Vinegar is more than just a tangy topping for summer salads, there are soothing, healing, and cleaning properties which could be of great benefit to pet owners. Find out some of the best ways to use this common household product when caring for your cat or dog. Dr. Judy Morgan, of the Clayton Veterinary Associates in New Jersey, summarizes some of the top selling points as to why vinegar is the best natural product pet parents could keep around. Open up those cabinets and let the vinegar have a chance to shine!

7 Benefits of Vinegar

Supporting digestion:  When it comes to digestion, many dogs and cats experience all varieties of trouble, especially if they are regularly eating grain/starch rich diets. Something as simple as sprinkling vinegar on the food bowl, or mixing in a teaspoon of the vinegar in the pet’s drinking water will help neutralize the pH balances, and even give an extra kick of healthy bacteria to help them digest well. Organic apple cider vinegar pairs the best with food, because of its subtle sweetness, and is less noticeable to pets.

Treating ear infections:  When ears get moisture caught deep in the canal, they often grow bacteria and get infected. Swabbing the inside of the ear with a cotton ball of vinegar will kill the bacteria and dry up the moisture causing the yeast infection. For sore, red or agitated ears, dilute the vinegar with some water before rubbing.

Cleaning up accidents:  Not only will vinegar make a dirty mirror completely streak-free, or a kitchen floor spick and span, it is a great tool for quickly wiping up stinky messes left by your dog or cat. Muddy paw prints, pee-pee patches and drool puddles all can be whisked blissfully away without a trace, thanks to vinegar!

Curing urinary tract and kidney infections: First of all, before attempting to treat this kind of serious disease from home, be sure to check the details with a vet, or medical professional.  Have the dog or cat’s pH levels assessed through a urine sample to see how severe the condition is. If the pH level is higher than a 7, then vinegar will become vitally important in curing the infection and breaking down any painful crystals that have formed.

Diffusing odors: No one likes the “wet dog” smell, or cushions that have a stale “cat hair” kind of aroma. Spraying a light mist of vinegar and water over furniture (vinegar is safe on most kinds of upholstery), blankets or directly onto an animal’s coat  will significantly diminish the musty animal scent.

Repelling pests: The concept that vinegar could keep bugs at bay seems almost too good to be true. However, spritzing a mix of water and vinegar over your cat or dog’s coat does help repel ticks and fleas away from their scalp.

Soothing hot spots/skin infections:  Not all vinegars are equal when it comes to this particular kind of ailment. Unlike distilled or rice vinegar or white vinegar, apple cider vinegar possesses enzymes, proteins, and bacteria (which are part of the reason unfiltered organic vinegar is cloudy). Dabbing equal parts water and AC vinegar onto the hot spot will soothe and begin healing the vulnerable skin.