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Should You Use Apple Cider Vinegar on Your Dogs?

Julie Sprankles is a freelance writer living in the storied city of Charleston, SC. When she isn't slinging sass for SheKnows, she enjoys watching campy SyFy creature features (Pirahnaconda, anyone?), trolling the internet for dance work...

Apple cider vinegar is constantly being touted as a miracle treatment, but what does it treat on dogs?

You've probably seen the pins on Pinterest or the memes circulating on Facebook that tout the many, many amazing uses of apple cider vinegar — especially in regard to your health. It's lauded as a cure for hiccups, a dandruff buster and everything in between.

But did you know apple cider vinegar can also be beneficial to dogs?

It sounds unorthodox, but here's the thing: It could be just the thing your poor pooch needs, particularly if it seems to be scratching constantly. Of course it's important to note before we get neck-deep in the health benefits of apple cider vinegar for your dog that you should always consult with your dog's veterinarian if you suspect your pup could have a serious ailment.

More: My dog's dry skin turned out to be a serious medical condition

Now, let's talk vinegar — as in organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. You know, the kind that looks like it has stuff floating around in it. (Fun fact? That stuff is called the "mother of vinegar.") That's the one!

In The Veterinarian's Guide to Natural Remedies for Dogs, veterinarian Donna Starita Mehan recommends feeding one-quarter to one-half a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to your dog twice daily. Why? Yeast doesn't grow well in an acidic environment, so it's unlikely your dog will develop rashes caused by yeast buildup.

Apple cider vinegar is also a popular natural choice for fighting the good fight against fleas and ticks. People practically swear by it. It can be applied topically in a spray or given orally in the form of one to two tablespoons mixed into your dog's water.

Plus, apple cider vinegar packs a major punch where vitamins and minerals are concerned. "Apple cider vinegar contains over 30 important nutrients, six vitamins, 12 minerals, essential acids, enzymes and a large dose of pectin. It is a good source of potassium and has excellent antibacterial and antifungal properties to boost the immune system," explains the Natchez Trace Veterinary Services website.

Because of these things, it is suggested that apple cider vinegar serves as a natural detoxifying agent. In essence, it flushes the system, which improves the function of vital organs. Neat, right?

But that's not all apple cider vinegar is good for.

According to veterinarian Dr. Christie Long, chief veterinarian of PetCoach, apple cider vinegar may also be used to stave off bacterial and fungal ear infections. "I have had good success recommending that pet parents use a mixture of 90 percent water and 10 percent white vinegar as an occasional rinse to keep their dog's healthy ears dry and clean, and I suspect that the vinegar discourages the overgrowth of yeast organisms on the skin of the ear canal, possibly by keeping the pH low," Long told SheKnows. This proactive measure could save you a boatload of dough you might otherwise spend at the veterinarian's office each year on reactive care.

However, Long also offered us a disclaimer, saying, "I'm not aware of any scientifically-based evidence that apple cider vinegar benefits dogs."

More: Yes, there's a right way to groom your own dog, and you're probably not doing it

Furthermore, she cautioned against falling for gimmicky fads trying to capitalize on the holistic popularity of apple cider vinegar. "Recently, the use of apple cider vinegar tablets has been reported to help encourage healthy gut flora," Long explained. "However, these tablets have been associated with esophageal erosions and I would most definitely discourage their use."

So, bottom line? Yes, apple cider vinegar has some undeniable health benefits, but you need to check with your vet before you start using it on your own dog.

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