Ear infections in dogs can be a chronic problem. Unlike the human ear canal, which is horizontal, the canine ear canal is L-shaped with a vertical passage that tends to collect moisture, wax and other gunk that are hard to remove, leading to yeast and bacterial infections.
And it isn’t just floppy-eared dogs that are prone to infections either. Any dog of any age is susceptible, so you have to watch out for:
– Episodes of vigorous shaking or tilting of the head.
– Redness and inflammation inside the ear.
– Accumulation of brownish discharge.
– Foul (often sweet) odor.
– Crust, scabs and traces of blood left from vigorous scratching.
– In extreme cases, if your pet is showing signs of unusual eye movements or lack of balance, then the chronic ear infection has festered, and you should take him/her to the vet immediately.
Common ear infections, typically get treated by vets with food restrictions (in case of allergies) and medication (in case of yeast, bacteria and hormonal imbalances). But while the symptoms may clear up for a while, they often seem to come right back again – which is why you should know a few home remedies to give your dog some relief in between vet visits:
# 1: APPLE CIDER VINEGAR:
• Apple cider vinegar (ACV) seems to have so many cleaning and healing uses around the house! But before you reach for your trusty bottle of ACV to clear up your pet’s ear infection, remember NEVER to do that if there are signs of redness, trace blood, scratches or lacerations, because the vinegar will be extremely painful if it comes in contact with an open wound. Use caution and avoid ACV in such cases.
To use ACV safely, mix it with equal parts of distilled water and administer into the ear canal like an eardrop. If you don’t have a dropper, you can soak a cotton ball in the solution and apply that instead.
# 2: COCONUT AND GARLIC OIL
• Both coconut oil and garlic have antibacterial and antifungal properties. To apply a mix of the two to an infected ear, heat some coconut oil with a clove of fresh garlic. Cool the fragrant coconut-garlic oil so it doesn’t burn your pet’s ears, and then apply with a dropper or cotton ball at least 2 times a day for 5-7 days.
# 3: GREEN TEA
• Green tea soothes a painful ear infection and the antioxidant-rich brew reduces inflammation as well. Boil water with a bag of green tea (or loose leaf) and set aside, allowing the liquid to cool. Apply about 10 drops twice daily. Combine the green tea application with more powerful home remedies for an effective home treatment plan.
# 4: BORIC ACID AND GLYCERIN
• Boric acid is a well-known agent that inhibits growth of bacteria. And glycerin softens the skin inside the ear with adding moisture. Mix 2 tbsp of boric acid with 1 tbsp of glycerin and apply to the infected ear. Remember that if there are any signs of open wounds, minor scratches etc, do not use boric acid.
# 5: ALOE VERA GEL
• You can buy aloe vera gel in bottles and tube, but you can also source pure aloe vera from Asian grocery stores, where they sell freshly-cut aloe vera leaves for a dollar or two each. Cut a portion of the leaf and scoop out the fleshy gel from inside. Leave the rest in the refrigerator and cut new pieces off as needed. If fresh aloe vera is not easily available in your area, by a bottle of pure aloe vera gel and apply.Warm up a teaspoon of aloe vera (if it has been in the fridge) and use cotton swabs to apply into the ears. Do this two to three times daily to make your dog more comfortable. Using aloe vera will help to soothe the redness, itching and irritation caused from the ear infection.