Natural Ear Infection Remedies in Dogs

Written By hannah hollinger
Published: 06/11/2017Updated: 11/13/2021
Veterinary reviewed by Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS
Natural Ear Infection Remedies  in Dogs - Conditions Treated, Procedure, Efficacy, Recovery, Cost, Considerations, Prevention

What are Natural Ear Infection Remedies?

The ears are an incredibly important part of a dog's sensory system, allowing them to hear even the faintest of sounds with almost unrivaled clarity. However, due to the usually open nature of the dog's ears, it is not uncommon for dirt and dead skin cells to build up inside them, providing an ideal home for yeast, bacteria, and parasites. If left untreated, these can cause extremely unpleasant symptoms for the dog and can even lead to a significant, permanent loss of hearing. 

In order to combat these conditions, some owners prefer to use natural alternatives to synthetic medication. While natural products can be a preventative or mild solution to ear infection, a veterinarian consultation is recommended to hinder the occurrence of a serious, full-blown infection of the ear canal. Ear infections cause severe pain and distress and can spread to the central nervous system. In fact, once an ear infection has taken hold, veterinary prescribed antibiotics are necessary to eradicate it. In some cases, a dog may need to be anesthetized to have the ear thoroughly cleaned of debris and infection.

Natural Ear Infection Remedies Procedure in Dogs

If your dog's ear is swollen and possibly painful, do not attempt a home remedy. Consult the veterinarian first to ensure that the ear infection is a mild one and in the early stages. If so, your vet may agree to a home remedy for the ear infection in your dog. When applying a topical solution to infected tissue, the first step is to clean the target area of dirt and debris, making it much easier to get a good amount of coverage. Then, a natural solution can be applied. Natural ear infection remedies that may be considered are as follows.

  • Use cooled brewed green tea to clean the ear, applying with a pure cotton ball (not synthetic). Do not pour the tea into the ear as it may wash the debris further into the canal.
  • Olive oil works as a cleaner for dog's ears; do not use an excessive amount. Put a few drops in the ear while massaging it and then use a cotton ball to remove the debris.
  • Dab a cotton ball with hydrogen peroxide and add drops of coconut oil for your dog's ears; it is an effective cleanser.
  • Apple cider vinegar and equal parts water can be used to clean the ears against infection, but do not use this if the ear tissue is raw.

Inflamed ears with broken skin should be checked by the veterinarian so that a soothing antibiotic can be prescribed. In the case of a severe infection, your dog may need to be sedated so that pain is avoided as the ear is treated. 

If your dog's ear drum is ruptured, putting liquid in could be very harmful. The only way to know if the ear drum is intact is for a vet to visually assess the canal.

Efficacy of Natural Ear Infection Remedies in Dogs

Unfortunately, natural solutions to infection and infestations are not always regarded as being very effective. While a remedy such as an apple cider vinegar mix may be able to resolve a milder case of mites, it would be hard-pressed to deal with a full-blown infestation. Modern pharmaceuticals are much more effective and will bring much faster relief. The itching caused by mites can be done away with quite fast if a spot-on is used to kill the creatures. Similarly, bacterial and fungal infections will require especially prompt treatment in order to prevent serious damage to your pet's hearing and to stop the infection spreading further into the body. Once an infection is cleared up, natural remedies are a good way to keep the ear clean and free of bacteria, yeast, and mites.

Natural Ear Infection Remedies Recovery in Dogs

The rate of recovery differs substantially depending on the level of severity of the infection. Bad cases can take a while for your dog to get better, as the tissues of the ear take time to heal and can be prone to reinfection. That said, as long as there is no permanent damage sustained, your companion should return to normal within the space of a month. The vet will most likely want to arrange a follow-up appointment after a few weeks have gone by in order to check that they are healing well and to make sure that there has been no permanent damage to your dog's hearing. 

Cost of Natural Ear Infection Remedies in Dogs

While pet owners may feel that using a natural product is more cost-effective, the opposite is true if an infection is left too long and bacteria, yeast or parasitic infection proliferate into a complicated condition. A round of antibiotics is not expensive but a situation that develops into several follow-up visits can become so. A loss of hearing in your pet due to recurrent infection is a hefty price to pay.

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Dog Natural Ear Infection Remedies Considerations

Despite the potential utility of natural remedies, many dog owners worry that they are simply not very effective compared to modern medicines. This fear is quite justified, as natural remedies are typically quite slow-acting and can allow an infection or infestation to progress to a more advanced level if not performed properly. Additionally, when dealing with tissues as delicate and important as those found in the ears, it can be of the utmost importance to reach a speedy resolution. This means that conventional drugs are perhaps better suited in all situations except the most minor of parasitic infestations. 

As well, there is a certain risk involved with using products not approved by the vet, whether they are from the pharmacy or the kitchen. You may ask, can I use Neosporin on my dog's ears? Or is it safe to use herbal formulations on my pet? Remember, a natural remedy or pharmacy medication that is safe for humans is not always okay for pets. Ingestion of the product when your dog licks or an allergic reaction to it are real possibilities to consider.

Ear infections cause a great deal of pain. Prescription medicine is needed to control this pain and delaying vet care can mean your dog struggles to cope with the discomfort.

Natural Ear Infection Remedies Prevention in Dogs

Many dogs will go their entire lives without experiencing such a health problem. Some breeds (such as Cocker Spaniels, Pugs, and Bulldogs) are especially prone to ear infections, meaning that owners should take the time to regularly inspect and clean their ears to prevent the buildup of dirt that can allow harmful bacteria to gain a foothold. Additionally, poor nutrition and general health can leave an animal with a compromised immune system that cannot fight off hostile bacteria or fungal infection. By making sure that their dog enjoys a good diet and plenty of quality exercise, owners can sidestep a large array of health problems.

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