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Pomeranian getting sprayed with apple cider vinegar to help soothe its skin

The essentials

  • Apple cider vinegar is a natural remedy — Many dog parents use ACV as a supplement, a skin-soothing tonic, and an odor eliminator.
  • Check with your veterinarian before administering — Always ask your vet before introducing a new supplement like apple cider vinegar to your dog’s diet or coat-care routine.
  • Proper dosage and administration is key — Make sure to follow dosage instructions depending on what you’re using apple cider vinegar to treat and your pup’s weight.

Is it safe to give dogs apple cider vinegar?

Yes, apple cider vinegar is safe for healthy dogs. Often abbreviated ACV, apple cider vinegar may be able to help with fleas, relieve itchy skin and hot spots, and maintain blood sugar levels when given orally. While scientists still aren’t fully certain about the impact of ACV, many pet owners believe that it can be a proactive way to help stop the development of harmful bacteria inside your pup.

What is apple cider vinegar?

In recent years, along with coconut oil, apple cider vinegar has become a popular household remedy for dog owners, for everything from itchy skin to flea repellent to deodorizing laundry. But what exactly is apple cider vinegar?

ACV is a type of vinegar made from fermented apple juice. When the sugars in apples undergo the fermentation process, it creates acetic acid — the primary compound in vinegar. This is then combined with a bacteria known as the “mother.”  The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar gives it a sour smell and flavor, but many believe that it provides many health benefits for dogs.

Apple cider vinegar uses

When used in small doses, many pet parents have found that apple cider vinegar can be a great addition to your pet care routine across the board. There are a variety of potential ways apple cider vinegar can help pet parents and their pups.

Using apple cider vinegar on your dog’s skin

Apple cider vinegar has several different uses that provide health and wellness benefits to dogs.

  • Flea repellent. Apple cider vinegar may help prevent flea and tick bites when sprayed before going outside. It won’t entirely prevent an infestation, but fleas and ticks don’t like the smell of the vinegar, which will help repel them.
  • Soothe dry, itchy, and flaky skin. Add apple cider vinegar to your dog’s regular grooming routine to help soothe itchiness and dry skin, eliminate dandruff, and improve your dog’s coat. Simply spray on any hot spots on your dog’s skin.

👉 Never use apple cider vinegar on broken skin or open wounds such as scrapes, cuts, or scabs.

  • Ear cleaner. Acetic acid can kill harmful bacteria, which can prevent infections in your dog’s ears. It may also help soothe ear infections or itchy ears caused by bacteria or ear wax. Spray the water and vinegar mixture on a cotton ball and lightly swab the outside of your dog’s ear.
  • Treat paw yeast infections. Because of its antibacterial and antiseptic properties, some pet parents have used it to help soothe your dog’s infected paws when you soak them in the mixture.

Dosage for skin application

Recommended dosage: You can mix equal parts water and apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle to use as a tonic for your dog’s coat and skin.

For irritated skin, mix ½ cup of apple cider vinegar, ½ cup of green tea (another at-home remedy that can soothe skin), and 1 cup of water to spray on your pup’s coat.

Using apple cider vinegar as a supplement

While there isn’t enough scientific evidence yet to support apple cider vinegar as a replacement for medication, adding it in small doses to your dog’s diet could improve your pup’s overall health. It may:

Dosage for supplement use

Keep in mind that dosage is very important when giving oral supplements to your pet. Too much vinegar in your dog’s diet can cause adverse reactions. Here are some general dosage recommendations based on your dog’s weight, but we highly recommend talking to your dog’s vet before adding apple cider vinegar as a supplement to their diet.

Recommended dosage based on weight:

  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar for dogs up to 14 pounds
  • 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar for dogs 15 to 34 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon for dogs 35 to 84 pounds

*Make sure to mix in with water or food.

Similar to using apple cider vinegar on your dog’s skin, it should be diluted when given as a supplement. Mix it in with your dog’s water or dog’s food. If you do mix with water, make sure you have a fresh water bowl on hand in case your doggy doesn’t like the taste or smell. You don’t want your pup to become dehydrated because they refuse to drink the water that contains apple cider vinegar.

Using ACV for cleaning

Not only can apple cider vinegar play a role in your pup’s health, but it can also be a great addition to your cleaning routine.

Dosage for cleaning

Recommended dosage: Mix 1 part distilled apple cider vinegar with 3 parts water.

Then use it as a pre-wash spray on bedding or as a pet spot stain remover on carpet. It’s also a good idea to help deodorize because it can eliminate bacteria that causes foul smells.

Frequently asked questions

Is apple cider vinegar safe for dogs?

Yes, ACV is safe for dogs in small doses. Just make sure you’re diluting your apple cider vinegar the right amount (generally 50/50 with water for topical uses and mixing it with drinking water or food for dietary uses) and following the recommended dosage based on your pup’s weight.

Are there any risks or side effects?

Some dogs can have an allergic reaction to apple cider vinegar, so it’s important to watch for signs of irritation on their skin. When taken internally, start off with small amounts and monitor your dog for signs that they can’t tolerate it.

What kind of apple cider vinegar should you buy?

When buying apple cider vinegar for yourself or your dog, it’s best to look for raw, organic, and undiluted apple cider vinegar. This ensures that what you get is free of pesticides that can be harmful when ingested or used topically.