Ear infections are an unfortunate part of dog companionship. Some breeds are more prone to this problem, and people who share their lives with dogs prone to ear infections could use a little information. These 5 home remedies for dog ear infections will help you on the front lines of your pet’s care.
My best friend growing up had a cocker spaniel named Dolly. She was grumpy and old, but so adorable I always secretly longed to snuggle her. There was a downside to Dolly outside of her sour disposition, however.
Dolly’s ears were always pretty smelly. Her family took great care of her, but the dog was plagued with constant ear issues nonetheless. I’m thinking of her while I write this and smiling.
This one’s for you, Dolly.
Dog Breeds Prone To Ear Infections
Before I start handing out remedies, let’s talk about a few dog breeds that may benefit the most from a some home remedies for dog ear infections.
There’s a pretty basic rule of thumb: the floppier the ear, the more prone to infection it is. This goes for rabbits as well, by the way. Bacteria, dirt, fungus, and debris enter the ear and get effectively trapped there to make trouble.
These pooches are prone to problems:
- Basset Hounds
- Irish Setters
- Cocker Spaniels.
German Shepards are allergy prone and can also get frequent ear infections. Labrador Retrievers that love to swim can experience issues as well.
Additionally, Poodles, Schnauzers, Bichon Frise, and Lhasa Apsos are at risk because of the hair in their ears which can trap particles. That hair does double duty by keeping things out of the ear canal. That seems confusing, but basically just keep an eye on your dog’s hairy ears for signs of trouble.
Symptoms Of Ear Infection In Dogs
You know the drill here, probably. Your dog will exhibit certain symptoms that alert you to ear problems. You may even notice that distinct Dolly-esque smell I told you about earlier. It’s pretty obvious!
Be on the lookout for the following symptoms and behaviors in your dog:
- Odor in the ears
- Rubbing ears on the carpet or furniture
- Head tilt
- Unusual discharge or wax build up,
If you see your dog struggling with these symptoms for the first time, call your vet. In fact, it is always a good idea to get a diagnosis from a professional.
If your dog has frequent ear issues, however, you’ll get to the point where you confidently spot the warning signs.
How To Clean A Dog’s Ears
There are safe commercial ear cleaners for dogs, or you can make your own. I put a recipe for a healing and cleaning solution in the list below, but you can use other simple mixtures also.
For instance, a simple warm water flush or drops of a saline solution can reduce inflammation and begin healing your dog’s ears. Avoid alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, as these can be dangerous if there is any damage inside your dog’s ear.
Home Remedies For Dog Ear Infections: #1- Garlic And Olive Oil
This article is full of memories for me! The Italian part of my family believed that a few drops of warm olive oil in the ear could soothe an earache. We didn’t use garlic, but there is some suggestion that its healing properties could soothe mild ear infections.
I can personally tell you, a drop or two of this healing oil usually made me feel better as a child. It could help your dog, as well. This is especially true with a little garlic thrown in for good measure.
The idea that garlic heals is an ancient one. The bulb does have antifungal and antiviral properties, so garlic is a kind of natural antibiotic.
Additionally, the polyphenols in olive oil can reduce inflammation.
Try a few drops in your dog’s ear, after consulting your vet about the idea of course. You can warm the oil so it’s not cold, but test it well so you don’t injure your dog. The oil will be most effective if you steep the garlic in it for around 2 weeks before using.
Home Remedies For Dog Ear Infections: #2- Use A Homemade Ear Wash
Keep your dog’s ears clean with this simple solution. Most of the ingredients are things you have on hand. You can purchase plantain tincture online.
- 1 cup of warm water
- 2 tablespoons each
- plantain tincture
Apply this solution to a cotton ball or swab and gently clear your dog’s ears. Additionally, you can drop a very small amount of the liquid into the ear canal. Your dog should shake it out, so be ready.
Some people note success with a water, neem oil, and tea tree oil solution. You have to take special care when using essential oils on your pets, however. I recommend you dilute the tea tree oil well and test your dog’s reaction to the oil before using it liberally.
Very Important Note: If there is any chance that your dog’s ear canal is ruptured, do not pour any vinegar, peroxide, or rubbing alcohol mixtures into his ear.
Home Remedies For Dog Ear Infections: #3- Proper Nutrition
Just like you, your dog’s body is stronger when properly fueled. Dogs that receive a balanced diet of high quality dog food are better at fighting infections.
Research the best diet for your dog breed and splurge if you can. Keep treats healthy and low-cal, too.
Certain foods are reportedly anti-inflammatory, including kale, olive oil, and berries. Always be sure anything you feed your dog is safe before you share it. Your vet will come in handy here as well.
Home Remedies For Dog Ear Infections: #4- A Warm Compress
A simple warm compress held against your dog’s ear can provide welcome relief. In addition to soothing any pain, the compress may relieve inflammation.
All you need for this remedy is a washcloth or towel and some hot water. First, soak the towel or cloth in the water. Next, test against your wrist, and finally, apply to your dog’s ear.
Always test the temperature of the cloth so you don’t burn your dog. That’s the last thing both of you need while you take on this condition.
Alternatively, you can fill a sock with rice or salt and warm it in the microwave. This method is effective and less messy since there are no drips to contend with.
Home Remedies For Dog Ear Infections: #5- Healing Herbs, Etc.
The following herbs and materials show promise in treating ear infections in dogs:
It must be mentioned that you should do everything you can to screen your dog for allergic reactions to any of these treatments. This is why it’s important to talk with your vet.
Vet Treatments For Dog Ear Infections
If you do call your vet, the standard treatment will involve antibiotics. It is also possible that a steroid will be prescribed to your dog.
The antibiotics may be oral or topical in drop form.
Other Important Considerations
While cleaning your dog’s ears regularly is important, remember that a dry ear is a healthy ear. If you suspect your dog’s ears are staying wet, speak with your vet about how to safely clean them.
A ruptured ear drum is a serious and painful condition. Ear drums rupture from prolonged infection, trauma, or even exposure to extremely loud noises. It can be dangerous to pour anything into your dog’s ear if the eardrum is perforated.
It is also dangerous to leave this condition unattended. Perform your due diligence for your best friend by receiving proper vet advice.
Want To Read More?
Thanks for spending time with me again in this pet health section, where I strive to bring you solid and trustworthy news about your pet’s care. If you enjoyed this article, there are a couple of things you can do to show you care:
- Share this post with your dog loving friends
- Comment on the post and let me know what you think
- Follow me on social media for up to date coverage
- Read more about dogs on the blog!
I recommend my recent article When Do Puppies Open Their Eyes for doggie development information and tons of adorable puppy pictures.
See you soon!