Apple cider vinegar spray can be an excellent natural remedy for dogs. You can use this to clean ears, soothe dry skin, use it as flea and tick ointment, and even remove odors from their dog bed! Be sure to dilute the apple cider vinegar spray with 50% water before using.
In recent years, apple cider vinegar has become very popular with humans. Filtered or unfiltered, it is often used to cleanse the gut. For dogs, it’s becoming popular for slightly different reasons.
Some commonly available products for dogs already contain small amounts of apple cider vinegar. For example, products that promise to freshen a dog’s coat might achieve those ends by using good old apple cider vinegar.
But what are the benefits and/or uses of apple cider vinegar spray for your dog? Read on to find out what this product can do for you and your pup!
What You'll Learn
Ingredients (And Safety)
What exactly is in apple cider vinegar spray for dogs? Well, it’s mostly just apple cider vinegar and water. You can easily make your own or buy it in stores.
If you are going to make it, just make sure you buy the filtered form of apple cider vinegar, so you’re not putting your dog at risk. Unfiltered vinegar is usually not pasteurized and will be a little too harsh, even as an external remedy.
You’ll know it is unfiltered because it will look a little cloudy and be darker in color. Some say that unfiltered vinegar contains more health benefits for humans, but there is no evidence to support that statement, and it is not worth risking your dog’s health to test a theory.
If you’re not very confident in your mixing skills, you can find a lot of pre-made sprays on the market. Simplicity is key here, so look for the product that has the least ingredients. Water and vinegar are really all that is needed, so stick with straightforward and short ingredient lists.
Cleaning The Ears
One of the mixture’s many uses is to clean a dog’s ear. You can safely use apple cider vinegar spray in your dog’s ears, provided you use it correctly.
First, you don’t want to use too much by spraying it directly into the ear. It is recommended that you soak a cotton ball with a bit of apple cider vinegar and water mixture, then gently coat the inside of your dog’s ear.
Make sure there are no open cuts in or around the ear and always dilute the vinegar with water. You can massage the ear once the inside has been coated to loosen any wax.
Next comes the fun part. Take a cotton swab and wipe out any excess fluid. You might have to hold on to your dog’s collar to steady them, but you want to remove any excess fluid as well as any excess wax.
If your dog seems uncomfortable (aside from normal ear cleaning uncomfortable), then you should immediately discontinue use. Try another method of cleaning out your dog’s ears, or ask your vet to do it.
My dog hates ear cleanings, and he is about as docile as they come, so that is saying a lot! Still, this is an excellent technique to try if you’re an ear cleaning pro and you are on the lookout for a new product to try.
Dry and Itchy Skin
Some dogs have very short coats and can become infected by poison ivy or poison oak should they rub up against it. If they have shiny coats that are oily, they can even spread the poison rash to others in the household.
If your dog shows signs of an itchy rash caused by poison ivy or poison oak, then apple cider vinegar might help. Of course, you’ll want to call your vet to rule out any other possibilities, but if you’re sure, then apple cider vinegar may help neutralize your dog’s coat and clear up the rash.
Like ear cleaning, you want to make sure that there are no open cuts or sores and no hotspots in your dog’s coat before you begin.
Once you’ve assessed your dog’s coat and determined that it is free of sores or hotspots or any irritated areas aside from the rash, you can spray away.
The vinegar should also neutralize any odors and make it safe and pleasant to cuddle with your pup once again without fear of contracting an uncomfortable rash. Make sure you rip out that ivy when you get a chance to prevent reinfection. Or block your dog from getting to it.
You can also use vinegar to treat skunk spray. Mix two parts water with one part vinegar and work it into the sprayed area.
Let it sit for at least five minutes before rinsing, and continue to work it through other sections of your dog’s coat. You can also boil the vinegar in your home if your dog tracks it inside.
Keep in mind, like any product, apple cider vinegar is good for some but is by no means one size fits all. However, spraying just a bit might improve the texture of your dog’s coat depending on the dog’s breed and provide a water-free alternative to bath time, which I know my dog would celebrate with reckless abandon!
Flea and Tick Ointment
If you notice a small flea jump from your dog’s back onto your hand and you think, “Oh no! I’ve run out of flea and tick ointment!” If you have a bit of apple cider vinegar and some water in a spray bottle, you can use it as an emergency flea treatment.
Some people swear by it as a complete flea remedy and even suggest that you let your dog drink a little as part of their water or food portion. The idea is that, similar to any other oral product, the vinegar would make the dog flea-proof.
There is no evidence to suggest this is true, and having battled fleas myself a few years back, I would not even risk it. But, if you believe in the power of apple cider vinegar, give it a try!
You can also use apple cider vinegar to eliminate odor in your pet’s bed or other soft surfaces where your dog likes to lay. It should neutralize the odor by breaking down the oils left behind and leave your soft surfaces smelling a little fresher without using any harsh chemicals.
May Help With Weight Management
Again, there is no evidence to suggest this works, but some people swear by using apple cider vinegar as a weight-loss supplement for their dogs. They usually either add it to the dog’s water dish or ferment a few veggies and add it to their meals.
I would definitely reach out to a vet before adding anything to your dog’s food bowl that wouldn’t normally be there.
Should You Use Apple Cider Vinegar Spray On Your Dog?
Adding diluted apple cider vinegar spray to your dog’s skin and ear routine should pose no threat whatsoever.
You can use it on soft surfaces safely to neutralize odors. It can also treat fleas (as an external treatment, the verdict is still out on internal use).
There is no evidence to suggest that diluted vinegar can cause harm to your dog if ingested, but there is also no evidence to support that it is a good idea either.
As always, check with your vet before trying any new treatment or diet on your dog, and make sure that you are using filtered vinegar.
If it all goes well, we might see apple cider vinegar fly off the shelves and into the carts of dog owners everywhere. Wouldn’t that be something?
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