When you're looking for a natural element to add to your dog's bath, look no further than the pantry shelf. Many everyday items are useful for grooming your dog in a healthy and natural way. Vinegar, for instance, will benefit your dog in his bath and in other applications, too.
Vinegar at Bath Time Is Helpful
If your pooch has the itchies, no matter what the cause, bring out the vinegar at bath time. It's effective for treating skin disorders from dandruff to bacterial and yeast infections. Vinegar will soothe your dog's itch, help heal his skin and leave his coat soft and shiny.
How to Use Vinegar in Your Dog's Bath
When you use vinegar to alleviate a skin problem or simply to enhance your dog's coat, you won't actually put it in his shampoo or the bath water. Vinegar is most effective when used as a rinse after you've already shampooed and rinsed your dog. Combine vinegar in a 1-part-to-5-parts mixture with warm water and pour it over your dog, taking care to avoid getting it in his eyes. Rub your dog as you pour the vinegar water over him to distribute it through his coat, then rinse him a couple times with clear water, scrubbing with your fingers all over. In addition to the benefits to his skin and fur, the vinegar rinse will eliminate residue that his shampoo might leave behind. Don't worry about getting any of the vinegar rinse on your pup's privates. The vinegar solution is diluted to be mild enough that it won't cause any discomfort or irritation.
Vinegar Ear Wash
Basset hounds, blood hounds, cocker spaniels -- any dogs with long, floppy ears -- are prone to constant ear infections. That's because their low-hanging ear flaps trap moisture inside and create a favorable environment for nasty bacteria and yeast to grow. If you have a flop-eared dog, clean his ears with a vinegar ear wash during bath time as well as in between bath days to keep infections under control. Mixing 1 part vinegar with 2 parts warm water will make an effective antibacterial solution that won't irritate your pup's ears. Just dampen a cotton or gauze pad with the vinegar ear cleanser and wipe away the dirt and wax from the inside flap of your dog's ears to the opening of his ear canal. Never insert anything inside the ear canal, but cleaning the surrounding area will help keep your dog's ears healthy.
Other Vinegar Benefits
Vinegar is a useful supplement for dogs inside and out. You can put a measuring teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in each pint of water your dog drinks to boost his immune system and help accelerate his recovery from illness. Vinegar will help balance out a dog's electrolytes and digestive enzymes, and can make him less appetizing to fleas. Cider vinegar can provide potassium and minerals that can help with hip dysplasia and arthritis, too. If you want to give a bit of vinegar in your dog's water a try, be sure to use a glass or plastic bowl, as a metal bowl can react with the vinegar and give the water a taste your dog won't like.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.