Sunday, 10 February 2013

Apple Cider Vinegar is Good For Your Dog, Cat and You – Health Benefits, Uses, Dosage

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has been used for centuries for its medical properties and as a dietary supplement. In Greece, around 400 BC the father of modern medicine – Hippocrates prescribed ACV with honey to treat many ailments. By the later part of the 1700s about 70% of all farmers in USA’s New England states owned-operated apple cider milling/pressing equipment.  Due to the many uses and availability of ACV, it became a common currency of exchange – particularly in rural areas where coins were comparatively in short supply.

Naturally fermented, unpasteurized, organic ACV contains ‘mother of vinegar’ - a cloudy sediment-filled liquid which contains the healthful properties of ACV.

Distilled, pasteurized, over-processed ACV (the type of ACV that is available at most the grocery stores), lacks the beneficial properties of unpasteurized, organic ACV as the pasteurizing, filtering process destroys the ‘mother of vinegar’.

In this article you will learn about:
  • The beneficial properties of ACV
  • Health benefits of ACV
  • The many beneficial ways to use ACV for your dog’s health
  • Dosage (provided for dogs, cats, humans)
  • What to look for when buying ACV
  • Cautions, side effects

 Beneficial Properties In Mother of Vinegar
  • Acetic acid (the primary active ingredient)
  • Amino, Lactic and Propionic Acid
  • Anti-bacterial – when used topically and ingested, ACV inhibits the growth of bad bacteria
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-viral
  • Vitamins and minerals including:
  • Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, B2 and B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Pro-vitamin Beta-Carotene, Vitamin P (bioflavonoids)
  • Potassium – protects against tooth decay, heart-healthy as it helps to keeps blood pressure in-check – ACV is an excellent source of easily-absorbable potassium
    Pectin – helps lower LDL (bad cholesterol)
  • Potash – source of fibre

Health Benefits/Uses of Organic ACV

Aids Digestion
ACV helps to stimulate stomach acid. Stomach acid aids the digestion of protein and fats.

De-Toxer ACV helps to clean the blood and liver of toxins. A constant and heavy toxic load forces the liver to work overtime – eventually leading to organ fatigue, toxicity and finally organ failure. A dog can end-up carrying a serious toxic load as he/she may ingest and otherwise absorb multiple toxins in the course of a typical day…for example:
  • Many commercially manufactured dog and cat food (dry kibble, wet canned food, treats)
  • Fluorinated water
  • Road-salt (very carcinogenic)
  • Chemical-based household cleaners (breathing in the vapours, licking surfaces, lying on chemically cleaned surfaces)
  • Surface contact and/or ingesting grass treated with fertilizers and pesticides

Dietary Supplement
ACV can be used topically and as a dietary supplement. As a dietary supplement ACV can be added directly to a secondary bowl of fresh drinking water or to food if your dog or cat self-select to take ACV. Always provide a bowl of pure water alongside the acv/water bowl.

Dosage (human dosage provided at the bottom of the article):
  • Small Dogs (and cats) up to 14 lbs - 1 tsp
  • Medium Dogs (and cats) 15 lbs to 34 lbs - 2 tsp
  • Large Dogs:
    • 35 lbs to 84 lbs - 1 tbs
    • 85 lbs to 134 lbs - 1.5 tbsp
    • 135 lbs to 200 lbs – 2 tbsp
Ear Care
  • ACV can be used to clean your dog’s and cat's ear and to help treat bacterial infections. 
  • Combine equal parts of ACV and distilled water, mix the solution; 
  • With a syringe or dropper, gently drop about 10 drops of the liquid into your dog’s /cat's ear - make sure that the syringe is located at the entrance to the ear canal - the syringe should never be placed inside of the ear canal. 
  • Gently rub/massage the ear in a circular motion, then remove your hand and let your dog/cat shake its head.
Caution – do not use this treatment if you dog’s ear drums are perforated or punctured, or if experiencing a yeast infection.  To learn more about ear infections, causes and other options for treatments and remedies continue reading here.

If your dog or cat is prone to yeast-based ear infections:
  • Most cases of yeast-based ear infections in dogs and cats are a result of Candida (overgrowth of bad bacteria in the GI Tract which causes leaky-gut syndrome and results in yeast infection which may surface in the ears, paws, etc. 
  • Grains in a dog's and cat's diet are the number one cause of food sensitivity leading to yeast infections!
  • Sugar in a dog’s and cat's diet can cause Candida – many commercially made dog and cat treats/dog food contain both grains and sugar!
  • So, to cure the problem you have to do two things:  
    • Get the intensity of the infection – inflammation, under control = the treatment; 
    • Fix your dog’s and cat's diet - this is the long-term maintenance portion of the solution = the remedy.
    • ACV should not be used in the presence of yeast infection.
Fur and Skin Health
ACV helps prevent dry skin, promotes the growth and maintenance of healthy fur and is effective in the treatment of:
  • Acne – apply undiluted ACV with a soft cloth or cotton ball
  • Burns (minor) – apply undiluted ACV with a soft cloth or cotton ball
  • ACV should not be used if your dog is experiencing skin yeast infections. ACV will feed the yeast, resulting in a worsening of the infection.

Bacterial Skin Infections
For hot spots and skin infections:
  • Bath your dog or cat in a warm (not hot!) Rooibos Tea, and;
  • Then do a second rinse using:
    • 1 part ACV to 3 parts water – if the effected spot is small you can use a soft cloth or cotton ball to apply both rinses.
    • If the skin is broken dilute the ACV mixture further (1 part ACV to 4 parts water);
      • Then be very careful as the acidic nature of ACV can cause stinging/pain; 
      • Test a small area first by dabbing the ACV/water solution with a cotton ball onto a tiny test area, do not do a full soak on skin with broken areas without testing first!
Skunk Odour treatment
  • Sponge undiluted ACV onto fur and skin – avoiding eyes
  • Allow the ACV to dry
  • Follow with non-toxic, non-carcinogenic Shampoo and Rinse

GI Tract Health - Promotes Growth of Good Flora
ACV is a prebiotic and helps maintain the proper acid/alkaline balance of the digestive tract.
  • Prebiotics feed probiotics
  • Probiotics are the healthy microorganisms (good bacteria) that reside in a dog’s GI Tract.
  • When the population of good bacteria is depleted bad bacteria can flourish resulting in candida and other health issues
  • Helps prevent and remedy constipation
  • Helps regularize bowl movements
  • Helps keep the colon clean

Metabolism Booster, Appetite Reducer
If your dog, cat or yourself have a slow metabolism - adding ACV to the diet can help increase the rate of metabolism. In addition to ACV, turmeric is another excellent metabolism (and immune system) booster. Both can be added to the diet. My dog's get both turmeric and ACV as part of their daily diet.
In addition, ACV can be taken in-between or before meals to stave-off hunger. If you need your dog to loose weight you can also add some fresh fruits and vegetables to his/her diet in between meals. This will help keep the GI tract clean, detox, provide antioxidants and important vitamins and nutrients. But it is important to know which fruits and vegetables are safe for dogs and proper preparation to ensure maximum benefits. You can read about that here.

Treatment, Remedy for Eye Infections
Distilled Water and ACV (room temperature)
Not for use with pink-eye
  • Combine;
    • 2 tbs distilled water with
    • 4 drops of ACV
    • Stir well
    • Drop 2 to 3 drops in the eye two to three times a day until the infection clears
If you would like to understand more about eye infections:
  • Typical Causes of an Eye Infection
  • Typical Signs that Your Dog's or Cat's Eye May Be Infected
  • Typical Signs of Pink Eye - Conjunctivitis
  • Contagiousness of Eye Infections
  • Treating and Curing Eye Infections
    • Topical Treatments
    • Ingested (Dietary) Remedies 
  • Duration of Treatment
  • When To Get Your Dog or Cat to Your Veterinarian
  • You can read this article.
Insect Repellent – Natural, Safe
Parasites such as fleas, ticks mosquitoes and worms do not do well in an environment that is not supportive of their life and reproductive requirements. Such parasites do not like acidic environments. ACV is acidic and therefore not an attractive substance for these parasites.The following topical treatment kills adult fleas and is soothing on a dog’s skin.

Topical Treatment for Infestation of Fleas   
Natural Shampoo with ACV, Aloe Vera and Tea Tree-Oil
CAUTION - Do not use this recipe on cats - see further below for cat appropriate recipes (and other recipes for dogs)

This treatment kills fleas as they will drown in the soapy water, the after shampoo rinse and spray acidifies the surface of skin and fur making it an inhospitable environment for fleas. Don't over apply this recipe - this recipe includes tea tree oil. Tea tree oil should always be used with restraint. It is a potent substance which should never be over used on a dog and should not be used on cats at all...

You will need:
  • An 8 oz bottle
  • Tea Tree Oil (don't use tee tree oil on cats)
  • 100% Aloe Vera Juice
  • ACV
  • Fresh, clean water
  • Pour the shampoo into the 8 ounce bottle
  • Add 10 drops of tea tree oil
  • Add 1 tablespoon of aloa vera juice
  • Shake well
  • Shampoo Your Dog
  • Wait 6 to 10 minutes
Rinse Your Dog
  • Then rinse with ACV diluted in water – 1 tablespoon ACV for every pint of water.
  • Allow your dog to shake the excess water off
 After-Rinse Spray
  • Then follow-up with a spray of equal parts ACV to water
  • You can also add fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Do not get the shampoo, rinse or spray in your dog’s eyes
  • The spray can be used on a daily basis and may be used several times a day
Natural Spray, Spot-on and Collar Drop Recipes to repel Fleas, Ticks, Mosquitos from Cats and Dogs

  • DIY Natural, Herbal, Homeopathic Flea, Tick, Mosquito Repellent Sprays, Rubs, Dips, Rinse for Dogs and Cats- read here.

  • DIY Natural, Herbal, Homeopathic Flea, Tick, Mosquito Spot-On and Collar Drops for Dogs and Cats- read here

Body pH Balance - Restore, Maintain Good pH Balance

ACV is an excellent aid to restore pH balance. Poor diet can disrupt the pH balance of your dog’s blood. Acidification of the blood creates a foot-hold for the development of various illnesses.

AVC for Cleaning
Daily exposure to the air born vapors, droplets, and surface residue of chemical based household cleaners are one of the villains a dog’s system must fight to stay healthy. You can help reduce the daily stress on his/her system by making your own dog friendly household cleaners. In addition, many of the chemicals are lethally poisonous to dogs and other animals. You can use ACV as a multipurpose cleaner either on its own or with fresh lemon juice and/or baking soda. I use ACV to clean counters, floors, carpet etc. ACV is an amazing all-purpose house-hold cleaner. To learn about the many ways you can use ACV to replace chemical based household cleaners read on here.

Cautions, Side Effects
A partial list:

If your dog is on insulin or diuretics do not add ACV to his/her diet there may be an interaction between insulin/drugs and the ACV. When ACV is taken with a meal, ACV slows the rise of blood sugar – this suggests that a reduced amount of insulin is required to process the food. The dosage of insulin you give your dog may have to be adjusted to account for lower blood-sugar levels.

Dogs who are suffering from an irritated intestinal tract lining should not take (ingest) ACV. 
ACV should not be given to dogs experiencing gastroparesis.

ACV should not be given to dogs experiencing yeast overgrowth.

ACV should not be given to dogs with mast cell tumors.

What to Look for When Buying Organic ACV
Make sure you are purchasing ACV which is:
  • Organic
    Organic ACV has more nutrients than non-organic ACV
  • Organic ACV does not have the high-levels of toxins (pesticides and herbicides) present in ACV made from non-organic apples
  • Unfiltered
  • Unpasteurized – you should be able to see a little sediment floating at the bottom of the bottle

Holistic Support

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Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld 


  1. karen can i use Aspall organic cyder vinegar to my dogs ear she having alot bother with tem she is not in the form for eatin lookin sad i use extra virgin organic cocnut oil to see if it would ease her pain just rubbed a tiny bit on the top her ears the redness has gone away bt she still shakin her head i couldnt get avo vinegar and was wandering if it is safe to use the following vinegar above if you could gt back to me regarding this matter asap many thx

    1. Aspall organic vinegar does not have the antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral properties that organic unpasteurized, unfiltered ACV has. Aspall will not help her ear.

      GSE or Colloidal Silver are even better than Organic ACV. Both can be used topically and as an ingested treatment. Choose only one to use not both (i.e. just use GSE or just use Colloidal Silver).

      Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) you can use it - its benefits and dosage is provided in this article

      Colloidal silver

      Cheers, K

    2. Wouldn't Peroxide work for ears if organic ACV isn't available? Or google how to make ACV (DIY), I just made my first batch this fall :)

    3. Read my extensive article on ear care

    4. Hi.
      My organic Aspall cider vinegar says it is unpasteurized. What brand would you recommend.

    5. I assume you are in the UK - you can get Braggs

  2. My 2.6yr old 6kg cavalier has had atopic dermatitis since 4 months old and is allergic to storage mites [lab tests] It has been an absolute nightmare for her & me. She has been on immunotherapy for over a year but it has been the steroids [which I detest] that only completely control it though we are down to 1mg three times a week though this dose doesn't offer full control. To cut a 2 year 'food' story short a couple of months ago I moved her to a raw diet & her skin is greatly improving . I am always researching & would love her [& me] to have a chew free, scratch free normal life. I give her 2mg of dog oil a day but she is putting on weight so I need to stop this. What I need to tackle is the dryness of her skin which flakes off. Shall I mix one part apple cider vinegar with one part water & spray it on her back half each day. How does it get to the skin. How much shall I add to food when she is only 6kg?
    Thank you so much for this informative article.

    1. Adding good source fat to her diet will not make her gain weight, in fact it would help to moderate her weight.

      You should adjust her food intake though. Feed her a little less of the raw food (i.e. 1 tbs /day less) and let her lose the weight slowly.

      Stop using the 'dog oil' as many are junk, instead go buy her human grade: Norwegian Cod Liver Oil, or Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil, or Norwegian Krill Oil.

      The dosage for ingesting ACV is provided in the article above.

      Add the following to her diet as well...(just type each into the search bar of my blog site and you will find articles that provide dosages, benefits, etc for each item listed.)

      Deep sea or Norwegian Kelp;
      Coconut oil;
      Grapefruit Seed Extract;
      Rooibos Tea;
      Aloe Vera;
      Golden Seal,
      Licorice root.

      Options for bathing irritated skin see these articles...

    2. I can't apologise enough for taking so long to thank you for your informative reply.
      I took her off the dog oil [having spent £20 on the last bottle which the skin vet said she should be on!] & am very hopeful that she will improve with the other treatments you have suggested.
      This has to be the best site by far for information on atopic dermatitis.
      Thank you again. I so appreciate the help you have given to me.

  3. Hi Karen,

    My dog Louie is 18 lbs. He has to have 3-4 meals a day. Should I spread out his daily ACV dosage throughout his meals or should I give him his daily dosage in ONE of his meals?

    Rachel & Louie

    1. Yes in the case of acid reflux - give the ACV with each meal :>)

  4. Is there any store in Ottawa that you can recommend to buy unpasteurized, organic ACV

  5. You didn't give ACV dosage amounts for cats (at least not that I saw) is it the same amount based on the weight of dogs listed?
    My concern in giving it to the dog(s) in water is that both dogs & both cats drink from the same water bowl & I don't want my cats ingesting to much ACV if I'm treating my dogs.

    1. Hi Tim and Tina - re-read the article the dosage for cats is provided on the same line as the dosage for dogs.

  6. Wow! The amount of time and effort you have clearly spent on your site is incredible! Thank you for the valuable information you've provided.

  7. Hi Karen! My friend gave a tea spoon of ACV to her dog, because he had a very bad diarrhea, but it was undiluted. What can happen? Is this very dangerous for the dog?

    1. Organic unpasturized unfiltered ACV is not harmful when administered in a reasonable dosage. My GSDs, Australian Sheperd and Pitbull get 1/2 tbs daily.

  8. Would you recommend using baking soda and ACV as the dog's regular shampoo and conditioner?

    1. No Dee, I would not use baking soda as a shampoo and conditioner - with or without ACV. You can use one of these or one of these

  9. Hi Karen. I was wondering how the sediment in the Bragg ACV will clear my dog's ear canal since it is L (?) shaped. You mentioned, I believe, that the Mother is the therapeutic part of the ACV, which I assume means I need to shake the bottle and include it in the ACV/water mixture to treat my dog's yeast infection in her ears. Terrific website, the they way. Thank you, Susan

    1. The sediment does not cause blockage as the:
      - ACV is not administered by filling the ear canal
      - you will be using DROPS of ACV
      - ACV does not contain enough particulate to create blockage unless you are pouring the sediment from the bottom of a barrel into an ear

  10. Thanks for all the great info. My Belgian Shepherd mix is 13 yrs old. In fantastic shape for his age. He had a kidney infection last year, went tru antibiotics, which I do not agree with. Can I use the ACV, every day? he'll need 1 tsp. Can I divide it in half and put it in he food? (I cook for him) Thanks again, Big Hugs ;)

    1. Yes you can give him the organic unpasturized unfiltered ACV daily, and you can divide the daily dosage between two meals added to the food.

  11. I believe my 2 yr old goldendoodle has a yeast infection. Her ears are irritated and she chews and licks one front paw. She currently is eating Orijen Six Fish and receives no grains in her diet. I have started giving her yogurt and dipping her paw in acv mixture. She now has developed sores around her mouth. Any suggestions on what I should do?

    1. Treatment and remedy for this requires a full review of existing diet and wellness regimen to removal identify and eliminate triggers and then build an appropriate Diet Nutrition Wellness Plan - this requires several hours of my time - you can read about this service here

  12. Will ingesting acv and honey help an ear infection in my dog. He is ten pounds. I have tried antibiotics but he continues to shake his head.

    1. The truth is nothing will work unless the root cause is addressed - because that has not been done the infection is chronic. This is required

    2. Hello Karen,

      Can apple cider vinegar and rooibos tea be give to a puppy. If so, what is the appropriate amount?

      Thank you

    3. Yes. Follow the dosage per weight.

  13. My miniature schnauzer, Winston, has been suffering from acid reflux for the past week or so. At the recommendation of my vet, I changed his food (he was on Orijen Six Fish and is now on Acana Duck Limited Ingredients). I've spread out his meals (3-4 daily instead of 2) and I've added organic kefir (1 tsp/day), ACV (1 tsp/day) and manuka honey (1/4 tsp/day) to his food for the past 24hrs, but his symptoms aren't improving. Could the ACV be making the acid reflux worse? It seems counter intuitive to be giving him acid...

    Thanks for all the amazing information you share—it's been an amazing resource for so many.

    1. If you want to properly address Winston's acid reflux you are welcome to engage my consultation service. Acana Duck is NOT an appropriate food for a dog with acid reflux. Your veterinarian is going to make Winston's condition worse. Typical.


Important Note

1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Alternative Medicines:

Safe use of items and protocols in the article above, is your sole responsibility.

Foods, herbs and alternative medicines have health issue, condition and conventional drug interactions. Safe use of all substances and protocol are your responsibility.

Before you use any substance or protocol do your research. Check for cautions, contradictions, interactions and side effects. Do not use substances or protocols not suitable to your animal's individual circumstances.

If your animal has an underlying condition substances and protocols may conflict.

2.0 Definition of Holistic…

Food, herbs, alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’.

If you use a ‘natural’ substance (ie. an herb) you are using a natural substance, not a holistic substance.

Holistic is not defined by use of one or several substances. Holistic is an approach.

Definition of “holistic” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press


"relating to the whole of something or to the total system instead of just to its parts"

"Holistic medicine attempts to treat the whole person, including mind and body, not just the injury or disease."

Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that health, and well-being.

3.0 Expectation a natural substance remedies a health or behavioral situation.

A natural substance used to treat symptoms. But, if factors causing the underlying issue remain you do not have a remedy.

Remedy requires a comprehensive approach. It is necessary to identify root cause. Remove items that trigger, cause or otherwise contribute to issues. Holistic approach includes design, implementation to treat, remedy and maintain long-term health.

4.0 Leave a Comment

I review all comments and publish those deemed appropriate for this site.

I answer questions deemed appropriate when I have time to do so.

Wishing your dog and cat the best of health!

Karen Rosenfeld
Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer
Holistic Behaviorist - Dogs
Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Adviser – Dogs and Cats