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Apple Cider Vinegar for Dogs: Good or Bad?


As more and more people become empowered to take their wellness into their own hands, a more natural approach to wellness is gaining major traction. People are cooking with fresh, whole ingredients. They’re taking time to hike and journal. They’re also looking to natural ingredients like apple cider vinegar to boost and support their body’s everyday function, even if these benefits remain largely unsubstantiated. Apple cider vinegar might be a beneficial (and tasty) addition to a human’s diet, but what about a dog’s? Can our pups experience the same benefits that people do? While many supplements and ingredients provide the same benefits to dogs as they do to humans, apple cider vinegar may not be as beneficial to people (or to animals) as it’s often claimed to be. Apple cider vinegar is extremely acidic, meaning it can quickly wreak havoc on a dog’s organs and digestive system— especially if your dog has certain underlying health issues. Let’s take a closer look.

What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Vinegar is made by fermenting a source of acetic acid in water. Red wine vinegar is made of fermented wine grapes, rice wine vinegar is made of fermented rice, and apple cider vinegar is made of fermented apples. It’s simply apples and water, but at a unique stage in their relationship. Rather than making juice, the fermentation creates something complex and acidic. Plain white vinegar is made from diluted alcohol. While it can be successfully used to pickle vegetables or add an acidic touch to foods, it doesn’t boast any nutritional benefits. It’s the apples in apple cider vinegar that make it special. They add flavor, as well as a small amount of the beneficial compounds contained within the apples themselves.

What Are the Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar?

The most obvious benefit of apple cider vinegar is its flavor. It’s often used to create the base for sauces or glazes, especially barbecue sauce. It can also be used to create dressings and marinades. Home cooks love apple cider vinegar for its unique and complex flavor, which elevates a dish far beyond plain white vinegar’s capabilities. Outside of its ability to punch up the flavor profile of your dinner, apple cider vinegar may impart other holistic benefits that promote overall wellness. Proponents of apple cider vinegar claim that it may help to promote digestion. Some claim that apple cider vinegar may work to support weight loss efforts or help to stabilize blood sugar. While some early research into apple cider vinegar’s purported benefits is promising, the research is far from definitive. If you like apple cider vinegar, feel free to cook with it. If you don’t, it’s unlikely that your body will suffer ill effects as a result of leaving vinegar out of your diet.

The Risks of Using Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is highly acidic. Very acidic foods can erode tooth enamel and lead to an upset stomach. People who experience heartburn or acid reflux tend to avoid foods like apple cider vinegar, as they nearly always exacerbate unpleasant symptoms. Apple cider vinegar can also be irritating to sensitive digestive tracts, particularly if consumed regularly and in large amounts. Over time, vinegar can cause discomfort in the stomach and intestines, and it may also have a laxative effect for some. Many people heavily dilute apple cider vinegar with water and quickly down the glass in order to mitigate the effects of the acid on their teeth and to avoid concentrated acid from reaching their stomach or their digestive system. Some people take apple cider vinegar capsules with a full glass of water to avoid the taste.

Can Dogs Have Apple Cider Vinegar?

Many dogs don’t like or want apple cider vinegar. There’s nothing about its tangy acidic flavor that seems compelling to dogs, who would rather have savory meat or sweet fruit as a treat. Simply put, there’s no way a dog would willingly drink apple cider vinegar from a spoon, and mixing it with your dog’s food may repel them away from their dinner altogether. Your dog won’t be able to quickly drink a glass of heavily diluted apple cider vinegar in water, and diluting it into their entire water dish makes it difficult to control the dose. Your dog has a very keen sense of smell and may avoid that dish entirely, too, at the slightest whiff of vinegar. Additionally, vinegar can be extremely dangerous for animals with kidney disease or conditions that impact the health of their kidneys. Compromised kidneys won’t be able to properly process the acid content of the vinegar, leading to painful complications. Since the anecdotally reported benefits of apple cider vinegar are largely unproven and the side effects are demonstrably true, it’s generally not a good idea to give your animals apple cider vinegar. They’ll have a difficult time communicating pain or digestive upset to you, and you may not notice until they vomit on the carpet or experience diarrhea. It’s not worth taking that risk with the health and comfort of your beloved pet.

What Natural Dietary Supplements Are Safe for Dogs?

Apple cider vinegar may not be the answer, but that doesn’t mean you’re without options. There are plenty of beneficial ways to promote digestive health, heart health, joint health, and skin health through your dog’s balanced diet.

Fish Oil

Fish oil is rich in heart-healthy omega fats. Human and animal bodies need these good fats to build healthy new cells. Omega fats also play a role in heart health, lung health, the strength of blood vessels, and the function of the immune system. It may also be useful for managing symptoms of canine arthritis.

Hemp Seed Oil

Much like fish oil, hemp seed oil is rich in healthy omega fats. The biggest difference between fish oil and hemp seed oil is their versatility. While fish oil is meant to be ingested, hemp seed oil can also be applied topically to support skin and coat health. Hemp has a much more agreeable earthy smell. At worst, your dog may smell like your garden (but that certainly beats the natural aroma of fish oil!).

CBD Tinctures

CBD tinctures are a multifunctional wellness supplement for people and pets. When regularly consumed, CBD can help to ease feelings of emotional and physical tension. It also helps to support regular gastrointestinal health and normal brain health. If you were interested in the vast wealth of benefits apple cider vinegar claims to produce, CBD is the best alternative. A growing wealth of research shows that CBD is highly effective in supporting a myriad of the body’s natural processes that are involved in homeostasis. In addition to working to support your dog’s physical health, CBD works to support your dog’s emotional wellbeing. Dogs sometimes experience temporary forms of environmental distress. Some dogs don’t like car rides to the vet’s office. Many dogs are intimidated by the loud sounds of thunderstorms. As a pet owner, you can’t control these things. They’re a natural part of life, and it can be difficult to accommodate your dog in these situations. CBD can help to calm your dog when these temporary stressors are present.

VETCBD Hemp Is Made For Your Dog

VETCBD Hemp is a wellness booster for dogs, cats, and horses. VETCBD Hemp’s American-grown hemp-derived CBD tincture is designed for your pet. The ingredients are simple. It’s just pure, lab-tested hemp and extra virgin olive oil. Its earthy flavor is easy to disguise in food and treats, and it’s not acidic. If you think your dog would benefit from CBD, ask your vet about adding it into your pup’s daily routine. Sources: Real Food Encyclopedia – Vinegar | FoodPrint Debunking the health benefits of apple cider vinegar | University of Chicago Medicine Fish Oil for Dogs | American Kennel Club

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