Holistic medicine is still quite controversial in veterinary medicine. Some vets embrace holistic remedies while others scoff at its efficacy. Regardless of your opinion on natural remedies, it’s important to remember that some conditions require pharmaceutical interventions to keep your dog healthy.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Dogs: Is It Safe?
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is popular with humans, but is it safe for your dog? The jury is still out, but most vets don’t recommend giving your dog ACV.
Reasons You Might Give Apple Cider Vinegar to Your Dog
Fans of ACV claim it’s filled with a ton of nutrition, but the USDA has determined it’s virtually devoid of any nutrients except for potassium. The potassium amount is really low, topping out at 11 mg per tablespoon. For reference, the Daily Reference Value for potassium is 4,600 mg.
If ACV has almost zero nutritional value, what is it good for with dogs? Not much.
Topical application is more popular online and supposedly suits a variety of purposes. Nothing should be applied topically to your dog’s skin unless your vet has approved it. Putting things on the surface of the skin doesn’t seem like it would cause any problems, but the skin absorbs everything you put on it. Broken, bruised, or otherwise damaged skin should never have anything put on it until your vet has examined it. Even though internet sources say it’s safe for things like insect bites, minor abrasions, and even sunburn, this is neither an effective or safe treatment method. Natural isn’t always better, and that goes for superficial injuries. Plus, vinegar burns! Putting it on broken skin is going to be uncomfortable for your dog.
More natural-minded owners swear by using ACV as a natural flea repellent. This is no scientific proof that this is effective, and if you live in an area with fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes you should absolutely use a pharmaceutical flea/tick and heartworm preventative. These insects carry a variety of diseases that are fatal to dogs, and using tried-and-true methods is the best way to guarantee your dog’s health and safety. If your dog already has a flea infestation, ACV isn’t going to be effective at all. Even if it gets rid of them initially, it doesn’t kill the eggs, so another infestation is going to pop up again.
Alternatives to Apple Cider Vinegar for Dogs
There are a lot of safer, more effective alternatives to ACV. Sunburns, insect bites, and other skin irritations are treatable with vet-approved topical medications. What a safe alternative depends on what you’re treating and what kind of symptoms your dog is exhibiting. If you’re thinking of using ACV as pest-control, don’t. It isn’t going to prevent your dog from getting fleas, ticks, or mosquito bites. Topical flea and tick preventatives are going to be far more effective at treating parasites. Since these types of pests are notorious for carrying a variety of diseases, using only ACV in regions prone to fleas, ticks, and heartworm is playing a pretty risky game with your dog’s overall health.
A lot of natural remedies found in your pantry are okay to give to your dog, but ACV isn’t one of them. If someone has recommended it for your dog, run it by your vet. Chances are they’ll have a better solution for whatever problem you’re trying to solve.