Apple Cider Vinegar

What is Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar, otherwise known as cider vinegar or ACV, is a type of vinegar made from cider or apple must and has a pale to medium amber colour. Unpasteurized/ organic ACV contains mother of vinegar, which has a cobweb-like appearance and can make the vinegar look slightly congealed.

ACV is commonly used in salad dressings, marinades, food preservatives, (bone) broths and chutneys. It is made by crushing apples and squeezing out the liquid. Bacteria and yeast are added to the liquid to start the alcoholic fermentation process, and the sugars are turned into alcohol. In a second fermentation process, the alcohol is converted into vinegar by acetic acid-forming bacteria (acetobacter). Acetic acid and malic acid give vinegar its sour taste.

Other than food uses, ACV has been touted to help with everything from boosting the immune system and detox kidneys, to help lowering cholesterol (In humans), but there are also  popular ways that may aid in your pet’s health.

ACV is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic.
It helps prevent bacterial and viral growth in the digestive tract.
In addition, it does not upset the balance of the friendly bacteria inside the GI tract.
As a result, apple cider vinegar boosts the immune system, improves stamina, increases resistance to diseases, prevents common infections, and is therefore helpful for pets with weakened immune systems.
It also balances digestive enzymes in the body, so it is a good remedy for food poisoning and digestive upsets such as intestinal gas and constipation, and it reduces fecal smells.

ACV normalizes the blood’s acid alkaline balance.
The potassium-rich ingredients remineralize the body.
ACV breaks down calcium deposits in a pet’s joints and remineralize the bones, which makes it beneficial for pets with arthritis and other joint problems such as hip dysplasia.
Because ACV is rich in potassium, it is beneficial for dogs with diuretic and or heart problems.
Other benefits of ACV include the prevention of bladder stones, kidney infections, and UTIs.

In addition to all the above, ACV is effective on a pet’s skin and coat due to ACV’s detoxifying properties.
Pets that suffer with an itchy skin caused by allergies (e.g. seasonal allergies, flea allergies) can get almost instant relief if ACV is used as an after-shampoo rinse.

Always make sure that you use organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (Apple Cider vinegar from The Mother).

What can ACV be used for
Upset Stomach
ACV can help with an upset stomach and indigestion.
Either mix it in with water or through your pet’s food

If a bacterial infection is the root cause of diarrhoea, ACV could help contain the problem, thanks to its antibiotic properties.
What’s more, ACV contains pectin, which can help soothe intestinal spasms

Suggested dosage

  • 2.3kg – 5 kg – 1/2 teaspoon
  • 5kg – 14kg – 1 teaspoon
  • 14kg – 20kg – 2 teaspoons
  • 20kg – 37kg – 1 tablespoon
  • Over 37kg – 2 tablespoons

Itchy (flaky) Skin or Ears
When you have a pet suffering from itchy skin or ears, you’ll try about anything to help relieve the itching.
I know I have, and wished I had known about the uses of Apple Cider Vinegar before stumbling across an article.
It is so nice finding something that’s just sat hiding in the kitchen cupboard and not costing a fortune.

For Itchy Skin
ACV can help relieve itchy skin and rashes caused by allergies, yeast, poison ivy, and even sunburn.
Things such as yeast doesn’t do well in the acid environment created by ACV
If your pet has dandruff/ Flaky skin, try massaging full strength ACV into it’s coat before shampooing.

For minor skin irritations, such as sunburn, calluses, abrasions, you can simply apply full-strength ACV to the affected area, or you can make a 50/50 solution of ACV and water in a spray bottle and spray it directly onto the itchy spots (The vinegar will sting, so not on open/ raw wounds).
If you cannot use it topically (my own dogs don’t like spray bottles, another goes crazy on strange smells and will jump in any direction to avoid it) and yeast keeps being a problem, you can give ACV in your pet’s food or water (See dosage above)
Foot Soak
You can use ACV as a foot soak for dogs with itchy paws due to for example seasonal allergies: Dilute 1 cup of ACV with 1-2 cups of water and let your dog soak his paws in the mixture after it has been outside. This can greatly reduce the itching.

For Itchy Ears and ear infections

yeast infection in dog ear

Nobody wants itchy ears, and a solution to the itchy yeasty ear problem provided by. Holistic vet Dr. Karen Becker is as followed.
Uphold a proactive cleaning regime, using the same mixture as above (half ACV and half purified water) to prevent ear infection.

  1. Check your dog’s ears daily for wax and gunk.
  2. Clean dirty ears using cotton balls soaked in the solution.
  3. Swab out the ears until all the gunk is gone.

If your dog is prone to ear infections, keep your dog’s ears clean by using  a dropper and put a few drops of ACV in each ear and gently massage the base of the ears.
This will clean out the debris and the vinegar will maintain a healthy pH level in the ears.

Flea and Tick Treatment

At some point every pet owner will be faced with a flea or tick problem. Even on the healthiest pets.
This is where ACV can help your pet, by spraying them with a 50 ACV/50 water solution.
The same solution that gets rid of yeast also repels fleas and ticks.

ACV with herbs Coat Tonic
Use herbs that have anti-bacterial and anti-septic properties to ACV, for added strength.
You can use a combination of any of these herbs (fresh or dried): lavender (flowers or stalks), rosemary leaves, lemon peel, sage, calendula blossoms, and chamomile.
Put the herbs in a glass jar (fill the jar only half full if you are using dried herbs). Then pour in ACV to cover the herbs. Seal the jar tightly and leave it in a warm place for about 2 weeks.
Strain the liquid through cheesecloth or coffee filter into a glass storage bottle/ jar. Store in a cool dark place and shake well before using.
After washing your dog with shampoo, let the coat air-dry (to use this herbal ACV as a rinse, dilute it with an equal quantity of water) and pour the liquid all over your pet (except the head) .
As a bug repellent, pour a little of this herbal ACV onto a damp wash cloth and wipe your dog’s coat.
For itchy, irritated skin, apply directly on the affected areas.

Restore skin PH
ACV & Green Tea body rinse can help to restore the skin’s pH, soothe itchy (flaky) skin, calm rashes and welts, and has some the added benefit of keeping biting insects such as flies, fleas and gnats away.
Just mix the following ingredients together in a bottle/jar with cap and shake well before use:

  • 1/2 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar:
  • 1/2 cup of Brewed Green Tea (cooled):
  • 1 cup  of Distilled Water:

After bathing, massage in this warm water/apple cider vinegar rinse to your pet’s coat/skin and rinse well and pat dry, or allow the ACV mix to air dry for the added benefit of pest relief.
This mix can also be made in advance and kept in a glass jar in the fridge  for about one or two weeks (throw away  if it’s going mouldy).
This mixture can also be used for spot treatments for bug bites and stings.

Boosting energy
Exercise and sometimes extreme stress can  cause lactic acid to build up in the body, causing fatigue. The amino acids contained in ACV act as an antidote. ACV contains potassium and enzymes that may relieve that tired feeling.

Controlling Blood Sugar
ACV could help to keep blood sugar levels balanced according to several studies that have shown a link between people with type 2 diabetes that weren’t taking insulin found that taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed resulted in lower glucose levels by morning. Another study at the Arizona State University found that insulin resistant people who drank a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water before eating a high carbohydrate meal had lower blood sugar afterward. Scientists think the antiglycemic effect of the acid is the key.

NOTE:
Remember to always monitor your pet for any adverse reactions. Some pets might need a lesser dose and some pets might be too acidic already, in which case, apple cider vinegar might is not the answer.

Making your own ACV
Most supermarkets now sell unrefined ACV with the mother, however, the best tasting ACV is still homemade (as with most things I find)
The good news is that you don’t need to be an expert in the kitchen; I’m definitely not a top chef.
It’s easy to make and barely takes any effort, the waiting for Mother Nature to do her job takes the longest
Apples are readily available all year round so never a moment of panic thinking the season to make ACV is coming to an end
You can use the whole apple, or if  you’ve been baking pies, or been eating apples you can use just the scraps (Core, peel, seed), so those who love baking get 2 for the price of 1.

The time involved in the fermentation process depends on season (quicker during the summer months, bit longer during the colder winter months).
Your vinegar will be ready when you see dark, cloudy foam (this is called the Mother) and can easily be seen when holding the vinegar in to light.
This is the bacteria that is full of enzymes and minerals that over processed vinegars don’t have.

It is important to make sure you don’t introduce any bacteria other than what naturally is created in the fermenting process, so make sure  that everything you use and your jar are very clean.

White scum will form on the top.
This is normal; however mould is not good and will spoil your ACV.
Be sure that the apples stay under water.
This will help prevent mould.
You can use a fermentation weigh (If you have one) or just a smaller glass jar (thoroughly clean the outside) and set it on top of the apples to keep them submerged.

Your ACV needs to be able to breath and release gasses created from the fermentation process so do not use a lid, a cheesecloth or a coffee filter will be needed for this, but make sure it’s covered so no insects can get in.

Preparation
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 2-3 month

What do you need?

  • Clean jar (you can use any size jar )
  • Whole apples, or apple scraps (enough to fill your jar 3/4)
  • Organic sugar (or some people use honey)
  • Filtered/ mineral water
  • Fermentation weight or smaller glass jar
  • Cheesecloth or coffee filter
  • Rubber band

Instructions

  • Clean your jar very well and let air dry.
  • Fill jar 3/4 full with apple (scraps). If you are using whole apples, cut them in small pieces before putting them in the jar.
  • Dissolve 1 tablespoon of sugar into a cup of water. You might need more, depending on the size of your jar.
  • Pour sugar water over the apples. You need to use enough to completely cover the apples.
  • Weigh down the apples (with a fermentation weight or small glass jar). Any apples that are exposed to the air could go mouldy.
  • Cover with the cheesecloth/ coffee filter and secure with the rubber band.
  • Store in a dark place that stays pretty consistent at room temperature. (kitchen cupboard for example)
  • Leave it for roughly 3 weeks. Check on it every few days to make sure the apples are staying under the water and to make sure no mould is growing.
  • After 3 weeks, it will still smell fairly sweet. Strain the apples pieces out and return the liquid to the jar.
  • Cover and put the jar back in a dark spot for another 3-4 weeks, stirring every few days.

When the ACV has reached the tartness (flavour) you like, you can put a lid on it or transfer it and start using it.