Has your dog been continually scratching at its ears, rubbing its head on your furniture, or does it smell funny when you get close to it?
An ear infection is one of the most typical illnesses a dog might have, exhibiting some of these early symptoms. Ear infections and diseases can become a genuine annoyance for breeds with long, floppy ears in particular, and they may recur for some reasons. Some dogs’ health problems are recurrent and unresponsive to conventional medication.
It is crucial to understand that food allergies can cause recurrent ear inflammation when conventional medicine is ineffective. Although these cases may show signs of secondary microbial infection, they do not have a primary microbial cause, and the only effective treatment is to identify the allergen and stop giving it to your dog.
Consider using natural remedies if you are aware that your dog has an ear infection. If nothing else has helped, there are a few options for treating your dog’s ear infection, including over-the-counter ear washes and natural substances from your kitchen.
There are many natural substances with antifungal, antibacterial, and other therapeutic effects. Some of them may nevertheless irritate despite being natural.
Home cures can be an excellent alternative to spending hundreds of dollars on prescription medication, though, if the infection is discovered in time.
Dogs with ear infections may experience discomfort as well as distress. You’ve come to the right page if you’ve been desperately looking for the best natural treatments to relieve your dog’s earache.
We’ll explore tried-and-true techniques that are frequently useful for treating dog ear infections at home in this article.
What is a Dog Ear Infection?
Similar to a human ear infection, a dog’s ear infection causes one or more areas of the ear canal to become infected and inflamed.
An ear infection is classified as Otitis Externa, Otitis Media, or Otitis Interna, depending on where it is located and whether it is typically caused by bacteria or yeast.
The commonest of the three ear infection diagnoses is Otitis Externa, which results in inflammation in the outer portion of the ear canal. Although it can develop into a persistent problem, it is believed to be the easiest of the three areas to treat.
Even though Otitis Externa doesn’t always require a trip to the hospital, it should be examined by a veterinarian within a day or two of the symptoms developing.
The middle and inner ear canals can become infected with Otitis Media and Otitis Interna, which are far more serious conditions that, if neglected, can result in permanent damage.
If not treated promptly, both Media and Interna infections can result in permanent deafness as well as other adverse effects, so we advise scheduling an appointment with a veterinarian.
You should know that in order for cures and treatments for ear infections to be effective, the ears must first be thoroughly cleansed; only after all wax and debris have been taken out can the therapies get to the infection spot and begin to work.
Common Ear Infection Symptoms
So, what are dog ear infections Symptoms?
- Constant head-shaking
- Excessive wax buildup
- Equilibrium issues
- Rubbing head/ears on carpet or furniture
- Scratching and digging at their ear with their paw
- Ear pain
- Black waxy discharge or even pus coming from their ear
- Head tilt with ear down
- Bad smell coming from the ear
- Anxiety or Aggression when ears are touched
- Redness around the outer ear
In severe cases, your dog may experience the following
- Walking in circles
- Hearing loss
- Loss of balance
- Drooping of eyelids or mouth, drooling
- Dry eye, nystagmus (quick side-to-side eye movements)
- Dropping food, difficulty eating or drinking
Even if your pet has previously experienced an ear infection, there are many different kinds of ear infections, and they are not all the same.
You must see your veterinarian if you experience any of these severe symptoms.
In order to determine what is causing the discomfort in your dog’s ear, schedule a visit with your veterinarian as soon as you notice any of these symptoms.
Dog Ear Infection Diagnostic Tests
As you can see, there are many causes for your dog’s ear inflammation, extra wax, or debris. If the eardrum is healthy and there are no grass seeds in the ear canal that could be causing the inflammation, your veterinarian should examine the ear directly with an otoscope.
Your veterinarian should do an ear sample to determine whether the infection is fungal, bacterial, or infectious, such as caused by ear mites. Your veterinarian will collect some of the waste using a cotton swab, place it on a microscope slide, stain it, and examine it under a microscope.
Your vet will be able to select the best ear treatment for the specific type of illness by carrying out this diagnostic test known as ear cytology.
In order to rule out a resistant infection by bacteria like Pseudomonas, which can be resistant to many different types of medicines, if your dog consistently develops ear infections, your veterinarian may advise sending a sample of the ear debris to the lab for a culture.
Understanding Common Causes of Dog Ear Infections
Have you ever wondered what leads to those bothersome ear infections in dogs? Well, there are several factors at play. These infections often stem from bacterial or yeast overgrowth, usually as a result of inflammation in the ear canal triggered by food sensitivities or environmental allergies.
To delve deeper into the matter and uncover the root causes of these persistent ear infections, let’s discuss dog allergies and their implications.
During the summertime, one common reason behind your dog’s ear troubles is foreign bodies, specifically foxtails or grass seeds that find their way into the ears.
These intruders can be irritating and provoke inflammation, ultimately paving the way for secondary infections. To rule out the presence of grass seeds, it’s imperative for your veterinarian to examine the ear closely.
It’s not uncommon for pet owners to become concerned when they notice black, yeasty discharge in their pet’s ears.
However, it’s essential to clarify that ear mites, scientifically known as Otodectes, are relatively rare in dogs. They tend to be more prevalent in cats.
So, if you observe this type of wax in your cat’s ears and notice they are dealing with severe itchiness, it’s advisable to seek veterinary assistance. Proper diagnosis is key as the treatment approach varies.
You must also remember that most ear infections in pets are not contagious to other animals in the household. The exception to this rule is ear mites, which can spread.
However, it’s important to note that the chances of encountering ear mites are lower compared to dealing with a Malassezia or yeast infection.
By understanding these common causes, you’ll be better equipped to address and prevent ear infections in your furry companions.
Best Home Remedies For Treating Ear Infections In Dogs
Here are some of the most effective home remedies for treating ear infections in dogs:
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil serves as a natural moisturizer that can soothe inflamed skin in a dog’s ear. It also aids in breaking down and removing earwax, debris, and mites.
Lauric acid, found in coconut oil, is responsible for its antimicrobial properties. To apply coconut oil as a remedy:
- Slightly warm the coconut oil to liquefy it.
- Use a dropper to introduce a small amount into the ear.
- Gently massage your dog’s ear to distribute the oil.
2. Calendula (Marigold)
Calendula is celebrated for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It also acts as an astringent, which can help dry out the ear, preventing further bacterial growth.
Key components contributing to its effectiveness include flavonoids, saponins, and carotenoids. To use calendula for a dog’s ear infection:
- Prepare a calendula tea by steeping dried calendula flowers in hot water.
- Allow the liquid to cool to room temperature to avoid causing discomfort to the inner ear.
- Gently apply the tea to the infected ear using a cotton ball.
When applied, calendula can help soothe inflamed tissues and combat bacterial or fungal infections in the ear.
3. Oil of Oregano
Oil of oregano is a potent antimicrobial agent effective against bacteria, fungi, and some viruses. Carvacrol is the primary component responsible for its antimicrobial action. To utilize oil of oregano as a home remedy for ear infections in dogs:
- Dilute a few drops of original oil of oregano with a carrier oil ( like olive oil).
- Apply a small amount of the diluted oil into the ear canal using a dropper.
- Gently massage the base of the ear
4. Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE)
Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) is beneficial for treating bacterial, fungal, and yeast infections in a dog’s ear. It has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, primarily attributed to polyphenolic compounds like naringenin. To use GSE as a home remedy:
- Mix a few drops of grapefruit seed extract with a carrier oil or distilled water.
- Administer the mixture into the ear using a dropper
5. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is a natural astringent known for its ability to dry out the ear and reduce inflammation. This is particularly helpful for dogs with moist ears that are susceptible to infections. Its astringent properties are attributed to the tannins present in witch hazel. To use witch hazel to treat a dog’s ear infection at home:
- Dilute witch hazel with distilled water at a 1:1 ratio.
- Apply the diluted solution to the ear using a cotton ball.
- Ensure the mixture doesn’t penetrate too deeply into the ear canal.
6. Green Tea
Green tea functions as a natural antiseptic rinse for dogs’ ears. It can cleanse the ear, alleviate inflammation, and provide relief from itchiness and discomfort. Key compounds in green tea, like catechins, possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. To use green tea for your dog’s ear infection:
- Brew a strong green tea (using less water than for drinking).
- Allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Employ a cotton ball to clean the ear with the tea, or use a dropper to administer a small amount into the ear canal.
Mullein boasts antibacterial properties, making it effective in alleviating ear infections by reducing inflammation and pain. It contains compounds like mucilage, saponins, and tannins. It’s often used in combination with garlic as an oil remedy. To apply the mullein oil mixture to the ear, use a dropper and gently massage.
Please note that mullein is typically combined with garlic, a toxic food ingredient for dogs. Ensure thorough mixing and prevent your dog from ingesting any garlic.
8. Water & Apple Cider Vinegar
Organic, unrefined, all-natural Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) can be a handy household item for fighting and preventing ear infections.
For an ear infection remedy, gently pour a small amount of a mixture containing a small capful of ACV and 2 cups of water into the ear canal, then massage the ears. Subsequently, use a cotton ball to absorb as much of the mixture as possible.
For preventive care, clean the outer ears of your dog with the same mixture and apply it with a clean cotton ball.
Always ensure that any remedy is appropriately diluted and safe for use in your dog’s ear. Additionally, monitor your dog for adverse reactions and consult a veterinarian before beginning home treatment. Your dog’s safety and well-being should be the top priority.
Can Humans Get Yeast Infection From Dogs? Learn More
When to Seek Veterinary Care
If your dog displays any signs of infection or abnormal behavior, it’s essential to consult with your veterinarian for appropriate treatment options.
The earlier you diagnose the issue, the more cost-effective treatment tends to be. Ear infections can worsen over time, potentially leading to more complex conditions that are challenging to treat and, in some cases, permanent hearing loss.
While some dogs may recover with a single treatment, others might experience chronic ear infections. This is often due to underlying and less apparent factors like food or pollen allergies or undiagnosed medical conditions that compromise your dog’s immunity.
Your veterinarian possesses the necessary tools and tests to identify the problem. Hence, it’s crucial for your dog to see the vet as soon as possible if ear infections persist.
Ear infections can cause significant discomfort to your dog, particularly if the infection is severe or deep within the ear canal.
While traditional medication typically serves as the initial treatment, many home remedies can aid in preventing these infections in the first place.
Nevertheless, it remains essential to consult with your vet if you suspect your pup has an ear infection. Keeping your dog’s ears clean and debris-free is vital for prevention and treatment.
For minor infections, irritation, or preventative care, a home remedy can offer your dog the relief they need. Your dog’s well-being is of utmost importance.
Photo by Radik