Have you ever noticed your dog scratching his ears or shaking his head incessantly? How about a foul-smelling discharge coming from his ears? If so, chances are you’ve had to deal with a canine ear infection. Everything from bacteria to yeast, fleas, and allergic reactions to food can cause infection, and certain dogs are more prone to it than others. Long-eared dogs, old dogs, recently-vaccinated puppies, and dogs that swim are especially susceptible to infection.
Oral antibiotics are the most common remedy for ear infection in conventional veterinary medicine. Holistic veterinarian Stacy Hershman has found that, “After a while, your dog will develop a resistance. Then you’ll have to go to more powerful drugs to treat the recurring infection. In conventional veterinary medicine, chronic ear infections are considered normal. Dog owners are told they’re a fact of life, they’re never cured, they just keep coming back, and the best you can do is ‘manage’ them.”
The popular television network, Animal Planet, is one of the many advocates for treating dogs with safe home remedies rather than prescription medications when possible. To begin treatment, you must first douse the infected ear with warm water to wash away irritants and allow your remedy to reach the source of the problem. The network suggests a mixture of warm water and apple cider vinegar, which acts as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agent. Veterinary specialists at the popular pet store, Petco suggest cleaning your dog’s ears with mixtures of the following ingredients:
- Witch hazel
- White vinegar
- Aloe Vera gel
- Almond oil
- Olive oil
After the ear is cleaned, you can apply five or six drops of mullein oil and garlic oil for a week or two to ease discomfort, reduce swelling, and more. You can also massage equal parts of pau d’arco, an herbal ointment for fungi and bacteria, and mineral oil into the affected ear a couple times a day for several days. Some veterinary specialists recommend using topical treatments that alter the pH balance of the ear, including calendula lotion, tea tree oil, colloidal silver, and gentian.
Whatever you do, don’t stick Q-Tip swabs in your dogs ears, as they can push debris even further into the ear and harm the eardrum. Never use harsh rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide solutions, which can irritate inflamed skin when cleaning. Pluck out hair growing your dog’s ear canal so that airflow is unobstructed, and regularly provide your dog with vitamin C to prevent future infections.
One great way to alleviate irritations is with our all-natural and Homeopathic Ear Remedy. While designed for humans, it works great on dogs as well!