Can I Use Vinegar & Water on My Dog?

Vinegar does a lot more than just dress up salads.
MonicaLopezLopez/iStock/Getty Images

Vinegar may sound like an odd thing to use on your dog, but it actually has many benefits for your pet. It is a safe and effective way to handle a variety of problems your dog may have. Vinegar will treat minor skin irritations, help to prevent ear infections and even make your dog smell better. Both apple cider vinegar and white vinegar are helpful but typically are used in different ways.

Removing Doggy Odor

If your dog has a strong odor, rinse him with white vinegar to remove the stink. While it might seem that you’ll be trading one strong smell for another, white vinegar does not leave a lingering smell once it dries. The Vinegar Institute recommends mixing 2 gallons of water with 1 cup of distilled white vinegar to use as a deodorizing rinse. To treat your pet, soak him well with plain water and pour the vinegar mixture over him. Be sure it gets into his coat. Don’t rinse him again, just dry him off; the doggy odor and the vinegar smell will be gone once he dries.

Ear Cleaning

Vinegar will help to prevent ear problems in dogs, especially breeds with long, hanging ears. The hanging flap on the ears of breeds such as poodles, Newfoundlands and cocker spaniels tends to trap moisture inside the ears, which leads to irritation and sometimes infections; other breeds may experience these problems as well. Mix 2 parts water with 1 part of white vinegar to create a simple cleaning solution. Apply to a cotton pad and clean all of the external parts of the ear, removing as much wax and dirt as possible from the inside of the flap, around the outside of the ear canal and the easily visible external ear area.

Improving General Health

Add apple cider vinegar to your dog’s drinking water to provide a whole host of benefits to him. According to “The Natural Remedy Book for Dogs and Cats,” apple cider vinegar can help to control external parasites such as fleas along with internal parasites such as intestinal worms. Apple cider vinegar also helps to balance your pet’s body chemistry and can aid in digestion as well as providing relief for dogs afflicted with arthritis and hip dysplasia. Other benefits include lowering high blood pressure and boosting the immune system. Mix a single teaspoon of apple cider vinegar into every pint of drinking water you give your dog.

Treating Skin Problems

Apple cider vinegar applied to your dog’s skin will treat a variety of problems, including rashes, ringworm, fungus and bacterial infections. Make a solution of equal parts of vinegar and water and apply it to any trouble spots on your dog’s skin. Put 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into a quart of water and use it as a rinse to help a dog with itchy skin. Don’t rinse off the vinegar; allow your pet to air dry for best results. Note that if your pet’s skin problem is severe, or if it does not respond to the vinegar treatment, he should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.