Using Apple Cider Vinegar On Your Dogs Itchy Skin

pouring apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is great to use on your dog if they have itchy skin. The best way to apply apple cider vinegar to your dog is through a topical spray. In a spray bottle, simply dilute apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of water and spray it onto your dog’s coat. 

For humans, there seems to be an endless number of benefits to apple cider vinegar. Naturally, most dog owners want to know if apple cider vinegar offers benefits for dogs as well.

The good news is that it can work wonders for your dog! Although there isn’t much scientific evidence on the benefits of apple cider vinegar for dogs, many dog owners swear by it. 

The health benefits for humans, which also are more anecdotal and less backed by scientific studies, also apply to dogs. 

Can Apple Cider Vinegar Help Soothe My Dog’s Itchy Skin?

Yes, it can soothe dry, itchy skin and relieve hot spots on your dog’s body. Apple cider vinegar is acidic. Since your dog’s skin has a slightly lower pH, it can help rebalance that pH to maintain its natural barrier. 

This also allows apple cider vinegar to support the immune system and help reduce inflammation.

What Else Can Apple Cider Vinegar Do For My Dog?

Apple cider vinegar can help prevent fleas and ticks. The acidity of the vinegar is off-putting for pests like fleas and ticks. Applying a topical spray of apple cider vinegar (more on that below) might work as a natural repellent for pests.

You can also expect to see some other health benefits for your dog, similar to what people see for themselves. 

Apple cider vinegar is believed to help regulate blood sugar levels. It is antimicrobial, so it can control the growth of bacteria and yeast. It might help your dog’s heart health, could help control weight, and is good for gut health too. 

Apple cider vinegar is an excellent prebiotic, which feeds the beneficial probiotic bacteria in your dog’s gut. This means consuming apple cider vinegar can help with digestion and your dog’s overall gut health.

Should Apple Cider Vinegar Ever Be Avoided?

If your dog already has a low internal pH, you probably shouldn’t feed him more acidic home remedies like apple cider vinegar. For example, dogs with kidney disease might have a naturally lower pH in their body. 

Monitor your dog’s response when you first give him apple cider vinegar. Signs that he’s having an adverse reaction include vomiting and diarrhea. 

If your dog has any underlying conditions, check with your vet before adding apple cider vinegar to their diet or applying it topically.

How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar

Topical Skin Spray

You can apply apple cider vinegar topically, directly to your dog’s skin. If he’s experiencing itchy skin or hot spots, make a solution of apple cider vinegar that you can spray or dab onto the skin. We recommend diluting the apple cider vinegar with equal parts water in a 50/50 mixture.

Make sure to watch out for open cuts. Applying vinegar to an open wound will sting and cause your dog distress. 

If you’ve noticed your dog scratching at his itchy skin, be very careful about inspecting the area before spraying any apple cider vinegar onto it.

It’s a good idea to test your dog’s reaction to a topical application of apple cider vinegar before you use it on large parts of his body. Spray on a small area and recheck it after a day. Look for any signs of irritation, redness, or discomfort that might indicate an adverse reaction.

Food/Water

You can also feed apple cider vinegar to your dog. However, it’s important to always dilute it with food or water. Never feed your dog undiluted apple cider vinegar. It is too strong and acidic.

If you’ve ever taken apple cider vinegar yourself, you’ll know that a little goes a long way. We recommend only feeding your dog a small amount, either by mixing it in with his food or water. 

You should start out with very small amounts if your dog doesn’t like the taste and then build up over time. Usually, a quarter or half teaspoon twice a day is plenty, but you could go as high as a tablespoon each day for a medium to large size dog.

If adding to your dog’s water bowl, also keep a second water bowl available for him that doesn’t contain any apple cider vinegar. That way, if he doesn’t like the taste of the vinegar, he’ll still be able to stay hydrated throughout the day.

External Ear Cleaner

If your dog’s itchy skin is joined by itchy, dirty ears, you can clean the skin of the ears with apple cider vinegar. 

Again, mix the apple cider vinegar with equal parts purified water, and dip cotton balls into the solution. Gently wipe your dog’s ears with the soaked cotton balls to clean them of excessive build-up.

You can clean the underside of your dog’s ears this way, but stick to the external parts of the ear. That’s everything that you can physically see.

We don’t recommend pouring any apple cider vinegar into your dog’s ears. And don’t try to shove cotton balls or swabs down into your dog’s ear canal either.

If you want to clean your dog’s inner ear, or you’re worried he has an ear infection, stick to the ear cleaners specifically meant for pouring into your dog’s ears. 

The commercial products are formulated for this purpose and usually have a drying agent included in the solution to help your dog’s ears dry completely after cleaning. 

Is All Apple Cider Vinegar the Same?

No. We recommend buying raw, organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Raw apple cider vinegar has not been pasteurized, meaning it hasn’t been subjected to high temperatures, meant to kill pathogens. 

This is actually better for your dog because the beneficial enzymes and bacteria naturally occurring in the product have not been killed off by the heat.

How Do I Tell the Difference?

The label will be your first and best indication that you’re buying raw apple cider vinegar, but you can also tell by the appearance. 

The raw version will have the “mother” still in the bottle. This refers to the active yeast and bacteria responsible for turning the apple cider into apple cider vinegar. 

It makes the apple cider vinegar cloudy in appearance, or might settle out into a layer at the bottom of the bottle. Shake the bottle well before using it.

Do Dogs Like The Taste of Apple Cider Vinegar?

It depends. All dogs are different. But by diluting the apple cider vinegar with lots of water, your dog is less likely to notice the taste. 

That being said, some dogs are pickier and will refuse to have anything to do with apple cider vinegar. And that’s OK. 

This natural home remedy can have significant health benefits for your dog, but it’s not for everyone. Give it a try and see if it’s something you can introduce into your dog’s healthy and balanced diet.

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