One of the most common health issues in canine pets is a dog ear infection. Some breeds are more prone to it than others, as well as those with high activity levels. The infection causes itchy, painful, and swollen ears due to bacteria, yeast, and fungi.
These infections usually start with irritation that is accompanied by odor in the ears. If the dog ear infection persists, there may be a brown or reddish discharge coming from the ears. A scab or crust will also form if the discharge dries out.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to minimize your veterinary bills and decrease the frequency of this condition. Treat your dog’s ear infection with these cheap yet effective home remedies, and you won’t have to worry about spending a lot of prescription medicines that have awful side effects.
Find out about the different types of ear infections in dogs and what can cause them. We will tell you how to treat these infections at home and which is the best home remedy for dog ear infections.
Types and Causes of Ear Infection in Dogs
There are two categories of dog ear infection, outer ear infection and the middle or inner ear. An outer ear infection occurs on the outside of the eardrum or tympanic membrane, while the inner ear infection is inside the tympanic membrane.
Outer ear infections are the most common type and are usually caused by a damp environment, an excessive wax buildup that traps pathogens, allergies, or trauma to the ear. The outer part of the ear becomes infected with yeast, cocci bacteria, and rod bacteria.
On the other hand, middle or inner ear infections occur when a pathogen infects the ear inside the tympanic membrane. Many organisms can thrive in these areas and a chronic outer ear infection can lead to the development of a middle or inner ear infection due to damage to the tympanic membrane and exposure to pathogens.
Is a Dog Ear Infection an Emergency?
Your dog’s ear infection can be treated right away with some remedies you can do at home. But if your dog’s head seems to be tilted and their hearing seems impaired, it is possible that the infection needs to be addressed right away by a vet.
This is because the infection may have migrated into the middle or inner ear already and the tympanic membrane may be ruptured.
Other than infection, a swollen red, and warm ear could be hematoma and needs to be medically treated as soon as possible. One of the most common signs is earache in dogs.
Best Home Remedy for Dog Ear Infections
For cases of minor ear infections, natural remedies are the way to go. You can treat your dog with cheap yet effective products without even visiting a vet. They are also safer and offer few side effects, unlike the antibiotics and steroids which vets usually prescribe.
Remember that most of these home remedies will still require you to clean your dog’s ears regularly, and cautions should be exercised when using a cleaner without veterinary examination.
If the tympanic membrane is damaged, using these solutions can push the infection into the middle ear, setting your dog up for an even bigger problem later. That is why severe infections require vet care and an extended course of treatment.
Try these home remedies for a minor ear infection, and consult your vet if there is no improvement within a week’s use. If you are not confident using any of these remedies then you should seek professional medical help for your dog.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Distilled Water
Mix apple cider vinegar with distilled water in a glass at a 1:1 ratio. Dip a cotton ball or a rag into the mixture until it’s soaking wet. Then use it to clean your dog’s ears, making sure to clean as deeply as possible to kill the infection-causing bacteria.
Remember not to use this method if your dog has a bacterial infection. The swelling of their ears can worsen, so use a different natural cure since vinegar can sting.
Keep in mind that water will wet the area, so the infection may worsen. Don’t put too much of it in the ear. If you’re not sure what type of ear infection your dog has, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to find out.
Coconut oil is a mild antifungal that helps clear up a yeast infection in your dog’s ears. Be sure to use a good quality organic and unprocessed oil for the best results.
Simmer two tablespoons of coconut oil in a saucepan along with two white garlic cloves until the oil gets thin. Let it cool for a few minutes then use a dropper to squeeze two to three drops in your dog’s ears.
Massage the base of the ear for 1–2 minutes, then use a cotton ball to swab out the inside of the dog’s ear.
This needs precaution since too much can cause more inflammation in your dog’s ears. Vets recommend hydrogen peroxide as an over-the-counter product that is a good cleaning agent.
Use one part peroxide mixed with one part water to kill the bacteria present in the ear. Use cotton wool soaked with the mixture to clean out your dog’s ear.
Peroxide may attack the good bacteria in your dog’s ears as well, so use it in moderation. If your dog has a yeast infection, this product is not recommended.
Using peroxide may not be the best natural remedy, but if it’s your only choice, use it with the supervision of animal health professional.
Oregano oil is a great natural remedy that works great for your dog’s ear infection. Mix one drop with half an ounce of fresh aloe vera juice. With cotton or syringe, administer the solution inside their ears.
Be careful not to put too much in or use pure undiluted oregano oil as this will irritate your dog’s skin.
Boost Your Dog’s Immune System
Your dog’s immune system is one factor that may be affecting their ear infection. A malfunctioning immune system opens the door to a number of diseases, even cancer.
To keep your dog’s immune system healthy and balanced try the following:
A Good Diet
Your dog’s gastrointestinal tract contains 70% of their immune system. Therefore, a good diet that contains grain-free and starch-free food like meat and vegetables is highly recommended.
Good fiber intake is also essential, as well as live bacteria from fresh foods.
You may also consider supplementing your dog’s diet with additional nutrients. We recommend giving your dog probiotics as they introduce beneficial microorganisms into the digestive tract.
Another supplement you can give them is fish oil, which contains inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids.
Which Treatment is the Best for Dog Ear Infection?
You can bring relief to your dog’s ear infection with any of these treatment solutions. Ensure you boost your dog’s immune system to prevent infections from recurring.
Coconut oil is the best home remedy for dog ear infections because its antifungal properties are gentle on sensitive skin. Still, it’s only recommended for mild infections of the ear and might not work if the bacteria have reached the tympanic membrane.
Take your dog to the vet if the infection doesn’t clear in a week. There may be an underlying health issue causing the infections and a vet will be able to prescribe medication to remedy the issue.