How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Your Dog's Health Needs
Vinegar has been used by health practitioners long before the introduction of our modern medicines. Even Hippocrates, the father of medicine, prescribed it. Roman soldiers knew about it and mixed it with their water.
It is not a new method of taking care of dog health issues but for many it is unheard of. Even a natural dog practitioner like Bruce Fogle does not mention vinegar in his book “Natural Dog Care”, despite discussing traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, aroma therapy, homeopathy, and even Bach remedies.
Since drug companies cannot patent this product and make a profit out of marketing, research projects have not been funded and the veterinary colleges do not include courses about the use of apple cider vinegar.
So should you be giving it to your dog? Is apple cider vinegar (ACV) any good? I think so, and I will give you some good reasons to try it.
What ACV Can Be Used For
There is no good data available, but ACV users claim that it:
1. Makes their dog´s immune system stronger. This is very hard to prove or disprove but if it is true ACV may help fight off some infections that you were never aware of.
2. Helps with the prevention of fleas. There are reports of this product working very well if sprayed on the coat like regular vinegar. Put it in a spray bottle and apply to the coat after bathing but be sure to avoid the eyes.
3. Controls and eliminates intestinal parasites. To work in this way ACV has to be added to the drinking water.
4. Keeps the coat in good condition and is especially useful for dogs with dry, itchy coats. ACV is sprayed directly onto the coat.
5. Prevents the development of bladder and kidney stones.
6. Relieves arthritis symptoms. It is recommended that you soak a washrag in ACV and apply it directly over the affected joint.
7. It is definitely useful for cleaning the ears. Unlike regular vinegar, ACV would not need to be diluted with water and, unlike white vinegar, may also be effective in control and treatment of ear mites.
There are many other claims that I have not been able to authenticate in any way.
Cautions When Using ACV
ACV is a little less acidic than regular vinegar, with a pH of 4.25 to 5, and the most popular ACV for treating dogs is made from organic apples that are aged in wooden barrels. It has a dark substance at the bottom, called the “mother”, and this is where part of the beneficial minerals are contained.
Just because a product is organic does not mean that it is totally safe.
One of the proponents of apple cider vinegar, author and dog trainer Wendy Volhard (author of “Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog”), recommends it be used daily but also suggests dog owners check the urine pH to make sure it is not becoming too acidic. If the urine is 7.5 or higher when you check it the diet is too alkaline and your dog will benefit from the addition of the acidic ACV. If the urine becomes too acidic (less than 6.2) you should give it less often. Very acidic urine can damage your dog.
According to holistic practitioners fleas, ticks, skin bacteria, and skin parasites do not survive well on acidic skin. Many of the other health benefits may be due to the change in pH.
How To Use ACV
To many methods of ACV use, just add a tablespoon to your dog´s water bowl.
(For small dogs use only one teaspoon. I have read a few anecdotal reports of vomiting after adding this product so you may want to add a small amount the first few days and make sure she adapts to it with no problems.)
You can also add it to her food if you prefer (This also may be more effective If your dog does not like the taste of the vinegar in her water.)
If the ACV is being used for fleas or itchy skin, apply it directly to the coat. If your dog is arthritic and you are giving this product a try just put some right over the painful joint or joints.
Be sure to buy an organic ACV that contains the "mother". Shake the vinegar thoroghly each time before using.
If even one of these benefits is true the product is well worth the cost. If you decide to try it be sure to buy unpasteurized vinegar that still has sediment visible at the bottom, the type that is labeled “mother of vinegar”.
(The regular vinegar you can purchase in stores can be used to clean the ears and control fleas but does not improve components of the dog´s health in the same way as ACV)
There are a lot of potential benefits to the products and almost no reasons not to try it. Purchase the small bottle first and see how you like it. If you are pleased I encourage you to also read articles about the potential health benefits for humans. You may want to purchase a larger quantity at that time.
If you do use it and find it of benefit (or a waste of money) please leave a comment.
© 2012 Dr Mark