Is your dog battling with itchy, gunky, smelly, or painful ears? While it can be hard to eliminate chronic ear problems in dogs, you don’t necessarily need to take your best friend to the vet in these instances.
There are many tried and trusted solutions, but what is the best home remedy for dog ear infections?
Home remedies regularly involve the use of household products like green tea, yogurt, grapefruit seed extracts, vinegar and water, oil of mullein, and oil of oregano.
Keep in mind that some are merely solutions for soothing ear irritation and itchiness, so they won’t eliminate the root problems completely.
There are many potential causes of ear infections in dogs, from food allergies and bacteria, to ear mites or a compromised immune system. Most of the time, canine ear infections are caused by either yeast or bacteria, caused by some kind of underlying health issue.
Before you start treating a dog ear infection, it is good to establish the kind of infection you’re dealing with first. Otherwise, you may end up hurting your pup more than you help it! Enlist the help of an experienced vet to properly diagnose your dog’s ear problems.Enlist the help of an experienced vet to properly diagnose your dog’s ear problems.
How you treat a particular ear infection in your dog depends heavily on the type of infection that it is suffering from.
Ear infections can be either in the inner, outer, or middle ear, which can make it hard to identify the exact ear problem that your dog has.
My own corgi, Gogi, is extremely prone to getting infected and itchy ears- most likely due to their large size, as well as his tendency to go adventuring in bushes teeming with insects and moisture.
Whenever I see him shaking his head, scratching his ears, or exhibiting any type of discomfort, the first call is usually to my vet to ascertain the type of ear infection he might be battling with. If suitable, the vet then may prescribe ear drops or rinses to help with the inflammation.
With that said, the foolproof way to get rid of a dog’s ear infections is to clean out the ears thoroughly, and then applying topical medications as prescribed by your vet.
In serious situations, you may need to give your dog systemic antibiotics and painkillers in order to reduce the inflammation effectively.
That’s not to discount the fact that there are various home remedies available for milder ear infections if you would prefer to go that route, rather than bombard your dog with chemicals each time an ear infection recurs.
Home remedies are most ideal for outer ear infections, and infections on the ear flap. Here are some of the most effective home remedies that you can try out for your dog’s ear infection!
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Green tea can help to calm the notoriously annoying effects of ear infections, such as itchiness, pain and inflammation. It is antibacterial and also contains antioxidants, giving it the ability to both soothe and heal the affected ears.
To prepare green tea as a home remedy for your pup, simply add two bags of the tea leaves to 8 ounces of boiling water, then let it sit to cool to a lukewarm temperature. After the solution has cooled, apply it directly to the affected areas with a sponge. cloth or syringe.
Apple cider vinegar is one of the most commonly used solutions when making a home remedy for dog ear infections.
This homeopathic solution boasts anti-inflammatory properties, which can greatly help to soothe pain and reduce discomfort if your dog has a painful or itchy ear.
To make the remedy, mix 1 part organic apple cider vinegar and 1 part filtered/spring water. Next, pour a full dropper into a piece of cloth or cotton pad and massage or wipe his ear gently.
Make sure you do not pour too much into the ear, as this can cause unnecessary pain and stinging. Also ensure that you dry the ears sufficiently afterwards with cotton pads so that they can heal more efficiently.
If you have yogurt in your fridge, it could be all that your dog needs. Yogurt is packed with plenty of good bacteria, which when used in moderation can counteract harmful bacteria and yeast that cause ear infections.
The one notable disadvantage of yogurt is that it will be effective only if the cause of the ear infection is harmful bacteria or yeast; otherwise, it won’t do your pup much good! That’s why it is important to firstly establish the root cause of the infection by taking your dog to the vet.
Simply feed your dog a quarter to half a cup of plain unsweetened yogurt every day until the ear shows significant improvement.
Another natural and potent antioxidant for dogs is grapefruit seed extract. It has been proven to be antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal, and works great for bacterial or yeast-based infections.
Grapefruit seed extract can either be applied topically or given directly to the canine. If you’re administering it internally, add 3-5 drops to your dog’s food.
You can also use it as an ear cleaner to be applied directly by mixing it with pure Aloe Vera gel at a ratio of half an ounce of gel to every 5 drops.
Another great home remedy for dog ear infections that can ward off various infections is oil of Oregano. Oregano oil has natural antifungal and antibacterial properties, so it will have no problems getting rid of nasty microscopic invaders that may be residing in your dog’s ear.
Oregano oil should always be diluted when used with canines, so to prepare an appropriate solution add a single oregano oil drop to ½ ounce of pure Aloe Vera. This can then be applied topically or mixed in with your pup’s food.
Although the mullein oil is so effective for most dog ear infections that it should be considered a secret weapon, many pet parents probably won’t have it lying around the home.
Mullein oil has a whole laundry list of beneficial attributes: antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, demulcent and astringent. It is excellent for reducing pain and minimizing swelling in an affected dog’s ears.
Simply mix five drops of mullein oil with garlic oil, or pack mullein leaves and flowers with olive oil in a glass jar for a more concentrated punch. If you prefer the latter method, let the mixture sit for about 2-3 weeks, after which you can apply a few drops to the ear topically.
Calendula boasts of antimicrobial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties that are certainly handy when it comes to relieving the pain and discomfort caused by ear infections.
According to VCA, it has been shown clinically to be able to speed up the process of healing.
Mix 5-10 drops on calendula tincture with one cup of lukewarm filtered water, then use the resulting solution to clean your dog’s ears thoroughly.
Consider using any other canine ear infection home remedies that your vet may recommend as well- he is a trained professional after all!
There are definitely conflicting opinions regarding the use of hydrogen peroxide to treat ear infections in dogs. If you’re dealing with dog ear infections for the first time, it is undoubtedly helpful to know whether you can use the solution.
Some vets say hydrogen peroxide is risky, while others suggest that the cleaning agent is ok to use for mild infections and to clean dirty ears. Even so, peroxide should only ever be used under the supervision of an animal health professional.
Hydrogen peroxide attacks bacteria present in the ear- both good and bad. It is strong especially if undiluted, and can cause healthy skin cells to become inflamed and irritated. This obviously will be painful for an already infected ear canal!
Besides, this over-the-counter cleaning solution leaves the dog’s ears wet, therefore increasing susceptibility to other ear infections. Ears have hypersensitive tissues and prolonged use of peroxide can potentially damage the ear for the long-term.
I’m sure that you don’t want to use anything that may trigger other ear issues when trying to fix an existing one! Although using peroxide sparingly can be useful in certain situations, it’s a good idea to stick to vet-approved cleaners.
Peroxide should always be a last-resort option. Just like how you wouldn’t clean your pet’s open wounds and cuts with peroxide, don’t use it for their infected ears either!
From removing bad odors, to treating skin conditions and deterring fleas, vinegar is an ordinary household product that can do extraordinary things.
Not to miss a beat, just a tiny bit of vinegar can help with itchy ears and ear infections. Whether applied topically or used internally, vinegar keeps your pooch’s ears clean and rebalances the skin pH levels, all while drying them out to deter future bacterial and yeast infections.
Dogs with floppy ears tend to benefit most from vinegar because they are highly vulnerable to ear infections, which can frequently be observed as a dog shaking its head and scratching its ears.
Vinegar discourages the growth of unfriendly bacteria and microorganisms that cause itchiness and inflammation.
While vinegar is completely non-toxic to dogs and generally harmless, it is still an acid at the end of the day and therefore should not be used on raw or open wounds (at least not without dilution) as this will cause a stinging, burning sensation for your pup.
Every time I want to clean Gogi’s ears, I always walk into the pantry and pick up my trusty bottle of apple cider vinegar. While I’m not one to easily throw around words like “miracle solution”, apple cider vinegar really is getting close.
Many vets recommend apple cider vinegar to pet parents whenever they are treating their dog’s ear infections. It has antifungal and antibacterial effects, which make it a powerful yet natural cleaner.
The antibacterial effects also help in rebalancing pH levels, ensuring a healthy environment for recovery.
To make an effective ear cleaner, mix one part apple cider vinegar with one part purified water. Next, dampen a cotton ball with the solution and use it to wipe the dog’s ears until there is no more gunk coming from them.
Do not pour the solution into the ear – it can lead to unwanted conditions such as vestibular disease for dogs with ruptured eardrums.
When cleaning infected dog ears, remember not to apply undiluted apple cider vinegar on fresh wounds as it contains acetic acid that can cause significant irritation.
Coconut oil is a blend of fatty acids extracted from the milk and meat of the coconut. The fatty acids have a lot of potential benefits for your pet, especially when used externally.
All you need to do is administer the oil correctly, and you can expect the great results for your best pal.
The primary function of coconut oil in treating dogs’ ear infections is to kill bacteria and to soothe the pain. Interestingly, coconut oil is anti-inflammatory which means it can be applied even on raw or open wounds to speed up cellular repair.
Similarly, you may occasionally apply the oil to the dog’s ears to soothe itchiness, kill ear mites, clear up infections, and keep the ears clean. Coconut oil has antifungal, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, which not only help with ear infections but also prevent other diseases.
It has been suggested that you can even feed your dog coconut oil for potential benefits such as improved skin and coat condition, as well as boosted cognition and energy levels.
However, it is debatable just how useful coconut oil is to dogs when eaten, so for more information on the topic you can read our article on it here!
If you see your dog shaking his head or scratching his ear, it is possible that the cause of the irritation is ear mites.
Ear mites are tiny parasites that can live in the ears of dogs in the ear canal. Though they feed off the wax and oils present in the ear, they can also create infections. They aggravate other ear infections as well, thereby potentially compounding the discomfort.
If your dog has been found to have ear mites by the vet, there are various home remedies that you can use to get rid of them.
Applying garlic and olive oil on your pet’s ears can kill ear mites and leave your dog feeling much better.
Crush 3 or 4 cloves of garlic and place them in a cup of olive oil, leaving them to marinate overnight. The following morning, remove the garlic cloves and apply the oil to the ear of your dog by wiping with a cloth.
As detailed already in a section above, green tea is a natural antiseptic that can help to flush out ear mite debris.
To prepare the ear mite-killing agent, steep a tablespoon of green tea leaves in a cup of hot water for a few minutes. Strain, and allow the tea to cool to room temperature.
Following that, put 3-4 drops of the antiseptic tea into the outer part of the dog’s infected ear. Massage your pup’s ears gently and rinse the ear with a cotton ball soaked in the tea. Continue doing this daily until the condition improves.
Something you may not be aware of is that you can actually kill ear mites by cleaning your pet’s ear with a baking soda solution!
Simply dissolve one teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of warm water and let the solution cool. Soak a cotton ball in the solution and wipe the dog’s ears. Repeat this every day until all redness and itchiness has subsided.
Inner ear infection, also known as otitis interna, is a severe condition. If your vet tells you that your dog has an inner ear infection, you will want to treat the infection urgently and with the appropriate medications.
How you treat an inner ear infection ultimately depends on the cause of the condition, and it is unlikely that there will be any home remedies that are suitably effective.
For bacterial infections, you will need to give your dog antibiotics such as cefpodoxime, clindamycin, enrofloxacin, and amoxicillin-clavulanate for a minimum period of about 6-8 weeks.
If the vet asserts that the infection is fungal, he will prescribe ideal antifungal medications for your pup. Itraconazole is one of the most commonly prescribed antifungal medications.
Besides the antibiotics, anti-parasitics, and antifungal medication prescribed by your vet, you need to thoroughly clean the affected ear by flushing it with saline solution regularly.
While home remedies for dog ear infections can help with most mild ear issues, some of the more serious ones will require you to work with a professionally trained vet for the best results.
If you were wondering what the best home remedy for dog ear infections was, hopefully you’ve been able to find a few different satisfactory answers here in this article.
It’s hard to find a clear-cut winner, as many natural ingredients and products that you can find around your home have similar beneficial properties. Commonly, they share characteristics of being antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral.
Green tea and apple cider vinegar are clear favorites among many pet owners for good reason, though baking soda and mullein oil also make appearances as valuable tools in the fight against itchy canine ears.
It’s important to remember that home remedies work best for milder infections of the outer ear.
If your dog has been diagnosed with an inner ear ailment, the best thing to do is to trust your vet’s expertise and provide them with the appropriate, recommended antibiotic or anti-parasitic medications.
Heather Abraham is a professional blogger who owns two dogs, a cat, a parrot, and a leopard gecko. She has a connection with animals since she was a child. She shares her love for all pet breeds and provides information on pet food, toys, medications, beds, and everything else.
She is committed to learning about the internal workings of animals. Her work permits her to work closely with knowledgeable vets and obtain practical expertise in animal care. When she is not working, her love of animals continues in her writing. Her goal is to educate and uplift readers who also have a passion for animals through her writing.