Did you know that there are many natural homemade remedies for your dog’s ear infection?
You may be feeling frustrated with going back and forth to the vet clinic for the same problem and the infection keeps coming back?
Unfortunately, ear infections are too common for our dogs and cats, but especially dogs.
Common Ear Infection Signs
So what are dog ear infections signs?
- Ear pain
- Your pet shaking their head excessively
- Scratching and digging at their ear with their paw
- Black waxy discharge or even pus coming from their ear
- Head tilt with ear down
- Bad smell coming from the ear
- Redness on the inside of the ear flap
There are many different causes for ear infections, and they are not always the same, even if your pet has had an ear infection before.
Thus, if you’re noticing any of these signs, make sure you book an appointment with your veterinarian to figure out what is causing the irritation in your dog’s ear.
Common Causes Of Dog Ear Infections
What causes dog ear infections?
Some of the common types of ear infections are bacterial or yeast overgrowths. These are typically secondary to inflammation in the ear canal that is caused by food sensitivities or environmental allergies.
Here are some related posts to learn more about allergies and the root cause for those pesky ear infections:
- Natural Remedies for Treating Allergies in Dogs and Cats
- 5 Natural Itchy Skin Home Remedies for Dogs
- How to Treat Hot Spots with Nutrition and Natural Remedies
Another common cause of your dog’s ear infections during the summertime is foreign bodies, specifically foxtails or grass seeds in their ears, which cause irritation and inflammation that lead to secondary infections. This is why it’s important for your veterinarian to look down the ear to rule out a grass seed.
Many pet parents are worried that their pet has ear mites when they see black yeasty discharge.
However, ear mites, or Otodectes, are actually quite rare in dogs. They are more common in cats.
So if you see this type of wax in your cat and their ears are really itchy, make sure you take them to the vet so they can do an ear swab to rule out ear mites, since the treatment needs to be adjusted.
Another thing to keep in mind is that most ear infections are not contagious to other pets.
The only contagious infection is ear mites, so you don’t need to worry about your pets passing their infection to others in the household unless ear mites are present, which is less likely compared to a Malassezia or yeast infection.
Now that you have a better idea of what’s going on with your dog’s ear, the next step is figuring out what exactly is causing the redness, itchiness and discharge, so you can treat it appropriately.
Diagnostic Tests For Dog Ear Infections
As you can see there are a lot of different reasons your pet may have irritation or excess wax or debris coming from their ear. Your veterinarian should be looking into the ear itself with an otoscope to make sure the eardrum is intact and that there are no grass seeds present in the ear canal leading to the inflammation.
It’s important that your veterinarian does an ear swab that will help diagnose whether the infection is bacterial, fungal, or infectious, like ear mites. Your vet will take a cotton swab and collect some of the debris, put it on a microscope slide, stain it and look under the microscope.
By doing this diagnostic test, called ear cytology, your veterinarian will be able to choose an ear treatment that will work the best at resolving the right type of infection.
If your dog has recurring ear infections, your veterinarian may recommend sending a sample of the ear debris to the laboratory for a culture to rule out a resistant bacterial infection like Pseudomonas, which can be resistant to many types of antibiotics.
Natural Ear Cleaner For Dogs
First, we need to clean the ears. There are quite a few natural homemade dog ear cleaner options that we can use ranging from apple cider vinegar, aloe vera juice, and even witch hazel.
One of my favorite homemade natural ear cleaning remedies is to take:
- 2 cups brewed green tea (cooled, remove tea bag)
- 2 tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar with the mother
- 5 drops calendula tincture
Put them all together and mix then use a syringe to put 1-3 mls into your pet’s vertical ear canal. Massage the base of the ear. You’ll want to hear the liquid making a squishing noise.
Let your pet shake their head and wipe out any remaining debris with a soft cloth or cotton balls. Continue cleaning until there is no waxy debris left.
If you prefer over the counter options, these are other high quality, natural (and some not so natural) ear cleaners:
Natural Dog Ear Infection Treatment
Next, you’ll want to use a natural remedy to treat the yeast and/or bacterial infection that will also help with the inflammation that is creating the pain and soreness in your dog’s ear.
Once again there are numerous at-home natural dog ear infection remedies. A super simple natural remedy for your dog’s ear infection, whether it’s bacterial, yeast or you need to reduce the inflammation, is to use a combination of essential oils diluted with colloidal silver and distilled water or green tea.
To make this natural ear treatment, take a 10 oz spray bottle:
- Add 5 drops of lavender essential oil
- 5 drops of copaiba essential oil
- 5 drops of frankincense essential oil
- 1 tablespoon of colloidal silver
Top off the bottle with either distilled water or cooled, brewed green tea which has natural anti-inflammatory properties. You can spray this mixture on the ear flap and folds 2-3 times a day until the ear infection has resolved.
Don’t forget to clean the waxy debris every day before applying the spray to help resolve the ear infection faster. As always if your pet is not doing well with this or the infection is not going away, please seek the advice of a veterinarian.
You may be wondering if essential oils are safe for pets?
They are when you use the right brands and at the right dosages. Learn more about essential oils here: Are Essential Oils Safe for Dogs and Cats?
Here are essential oil companies we trust and love for essential oils for your pets:
Using natural remedies can be a great way to avoid excessive vet visits, drugs that can come with side effects like hearing loss, and empower you as a pet parent to help your pet so that they feel their best.
However, one of the areas that’s commonly missed when treating ear infections in dogs is the diet. We end up focusing the symptom which is the irritated ear, and don’t look for the root cause of why the ear infection occurred.
Dietary Supplements For Dog Ear Infections
First, if your dog is on an ultra-processed food, like kibble, transition them to a grain-free freeze-dried or raw diet over the next two weeks. You want a less processed diet that has less chemicals that are most likely leading to leaky gut, or increased inflammation in your pet’s body that’s manifesting as an ear infection.
Next, you want to use supplements that support and optimize gut health. Make sure to learn more about leaky gut here.
Have you heard the following quote?
“All disease begins in the gut.”
It’s important that you are using supplements that help restore a healthy GI tract and are anti-inflammatory. Here are some of the basic supplements to help restore homeostasis to your pet’s body:
- Digestive support
Restoring the gut microbiome is important. Products like Standard Process Lactic Acid Yeast wafers can help acidify the GI tract and help get rid of excessive intestinal gas. This can be used alongsied broad-spectrum probiotics to help restore a healthy microbiome can help prevent recurring ear infections in the future.
- Immune support
When the gut health is off leading to allergies and inflammation in your pet’s body, it’s important to use whole food and supplements that support the immune system.
Standard Process Canine Immune Support is a great whole-food supplement that is very helpful at healing the body, especially during chronic infections. Also, using medicinal mushrooms can help modulate the immune system naturally.
To learn more about optimizing the immune system with mushrooms, click here.
- Detox support
And finally, you must be supporting the detox pathways in your pets. We unfortunately live in a toxic world, and your pets are exposed to over 85,000 toxins a day!
By supporting optimal liver health, you will help your pet clear excess histamine (which leads to your itchy dog), help them detox, and reduce the amount of inflammation present in their body.
If you’ve been using benadryl to reduce itchiness in your dog, switch to Standard Process Antronex. This supplement helps increase blood flow to the liver to allow the excess histamine to be cleared and works amazing at helping your dog feel less itchy, while supporting the liver. For more detox tips for your pets, head here.
Make sure you’re doing all you can to figure out why the ear infection happened in the first place or else you’ll fall into the vicious cycle of the ear infection coming back over and over again which can be super frustrating. But now you can use these simple homemade natural remedies for your dog’s ear infection to help lower vet bills and keep your dog feeling healthy and happy.
MORE NATURAL PET HEALTH INFORMATION
*Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor. Dr. Katie Woodley cannot answer specific questions about your pet’s medical issues or make medical recommendations for your pet without first establishing a veterinarian-client-patient relationship. Links in the blog are typically affiliate links that let you help support us.