To see your pets in pain is one of the worst things a pet-owner could go through. Dogs are prone to infections due to their thick fur coat, which conceals worms and mites from plain sight. Moreover, dogs love to play outdoors which makes them susceptible to these attacks. An ear infection is one of the most painful experiences for a dog.
Probable causes for dog ear infection
We need to first understand what causes ear infections in dogs to get to the root of the problem. Bacteria and yeast are the two most common culprits along with a host of other factors such as waterlogging in the ear canal, untrimmed ear hair, foreign objects being inserted into the ear canal and ear wax, to name a few. If your dog’s outer ear is not erect, its chances of contracting a fungal infection in the ears increase. As opposed to a normal human ear canal that is horizontal, the ear canal of a dog is vertical, which makes it difficult to clean. An ear infection might also be symptomatic of hyperthyroidism in your dog.
Watch Out For Symptoms
You always need to be on the lookout for symptoms that might indicate that it is time to take your dog to the vet. For instance, if your dog has been scratching the area in and around his ears more frequently than usual or if the fur around his ears has been shedding a lot, it is probably because he has contracted an ear infection. Also, watch out for any uncanny patterns in his movement, like a tipsy walk or circular movements. Then there are the more obvious indicators like swelling, bleeding and residual buildup inside the outer ear. Do not wait for all these symptoms to manifest themselves. Detecting anyone is reason enough to take your dog to the clinic.
Yeast infection is the most common canine ear problem and is generally not fatal. However, if it keeps recurring frequently or if it is left untreated, the infection might become severe. It can cause otitis in the outer ear and slowly make its way to the middle ear. Once the latter takes place, the ear canals of your dog constrict themselves to a massive extent due to the swelling. The final stage results in ultimate deafness as the eardrums become obstructed or have been ruptured. The entire process is excruciatingly painful for your dog to undergo. A quick and accurate diagnosis helps you and your dog avoid this torturous ordeal and effortlessly tackle the infection.
Homemade vs. prescription medication
If your dog’s ear infection happens to still be in its initial stages, it is a much wiser decision to adopt a natural method to remedy it. Severe cases, however, generally require prescription medication. The reason why homemade remedies triumph over prescription medication is that the former is much cheaper and more readily available. Besides, prescription medicines contain harsh drugs that eradicate the problem quickly but may cause a ton of side effects as well. Home remedies, on the other hand, are completely organic, although it takes a longer period of time to cure the infection. These remedies can also be used as preventive measures or as a follow-up to a completed course of prescription medication.
Here are the top 11 natural dog medicine for ear infection that you can easily prepare at home to help your puppy recover quickly:
1. Coconut oil and vinegar
You will require hydrogen peroxide which is generally available as an over the counter drug. If you are unable to procure hydrogen peroxide in its raw form, an antibacterial ointment containing hydrogen peroxide will do just fine. Mix equal amounts of hydrogen peroxide and organic apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle. Alternatively, you can also use white vinegar for the preparation. Spray the mixture into your dog’s ear canal to make it slightly damp and not wet. The mixture will need to be cleaned out gently after 15 minutes. Apply just a smear of coconut oil on the outer bits of the ear which neutralizes the acidic action of the vinegar. The ear should start getting better in a couple of days.
2. Tea tree oil treatment
Tea tree oil contains antibacterial properties and is a bane to the yeast inhabiting your dog’s ear. Simmer two tablespoons of tea tree oil for the preparation on low heat for about a minute. You may add a couple cloves of garlic to enhance the antibacterial power of the oil. Take the oil off the heat and let it become lukewarm so as not to cause discomfort to your dog upon application. Dip a clean cotton ball into the oil and gently dab it on and around the site of the infection or as close as you can get to it. Repeat this at least twice daily for a week to see visible improvement.
3. Oregano oil
Oregano oil serves as a natural solution to treat your dog’s infections. However, care should be taken that the oil is diluted considerably because 100% pure oregano oil is generally too harsh to apply on a dog’s skin. It might cause itchiness and skin eruptions. To prepare the solution, add a single drop of oregano oil to half an ounce of 100% organic aloe juice. Dip a clean cotton ball into the solution and massage it on the infected area. Finish the application by cleaning the outer ear as well with the soaked cotton ball. This process yields visible results within a week and should be conducted 2 to 3 times daily.
4. Vitamin E
Vitamin E has cleansing as well as protective properties. Application of Vitamin E drops to fix your dog’s ear infection will prevent the yeast from spreading and also heal the damage already done such as scabbing and itchiness. The vitamin is available commercially as over the counter capsules. Cod liver oil capsules are an equally effective substitute. Empty the contents of a single capsule into half a cup of lukewarm water and use a dropper to put five drops of the mixture into your dog’s ear. The process needs to be applied at least twice every day. It usually yields results within a couple weeks.
5. Boric acid
Boric acid is one of the strongest forces against bacteria and microbes and is used to treat a number of problems like acne, open wounds among others. It can serve as an excellent treatment for your dog’s inner and middle ear infections. You can sprinkle a tiny bit of the powder directly into the ear, but make sure not to put too much as it might clog the ear canal. Inhaling or ingesting boric acid is harmful to one’s health so cover your own nose and mouth as well as your dog’s during application. Applying the remedy once a day should suffice and you will notice the infection slowly dying out within a week.
6. Mullein oil with garlic
The combined potency of the antibacterial and antifungal mullein plant along with the antimicrobial property of garlic makes it impossible for the yeast in your dog’s ear to survive. Mix 1 teaspoon of mullein oil with 1 teaspoon of garlic oil. You will need to add a quarter cup’s worth of any carrier oil like olive oil or almond oil to the mixture to dilute it and to make application easier. If you do not have access to mullein oil, you can soak mullein leaves and a couple of cloves of garlic in the carrier oil for a few days and then strain the oil. Applying 3 to 4 drops to the ear twice daily is ideal.
7. Calendula oil
Calendula oil is an excellent choice for removal of yeast infection due to its antifungal properties. Not just for the ear, this oil can be applied to any part of the body, both internally and externally. Pet-owners mostly opt for this remedy because it also acts as a natural painkiller while treating the infection. You can either soak calendula leaves in a carrier oil for a few days, and then use the strained oil for the treatment or you can purchase a bottle of calendula oil from your local pharmacist. Add 30 milliliters of calendula oil to half a cup of lukewarm water and apply the solution to the ear using a dropper.
8. Aloe ointment
The extracts of the aloe plant are packed with vitamins and are a popular medicine for treating infections, skin irritations, skin eruptions and a variety of other problems for both animals and humans. Scoop out the extracts of an aloe leaf and use a chopstick or a butter knife to spread it out. This ensures that the ointment is not clogged to ensure easier application. Use a clean Q-tip or a cotton ball to apply the gel on the site of infection and its neighboring areas. Aloe gel makes for an excellent home treatment to eliminate the symptoms of an infection such as itching, swelling, and redness among others. The cool ointment also helps alleviate the pain temporarily.
9. Margosa oil
One of the most popular remedies on how to treat your dog’s ear infection is Margosa oil. This is because of its antimicrobial properties that stop the infection from spreading. The oil also has a soothing effect on the ear irritations that trouble your dog. However, Margosa oil in its pure form is not as effective in tackling the infection as when it is mixed with other essential oils like eucalyptus, tea tree oil, and olive oil. Mix 1 ounce each of Margosa and olive oil with 1 teaspoon each of eucalyptus and tea tree oil to prepare the mixture. Apply the mixture with a cotton ball thrice daily for optimum results.
10. Petroleum jelly
While petroleum jelly alone will not be too helpful in eliminating the infection, it can serve as a homemade cleaner. On being combined with essential oils like tea tree oil, it can easily treat infections that have taken place in your dog’s ear. The jelly makes it easier to navigate into the nooks and crannies of the ear for a more spot-on application. Take a tablespoon of petroleum jelly and add a teaspoon of tea tree oil to it. You may heat the jelly along with a clove of garlic on low heat for a minute. Dip a cotton ball into the mixture and use it to massage the area of infection.
11. Witch hazel
A potent antiseptic, witch hazel is very effective when it comes to treating infections in your pets. Its antibacterial properties inhibit the growth of the microbes causing the infection, treat the infected site as well as any accompanying sores or cuts that might have developed in the area, and soothe the swelling and the irritations. Witch hazel tinctures are readily available in the market but if you wish to prepare the solution yourself, steep the plant parts in olive oil or almond oil for a few days along with a couple cloves of garlic. Apply 5 drops of the strained liquid to your dog’s swollen ear using a dropper. You need to administer the dose twice daily. Within a week, you will begin to notice a drastic improvement in your pet’s health.
To prevent the onset of a yeast infection in your dog’s ear or to make sure that it does not occur again, certain measures need to be undertaken to ensure that your pet remains healthy. First and foremost, utmost attention needs to paid to his diet. Starchy foods rich in carbohydrates are especially bad because sugar helps sustain the yeast. An even more important preventive tip is to restrict your dog’s immunizations to the bare necessities. Dogs are born with a highly powerful immune system and flooding their bodies with vaccines, and foreign chemicals weaken their innate ability to withstand illnesses. Their grooming routine needs to be followed and should ideally include an antimicrobial rinse every week along with the usual practices of trimming the nails, cleaning the paws, checking for fleas and ticks, to name a few.
These home remedies can be prepared as and when required to quickly eradicate your dog’s ear mites. Make sure that you continue the treatment for at least a week after the mites have been killed to ensure that the ear has been thoroughly cleaned.
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