You may have heard about apple cider being a new superfood. We see it in diet cleanses and beauty products for people, but what if I told you that the benefits of apple cider vinegar apply to your pet’s health as well.
This staple household product may be more valuable than you thought. Apple cider vinegar can be used to improve your dog’s health, prevent common issues, and even aid in healing. Check out some of the amazing benefits of apple cider vinegar.
There are so many products to help you care for your dog’s skin and coat. Deshedding shampoos, hot spot sprays, soothing ear cleaners. They all sound so luxurious but are they as effective as they claim to be?
There is a science to your dog’s skin and coat health that may surprise you. It is part of the reason that many grooming products fail to fix the problems that they claim to fix.
Dogs naturally more a more alkaline skin pH than we do, meaning that they have a higher pH than we do. While it varies from dog to dog, the general range of canine pH is between 6.5 and 7.5.
This alkalinity affects their skin and coat health in two ways:
First, a more alkaline environment is more susceptible to bacteria, parasites, and fungi. This is why many dogs deal with recurring yeast infections in warmer damper areas of their body, like their paws, ears, and groin area.
Second, the surface layer of your dog’s skin is called the stratum corneum, or more simply referred to as the skin barrier. This layer is responsible for protecting your dog from allergens and bacteria. It also maintains moisture in the outer skin layers, called the epidermis.
Significant changes to pH, weakened immune systems, and poor diet can all affect the quality of your dog’s skin. Poor skin health can lead to infections, dry skin, and hair loss.
6 Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Improve Your Dog’s Skin
Apple cider vinegar can be used topically to slightly lower the pH, making the skin more acidic, and creating an environment that is less conducive to bacteria growth.
In addition to its natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic properties, apple cider vinegar can be used in several ways to address specific health issues.
Flea and tick repellent
Fleas and ticks are a nuisance that can make your dog unbearably itchy and could lead to sores, hotspots, and infection. Spritzing your dog with diluted apple cider vinegar will deter fleas, ticks, and most pests from hitching a ride on your pet.
If you don’t mind the vinegar smell, then this simple trick is a safe and effective way to protect your pet from unwanted visitors.
Your dog’s ears are moist, warm, and hidden. This is a prime location for bacteria to fester. Infections in a dog’s ear can get bad quickly. If you notice scratching, head shaking, redness, pain, or a funky smell coming from their ears, then it’s likely an infection.
Using an apple cider vinegar solution will kill bacteria and yeast, and speed the healing process of the ear. Avoid pouring liquid directly in the ear canal. Instead, use a cotton ball or microfiber cloth to apply the apple cider vinegar solution. It will clean out debris and eliminate surface bacteria.
If you’ve ever seen your dog obsessively lick their paws, then they are probably itchy. This itch is likely a buildup of bacteria or yeast. Just like the ears, this warm damp space is an ideal environment for bacterial and fungal growth.
The method for paw treatment is called a dip. Just fill a bucket, or the sink, with enough water to fully submerge your dog’s paws. Add ½ cup of apple cider vinegar. One paw at a time, dip your dog’s feet into the water and hold for about 10 seconds.
Gently dry with a towel and you are done. Do this 3-4 times per day to see the best results.
A hot spot is a common sore that is caused by your dog licking or scratching themselves. Hot spots develop when the skin becomes raw, and a wound opens, allowing bacteria under the protective outer surface of their skin.
Hot spots can be painful, and because your dog will continue to fuss with the sore, they can be hard to get rid of. One of the best and most natural ways to cure a hot spot is to apply an apple cider vinegar dilution.
Pure vinegar will sting, so always dilute with water before applying. Treat your dog’s hot spots multiple times throughout the day, and don’t let them lick the area. You may need to cone them to break the habit. In a few days, the hot spot should begin to heal up nicely.
Very common in small dogs and dogs with shorter snouts (brachycephalic), tear stains can be annoying and unsightly. Bacteria excreted through the tear ducts can lead to staining of the fur if the face is not cleaned daily.
Adding apple cider vinegar to your dog’s water will lower their pH, and prevent excessive tear staining. This won’t stop tears, as some breeds are prone to it, but daily grooming and apple cider vinegar will keep the stains at bay.
Wounds and Infections
Similar to hot spot treatments, diluted apple cider vinegar can be used to treat small wounds and skin infections. As an acid, vinegar will sting if not adequately diluted, so make sure you are using no more than a 10% vinegar solution.
Apply with a cloth or cotton ball to disinfect before wrapping. If the wound can not be covered with gauze, then you must prevent your dog from licking the wound. Bacteria from their saliva will worsen infections. You may need to apply apple cider vinegar multiple times a day until the skin shows signs of healing.
Digestion is the foundation of your pet’s health. Poorly digested or absorbed nutrients can lead to many health issues, including skin and coat problems. Feeding a small amount of apple cider vinegar will aid in the digestion process, and help to deliver better nutrition throughout the body.
Vinegar is acidic, so when fed with meals, it helps to break down large food molecules into their core nutrients. Small amounts of vinegar will not harm the helpful gut bacteria or enzymes that their bodies produce during digestion.
Obesity and diabetes are all too common in dogs. Apple cider vinegar helps to reduce blood sugar levels, improving calorie distribution and metabolism.
Blood sugar spikes can cause food cravings and lead to overeating, especially in free-fed dogs. Adding a small amount of apple cider vinegar will help to stabilize blood sugar and leave your dog feeling fuller longer.
Believe it or not, apple cider vinegar can help to reduce pain associated with arthritis. It helps to regulate acidity in the bloodstream that can contribute to inflammation, as well as aid in breaking down calcium deposits that collect in the joints.
It may not restore mobility or eliminate pain entirely in more severe cases, but it’s helpful as a part of a pain management routine. It can also be massaged on sore muscles and joints for further inflammation control and pain relief.
Urinary tract infections are unpleasant and can be quite painful for your dog if not treated quickly. Apple cider vinegar can help to neutralize the bacteria that have populated in their urinary tract.
It also slightly acidifies the urine. Alkaline or high pH environments allow bacteria to multiply, which can lead to infections, crystals, and even stones if left untreated.
Encourage your dog to drink more to prevent bacteria from adhering to the lining of their bladder. Instead of adding apple cider vinegar to their water, which may discourage drinking, add it to a strong flavored food that will mask the vinegar taste.
Putting Words into Action
With the wealth of information you now have on apple cider vinegar and its benefits to canine health, consider creating a quality pet supplement while partnering with a quality dietary supplement manufacturing service provider. Makers Nutrition is well-versed in what not only sells in pet stores, but what helps keep dogs at their living their best lives. Call today and get started with #YourSupplementSolution.
Precautions and Best Practices
When using apple cider vinegar to treat your dog’s ailments, there are a few precautions to take note of to ensure your dog’s safety.
- Apple cider vinegar should never be fed at full strength. When adding to food, make sure that you are diluting the vinegar to at most a 1:3 ratio. This will prevent acidifying their stomach too much.
- When applying apple cider vinegar topically, use a 1:10 ratio. You don’t want to affect the pH of their skin too much. At this dilution, you can apply to wounds, hot spots, and ears without any sting or discomfort.
- Do not apply any form of apple cider vinegar to your pet’s eyes. It will sting the delicate membrane of their eyes.
- Too much apple cider vinegar in their diet can have a laxative effect. Only use small amounts of apple cider vinegar in their food. Even when diluted, 2-3 teaspoons for a medium-sized dog is plenty.
- Like any supplement, apple cider vinegar should be rotated in and out of your dog’s diet. If you are using apple cider vinegar regularly, try to swap it out for another natural supplement every few weeks. This will allow your dog’s body to adjust its pH levels, and prevent creating an environment that is too acidic.
- Make sure that you are using a raw apple cider vinegar. Vinegar that has been heavily processed will not be effective in treating your dog. It should say raw, mother of vinegar, or cold-pressed.
Apple cider vinegar and other nutraceuticals do not replace the need for regular vet check-ups. Self-diagnosing your dog can be dangerous. Talk to your vet about your dog’s condition to rule out more severe or life-threatening issues.
Many holistic vets are familiar with naturopathic and homeopathic remedies and can help you determine which ones will be safe and effective for your dog.
Have an apple cider vinegar success story? Please share it with us in the comments below!
About the Author
Krystn Janisse is the content writer for homesalive.ca. She is a passionate pet enthusiast with over a decade of experience working in different facets of the pet industry. Krystn specializes in pet nutrition and firmly believes that food fuels life.
- Kalafat, Justin. “Opportunities and Differentiation in the Protein Marketplace: An Overview.” Vitamin Retailer July/August 2019 Published: 44-45. Print