What is Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)?
Apple cider vinegar is a vinegar made from crushed apples (preferably organic). Over time, the sugar from the apples is converted through yeast fermentation into acetic acid. Many believe it is the acetic acid which is responsible for all of the health promoting benefits of ACV.
The most potent form of cider vinegar is unpasteurized or organic ACV, which contains the “mother” of the vinegar – a cobweb-like appearing substance that makes the vinegar look slightly congealed.
We are very selective about which Apple Cider Vinegar we use. Our preferred brand is Bragg, because it contains the amazing 'Mother of Vinegar' which occurs naturally as strand-like enzymes of connected protein molecules. It is unfiltered, unheated and unpasteurized. It is made from organically grown apples and processed and bottled in accordance with USDA guidelines. It is Certified Organic by Organic Certifiers and Oregon Tilth; and is also Kosher Certified and Non-GMO Certified.
So how do we uses ACV for our dogs?
We have never encountered this, but some of our friend's dogs have had itchy feet, If your dog bites at his feet they may have yeasty feet. Give your dog's feet a good sniff. Do they have a yeasty smell (a little like Fritos)? If so you're dog may be a great candidate for a good ACV foot soak to stop the itching and biting. We recommend dipping your dog's feet in an ACV solution (start with 1 tbs. to 1 cup of filtered warmer water) and dab dry. Leave the solution on their feet to help it work more effectively, and continue this process twice a day for at least a week.
Dandruff and itchy skin?
Over the first months that we had new puppy Rach (photo above), he had a lot of dandruff, little bug like bites on his inner thighs and a lot of flaky, scaly skin on his spine and rump. A few treatments of an ACV rinse (1 tbs. to 8 oz. of filtered water) on the affected areas and he was so much better and all healed! We still occasionally give him a little ACV rinse to keep the condition from returning.
Fleas, and perhaps even ticks, hate the smell of ACV. Even though you may only smell it on your dog for a very short time, fleas and ticks are more sensitive to the smell. We don't utilize an over the counter flea treatment as they can be harmful to your dog, so we keep a spray bottle of diluted ACV (same recipe as above) near our front door and give the dogs a good spray before heading outside during flea season. It's keeping the fleas from jumping on our dogs and keeps our home and our dogs flea free.
Some of the ear cleaners on the market have a very strong smell, even the holistic, healthier ones; which made ear cleaning time very unpleasant for our dogs. So we've started using ACV as our mainstay ear cleaner, and have used it for years now. With all the dust and sandy dirt we have around our cabin, dirty ears are a staple, so we clean our dog's ears every week during nail trims and feet fur trims. We dip a cotton ball into a 1/2 ACV, 1/2 filtered water solution and gently swab out the inside of the ear. We use as many cotton balls (with solution) needed until there is no more dirt or wax.
On very rare occasions YoYo will have a little head shake when he barks. That's a true indicator of the potential of an ear infection. So what do we do? We get out the ACV, make a nice ear rinse (1 tbs. to one cup of filtered warmed water) and treat YoYo's ears with it daily for a few days. I utilize a syringe (we purchase them in bulk and use them for a variety of things), 'inject' about 1-2 ml of solution into each ear, then fold down his ear flaps and massage his ears while giving him big kisses to distract him and make the process a little more tolerable. Then after about a minute or so, I allow him to shake it all out. Poof, no more head shaking and we've most probably headed off an ear infection. This is not a fun thing for dogs, but beats an ear infection by far; and overtime YoYo has become used to it; especially since he gets lots of treats after.
A few words of caution:
- Make sure to keep ACV or an ACV solution from your dog's eyes.
- Do not use on open wounds or cuts as it can burn.
- If your dog's skin, ear, foot or flea problem is more severe or these little remedies don't work, please consult your holistic vet and get your dog checked out.
Some people believe that adding a little ACV to your dog's diet may be very beneficial to their health. We've never done that, even though little Rach loves to lick up the ACV when I'm treating his coat. If you want more information about the good side and bad side of adding ACV to your dog's diet, be sure to read this article first from Whole Dog Journal.
Oh and don't forget...it's great for humans too!