Found in most kitchen cupboards, apple cider vinegar (ACV) can help with many health issues. It has been touted as a wonder treatment for centuries, and it is often used to aid in many common conditions, including irritated skin, dandruff prevention, and even weight-loss. While it is mostly viewed as a home remedy for humans, ACV has a variety of benefits for dogs.

ACV starts out as apple cider. When yeast or bacteria is added, the sugar in the cider ferments into alcohol. When exposed to the air for a period of time, the alcohol ultimately becomes acetic acid, which gives vinegar its famous taste and smell.  

Known as “the mother,” the raw, organic form of ACV is filled with enzymes, good bacteria, vitamins, and minerals. This nutrient packed substance works as an effective immunity booster, itch fighter, digestion aid, and antiseptic cleaner.

Specifically, for dogs, ACV can be an effective remedy for itchy skin and rashes. Chronic skin conditions like eczema, which is annoying for both dogs and humans, can be relieved with a regular dose of ACV.

Using a spray bottle, a mixture of half ACV and half water can be applied directly to a pet’s skin. However, never use the solution on an open wound, as the vinegar will sting and irritate it. A nice bath with a bit of vinegar added will also help with skin issues. If you can’t apply it topically and if yeast is a problem, then you can feed it to your dog orally in her food or water. Martin Zucker explains that yeast doesn’t do well in an acidic environment, so feeding a quarter or half of a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar twice daily can help. 

Itchy ears are another problem that plagues many pets, especially if they already suffer from other irritated areas. While regular ear cleaning can prevent this condition, most pet parents fail to do it consistently. However, if the ear itching becomes uncomfortable and a good cleaning is necessary, ACV can help.

For an effective and safe cleaning, soak several cotton balls in a 50/50 solution of ACV and purified water. Gently wipe the ears using individual balls and stop once there is no more dirt or gunk clinging to the cotton.

As a precaution, only the visible parts of the ear should be wiped, as the internal parts are extremely sensitive and can be damaged. Never pour the ACV solution into a pet’s ears, and avoid any cotton swab products like Q-Tips.

ACV can help repel parasites like fleas and ticks. Parasites, in general, are repelled by the scent of acetic acid. To keep pests at bay, simply spray a pet with diluted ACV before going outside, especially if there is a wooded area nearby.

Acetic acid can relieve the symptoms associated with upset stomach and indigestion by boosting good gut bacteria. Adding just a touch of AVC to a dog’s water bowl can ease digestion and bloating.

“Even though vinegar is relatively safe for dogs, it is crucial to consult with a veterinarian before administering to a pet. Some health conditions, such as kidney stones, can be exasperated by the acid in ACV,” urges Tyler Williams, an experienced veterinarian in Chicago, IL who specializes and encourages looking into preventative and alternative solutions when it comes to animal care.

A few other mentions for ACV is blood sugar levels, cardiovascular health, and urinary tract infections. 

Studies have shown that consuming apple cider vinegar for 8 to 12 weeks can help reduce her blood sugars; there is a chance that this could help prevent diabetes. 

Apple cider vinegar can help reduce high lipid levels and high blood pressure which can lead to a better heart health due to the acetic acid that is in the ACV. 

Urinary tract infections, or UTIs are prevalent in many animals and there is evidence that ACV may be able to help with. Research is still in progress, but there are some indications that ACV is able to help with inflammation that causes some UTIs.

In addition, some side effects can occur when ACV is not used properly. Excess or undiluted vinegar can significantly irritate a pet’s eyes, skin, and digestive tract. While rare, some dogs can be allergic to vinegar.

ACV can be an effective and inexpensive option for any pet owner seeking to avoid chemical-based products. Instead of a visit to the vet, a walk to the kitchen cabinet may be all that is needed to relieve your pet of some common health ailments.