ears. Because of its powerful antibacterial properties, ACV is an effective way to keep your dog's ears clean and free of yeast and harmful bacteria. Holistic vets suggest using half ACV and half purified water to prevent ear infections from developing.
First, check your dog's ears regularly for wax and gunk. Clean out anything that shouldn't be there by using individual cotton balls soaked in the solution. Continue the process until no more gunk comes out on the cotton ball.
Coat Treatments & Tear Staining
Even if your dog doesn't suffer from skin irritation, ACV can still be a wonderful tool for bringing life back to dull coats. Additionally, apple cider vinegar can be used to wipe away tear stains and brown saliva stained fur.
Many pet parents have also found positive results in reducing dander with apple cider vinegar. Simply massage the coat with full-strength apple-cider vinegar before shampooing.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Digestion
If your dog suffers from regular digestion issues such as diarrhea or constipation, adding ACV to their drinking water once a day can help. The healthy enzymes in apple cider vinegar have also shown to help reduce gas and bloating.
Apple cider vinegar has natural antibiotic and antiseptic properties that prevent harmful bacteria and viruses from entering the body. Even if your dog doesn't have a preexisting condition, using ACV in some dosages can help prevent infections from developing.
ACV for Muscle Sprains and Bruises
Used topically, pet parents can help ease their pet's sore muscles, bruises, and other injuries. By using a cotton ball, apply a 50/50 concoction of ACV and water to your dog's body. Reapply as necessary.
Easing Arthritis and Joint Discomfort
Used internally, ACV can help reduce joint inflammation from arthritis. Adding apple cider vinegar to your senior dog's food twice a week can help break down calcium deposits found around the joints and thus help ease stiffness, pain, and discomfort.
Promoting Dental Health
Research continues to suggest the benefits of apple cider vinegar when it comes to preventing tooth decay. It is believed that the acidity levels in ACV help to break down plaque and remove tartar on your dog's teeth.
By adding a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to your dog's food or drinking water, you can help maintain their dental health.
* We do want to note that implementing ACV is a great addition but should not be the only way that you keep your dog's teeth free of plaque and tartar. We recommend brushing your dog's teeth regularly and keeping a watchful eye on any changes you may find in their mouth.
Healing and Preventing UTIs
As we previously mentioned, ACV has antiseptic and antibacterial properties that make it effective at preventing and curing infections. This is particularly beneficial for dogs that suffer from urinary tract infections. UTIs often occur due to bacteria invading the urinary tract from an over-alkaline system. The acidity of apple cider vinegar helps to neutralize the dog's pH levels and is useful for both relieving current infections and preventing new ones from developing.
Apple Cider Vinegar Uses
There are several ways that you can implement ACV into both you and your dog's life.
Make Your Own Apple Cider Vinegar Insect Repellent
Perhaps the most common way that pet parents use ACV is as an insect repellent. We recommend mixing 1 part apple cider vinegar and 1 part filtered water into a spray bottle. Dog owners can spray the mixture directly onto the dog's coat before going outside. Again, fleas hate the acidity of the ACV and will jump straight off of the dog's coat.
Removing Pet Stains and Odors
Apple cider vinegar is also useful in removing pet odors from your home and from your dog itself.
Pet owners can mix 1 part distilled ACV vinegar with 3 parts water and clean their carpets or bloat furniture with the mixture. This is also a great tool for cleaning your pet's bedding. Many pet parents have found positive results in adding the concoction to the laundry when washing their dog's bedding.
You can also add the mixture right onto your dog's coat and let them air dry and deodorize naturally.
Finally, adding ACV to your dog's shampoo is an effective way to keep their coat shiny, prevent fleas, and eliminate odor all at the same time.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Cleaning Raw Dog Food
If you've been following along with our articles you've likely noticed that we encourage our readers to consider feeding their dogs a species appropriate raw food diet.
However, we are also aware that the idea of feeding a raw home-prepared diet comes with its fair share of health and cleanliness concerns. Experts recommend using ACV as a means to disinfect countertops as well as eliminate harmful bacteria from the dog's food.
How Much Apple Cider Vinegar Can I Give My Dog?
For dogs experts suggest the following guidelines for mixing ACV in their food or drinking water:
- Small to medium dogs - 5ml or 1 teaspoon
- Medium to large dogs - 10ml or 1 dessert spoon
We also suggest starting off with less than the recommended safe dose. Implementing any new supplement into your dog's diet should be done gradually. The last thing you want to do is potentially cause harm when you're trying to do good. There's no need to rush the process when it comes to ACV.
* We also want to note that many experts don't advise giving your dog apple cider vinegar if they have a history of bladder stones.
Side Effects and Risks of Apple Cider Vinegar
That leads us to the potential risks associated with apple cider vinegar. Even though ACV is all natural, it can cause harm if not used appropriately. Apple cider vinegar is extremely acidic and can irritate the skin, eyes, and the digestive tract if too much is used. It is always recommended to dilute ACV when giving it to your dog, both internally and externally.
Experts also advise pet owners to make sure that their dog is staying hydrated if they plan on adding ACV to their dog's water bowl. Some dogs won't love the flavor of apple cider vinegar and therefore refuse to drink. It is important to leave out a clean water bowl as well to ensure that your dog isn't going thirsty.
Additionally, when using apple cider vinegar in bathing Fido, be sure to rinse the fur thoroughly. This is a general important rule of thumb for all shampoos. Even if they are all natural, shampoo residue to cause skin irritation. Therefore, if you don't rinse the fur entirely, you could be inadvertently creating irritation while trying to prevent it.
Best Apple Cider Vinegar: What to Look For
You'll want to purchase apple cider vinegar in its raw, organic and unpasteurized form. This is an important detail to note. If you go to your local grocery store you may find ACV that is clear and looks similar to apple juice. You're likely looking at ACV that has been commercially manufactured. Commercially produced apple cider vinegar is not a truly traditional ACV. It is processed and highly refined. The ACV you'll want to purchase won't look as aesthetically pleasing as the crystal clear apple cider vinegar. It should be cloudy and will probably have stringy matter floating around inside. Purchasing organic apple cider vinegar in its raw, unpasteurized form will also help guarantee that it contains healthy bacteria that your dog's body needs to help fight off infections.
The bottom line: the pretty ACV is... pretty, but it won't give you the health advantages that you're looking for. Be sure to know what you're purchasing in order to reap all of the benefits that apple cider vinegar has to offer.
How Long Does ACV Take to Work
This is a common question and one with varying answers. The amount of time for ACV to take to work ultimately depends on the specific ailment that you are treating.
In terms of digestive issues, pet owners should expect to start seeing results after a couple of days using ACV. For infections and skin conditions, results make take a bit longer to appear. However, the apple cider vinegar is working. Be patient! Don't increase the recommended dosage if you aren't seeing changes straight away. All dogs are different and some take a bit longer to adjust to a new supplement.
Does My Dog Need ACV
The health benefits of ACV are undeniable. From treating ear infections to preventing flea infestations, apple cider vinegar is a helpful tool for pet parents who aim to steer clear of chemically based products that may cause Fido more harm than good. However, that is not to say that every dog needs apple cider vinegar on regular basis. It is important to talk with your vet in deciding the appropriate amount of ACV for your dog's individual needs.
Again, even though ACV there are some associated side effects and risks if it isn't used properly. Always be sure to measure out the appropriate dose (don't eyeball it) and ask questions if you have them!
Benefits of All Natural Remedies
One of the greatest things about switching to all natural remedies is that, when used appropriately, you don't have to worry about them negatively interfering with other holistic treatments. Only a handful of years ago, many pet parents didn't feel that they had a choice in how they treated their dog's ailments. A simple trip to the veterinarian would commonly result in leaving with a prescription that involved a laundry list of potential adverse reactions. Now, with a plethora of information at our fingertips via the internet, dog owners are able to share knowledge and find alternative treatment methods that are both safer and equally effective. From essential oils to apple cider vinegar to coconut oil, it's worth considering how all natural remedies may be able to help your beloved four-legged friend.
ACV and CBD
A perfect example of this is CBD. By now, you've likely heard of the herb and its incredible medicinal properties. Like apple cider vinegar, many people didn't know about the potential benefits of the herb until they were able to start reading about other pet parents having such success.
Comparable to ACV, CBD has a slew of benefits ranging from improving digestive health to relieving skin conditions to easing joint pain associated with arthritis. The best news? Because of the fact that CBD oil is all natural and non-toxic, it can be used in conjunction with apple cider vinegar to provide Fido with every more health advantages.
ACV For Pet Parents
It would be silly of us to graze over the benefits that apple cider vinegar has proven to have for pet parents. Of course, in order to ensure that Fido is healthy, you have to first make sure that your own health is in check.
People all over the world have found ACV to have the following advantages:
- Preventing indigestion and gastrointestinal issues
- Lowering cholesterol and promoting heart health
- Soothing a sore throat
- Clearing a stuffy nose
- Aiding in weight loss and reducing belly fat
- Getting rid of dandruff
- Clearing acne
- Boosting the immune system
- Increasing energy levels
- Reducing nighttime leg cramps
- Getting rid of bad breathe
- All natural teeth whitening
- Controlling blood sugar
- Easing bruised muscles
You can quite easily incorporate apple cider vinegar into your diet by using it in your cooking, i.e. salad dressings.
Other people like to dilute it in warm water, add honey, and drink it as a beverage.
Whichever way you chose, the health benefits of apple cider vinegar are not only extensive but impressive.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Dogs: A Final Thought
At the end of the day, stay informed. The best way that pet parents can make educated decisions for their fur baby's well being is by knowing all there is to know about what they are dealing with. If your dog is having gastrointestinal issues, what is the underlying cause? If it's something like a food allergy or anxiety, ACV can help relieve the symptoms but will not cure the root of the issue. The same goes for dogs suffering from skin irritations. Yes, apple cider vinegar can make a significant difference and work to balance bacteria and eliminate yeast. Yet, where is the excess bacteria and fungus coming from? Perhaps a change in diet may also be necessary.
We know that your dog's health and wellness means the world to you. Whether you are curing a current ailment or helping to prevent one from developing, implementing unpasteurized, raw apple cider vinegar can truly make a world of difference in your dog's life.