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Can Dogs Have Apple Cider Vinegar? Uses, Benefits & Risks

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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So, you’ve heard about all of the amazing health benefits of apple cider vinegar for people. But would it also work wonders for your dog?

Is apple cider vinegar safe for your dog to drink? The good news is, it’s okay to give your dog apple cider vinegar, but it’s still unclear if it can help your dog, and you should speak to your vet before using it.

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Apple Cider Vinegar as a Cure-All

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is made by crushing apples and giving the apple juice time to ferment, usually one to two weeks in a warm place. This process creates ethanol alcohol, which is converted into acetic acid through airborne bacteria. You get the vinegar once it has matured for at least several months or up to a year.

Apple cider vinegar has been in use for hundreds of years as a folk remedy for a number of health conditions. The ancient Greeks even used it for treating wounds. ACV has gained popularity in recent years, particularly as an effective method for losing weight, but experts are not convinced of some of the advantages of this vinegar.

dachshund with apple
Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock

Some of the claims for the benefits of apple cider vinegar include:

  • Improving blood sugar and insulin levels for Diabetes Type 2
  • Kills harmful bacteria found in food like salads
  • May help with a modest amount of weight loss
  • Reduces high cholesterol
  • Improves digestion
  • Helps make hair and scalp healthier

While there are many claims to ACV’s health benefits, there have not been enough tests and studies run to use it as a treatment for serious health issues. You should always speak to your doctor if you’re considering using it to treat any health problem.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Your Dog

Apple cider vinegar is a natural product that is easy to find and won’t cost very much. As already pointed out, there are a number of health benefits that could work for your dog as well.

Skin Conditions

You can use it as a rinse if your dog has irritated, dry, or inflamed skin after your dog’s bath. Of course, your dog will smell like a walking salad, but if it seems to help, it’s worth it, plus it could make their coats shiny.

If your dog seems to suffer from yeast infections on their paws, soaking them in ACV could help clear it up.

apple juice or cider
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Ear Care

Apple cider vinegar can help with bacteria growth in your dog’s ears and using ACV can help prevent ear infections. Dampen a cotton ball with half ACV and half water and carefully wipe the inside of your dog’s ears.

Skunk Stink Removal

Using diluted ACV can help remove the skunk stench your dog might encounter. You should put 1 part apple cider vinegar with 2 parts water in a bottle. You’ll want to wear gloves for this part. Using the bottle of diluted apple cider vinegar, rub it into your dog’s coat, and let sit for no more than 5 minutes. Follow up with your usual dog shampoo.

General Health

You should add no more than 1 teaspoon to your dog’s water bowl, and it could help with your dog’s blood sugar, aid in digestion, and help keep your dog at a healthy weight. If your dog doesn’t seem to appreciate the ACV in her water, start by adding smaller amounts and eventually build up to 1 teaspoon. Be sure she has access to a different water bowl with just plain water as you certainly don’t want your dog drinking less water than she should.

The Downside for Dogs

Provided you give your dog just small amounts of apple cider vinegar and she’s in good health, the vinegar should not prove harmful to your dog. However, you should never use the ACV for any serious problems your dog may have in place of essential medications. Always consult your vet if you’re considering using apple cider vinegar to treat a health condition.

If you do decide to use ACV, it should always be diluted. It is highly acidic and could burn your dog’s digestive tract and cause stomach trouble, particularly diarrhea. And while ACV is known to help with digestion, it could also cause gastric ulcers.

When giving your dog apple cider vinegar, observe her carefully. If she really doesn’t like it, don’t continue to feed it to her.

dog skin
Image By: Oyls, Shutterstock

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While there are many claims about how apple cider vinegar is good for you and your dog, and as long as you don’t expect it to be a miracle cure-all, it does have some good health benefits. Any claims that ACV can cure cancer or cause massive weight loss are incorrect…you know the saying, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Many experts believe that overall, we should avoid giving dogs apple cider vinegar at all, but as long as your dog is healthy, and you’ve discussed the possibilities with your vet, a small amount of diluted ACV should be okay over a short period of time. If you’re concerned about your dog’s health, always follow your vet’s advice to keep your dog healthy and happy.

Featured Image Credit: ThamKC, Shutterstock

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