Apple cider vinegar has long been used as a household remedy for cooking, cleaning and medicine. Anecdotal reports of its use extend back hundreds of years, which has recently led to more scientific research beginning being done on its potential health benefits.
After the positive results of research done on humans, many have begun wondering about the possible health benefits of supplementing their dog’s diet with apple cider vinegar. It is now understood to have many beneficial uses for dogs and humans alike.
With the correct amounts included in a dog’s food, it may have positive effects on a dog’s overall health. Some of these benefits include burning fat cells, digestive benefits, and cardiac health.
Because of its unique properties and fermentation process, apple cider vinegar is also believed to aid in fortifying gut health and helping with cognitive issues.
But what does science show about the benefits of apple cider vinegar for dogs?
Studies have shown that there may be many benefits of having apple cider vinegar in a dog’s diet if done properly. This article will explain the top 5 scientifically documented benefits of apple cider vinegar for dogs, and the best ways to use it.
Support for Improved Heart Health
Along with other risk factors, high blood pressure is a common symptom in overweight and obese dogs. High blood pressure in dogs usually occurs when a dog consumes more than his or her daily calorie requirement over a long period of time.
Other contributing factors include:
- Little to no daily activity
- Poor quality diet
When a dog gains unnecessary weight, the heart requires more effort to circulate nutrient-rich blood throughout the body. Along with a sedentary lifestyle, this can lead to hardened arteries and extra stress on the circulatory system as a whole.
So can adding apple cider vinegar to a dog’s diet help dogs in this situation?
Recent studies have shown that there are numerous cardiovascular benefits to having apple cider vinegar with food[*].
Apple cider vinegar has an abundance of acetic acid that can help reduce high lipid levels and high blood pressure. In this study, the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar supplemented over the course of 8 weeks significantly reduced blood pressure in the animals tested.
Supplementing apple cider vinegar in your dog’s food, or choosing a food with apple cider vinegar as an ingredient, may be a good first step in combating high blood pressure.
Impact on Blood Glucose Levels and Diabetes
A responsible dog owner always wants to make sure that their dog is well fed. But as dogs overeat and scavenge for table scraps, over time they can become overweight and even become pre-diabetic.
When a dog becomes pre-diabetic, the risk factors can include elevated blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, and reduced energy. If the dog becomes fully diabetic, it can lead to cataracts, weakness in the legs, malnutrition, dehydration, and even death.
A dog’s natural ability for wound healing also becomes impaired with diabetes. So what can apple cider vinegar do to help?
Studies have shown that apple cider vinegar may be able to help with regulating blood sugar levels in animals[*].
In this study, not only did apple cider vinegar lower blood sugar levels, but it had an antioxidative effect as well. This suggests that in addition to proper diet and exercise, dog food supplemented with apple cider vinegar may lessen the risk of symptoms associated with high blood sugar levels.
Use as a Digestive Aid
Bacteria circulating everywhere around us is simply a fact of life. Whether it be in the air, on surfaces we touch, or in our food, bacteria is present.
While some of this bacteria is beneficial and natural, some can be harmful. Many food-borne bacteria can put our dog’s health at risk if certain precautions aren’t taken.
When food isn’t properly prepared, certain bacteria can grow and lead to unnecessary painful symptoms when unknowingly ingested.
Apple cider vinegar has been shown to have antimicrobial properties, which can be helpful in counteracting harmful bacteria when added to dog food. The acidic makeup of apple cider vinegar can help deter the multiplying of dangerous bacteria such as E. coli, staph, and yeast[*].
This suggests apple cider vinegar may help your dog properly digest their food and maintain a healthy gut microbiome.
Preventing Symptoms of Neurological Disease
As dogs get older, their cognitive function can become delayed and disrupted. Some of these symptoms can progress and become what is known as Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome, which is similar to Alzheimer's Disease in humans.
This condition becomes increasingly common in senior dogs, with estimates of almost 60 percent of dogs ages 15 to 16 showing signs of the disease. So what can apple cider vinegar in a dog’s diet do to help?
Recent studies have shown that apple cider vinegar in a dog’s food may help prevent the progression of neurological distress[*]. The findings in this study suggest that the addition of apple cider vinegar to food in an animal’s daily diet may reduce the threat of multiple neurodegenerative diseases.
The mechanism behind this may be due to the phenol and antioxidant content in apple cider vinegar. These components may suppress the oxidative stressors in a dog’s nervous system.
Benefits for Weight Loss
When a dog eats a surplus of calories over months and years, they can become overweight and even obese. This can lead to high blood pressure, clogged arteries, and an overall worse quality of life for our pups.
So can apple cider help combat obesity in dogs?
In this study by the National Institutes of Health, apple cider vinegar was shown to be beneficial for the suppression of obesity-induced oxidative stress, as well as reducing the risk of obesity-associated diseases by preventing atherogenic risk.[*]. So what does this mean exactly?
Oxidative stress occurs in cell when they can’t detoxify themselves. This leads to cell and tissue death in dogs.
Atherogenic risk can best be described as the accumulation of fatty plaque in the arteries. When this happens, blood pressure increases, leading to extra stress on the heart.
Because of its antioxidant properties and phenols, apple cider vinegar has been shown to counteract oxidative stress and atherogenic risk in dogs. This may lead to a longer lifespan for our four-legged friends.
The Bottom Line
Apple cider vinegar has many uses, and some studies suggest it may offer benefits, including counteracting harmful bacteria, reducing blood sugar levels, and promoting weight loss.
Mixing the proper amount in with your dog’s food or choosing a food with apple cider vinegar listed on the ingredients panel may be a wise choice. Here is a dog food with apple cider vinegar that we recommend.
Pet nutritionists generally recommend feeding up to 0.5 tsp of apple cider vinegar per 10 lbs of a dog’s body weight. As long as you remain in the recommended range, scientific studies have shown that apple cider vinegar can be very beneficial to your dog’s overall health.