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How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Your Dog's Health Needs

Updated on January 22, 2017
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr Mark is a small animal veterinarian. He works mostly with dogs and exotic animals.

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

Mutt puppies
Mutt puppies | Source

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.


Would this mutt puppy gain from ACV?
Would this mutt puppy gain from ACV? | Source

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

OMG! Flea control!
OMG! Flea control!

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.

Much better!
Much better! | Source

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

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    • profile image

      Oggie 2 years ago

      I've been giving it to my dog who has problems with regurgitation, and ACV has been very effective in eliminating this.

    • muley84 profile image

      muley84 3 years ago from Miami,FL

      I use Bragg's ACV in my Mike's Health Cocktail . I have been taking this for over 3 years and have lost over 30 lbs, and feel great. I am going to try putting some ACV in my dog's water. Good hub. https://hubpages.com/health/Mikes-Health-Cocktail...

    • profile image

      Amanda 3 years ago

      ACV is amazing for Dogs!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      Sometimes home remedies are the best but as you say, all things in moderation. Small dogs are susceptible to skin problems and anything that might help is worth a try.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • DrMark1961 profile image
      Author

      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Do you know what kind of allergies she has? (Is this Peanut?) I have another article on allergies that might help.

    • Sypsey profile image

      Sypsey 4 years ago

      Good information. We have a dog with allergies and this may help, so many chemical things seem to make it worse. Voted up.

    • DrMark1961 profile image
      Author

      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Bragg (one of the companies that sells raw organic ACV) has a web site that may help you with the arthritis, too, if you want to try their alternative therapy.

      Thanks for following. It is great to have you!

    • Charlu profile image

      Charlu 4 years ago from Florida

      Love this hub and the other one for allergies with the raw honey. I am going to try both not only for my dogs but myself also. I am older and have arthritis pretty bad. Thank you so much and you now have a new devoted follower.

    • DrMark1961 profile image
      Author

      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      A good point, which is why we must live by "all things in moderation". This product looks good but users must not give more than the recommended dose (1tsp for a small dog) and also keep track of the urine pH to decide if they are using too much.

    • profile image

      DoItForHer 4 years ago

      On Dr. Drew's Life Changers a lady sent in some home remedys. One was to drink 2 tablespoons Bragg's apple cider vinegar with mother when you feel a cold, flu, or allergies coming on. She actually drank a shot of vinegar without the 'technicolor yawn'! Impressive. Dr. Drew said that was too acidic and could damage her teeth and encourage esophogial cancer. When the lady slammed the shot, she gagged; Drew said that the gagging was a good sign to not do that. lol

      A grade school teacher related a story to my class many moons ago. A friend of his had a horse with an ailment. The vet said to give the horse some vinegar once a day. (I want to say a quart, but it was so long ago that I can't remember. It seemed to be fair amount.)

      Anyhoo, the dude figured, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander!" and began the regiment for himself- at the same dose as a 900 pound animal!

      His teeth rotted out.

      I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the last story, but stuff like that does happen. More often than you probably think.

      I'm not against home remedies at all; I believe they are overlooked too often and we then rely on synthetic stuff, which often has negative side effects associated with it. But there's a lot of snake oil out there and we often fool ourselves into swearing by certain remedies that at best do no harm, but too often end up causing damage.

      A person I know gives her 35 pound dog a full 200 mg tablet of ibuprofen if he is feeling under the weather. She is going to kill that dog, but you can't tell her any different.

      I support home remedies, but make an objective, informed decision not one that simply 'feels right' or has some abstract amount of 'truthiness'.

      Just because your pappy, your grand-pappy, and your great grand-pappy all swear by a certain remedy, does not definitively make it a sound remedy.

    • DrMark1961 profile image
      Author

      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Thanks for coming by and let me know if this works out for your JRT. wetnosedogs, have you tried the ACV in your dogs´water?

    • Pikkles profile image

      Pikkles 4 years ago from Gloversville, New York

      I have a Jack Russell that has suffered with a skin disorder all her 10 yrs. I have tried all kinds of remedies that I have researched online and nothing seems to help. I have read a little bit about the benefits of ACV for humans but this is the first time I've read about its benefits for dogs. Interesting....I may try a little in her food, at this point it can't hurt.

      Thanks... And thanks for reading my first hub and sending me my first fan mail. I tried to send you one but the window flew right past me and disappeared. I couldn't figure out how to get it back.

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

      I had tried ACV when I first heard of its benefits, spraying it on my dogs. However, my allergic dog didn't agree with it. She would probably be better off having a sip of it in water. But that's my dog. I still believe the ACV is splendid for health benefits.

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