Dogs who have long ears or who swim a lot may suffer from recurring ear infections. But ear infections can also occur in older dogs, those with a lot of ear wax and puppies who have been recently vaccinated. Dogs with conditions like immune system disorders, thyroid imbalances and allergies are also susceptible to ear infections. Read here for a more detailed discussion about causes and symptoms, plus additional ideas for natural treatment options.
While conventional medicine provides plenty of topical medications, antibiotics and surgery to resolve the problem of chronic and acute canine ear infections, if you want to take a more natural and preventive approach to keeping your dog’s ears as healthy as possible and infection-free, here are some holistic approaches you can try.
Start with Your Dog’s Diet
When you take a holistic approach to health, you have to view the body as a whole unit, so you need to target various areas of the body, rather than solely focusing on the symptomatic area, in order to resolve a specific issue. One way that you can help your dog have healthier ears is by switching to a species-appropriate, grain-free diet that can help combat an overabundance of yeast that can lead to ear infections.
You may also want to opt for a minimally processed or raw diet, under the guidance of your veterinarian, in order to provide whole food nutrients that your pup’s immune system can use to combat infections before they take root.
Try eliminating any foods that contain grains, artificial colors and flavors, and fillers from your dog’s diet and supplement that diet with a high quality probiotic that will help your dog’s body maintain the ideal balance of good bacteria.
Working under the guidance of an experienced homeopathic vet, you can also use homeopathic remedies to combat your dog’s ear infections. Your vet will determine the right remedy and dose based upon your dog’s entire constitution. Many homeopathic medications are administered in the form of small white pellets or in liquid form.
Some commonly prescribed homeopathic medications include:
- Hepar Sulph: This is great for dogs whose inflamed ears make them painful to the touch. The pain and discomfort can make your pup irritable and skittish about accepting topical medications.
- Silica: If the infection is caused by a foreign object I the ear, Silica may help the dog’s body force the object out.
- Pulsatilla: This option can help ease acute flare-ups that manifest with redness, sensitivity and/or a yellowish discharge from the ears.
- Phosphorus: This medication is ideal for dogs who have hematomas or cuts in the ears, as it can help stem any bleeding.
- Sulphur: Often used long-term, this remedy can be used to treat ear infections that result in excessive pawing or scratching of the ears.
- Tellurium: Dogs who have a severe aural discharge that has a strong, offensive smell, along with loss of hair under and around the ears, can benefit from Tellurium. You will also notice that these pets’ ears are very sensitive to the touch.
There are also many natural topical remedies that you can try to help your pup deal with the pain and discomfort of an ear infection.
You can start by creating a cleanser from a cup of lukewarm water and two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. Use this mixture to gently and carefully wipe excess wax and debris from any visible areas of your dog’s ears. This will help adjust the pH and remove contaminants from your dog’s ears.
You can also apply calendula lotion, comfrey and tea tree oil to the ears with a cotton ball or soft cloth for general healing and cleansing benefits. Be sure to wipe the ears gently to remove excess buildup and wax without pushing anything into your dog’s ear canals.
Other topical options include gentian, colloidal silver and mullein oil. Gentian can be used to clean the ears thoroughly and colloidal silver drops can be applied into your dog’s ears on a daily basis for up to 10 days. Mullein oil can be applied to the ears as well in order to treat basic ear infections.
Again, talk to your vet before administering any remedies in order to find the one that is right for your dog, and ask your vet to show you how to properly clean your dog’s ears.
Prevention of Ear Infections
Regularly checking your dog’s ears and cleaning them thoroughly will also help prevent ear infections before they even occur. Symptoms of an ear infection include redness, excessive scratching and/or shaking of the head, or a strange odor emanating from one or both ears.
Dog ear infections are painful and uncomfortable but there are plenty of natural treatments that you can employ both for the prevention and treatment of these infections. From diet to topical remedies, a holistic approach can give you the results that you are looking for, especially if your dog suffers from chronic infections.