The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar to Dogs

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Found this great article from The Whole Dog Journal written by CJ Puotinen make sure you stop by to read the entire article

Pet Uses
Vinegar has long been used as a first-aid treatment. Many natural health experts prefer raw organic apple cider vinegar for topical applications, including muscle aches and bruises; sunburn, windburn, abrasions, insect bites, and stings; and hair care (controlling dandruff and improving condition and static control).

Nearly all of vinegar’s human uses can be applied to pets. Because puppies and some dogs have sensitive skin, test a small area by applying vinegar or a vinegar-based herbal tincture (liquid concentrate) recommended for topical use. Check the area every few hours for up to 24 hours. If redness or irritation develops, dilute the vinegar and try again or discontinue use. This type of patch test is not necessary when applying vinegar that will be washed or rinsed off within a few minutes.

Insect Repellent

-Plain vinegar and herbal tinctures containing cider vinegar repel insects, including fleas and mosquitoes. Spray the neck, torso, tail, underbelly, and overall coat (avoid the eyes, nose, and mouth) and let dry.

-For a nontoxic flea dip, cover your dog or puppy with ACV (spray, sponge, or simply pour it on), working it into the skin and coat. Avoid the eyes, nose, and mouth. Let stand for several minutes before washing with gentle shampoo.

-Dab full-strength cider vinegar or a cider vinegar herbal tincture behind the ears, near the tail, and on the dog’s coat. Because herbal tinctures and cider vinegar can stain light or white coats, substitute distilled white vinegar for light-coated dogs.

Pet stains and odors

-Mix 1 part distilled white vinegar with 3 parts water. Pour onto carpet or other stained areas and blot with fabric or paper towels. Do not rub.

-Refresh and deodorize pet bedding by spraying it with vinegar or by adding vinegar to laundry when washing bedding.

-Clean and disinfect pet toys by spraying lightly, then brushing or wiping clean.

-Vinegar is often recommended as a pet deodorizer. Apply diluted or full-strength vinegar to any stinky coat and let the dog air-dry.

If your dog rolled on well-rotted mammal parts or got sprayed by a skunk, mix 1 freshly opened quart of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide in a plastic container with 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 teaspoon liquid soap. Wearing protective gloves, cover the dog while avoiding the nose, eyes, and mouth, then rinse with plain water. If any fragrance lingers (as it did when my Labrador recently rolled on a decomposing carp), apply vinegar to complete the process.

Skin and Coat

-After shampooing, give a final rinse with 1 cup vinegar diluted in 2 to 4 cups water. Experiment with different dilutions for best results.

-Reduce dander by massaging full-strength cider vinegar into the coat before shampooing.

-Apply full-strength or diluted ACV to calluses, rough skin, sunburn, or skin irritations.

-Combine skin-friendly herbs like calendula blossoms, St. John’s wort blossoms, and/or comfrey leaves with ACV to improve its healing effects on cuts, wounds, abrasions, etc.

-Wendy Volhard, author of Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog, recommends spraying itchy skin and developing hot spots with apple cider vinegar. “Any skin eruption will dry up in 24 hours,” she says, “and will save you having to shave the dog. If the skin is already broken, dilute ACV with an equal amount of water and spray on.”

Itchy Feet or Ears

-Dogs with seasonal allergies can develop itchy feet in response to pollen exposure. Soaking the paws in full-strength or diluted ACV can help reduce the itching.

-Plain apple cider vinegar or a vinegar-based herbal tincture can help keep a dog’s ears clean and healthy. Place a few drops in each ear and gently massage, or apply with a cotton swab. For a more medicinal ear drop, make or buy a cider vinegar tincture containing ear-friendly herbs like garlic and mullein blossoms.

Muscle Sprains

-Apply cider vinegar to sore muscles with a sponge or cotton. Do the same for bruises, abrasions, sore paw pads, and other discomforts. Reapply as needed.

Food and Water

If you feed a raw home-prepared diet and are concerned about harmful bacteria in your dog’s food or on kitchen surfaces, use the alternating vinegar-peroxide spray treatment described above.

“I always add raw apple cider vinegar to vegetables when I puree them for my dogs,” says veterinary technician Adele Delp of Helena, Montana. “Vinegar is a natural preservative and the vegetables last several days longer in the refrigerator, which is convenient.”

There are pros and cons to adding cider vinegar to a dog’s drinking water, with the recommended dose usually 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon per 50 pounds of body weight. “People often talk about adding ACV to water bowls,” says canine health researcher Mary Straus. “My feeling is that if so, you should also offer plain water, just in case your dogs don’t want to drink the water with the ACV in it. You wouldn’t want to risk their drinking less water and possibly becoming dehydrated.”

Is a daily dose of apple cider vinegar good for your dog? Unless your dog is allergic to apples, he or she isn’t likely to suffer a serious reaction, and within a month you should be able to tell whether the addition is helping. Commonly reported benefits include improvements in skin and coat condition, a reduction of itching and scratching, the elimination of tear stains on the face, fewer brown or yellow urine spots in lawns, increased mobility in older dogs, reduced flea populations, and an improvement in overall health.

Herbal Tinctures
Rosemary Gladstar, a well-known herbalist, educator, author, and dog lover in East Barre, Vermont, values raw organic apple cider vinegar for its use in herbal tinctures. “These highly concentrated liquid extracts of herbs are easy to make, simple to administer, and convenient,” she explains. “Their prolonged shelf life makes them easy to keep on hand.”

Alcohol is the most widely used tincture solvent because it extracts fats, resins, waxes, most alkaloids, some volatile oils, and other plant components, which it preserves indefinitely. Vegetable glycerin, a sweet, syrupy liquid, dissolves mucilage, vitamins, and minerals but does not dissolve resinous or oily plant constituents. Apple cider vinegar extracts sugars, tannins, glycosides, bitter compounds, alkaloids, vitamins, and minerals.

“Cider vinegar is not as strong as alcohol and does not break down all of the plant components,” says Gladstar, “but there are advantages to using it. Vinegar is a food, 100 percent nontoxic, and tolerated by almost everyone. It helps regulate the acid/alkaline balance in our bodies and is an excellent tonic for the digestive tract. Vinegar tinctures are a fine alternative for those who are sensitive to alcohol and they can safely be used for children and pets. Add a little honey to your vinegar tonic for a nice flavor. Though vinegar tinctures may not be as concentrated as alcohol tinctures, I trust in the body’s ability to discern what it needs and to use it effectively.”

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Healthy pup, happy family!

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