Dog parents do their best to keep their fur baby healthy, but there’s a good chance your dog will eventually suffer from an ear infection even if you did everything right. In fact, ear infections are in the top 3 reasons for vet visits.
The reason for this is because a dogs ear canal is shaped differently than ours. The human ear canal is horizontal, allowing water to drain quickly. A dogs ear canal is shaped like an L, which sometimes causes water to get trapped. This can lead to an ear infection because both bacterial and yeast infections thrive off warm and damp areas.
Going to the vet to treat an ear infection is always a safe option, but it can be expensive and often not required.
The 3 Step Process to Treat a Dog Ear Infection Without The Vet
There are three key elements when treating an ear infection at home.
- Kill the bacteria – We will do this by using apple cider vinegar
- Relieve the pain – Ear infections hurt! Luckily we can use oregano oil to help manage the pain
- Speed up the healing – Ear infections can cause a lot of damage to a dogs ear, we will speed up the healing using Calendula.
Below we will give detailed instructions on how to use all three of these natural ingredients to get rid of the infection and ease the pain and discomfort your dog is experiencing.
However, before we dive into the details, let’s go over the different types of infections and the potential causes so you can prevent ear infections in the future.
Two Primary Types of Ear Infections
If your dog has an ear infection chances are it’s either bacterial or yeast. The good news is the treatment for both is very similar.
The majority of dogs who suffer from an ear infection have a bacterial infection. There is good bacteria and harmful bacteria. Your dog will naturally have good bacteria in their ears that fight off harmful bacteria. However, when your dog goes swimming in dirty water or goes exploring with his nose down to the ground, a large number of harmful bacteria may enter the ear. When this happens, the good bacteria become outnumbered and can’t fight off the harmful bacteria. This leads to an infection.
Although not as common as a bacterial infection, a dog can get a yeast infection in the same way. Good fungi and bacteria live together and work well together in the ear of your dog. However, if your dogs immune system is not functioning how it should be or if your dog has digestive issues, yeast will develop rapidly, and the good fungi won’t be able to fight it off.
How To Know if Your Dog Has an Ear Infection – Keep it Simple
If you’ve done your research on this topic, you might be overwhelmed at how many symptoms there are. The issue with listing so many symptoms is that it often leads to misdiagnosis. Sure, if your dog is lethargic, it might mean they are infected, but it could also mean many other things.
There are only two things you need to look for.
- Head shaking
- Ear itching
If your dog is constantly shaking their head and itching their ears, they likely have an infection. Don’t worry about any other symptoms, just look for those two.
What Caused The Infection?
Unfortunately figuring out the cause of the infection isn’t nearly as easy as diagnosing it. There could be many causes, but the three we listed below are by far the most common.
Seasonal Allergies: Yes, dogs can get seasonal allergies, just like humans can. If you notice your dog tends to get ear infections when there’s a lot of pollen in the air, allergies could be the reason for the infections.
Food Allergies: If your dog does not digest certain meats very well, it could lead to infections. If ear infections don’t happen often, this likely isn’t the reason. However, if they keep happening over and over, it’s time to see if your dog has food allergies.
Lifestyle: Dogs that enjoy exploring with their nose to the ground or dogs that like going for a swim are prone to get an ear infection.
Genetics: Floppy ears increase the chances of an infection. When the floppy ears cover the canal, it prevents, which means the dogs ears won’t dry out as quickly. As you know, harmful bacteria thrive in a warm and damp environment.
Should You Be Concerned?
One of the most common questions we get asked when it comes to ear infections is if it’s cause for concern. The answer is both yes and no.
Just about every dog will get an ear infection whether you realize it or not. If your dog rarely gets them, it’s not a big deal.
However, if you notice the infection is continually coming back, you should see a vet. This could mean your dog has a weak immune system, is allergic to certain types of food, or has a leaky gut.
Let’s Treat That Infection!
Now is a good time to give a friendly word of warning. We are not vets. It’s always best to see your vet before attempting a home remedy to make sure there aren’t any serious issues that require immediate attention.
With that word of warning out of the way, let’s start treating that infection!
As you recall from the beginning of this article, we have three goals.
- Kill Bacteria
- Ease Pain
- Speed up Recover
We will be using three different ingredients for each goal.
You will need
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Oregano Oil
- Calendula Oil
You will want to follow the three steps listed below three times per day. Once in the morning, once at noon, and once in the evening.
In the morning: Use apple cider vinegar to kill the bacteria
At noon: Use Oregano Oil to relieve the pain
Before Bed: Use Calendula to speed recovery
Step 1: Remove The Dirt
Grab a cotton swab and wipe down the inside of the ear. The goal is to remove any excess dirt in the dogs ear.
Step 2: Apply The Appropriate Treatment
Take a cotton ball and soak half of it in the appropriate treatment (apple cider vinegar in the morning, oregano oil at noon, and calendula oil before bed). Again, wipe down the inside of your dogs ear getting as close to the base as possible. Do this for about 5 minutes.
IMPORTANT: Do not use Q-tips unless your vet tells you to.
Step 3: Clean and Dry The Ears
Take a new clean cotton swab and dry the ears. Make sure you spend at least 3 minutes on each ear to ensure they are dry.
That’s all there is to it! Do that every day until the ear infection goes away. This is hands down the best way to treat an ear infection without visiting the vet. However, if you notice the infection isn’t going away after 3-4 days, it’s time to take your dog to the vet.
Preventing Future Infections
There’s no way to prevent your dog from ever getting an ear infection again, but there are a few things you can do to significantly reduce the chances of an infection occurring in the future.
This powder seems to be the “jack of all trades.” It can help kill ants, prevent acne, reduce swelling, and so on. It’s also great to prevent ear infections because it makes it hard for harmful bacteria and yeast to grow. Whenever your dog goes for a swim or takes a bath, sprinkle some boric acid in the ears.
Most dogs won’t develop an ear infection from their food, but some dogs are sensitive to high starch diets. If you suspect food may be the reason for the infections, go with food that does not contain starch.
Monthly Ear Cleaning
Cleaning dog ears is much easier than most people think IF it is done consistently. It becomes a pain when you go months without cleaning and then try to remove all the built-up dirt and debris.
To clean your dogs ears, soak a cotton swab in water and brush through the inside of the ears. Once you spend a few minutes cleaning the dirt, take a dry cotton swab and spend a few minutes drying the ear.
These preventative measures might seem like a pain, but it’s nothing compared to the pain and discomfort your dog will feel when suffering from an ear infection. However, even when everything is done right, the way dogs like to explore combined with the shape of their ear canal means that infections will likely happen. When they do, give these natural remedies a try. They are the best way to treat a dog ear infection without going to the vet. But if the infections continually come back, it’s time to see the vet.
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