What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Vinegar is a product of fermentation. This is a process in which sugars in a food are broken down by bacteria and yeast. In the first stage of fermentation, the sugars are turned into alcohol. Then, if the alcohol ferments further, you get vinegar. The word comes from the French, meaning “sour wine.” While vinegar can be made from all sorts of things — like many fruits, vegetables, and grains — apple cider vinegar comes from pulverized apples.
Natural Apple Cider Vinegar is made by crushing fresh, organically grown apples and allowing them to mature in wooden barrels. This boosts the natural fermentation qualities of the crushed apples, which differs from the refined and distilled vinegars found in supermarkets. When the vinegar is mature, it contains a dark, cloudy, web-like bacterial foam called mother, which becomes visible when the rich brownish liquid is held to the light. The mother can be used to add to other vinegar to hasten maturity for making more Apple Cider Vinegar. Natural vinegars that contain the mother have enzymes and minerals that other vinegars in grocery stores may not have due to over-processing, over-heating, and filtration. For this reason, it is recommended that you purchase only Natural Apple Cider Vinegar, with an ideal acidity (pH) level of 5 to 7.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is an effective natural bacteria-fighting agent that contains many vital minerals and trace elements such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, chlorine, sodium, sulfur, copper, iron, silicon and fluorine that are vital for a healthy body. The main ingredient of apple cider vinegar, or any vinegar, is acetic acid.
Benefits of ACV
Natural Apple Cider Vinegar is a wonderful natural cure for a number of ailments which usually require antibiotics and other medications that have a number of side effects. In particular, it has been known to assist with the following health issues:
This condition of inflammation of the joints is a major chronic disease in the animals and humans, and is believed to be partly caused by a build-up of toxic wastes in the tissues, causing irritation. It is thought that these metabolic toxic wastes can be contained by eliminating food allergies as well as inappropriate diets, not exercising and being obese.
Apple cider vinegar has been reported to have a significant impact on the pain experienced as well as slowing down the progression of this disease. Most people using it as a therapy for this problem ingest it four times a day, or add it to the water they make available to their pets.
Note: Animals should always be provided with a separate clear bowl of water to allow them to self-select the ACV water or not.
The potassium in apple cider vinegar is said to be beneficial to both the heart and blood pressure, and in some quarters this remedy is said to assist in making the blood thinner, and thereby assisting with blood pressure and in the prevention of a stroke.
The manganese, magnesium, silicon (and calcium) found in apple cider vinegar has been linked in sustaining bone mass, which is important in the fight against osteoporosis.
Not having proper bowel movements is blamed for many illnesses and diseases which befall us and the animals in our care. The logic behind it stating that should the waste products from our bodily functions be retained in the body, for longer than what nature intends, it will cause toxins to be absorbed back into the system.
When we add fiber to the diet (in quantities that are species specific) such as the pectin in apple cider vinegar, the body is assisted to have regular bowel movements and proper elimination.
There are various causes for diarrhoea, and although it should not be left untreated, it sometimes is a way for the body to rid itself of harmful compounds and ingested materials. The pectin in apple cider vinegar is great to take when suffering from this problem, since this water-soluble fiber swells up, and forms bulk.
It is also an effective ingredient to use against certain bacteria which causes diarrhoea and the intestinal flora also transforms pectin into a protective coating which soothes the irritated lining of the colon. A most humble treatment, but it’s certainly easy to do (i.e. without the need of a vet) and very effective.
Cataract development in the eye is associated to oxidation of the lens of the eye due to alterations caused by free radicals changing the structure of the lens. With this in mind apple cider vinegar can be of used with this problem, since the antioxidant properties of beta-carotene contained in apple cider vinegar, are great in combating free radicals.
In today’s times, both our animals and ourselves are exposed to far more stress than our ancestors. Lactic acid is released in the body during periods of stress as well as during exercise, and this can lead to fatigue, which in turn can be combated by the amino acids contained in apple cider vinegar. The enzymes, as well as the potassium contained in apple cider vinegar can also be of great help in the quest for more energy and vitality.
A large percentage of domesticated animals today do not get sufficient exercise and this together with a diet of processed food, result in many of them becoming obese. Achieving and maintaining the ideal weight always will include effective and efficient metabolism. Without it, food intake will not be metabolized correctly, the nutrients will not be available to the body, and will result in excess weight being added to the body frame.
Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries in aiding the liver to detoxify the body and to help with digesting rich, fatty and greasy foods, and for proper metabolizing of proteins, fats and minerals. If the food cannot be broken down into the absorbable form, the body cannot assimilate the required nutrients needed from the diet.
An added extra to help with this is the malic acid and tartaric acid found in apple cider vinegar, since they help to bring the acid content into balance, while killing off unwanted and unfriendly bacteria in the digestive tract.
Lactic acid in muscles is the cause of the muscles feeling sore and stiff, but by adding some apple cider vinegar to your animal friend’s diet, it could assist the body to get rid of it at a faster pace, since it will help to break down the acid crystals, making it much easier to be flushed out the body. This seems to work very well with horses that have a heavy workload.
Apple cider vinegar for pets
A bit of apple cider vinegar in your pet’s food is a great way to maintain the acid/alkaline balance of your dog’s body; and it also helps with digestive health, allergies (watery eyes, runny nose, wet coughs), and even parasites such as fleas, ringworm, ticks, fungus, and bacteria.
Taken orally or sprayed on topically, apple cider vinegar is great for skin conditions in dogs. For hot spots, thinning hair, pimples, or even ear infections, try out an ACV/water spray. ACV is also useful for after grooming sessions; applying a few drops to the ears can help prevent ear infections, and applying to your dog’s skin after a washing on a weekly basis can help prevent re-infestation by fleas or ticks. You can also give apple cider vinegar to cats and horses, or use it on their coats.
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. I also add a few drops of citronella oil or penny royal oil to the mixture for this purpose. When I am washing my horses, I add 250ml of apple cider vinegar to a bucket of water to do a final rinse with. This really brings out the shine in their coats and also helps keep flies at bay. I also use an apple cider vinegar mixture to spray onto their feet. I add 5 drops of tea tree oil and 5 drops of lavender oil to 400ml of ACV to do this and just spray it directly onto the foot, especially the frog area.
Forum discussions on ACV
“Apple Cider Vinegar absolutely changed not only my life, but all three of my dogs lives as well. The benefits are endless. The hand part for me was finding a way to get them to like eating it. As you probably know, the flavor is very strong. That’s why we created KetchPup! The Original ketchup for dogs! It is literally a ketchup for dogs with organic raw apple cider vinegar as one of the 5 ingredients. This product is literally life changing. Freshens breath by killing bacteria on the tongue and stomach permanently freshening breath. It also boosts their immune system. You will literally never go to the vet again. Vets do not want you to know about ACV because they will literally put them out of business. Nothing against them, its just the truth. Phenomenal product that you and your dog deserve! -The Canine Ketchup Team The k9 ketchup Co.”
Posted by: LeeMalachi | September 17, 2013 10:10 PM
“@Esmedoodles, mine wouldn’t drink it either. I just mix it in with his food and voila! He doesn’t seem to care! Also I noticed when I was using it in the spring and had it sitting on the counter it was the only place the ants weren’t going. We were having terrible ant problems. So I don’t know if it repels ticks/mosquitoes but it does ants! And it’s very good for digestion and itching. Lot less itching when he was on it, so he’s back on it now. :)”
Posted by: Andrea J | August 20, 2013 4:12 PM
“I must admit I give my dogs a teaspoon once in a while in their food and it gets their stools right back in order if they are a bit off. I also have a Golden Retriever that has a bit of allergy in the spring. She gets itchy in spots….no blood, no constant scratching, just scratching once in a while which increases when having a reaction. I rinse her down after she has been running in the grass, spray her with a diluted apple cider vinegar and water solution and she stops itching. I do this daily in the high itch season for her. I also clean her ears with it. Not one infection this year….lots her first year of life. Love this stuff!”
Posted by: juliette m | August 16, 2013 11:20 PM
Not everyone agrees that apple cider vinegar should be given to dogs. Pat McKay, canine nutritionist and author of the natural diet book Reigning Cats and Dogs, doesn’t like cider vinegar, and she doesn’t mince words; she calls it poison.
“I believe Peter J. D’Amado is on the right track in his book, Eat Right for Your Type,” she says. “Each of the human blood types has an ideal diet, and the diet recommended for type O most closely resembles the meat-based diet on which dogs evolved. D’Amado warns that cider vinegar is very damaging to this type, and I agree with him. I happen to be a type O, and apple cider vinegar has always made me feel miserable. I never knew why until I read his book. I believe dogs have a similar reaction because even small quantities of vinegar can throw their bodies’ pH out of balance.”
Marina Zacharias, pet nutritionist and publisher of Natural Rearing newsletter, shares McKay’s concern about pH levels. She recommends that owners have their dogs’ blood and urine tested before adding cider vinegar to their daily diet.
“If a dog’s system is too alkaline, ” she says, “cider vinegar will help, but by itself it may not correct the problem and the dog will need additional support. If the dog’s system is too acidic, which is a condition called acidosis, the result can be stress on the pancreas and adrenal organs, which are important regulators of blood pH levels. The symptoms of acidosis range from diarrhoea or constipation to low blood pressure, hard stools, and sensitivity of the teeth and mouth. Often we see acidosis in combination with other conditions, such as kidney, liver, and adrenal problems. In certain cases, adding vinegar to a dog’s food could aggravate an already-existing problem in the body….”
“You have to apply common sense, ” says Sue Ann Lesser, D.V.M. “Most dogs are notoriously over-alkaline, and cider vinegar will help them. If a dog’s system is overly acidic, you’ll see clinical signs, such as obvious symptoms of illness. I know quite a few dogs that take cider vinegar according to the directions in Wendy Volhard’s book [one teaspoon to one tablespoon twice daily for a 50-pound dog] , and I don’t know of any that have had bad results.”
Food for Thought
It always important to do a bit of your own research about something before giving it internally to your dogs, cats. Have your pet’s blood and urine tested to see what his/her pH level is and continue to test it with pH strips. If in doubt, contact your vet or the manufacturer of any product you buy and ask questions. Externally, apple cider vinegar could perhaps sting a little bit if it gets into an opening on the skin, or into the eyes, but there have been no reported side effects when it is sprayed onto healthy skin.
At Raw Love, we add small, healthy, quantities of ACV to our meals for cats. Order your raw cat food tubs here.