Table of Contents
Reviewed for accuracy on Nov. 29, 2021 by Brittany Kleszynski, DVM
- Vinegar may cause gastrointestinal upset in some dogs if ingested.
- Small dogs with sensitive stomachs and dogs with kidney disease do not do well with vinegar.
- Diluted vinegar or cleaning products containing vinegar can be used inside a house, but dogs should be kept away from these products during use to avoid accidental ingestion.
- More research is needed to support the possible benefits of vinegar for dogs.
The quick answer: Vinegar may not be entirely safe for your dog to consume orally.
Pet owners may incorporate diluted apple cider or white vinegar into their dog’s diet or bathing regimens because of its claimed ability to heal, clean, and neutralize odors. It is thought that vinegar may improve some skin conditions and repel fleas. Many of these claims are based on anecdotal accounts, and homemade solutions may not be properly prepared to ensure safety and effectiveness. However, administering vinegar to your pet is not considered an ideal solution to any health ailments or cleaning needs your pet may have.
While some dogs can safely consume diluted vinegar, it’s important to be aware that many dogs do not react well. Vinegar can cause gastrointestinal upset when ingested — especially when undiluted. This is especially common in small dogs, dogs with sensitive stomachs, and dogs with kidney disease. Dogs with underlying kidney disease already have a pH imbalance in their bodies, which can be further exacerbated by vinegar and have detrimental effects on body functions. Gastrointestinal upset is typically characterized by vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration if left untreated.
For all the above reasons, you’ll find that many veterinarians do not advocate the usage of vinegar.
Other Uses of Vinegar for Dogs
Some products prescribed by a veterinarian contain acetic acid, which is an ingredient in vinegar. Ear cleansers and topical products, such as wipes or shampoos, have been shown to be effective in treating ear and skin infections, respectively, and are supported by research studies. These products are specifically formulated for these purposes and contain active ingredients in the correct amounts for best efficacy and safety. While these products are known to be effective, they are limited to external use and should only be used as prescribed.
Can I Still Use Vinegar for Cleaning?
Yes. Vinegar used for cleaning is typically diluted and can be used in households with dogs. It is considered a natural cleaning product, and it may help to neutralize odors and remove pet stains. When using vinegar as a cleaning agent, ensure your dog is kept away from the products to avoid accidental ingestion.
As for using vinegar for baking and cooking (for humans), you’re good to go. Just make sure your dog doesn’t chow down on that salad with a homemade vinaigrette and be sure to wipe up any drops of vinegar that land on your counter or floor.
Misinformation on Vinegar and Dogs
Aside from the products described above that contain acetic acid and are formulated for specific health conditions in dogs, research is currently lacking to support other uses of vinegar. There’s also, unfortunately, quite a bit of misinformation being perpetuated online and by non-professionals.
Further proof that vinegar is not well-suited for dog consumption is the typical reaction pet owners get from their pooch when trying to feed it to them: they refuse to ingest it. Therefore, it is important to consult a veterinarian prior to implementing this ingredient into your dog’s diet or healthcare routine.
Pet insurance for dogs can help provide peace of mind that the costs of veterinary care will be covered in case of an unexpected reaction or illness due to exposure to vinegar.
Curious about what is okay and not okay for your dog to eat? Check out our comprehensive guide on what human foods are safe and not safe for dogs.