Break Your Dog’s Cycle of Recurring Ear Infections With These Natural Remedies
Did you know that ear infections (the medical term for them is otitis externa) are the #2 reason people take their dogs to the vet? And, just like skin allergies, when conventional approaches are used to “treat” them, they tend to come back over and over again.
For example, many conventional vets recommend antibiotics for them. But antibiotics, which are broad-spectrum (meaning they kill everything, not just “bad” bacteria) can cause an imbalance in “good” vs. “bad” bacteria that can lead to more ear infections in the future. That’s why it’s so important to use natural remedies for ear infections in dogs.
Symptoms of an Ear Infection
If you’re wondering if your dog has an ear infection, there are some symptoms to watch for:
- Tilting or shaking the head
- Brown or reddish discharge inside the ear
- Ear odor
- Redness or swelling in the ear
- Scabs or crusty areas in the ear
Note: If you notice symptoms like unusual eye movements, walking in circles, or having trouble with balance, it’s important to get your dog to a holistic veterinarian to be checked for a more serious infection.
Ear infections can be caused by bacterial imbalances, yeast, allergies, or hormone imbalances. In all of these cases, they’re a sign something is out of balance; once it’s brought back into balance (in other words, once you address the root cause), the ear infections will stop.
Break the Cycle of Ear Infections in Your Dog
If you’re noticing chronic ear infections, there are a few things you can do to help break the cycle:
- Address the diet. Switch your dog to a balanced, varied, raw diet.
- Eliminate toxins. This includes antibiotics (remember, they destroy “good” bacteria and cause imbalances that can lead to more ear infections), steroids (which suppress the immune system), and OTC flea and tick treatments (they’re poisons). It also includes external toxins found in cleaning products. Check out our cleaning recipes for safe, effective cleaning alternatives. You can also click here for our favorite cleaning products!
Natural Remedies for Ear Infections in Dogs
If your dog has an ear infection, there are some non-toxic things you can do to give him relief quickly, while you change his diet and lifestyle to stop the chronic ear infections. These include:
- Apple cider vinegar. One caveat to this one: if your dog’s ears are inflamed, don’t use apple cider vinegar, as it will be very painful to them. However, if they aren’t red and inflamed, mix apple cider vinegar with equal parts distilled water. Soak a cotton ball in the solution, then use it to gently clean your dog’s ear flap. Don’t push it deeply into the ear canal, or use a Q-tip in the canal. At best, you’ll push dirt and bacteria deeper into the ear. At worst, you’ll rupture your dog’s eardrum.
- Calendula. Calendula is an amazing herb that can be used for lots of things, including ear problems. You can get a pre-made infusion, soak a cotton ball with it, and gently apply it to your dog’s ear flap. You can also make your own infusion–click here to learn how!
- Coconut oil. Ah, coconut oil. Antibacterial, anti-fungal, and all-around amazing. With this one, try simmering 2 tablespoons in a saucepan (on low heat). You can add in two fresh garlic cloves (they’re also anti-bacterial). Once the oil is liquid, let it cool enough so it won’t burn your dog’s ears but not so much it’s no longer liquid, then dip a cotton ball in the mixture and gently apply to your dog’s ear.
- Essential oils. Dilute your chosen oil with equal parts olive oil or fractionated coconut oil. Dip a cotton swab in the mixture and gently apply it to your dog’s ear flap. Some good oils to try are Myrrh, Thyme, Wintergreen, Helichrysum, Mountain Savory, Basil, ImmuPower, Melrose, Thieves, and Purification. Note that, when possible, I prefer Young Living oils for my dogs, myself, and my family.
When Natural Remedies for Ear Infections in Dogs Aren’t Enough
If my dog had an ear infection, I’d apply any of the above ideas 2 or 3 times per day for about a week. But—and this is key—if there isn’t any improvement, it’s time to see a holistic veterinarian or a certified animal naturopath.
Here is a round-up of products mentioned in the article for your shopping convenience!
- Olive oil
- Fractionated coconut oil
- Myrrh essential oil
- Tea tree essential oil
- Juniper essential oil
- Oregano essential oil
- Lemon essential oil
- Mountain savory essential oil
- Thyme essential oil
- Cistus essential oil
- Rosemary essential oil
- Clove essential oil
- Thieves essential oil
- Melrose essential oil
- Purification essential oil
Disclaimer: All information contained herein is intended for educational purposes only. It is not provided to diagnose, prevent, or treat any disease, illness, or injured condition for any human or animal, and Mother Nature’s Truths, as well as the author(s), contributor(s), publishers, and owners accept no responsibility for such use. Anyone suffering from any disease, illness, or injury, or who has an animal suffering from such, should consult with their physician or veterinarian. The statements herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.