Is Apple Cider Vinegar Safe for Cats?
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Throughout history, apple cider vinegar has been used in medicine as a popular remedy. It has healthy properties that are beneficial not only for humans but also for cats. Apple cider vinegar is a safe and non-toxic food for cats when administered in the right dose and in the right way.
In this AnimalWised article, we explain the main uses and benefits of apple cider vinegar for cats.
Is apple cider vinegar safe for cats?
Apple cider vinegar is considered a functional food, meaning it contains bioactive compounds that provide health benefits in addition to its nutritional value. Both humans and cats can benefit from its properties. Apple cider vinegar is a safe product for cats both topically and orally. Please consult your veterinarian before using this product on your cat and follow the recommendations we outline below to avoid any unwanted side effects.
Apple cider vinegar uses and benefits for cats
In this section, we will outline the main uses and benefits of apple cider vinegar for cats.
The flavonoids in apple cider vinegar include catechin and epicatechin, polyphenolic compounds with a high antioxidant capacity that have a number of benefits, such as:
- The reduction of free radicals responsible for oxidative stress and consequently cellular aging.
- Promoting cardiovascular health by combating numerous risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. In particular, it reduces LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), increases HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), lowers triglyceride levels in the blood and lowers blood pressure.
- Immune system strengthening.
To date, several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the blood sugar-lowering effect of apple cider vinegar. They include:
- Cells are able to take up glucose and convert it to glycogen.
- Vinegar appears to inhibit enzymes involved in the digestion of carbohydrates, such as disaccharidases, alpha-glucosidase and aldose reductase. This effect is related to the anthocyanin and tannin content of vinegar.
- The delay of gastric emptying, which leads to a progressive absorption of glucose. This effect seems to be related to the acetic acid content of apple cider vinegar.
Although the exact mechanism behind the blood sugar lowering effect is not known, it is known that apple cider vinegar has the ability to regulate blood sugar levels, which may be particularly beneficial for patients with diabetes or prediabetes.
To know more about this disease in cats, don't miss this article on diabetes in cats.
Antimicrobial and antiparasitic effect
Apple cider vinegar has traditionally been used as an antiseptic and disinfectant thanks to its bactericidal and fungicidal effect. In cats with otitis due to mites (otocariasis), apple cider vinegar can be used in addition to antiparasitic treatment to disinfect the outer ear and keep it clean of wax and cellular debris that are generated during infection.
At this point, you may be wondering if you can also use apple cider vinegar to deworm cats. Indeed, the acetic acid in vinegar has a repellent effect that can be used to prevent or treat external parasites caused by ticks or fleas.
If you wish to learn more about ways of deworming your cat at home, don't miss this article on home remedies for deworming my cat.
Effects on skin and hair
The use of apple cider vinegar in cats has numerous benefits for the health of their skin and hair, such as:
- Body odor control: apple cider vinegar can help prevent cat odor from getting stronger than usual
- Moisturizing properties: prevents dryness and flaking of the skin.
- Scalp strength: provides an extra shine to the cat's fur coat.
- The pH balance of the skin: prevents possible infections and irritations.
You might also be interested in learning how to deal with cat hair shedding.
In spite of the lack of vitamins and minerals in apple cider vinegar, it provides considerable amounts of potassium. Adding apple cider vinegar to drinking water is an easy way to provide cats with this mineral.
How much apple cider vinegar should cats take?
The way you administer apple cider vinegar to your cat will depend on why you're using it and how much you're using. We'll discuss dosages for both oral and topical administration next.
A simple and easy way to administer apple cider vinegar to cats is to mix it into their drinking water. To do this, add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to the water and mix it thoroughly to dilute it.However, if you decide to add vinegar to your cat's drinking water, it is important that you always keep another bowl of clean, vinegar-free water on hand. Some cats reject the smell of vinegar water and stop drinking, which can have serious health consequences. Therefore, never forget to offer both alternatives so that your cat can decide which one to choose.
Apple cider vinegar can be used as an antimicrobial and antiparasitic agent on the skin if you make a solution of equal parts water and apple cider vinegar. You can use this solution to spray on your cat's fur. If you find spraying the mixture on your cat a difficult task, you can dampen a clean cloth with the solution and apply it to the pet's fur gently.
Another option is to mix the shampoo with equal parts vinegar and bathe your cat with this mixture. Regardless of which option you choose, avoid getting the solution in your cat's eyes, as the acid can cause eye pain and irritation. To clean your cat's ears with apple cider vinegar, use a cotton ball moistened with equal parts water and vinegar, and gently clean the pinna.
The side effects and contraindications of apple cider vinegar in cats
Even though apple cider vinegar has many benefits for cats, there are some situations where its use may be contraindicated, such as:
- Combination with other treatments: Apple cider vinegar may interfere with other medical treatments by altering their effects or reducing their effectiveness. Therefore, before using apple cider vinegar on your cat, be sure to consult your trusted veterinarian to avoid adverse effects.
- Ulcers: As we have already mentioned, apple cider vinegar may be used to disinfect the auricle of cats with otitis media. However, it should never be used on an ulcer in the ear canal. It should also not be used on other areas of the body with open sores or ulcers.
- Allergies: cats with a hypersensitivity to an ingredient in apple cider vinegar may react to it when it is given orally or when it is applied topically.
Similarly, the use of apple cider vinegar in cats can cause a number of side effects, especially if excessive doses are used:
- Liver disorders: mostly, vacuolization of hepatocytes.
- Digestive disorders: especially in the stomach and duodenum, which can cause digestive symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
- Allergies: hypersensitivity reactions to any ingredient of apple cider vinegar. These reactions may occur even at low doses.
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