Apple Cider Vinegar for Dogs: Skin Problems

Last Modified on Mar 01, 2015

Dog Itchy Skin Remedies
You may be able to relieve your dog's itchy skin with apple cider vinegar, a home remedy straight from the kitchen! Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has been a trusted natural remedy for pets, animals, and people alike throughout the centuries. Its mildly acidic character and the nutrients it contains are great for the skin, naturally antibacterial and mildly antibiotic, and can improve a dog's overall health when added to its food or water.

Dog skin allergies and skin problems can be improved by this weak acid, since the skin itself prefers a slightly acid pH and since most pathogens do poorly under similar conditions. Red, itchy, and irritated skin are often quickly soothed by a topical ACV treatment, and dietary use of apple cider vinegar can provide long-term improvements for your dog's skin health.

Holistic Treatment for Dogs Using Apple Cider Vinegar

Be careful in your use of apple cider vinegar when your dog's skin is extra raw and inflamed. In fact, in most cases you should dilute apple cider vinegar with equal amounts of water for skin treatment. You can apply apple cider vinegar directly by rubbing it into your dog's fur, or mix it in a sprayer and spray effected patches of skin whenever necessary (watch out for their eyes). Adding up to a tablespoon or so of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar to your dog's water or food each day can also be a great way to treat dog skin allergies and ailments from the inside. The dosage will vary depending on the size and breed of your dog, but if you start with a low dose and gradually increase to what seems to be an effective dosage for your particular dog, you and your pet will be happy and healthier for it!


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Most Popular Dog Skin Problems - ACV Remedies:

Skin Ailments11
Hot Spots3
Itching, Scratching, Hot Spots3

User Reviews



Dosage   0  0   

Posted by Shannon (Lake Dallas, Tx) on 03/01/2015

I've read all the benefits of giving my dogs ACV. How much ACV would I add to the 2. 5 gallon water dispenser?

Hot Spots   3  0   

Posted by Ellen (Charles Town, WV)

[YEA]  About a 2 months ago, I began using apple cider vinegar in Lady's water; 3T. to a gallon of water and also spraying it diluted on the areas that she had licked and chewed until they bled. I added brewers yeast and olive oil to her daily meal and used a cone on her head when I wasn't with her to stop the licking. I used a plain aloe and olive oil balm on the skin after the vinegar dried. She doesn't need the cone any more as her skin is great and her hair is growing back in.

Replied by Virginia
Florida, US
09/15/2014

[YEA]   I use apple cider vinegar in my dog's food every day and her itchy skin has stopped completely. I swear by it. It does work.
Replied by Tasha
Charlotte, Nc
01/28/2015

[YEA]   I have been doing this for my pitbull with horrible skin allergies. Just curious if it would be okay to apply topically twice a day or should I stick to the once per day that I have been doing?
Replied by Theresa
Mpls., Mn
01/29/2015

Hey Tasha!

Pit bull lover here!

You can certainly try applying the ACV twice a day. Also a few more thoughts for you!

You might also consider changing the diet; read the ingredients on the kibble you feed and if you find grain then a change is in order. You might also consider Ted's Borax protocol for pets to combat the yeast from the inside out. And also consider a full body dip in Ted's Anti-fungal/Anti-staph solution.

Itching, Scratching, Hot Spots   3  0   

Posted by Lauren (Crawfordville, Fl) on 11/04/2014

[YEA]  One of my German Shepherds tends to get hot spots during the summer months. We live in FL, she's constantly swimming in a pool and the Gulf and she has a thick double layered coat that takes forever to dry. Vetericyn spray always helped in summer's past and I've got her on Earthborn Holistic Grain Free Dry Food, which she's always done well with. This summer was hardly manageable, not so much with the hot spots but itchy/flaky and black skin appeared and did not go away when the cooler weather came in.

Out of the blue she also started having bad breath, gray gook in her eyes every morning and she started to smell bad - even a day after bathing her. She got some aid from the Vetericyn and Oatmeal baths but only temporarily so I spent time researching online and putting together a plan of attack.

For quick relief (as suggested by so many people here) I began spraying 50/50 organic ACV (Walmart) & warm water all over her under belly and armpits and let it air dry. I could not believe it - she felt better immediately. I bought plain yogurt, which she loves (Publix), Probiotic Miracle and Enzyme Miracle (Amazon), I add all 3 and some water to her dry food and mix it well. She eats it up like crazy. When she's done I give her 1 Probiotic Acidophilus, 2 billion active cultures, human vitamin a day (Walmart). I also add 1 tsp. of organic ACV to all the water bowls.

UNBELIEVABLE - as of today, 4 days later, there's no itching or licking whatsoever and the flaking is 95% gone. There's very little gook in her eyes and absolutely no sign of a bad odor, she actually smells nice for the first time in months. My babygirl is doing GREAT, she's got more energy, she's eating well and is so obviously feeling much better all the way around. Also, I bought her all organic/grain free treats - have you read the labels lately on the treats you are giving your dogs? I was shocked!! I will continue to give her the products listed above, possibly for the rest of her life. Even though the black skin and bad breath aren't a nuisance to her, I'm hoping they too will go away soon with this new regimen.

Either way, she went from being miserable to the happiest girl on the planet in just a few days and the worst is way behind us, incredible. Awesome website......my only regret is that I didn't find earth clinic a few months sooner. Next time I have any health concerns for myself, my family or my dogs, this website will be my first stop, for sure.

Replied by Debbie
Portslade, Uk
11/08/2014

I would change to raw feeding. raw meat. raw bones. NO treats. NO biscuits.

Bath in a anti fungal shampoo. Once a week. Rinse well. And then soak her everywhere with a solution of Distilled WHITE vinegar/half warm water. Allow to dry.

Put the same solution in a spray bottle, for daily use on bad arrears and dunk paws in at bed time.

Use bottled or filtered water. Not tap water. Add 1 teaspoonful of white vinegar.

Stay away from the ACV. Apples=sugar.

Replied by Kathy
Navarre
11/08/2014

It's wonderful that you've gone holistic with your pet... I hope you've done so with yourself also... The issues/symptoms that your dog is having are 99% likely to your dog being in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) and your pool (if it's chlorine)... These issues affect humans as well as animals... Her skin, itching, breath and the "gook" coming out of her eyes are all related health issues... She is sick and detoxing... Wonderful as I said that you've researched online and, incidentally if you weren't aware, specifically your holistic approach is part of the treatment for those affected by the toxins... The VOC's are plentiful in the water and are also airborne... The chemicals used to "treat" the GOM also bind with chlorine in pools... Good luck and stay safe yourself...
Replied by Kay
Victoria
01/18/2015

I am trying 50/50 Apple Cider Vinegar and water on my dogs itchy paws ...but she is diabetic and wnder if sugar in this vinegar is a good idea? Might try plain white instead ..love the website .. thankyou
Replied by Kathy
Houston. Tx
02/21/2015

Thanks for the "plan of attack" on the hotspots. I have 2 beagles suffering with it. I'm a groomer, so I have tried every expensive product out there, to no avail. I wondered if Apple Cider Vinegar would help and I'm so happy to hear how this has worked for your dog. We're starting on it today. Thanks again.

Posted by Josephyne (Singapore) on 07/16/2011

[YEA]  I found this website today while researching for home remedies for my puppy which had been scratching her skin and ears for a while now. I took no time to try the suggested remedy - acv. I applied Apple Cider Vinegar on her body and drip a couple of drops into each of her ears and massaged the base of her ears, straight from the bottle without diluting. I also mixed a tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar with her plain yoghurt and she lapped it all up, like she usually does when it comes to yoghurt. I'm very pleased to see that for the past two hours she has not scratched one bit and seemed calmer and even fell asleep, which is quite unusual at this time of night :) ACV works for my precious dog :)

Posted by Yoyoly18 (Buringame, CA) on 06/23/2009

[YEA]  I have a mixed papillon/Pomeranian dog who has been suffering from flea bites, constant itching and bald hot spots. No matter what kind of flea shampoo treatments, or house treatments, getting rid of her beds, toys, etc was helping at all. My neighbor has a cat that roams around freely and believe is the culprit to this problem. I researched high and low on the internet for remedies for two years now and finally landed on this website. I read all the testimonials from dog lovers with similar problem and the positive results they were having. I quickly went to my local grocery store and bought a bottle of AVC; mixed it according to the instructions and I could not believe how quickly within minutes of spraying her she relaxed and stopped itching. I am amazed at this and will share this great remedy to all dog and cat lovers. Thank you all so much.

Replied by Littlerowboat
Roswell, Ga
07/28/2012

I would like to say, in regards to fleas and pregnant dogs, if you give your dog a bath it will kill the fleas. I know there are many flea treatments under the sun and none are safe for pregnant pups. Soak her, lather her up with a gentle soap [I use earthbath oatmeal and aloe because it helps soothe the itching or if I'm out I just use my soap which is Dr. Bronners] leave the soap on for 10 minutes and then rinse. You will see all the dead fleas washing away. Make sure you are diligent about washing all their bedding, too.
Replied by Helen
Thousand Oaks, Ca
07/28/2014

Soap reduces the water surface tension (Chemistry 101), that's why it drowns the fleas. This is a simple flea killer. No need for pesticides on our dogs.
Replied by Theresa
Mpls., Mn
07/29/2014

Hey Helen!

DITTO! A simple flea bath followed by a flea combing and your pet is instantly flea free :)

Replied by Linda
Indiana, US
08/27/2014

what the heck is ACV. PLEASE USE WORDS.

EC: ACV is Apple Cider Vinegar

http://www.earthclinic.com/remedies/acvinegar.html

Mange   1  0   

Posted by Trudy on 02/12/2006

[YEA]  I have had absolute success using Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with water and Borax power. My dog was suffering with mange or terrible flea allergies last October. Well I used this combination regularly for several months and now he has all his fur back, and no itching. I sent in my testimonial back in mid January 2006, it is under the Cure for Demodetic Mange / Remedy #2 Reader Modification by Trudy Barton, in Cynthiana, Ky. I do believe this treatment I gave my Max would not have had nearly the great results if I had not used the organic Apple Cider Vinegar. Please post this cure under the Apple Cider Vinegar cures for dogs. P.s. If my cat were to have a similar problem, I sure would use it on the cat too! You can post my e-mail address.

Replied by Marissa
Australia
08/11/2014

CAUTION: I have read on multiple sites that Borax is toxic for dogs, with an accumulating effect (it builds up in their body over time). It can be absorbed inside the body through the dogs skin. I would exercise extreme caution in following this advice without researching from multiple sources.
Replied by Theresa
Mpls., Mn
08/11/2014

Hey Marissa!

Borax is toxic to dogs - and humans - in ***very*** high doses, much in the same way water or salt is toxic to humans. Ever read about people drinking so much water it killed them? Same deal.

Also, you are incorrect about absorption via the skin:

  • Borax is classified as non-carcinogenic and a mild skin irritant. The high alkalinity of borax is likely what causes skin irritation (just as excessive use of baking soda would cause irritation). There are also several studies in the ToxNet database that show its only a very mild lung irritant and causes no lasting damage. In addition, it does not penetrate the skin well, and is not considered to be bio-accumulative. (Meaning, repetitive use over time does not mean it builds up in your system.)

Source - although there are *many* with this same info: http://www.crunchybetty.com/getting-to-the-bottom-of-borax-is-it-safe-or-not

I can say that I have personally taken borax in water with no ill effects, and given my dogs multiple baths in borax using my bare hands and no ill effects for human or dog - but must admit the demodex mites did not fare so well! ;-)

Rashes   0  0   

Posted by Melinda (Federal Way, Washington) on 01/23/2010

[SIDE EFFECTS]  My five year old mixed breed dog had a bad rash on her belly and back. I read about acv from this web site I gave her 1/2 tsp in her food. The next day she had horrible diarrhea and she vomited soome blood. I took her to the emergancy vet and they did all sorts of tests and found nothing. The vet said it could have been the acv. That was the only thing different in her diet. I DO NOT recomend acv for dogs!

Replied by Raphael
Boston, Ma
12/28/2014

First start: apply to skin, 1 part ACV + 1 part water. If you feel like feeding ACV, 1 tsp diluted to the water bowl. Do not mix with food undiluted. The next day incident may be just a co-incidence.

Raw Organic or Processed ACV   0  0   

Posted by T T (Tulsa, Oklahoma) on 01/06/2015

Does anybody know if its the Apple Cider Vinager with the Mother or just regular Apple Cider Vinager to use when treating my dog for allergies? Thanks

Replied by Wendy
Columbus, Oh
01/06/2015

It must be organic Apple Cider Vinegar, with "the mother".

Skin Ailments   11  0   

Posted by Rickie (Va, US) on 07/19/2014

My dog has been scratching, biting and licking on her legs and paws and sides. How much ACV do I need to use? Is it 1/2 cup of ACV and 1/2 cup of water?

Replied by Theresa
Mpls., Mn
07/20/2014

Hey Rickie!

From EC's page on ACV for dogs:

Dosage and Instructions: Start with a one-teaspoon dose mixed into your dog's food twice a day for a 50 lb dog (adjust accordingly by weight) and if necessary increase up to about 1 tablespoon twice a day for the same size dog. For skin application, you can spray on or rub apple cider in directly, or for sore or open wounds mix the ACV with equal parts water before application to the dog's skin. In the case of pests or parasites, bathe your dog and then apply a 50:50 mix of apple cider vinegar and water. Allow this to air dry on your pet to kill off fleas, ticks, ringworm, etc. and to prevent future infestations and/or infection. You can also spray your dog with apple cider vinegar before going out for a walk, in order to repel fleas and ticks naturally.

Posted by Brian (Richmond) on 12/15/2013

[YEA]  Hey. Apple cider vinegar really works. I have been using it on my dog. No more smell and her fur is growing back.Thanks!!!!

Replied by Fee
Opelika, Alabama
01/11/2014

[SIDE EFFECTS]   I just mixed some ACV 50/50 mix and sprayed it on my Blue Pit (King) and I took him outside to use the bathroom and he went nuts trying to get it off him. He was rolling around all over the ground trying to get it off. Is that normal with a first treatment?
Replied by Theresa
Mpls., Mn
01/12/2014

Hey Fee!

Could be a couple reasons why King reacted as he did. Firstly, if King had open sores or broken skin from scratching, spraying straight AVC on his skin would sting like the dickens, so he might have been reacting in pain.

OR, it could just be he didn't like the smell.

Years ago I had an OFRN who loved running on the open prairie; I didn't like dealing with the ticks she always picked up so I got an all natural tick repellant spray and sprayed her down real good before I took the leash off to let her run. Once the leash was off she immediately flopped onto the ground and rolled and rolled, and then took after some bushes and rubbed and rubbed. She had no sores or broken skin - the spray didn't sting her. She just thought it stunk to high heaven and wanted it OFF in the worst way!

Posted by Manchesterterrier (New York, Ny) on 02/19/2011

My Manchester Terrier (miniature) has a fungal infection after taking a course of strong antibiotics. She is itchy with dry skin and hair loss. I've started using ACV on her itchy spots and it seems to help. Should I also give her ACV orally? If so, how much? She weighs 11.5 pounds. Thanks!!

Posted by Julia (Portage, In) on 10/25/2010

I have a 14 year old, 6 lb, Pom with black, scaly, & crusty spots on his underbelly & back. He is sleeping alot & can't stop scratching. This is the first time in his life with this type of problem. He has always been very healthy & active. We had a terrible bout of fleas early this year & I believe this is a reaction to them. We have taken care of the flea problem in the house, the yard & he no longer has fleas on him. We have had him to the vet several times & they have treated him with antobiotics but it has just continued to get worse over the summer & now into the fall. I have read many of the posts regarding rinsing/bathing him with the ACV. I also read comments about putting it in food or water, &/or giving it directly to the pet with a medicine dropper. Is it a rinse or a spray or both? Can I give it to him by dropper? Can I use just plain Apple Cider Vinegar & what is the appropriate mixture? He has been a wonderful pet for 14 years & I hate to see him continue to suffer.

Replied by Francie
New York, US
05/24/2014

Check your dogs upper back also as well as his ears, sounds like he has a major yeast infection. The apple cider will help as long as u give it to him in his food, however he needs an organic diet with simple foods with no sugars involved. Read the label on your dog food and if there is any sugar or sugar like substances, dump it. Plain chicken, beef, and veggies, plus brown rice. My dog had the very same thing and he is getting better on the plain diet.

Posted by Robin4max (Nashville, Tn / Usa) on 10/25/2010

I have taken my dog to the vet in the past for his skin conditions. After 3 different clinics and multiple mis-diagnosis, I was finally told he had a severe allergy to flea saliva. Long story short, he ends up with a yeast infection on his skin ~ rips fur, creates open lesions from chewing etc. I have changed his food to Natural Choice Lamb & Rice and he gets the same brand oatmeal biscuit as a treat. He stays inside year round. He did really well for about 9/10 months, but now we're back to it again. I did get him some ACV today and spray his lesions. Usually he'll eat anything he can get to; (and I mean anything) when I put the ACV in his food, he turned it down. How do I get him to eat the ACV? I started him on organic plain yogurt about a week ago. Will the ACV have the same affect if I mix it with his yogurt? He ate that, but I don't know if the ACV or yogurt is affective this way. Thank you so much for taking the time to help us out here. He's a great dog!

Replied by Debbiefudge
Brighton, Uk
11/09/2010

Hi. Regarding yeast in dogs. You really need to do loads of research. I have a Shihtzu with severe yeast and I have now found the solution that works for me. The problem is that yeast will feed on so many things. Starch, grain, vegetables even have natural sugars in. As much as I love ACV for many things, don't use it for a dog with yeast allergies. Apple=sugar. Instead, use white vinegar. You have to completely change your dogs diet. The rice, feeds the yeast. Use a good anti fungal shampoo. Make a solution of half water and half white vinegar and use as a final rinse and allow to dry. Make up the same solution and put in a spray bottle and spray your dog, twice a day. Also, put some in a small bowl and put the whole of your dogs paw in, squeeze off the ecess and allow to try. They often get yeast between the toes, then scratch their ears. Make a solution of half white vinegar, hals witch hazel, (as this is drying). Use as an ear wash twice a day. Syringe it down the ear and massage for 1 minute, allow the dog to shake and use a little of the solution to wipe any muck away with a cotton wool ball. Diet is the main thing though. Raw meat and raw bone is best. But my Teddy, will just not eat it. So, I use minced meat. Any kind. Very lightly cook. This is what I give my dog, every day, added to a portion of meat. Half a clove of chopped, fresh garlic. 1 tablespoon of Olive oil. 1 teaspoonful of FOOD GRADE Diatomaceous Earth. Few sprigs of fresh parsley. Half a hard boiled egg. Mix well. Once a week I give canned sardines in oil and add the other ingredients, minus the meat and olive oil. Nothing else. No food scraps. No treats. I also only ever give bottled water to drink. You can add a teaspoon of white vinegar to the water if your pet will drink it.

All the vet did was prescribe antibiotics and steroids. Which of course, make the yeast worse. I don't have to use any chemicals for fleas or worms either, due to the diet. He is already, 99% better. No more scratching either! I don't believe in re-vaccinations either. More chemicals. I hope someone else can benefit from my experiences. I much prefer to go the 'natural' route with my pets.

Replied by Jazz
Blackpool, Uk
06/11/2011

Hi, diatomaceous earth is just the best
Replied by Blklab10yrold
Port Charlotte, Florida
01/04/2012

Thanx for the info..... Yeh, seems to me WHITE vinegar would be more pure than apple would. Heres my issue..... Im terrified to give my dog plain yogurt due to someone elses comment saying they gave their dog yogurt & the yogurt bloated their dog & killed it. Wish someone knew some facts on yogurt as to whether it's completely safe or not. I can't seem to go on "safe for some" ..... He's been itchy for a long long time & as many things as I've tried, I'm down to THIS now, trying what some have posted on a message board online. I'm even paranoid about letting him drink the apple cider vinegar now.

I will keep in mind about the white vinegar, just wish somewhere there were some guaranteed facts about what a dog can eat/drink and what they can't eat or drink.

Posted by Steve (Murray, KY) on 10/09/2008

[YEA]  After reading the articles about dogs scratching and chewing their feet, I read over and over about using apple cider vinegar as a spray. I was at the point i had to try something, I tried a 50 50 acv and water and also within the first hour i saw results, i use it now at least one time a day and sometimes two, my dobhie/lab mix has been chewing and scratching for 3 years and this is the best i have seen her, i have made numerous visits to the vet, shots and have been giving all sorts of pills i do believe this has given her more relief than anything. i started also about 3 weeks ago giving her a fish oil capsule 2 times a day. pleae if anyone has a problem try the ACV/water solution for your dogs sake. thanks for all the folks who recomended this. from the bluegrass state

Posted by Sharon (Richmond, Virginia) on 09/11/2008

[YEA]  I recently viewed your sit and the Apple Cider Vinegar cured my cocker, Casey, skin enormously. I used this on Casey and after about 3 days I noticed that his skin was healed and his coat was healthy and shiny. This has done wonders for us. I sprayed ACV diluted with equal amounts of water on Caseys coat every morning for 3 consecutive days. Casey is now a healthier dog.


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