The Perks of Giving Your Boxer Apple Cider Vinegar
This amazing tonic has a wide variety of canine applications, from deterring fleas to treating skin conditions and removing odors. Here’s how to take advantage of apple cider vinegar’s many health and household benefits!
I love natural products that do extraordinary things, and raw organic, apple cider vinegar (also referred to as ACV), is one such product extraordinaire. ACV is made from fermented apples. It's one of the oldest fermentation processes known to humankind and has been used medicinally for thousands of years. I first learned about its many uses years ago when I was looking for more natural remedies to incorporate in my life. It was fascinating to learn that the ancient Egyptians used ACV not just as an antiseptic, but also as a weight loss agent, while in ancient Greece, Hippocrates (known as the father of modern medicine), advocated drinking vinegar as an energizing tonic and a healing elixir and also used it externally for cleaning wounds, inflammations, and burns. Meanwhile, Caesar’s armies used ACV to cook with and for its antiseptic properties against insect and snakebites. Cleopatra’s beautiful complexion was attributed to her daily use of diluted ACV as a facial tonic. Who knew?!
Today we’re seeing a resurgence of this popular but common household staple to help humans with everything from relieving sore throats, bug bites, and constipation, to even regulating blood sugar levels and lowering cholesterol.
So, if this simple and natural but multifaceted home staple is so useful for humans, is it also good for our dogs? The simple answer is yes—most experts agree that its documented human benefits also help dogs; but, as always, it’s a good idea to check with your holistic vet first.
Made from just apples and water, it may be suprising to learn that it has strong antioxidant and antibacterial qualities. Slightly acidic (it has a pH of 3.1 to 5), it can soothe a dog’s overly alkalized digestive tract, notes Whole Dog Journal, which recommends starting with the addition of a teaspoon of ACV to your dog’s water bowl. ACV is packed with potassium—11 grams in a tablespoon. You can also use it to rinse any vegetables or fruit you and your dog consume; Cook’s Illustrated found that cleaning produce with a solution of 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water removed 98 percent of bacteria, proving it to be more effective than anti-bacterial soap.
7 ways apple cider vinegar can help dogs
Promotes a healthy gut and regulates weight and blood sugar
Use to clean ears and fight infection
Repel fleas and ticks
Relieve itchy/flaky skin, improve lack luster coats, and soothe irritated skin and hot spots (dilute 50/50 with water)
Treats yeast infections (soak your dog’s paws in a solution of half ACV and half water)
Neutralizes a dog's PH levels preventing urinary tract infections
Reduces muscle pain and inflammation
FOR A HEALTHY GUT
If your dog has digestive problems like diarrhea or constipation, adding ACV to his drinking water once a day helps, because ACV has healthy enzymes in it which reduces bloating and gas in the dog.
FOR EAR CARE
Clean your dog’s ears by dampening a cotton ball with a warm solution of equal parts apple cider vinegar and water, and use it to swab the inside of the ear. The vinegar helps to control the growth of unfriendly bacteria and other microorganisms that are a common cause of ear infections, and as a result, this will help keep your pets from scratching their ears.
Fleas and ticks HATE the taste and smell of ACV, so putting it in their water makes your dogs skin less tasty to fleas, and applying it topically can cause the fleas already on the skin to abandon ship. Do a 50/50 mix of ACV and purified water with a few drops of lavender or citronella essential oil, shake, and spray directly onto the coat to eliminate fleas. #flearepellant
RELIEF OF SKIN PROBLEMS
Apply unpasteurized apple cider vinegar with the aid of a soft cotton ball, directly to burns or skin acne to soothe and promote healing.
For dry itchy skin, hot spots, or skin infections you can bathe your pet in warm water then rinse him or her with a solution of 1 part ACV to 3 parts water. This vinegar rinse will also leave their coats soft and shiny.
PREVENTION OF URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS
Because ACV has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, it is effective in preventing and curing infections, particularly urinary tract infections. A UTI is often due to bacteria invading the urinary tract from a system that is too alkaline. The acidity of the ACV helps to neutralize the dog’s PH levels, preventing new infections from starting up.
HELPS BRUISES, SPRAINS, AND MUSCLE STRAIN
ACV has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties which help to reduce muscle pain and inflammation. For aching muscles or muscle strain, apply a compress of ACV to the affected area for around 15 minutes. Do this 2-3 times a day.
CLEANING Since ACV is a great deodorizer and safe for your dog, you can use it to disinfect dog toys and bedding. Spray it anywhere you need odor control and/or a gentle disinfectant.
Are there side effects of using ACV?
Because ACV has antibacterial properties, if used too much it can cause some of the good flora in the gut to decrease, so you may want to incorporate a probiotic into your dog's diet if you notice him having a softer stool or diarrhea.
We also want to note that many experts don't advise giving your dog apple cider vinegar if they have a history of bladder stones.
As you can see ACV has a ton of healthy benefits. However, it doesn’t mean that each and every dog needs apple cider vinegar on a regular basis. It's important to talk with your vet, especially a holistic vet, in getting to the root cause of the issue, as environmental or food changes may need to be made.