Vinegar has been used for its natural healing quality for centuries – from as early as 5000 BC to be precise. Today, vinegar is considered a miracle remedy for all sorts of health conditions. It is believed to be an effective treatment for weight loss, acne, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases as well as cancer. Many dog owners love to add some of this wonder food to their dog’s meal. Vinegar, mainly apple cider vinegar, is said to have benefits ranging from health improvements to cosmetic aids. So, how much of this is true? Can dogs have apple cider vinegar? The answer is yes. Dogs can have apple cider vinegar, provided that you feed them in a sensible amount.
Before we jump into the benefits of apple cider vinegar for dogs, let us know more about apple cider vinegar and all that makes it a ‘cure-all’.
How Is Apple Cider Vinegar Made?
All kinds of vinegar are made from liquid containing sugar; in this case, it’s water and apples. The apples are fermented by exposing the liquid to air. In this process, yeasts grow in apples which further ferments its sugar content, turning the liquid into alcohol. Then, acetic acid bacteria are added (sometimes the bacteria forms naturally) and this bacteria turns the alcohol to acetic acid.
Acetic acid is the main component of vinegar. It provides the smell, taste, and all the health benefits that we know of today. You may see some slime-like components at the bottom of an unfiltered and raw apple cider vinegar. They look gross, but the yeasts and bacteria are what make the vinegar the wonder food that it is said to be.
Can Dogs Have Apple Cider Vinegar?
Yes. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is just water and apples. It is slightly acidic, and that can actually help if your dog has a highly alkalized digestive tract.
Some of the health benefits of feeding apple cider vinegar to dogs are:
- Improves digestive health: Apple cider vinegar increases the acid level of your canine’s digestive tract which helps in the treatment of gastrointestinal issues like gas and burps. It also promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in their body which improves the digestion process. Apple cider vinegar can also treat constipation, as long as it is fed in small amounts.
- Reduces bladder inflammation: ACV is accredited to reducing minor bladder inflammation because of its antimicrobial properties. However, it doesn’t cure urinary tract infections. You have to consult your veterinarian for immediate attention, if this is an issue with your dog.
- Reduces infection: Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties that can help to fight bacteria such as E. coli and S. aureus. It also reduces the chances of infection in your dog’s body.
The FDA revealed that although apple cider vinegar won’t cure cancer, in some cases it has shown shrinking of tumors. And it won’t cure diabetes either, but it can help to bring a balance in blood sugar levels.
Skin and Cosmetic Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar in Dogs
Apart from health benefits, apple cider vinegar is also famous for its skin health and cosmetic usage.
- Apple cider vinegar can be used as a remedy for dry coats, irritated skin, and dander. You can give a final rinse of diluted apple cider vinegar after shampooing your dog for the best results.
- It treats yeast infections in your dog’s paws. You can soak your pooch’s paws in diluted apple cider vinegar or you can spray some from a bottle.
- It is a natural repellent against fleas and ticks. Before you take your dog outside to play, you can spray diluted apple cider vinegar on them to prevent fleas from landing on their fur.
- ACV has powerful anti-bacterial properties that can be used to clean your dog’s ears and prevent them from getting infections. A mixture of 50% ACV and 50% water can be an effective way to treat ear infections. You can soak a cotton ball in diluted ACV and clean your furry friend’s ears.
- Dogs cry for various reasons and that can leave heavy tear stains on their face. Apple cider vinegar can also effectively wipe out those tear stains.
Things to Be Careful about While Feeding Apple Cider Vinegar to Dogs
The first thing to keep in mind is that apple cider vinegar shouldn’t be used in its purest form. ACV has a high pH level and so, it will be incredibly painful for dogs if you apply undiluted ACV on their cuts, wounds, or dry skin. Remember, your mix should be 50% pure ACV and 50% water.
Second, apple cider vinegar should be fed in moderation. Too much of it will likely cause dangerous health issues such as vomiting, tooth decay, and deteriorated bone health.
Also, there are chances that your dog might be allergic to ACV or vinegar in general. Signs of allergy can include vomiting, diarrhea, itching of the skin, and swelling of the face and limbs. If you see any of the given signs, contact your veterinarian immediately. You can check if your dog has an allergy to ACV by following these steps:
- Apply ACV on a small part of your dog’s skin.
- Check for redness and/or irritation every hour for the next 24 hours.
- If you find any redness or irritation of the skin, try diluting the vinegar.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2.
- Discontinue the use of vinegar if you see sore skin with diluted ACV too. If not, you can use diluted ACV.
There are also some controversies attached to the use of apple cider vinegar in dogs. According to some studies, apple cider vinegar has shown some dangerous effects on dogs’ health. But as is the case with human beings, every dog is different and their bodies react differently to different foods.
Wendy Volhard, author of The Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog, recommends checking your dog’s pH level before giving them apple cider vinegar. You can use pH paper strips and check your pooch’s first morning urine. “If it reads anywhere from 6.2 to 6.5, your dog’s system is exactly where it should be, and no ACV is needed”, she says. “But if it is 7.5 or higher, the diet you are feeding is too alkaline, and apple cider vinegar will re-establish the correct balance.”
What Kind of ACV Is Right for Dogs?
There are so many kinds of vinegar available in the market that choosing the right kind might be confusing for you. For best results, you should choose raw and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. Here’s why.
Raw and unpasteurized ACV has all the fermentation leftovers which might look gross but it is very healthy for the body. The filtration and pasteurization process can kill all the good bacteria and enzymes of the leftover.
It is better if the apple cider vinegar you choose comes in a glass bottle instead of a plastic bottle. There is no risk of chemicals leaching into the product with a glass bottle.
Also, always remember to use diluted vinegar for every purpose.
How Can You Feed Apple Cider Vinegar to Dogs?
You can top ACV as dressing for salads, as drinks, or with any dog meal. The exact serving amount depends upon your better judgment. The standard recommended amount is one teaspoon to one tablespoon for a 50-pound dog.
Most owners add diluted apple cider vinegar to their dog’s water bowl. This way, the dog will easily get accustomed to the taste. However, don’t forget to keep a bowl of plain water by the side. ACV, even though it’s diluted, must not be served as a replacement for plain water.
Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar
Here is an easy and healthy recipe for homemade apple cider vinegar from Fabhow.
Preparing Your Containers
Before you start making your homemade raw apple cider vinegar, it’s extremely important to ensure that all the containers used in the process – whether for fermentation or straining – are sanitized and free from any bacteria. If the jar contains any bacteria other than what is in the vinegar, it will likely develop mold and will not be fit for consumption.
To sanitize your containers, bring water to a boil in a pan and then turn off the heat. Immerse the containers in the water for at least 5 minutes. For proper sanitization, the bottles must be completely immersed and not floating on top.
- Apples – 6 large
- Sugar – ¼ cup
- Ziplock bag – 1
- Filtered water, as required
- A long length of cheesecloth
Steps to follow:
- Clean and chop 6 large apples.
- Place the apples in a large Mason jar and add sugar solution.
- Place a water-filled zip lock bag on top of the apples.
- Cover the jar top with cheesecloth & let the ingredients ferment.
- Track the fermentation process at regular intervals.
- Strain out the fermented liquid after 70 days.
- Let it sit another 60 days, then strain & transfer to a bottle.
Your home made ACV is now ready for your dog.
Apple cider vinegar has amazing health benefits to dogs. As long as it is diluted and used in moderation, ACV can keep your dog healthy and good-looking.
For more information on dogs, visit our website.