Home Remedies for a Dog Ear Infection

By Laura Heilman

Have you noticed your dog shaking her head lately or scratching at her ears more than usual? If these symptoms are accompanied by a foul odor or discharge from the ear, she may have an ear infection. Bacterial and yeast infections are the most common causes of dog ear problems. If your dog is already suffering from an ear infection, there is no substitute for veterinary care. Before beginning treatment of any type, see your vet for an accurate diagnosis. Because of the risk of hearing loss, persistent ear infections need to be investigated. Regular care and ear cleaning will keep yeast and bacterial infections at bay and make your dog more comfortable.

Prevention

Good hygiene and grooming are essential to preventing a dog's ear infection. According to the "Merck Veterinary Manual," clipping the fur inside the ears improves air circulation inside the ear and prevents infections. Try dry food with lamb, rice and quality ingredients, avoiding preservatives to decrease wax buildup. After a bath or swim, dry the dog's ears thoroughly. Yeast thrives in the warm, moist ear canal. After walks, check for prickers or other matter that should be extracted from the ear. To be safe, periodically check your dog's ears for leaves, twigs or other foreign objects.

Symptoms

Signs of an ear infection in dogs include whining and shaking the head as well as scratching at the ears. You may notice discharge or an abnormal odor in your dog's ear.

Oil Treatments

Cod Liver Oil - A few drops of cod liver oil in the ear canal can help ease the pain of a middle or inner ear infection. This will not get rid of the infection, however, so get the dog to the vet as soon as possible.

Vitamin E Oil - A few drops of vitamin E oil in the dog's ear can help to relieve pain and calm the inflamed tissues of the ear. Try breaking open a Vitamin E capsule and using a syringe or dropper to put a few drops of the oil into the ears.  Gently massage the ear for 10 seconds.

Garlic Oil - Garlic is a powerful antiseptic and is another remedy for a dog's ear infection.  Apply two to three drops of garlic oil, a natural antibiotic, in your dog's ear. Rub very gently for about 10 seconds. Oil from a garlic capsule is effective, but if you would rather use a clove, soak it overnight in some olive oil and use drops from that oil instead.

Vinegar

The acidic nature of vinegar makes it a good remedy for ear infections caused by overgrowth of yeast bacteria. White vinegar and apple cider vinegar will both work.  First, clean out your dog's ear with a canine ear wash and remove the excess liquid with a tissue or cotton ball.  Combine one part vinegar to two parts water and warm it just a bit for your dog's comfort. Apply the mix with a gentle mist from a spray bottle or with a soft cloth swiped just around the inside of the ear. Avoid cleaning deep in the ear so that you do not hurt your dog or worsen the infection. Apply two to four times a week.

Vitamin C

Give your dog a daily Vitamin C supplement to support her immune system and to reduce inflammation in the ear canal. Check with your vet to find out the correct dosage. You may want to start with a small dose and work up to the correct dose for the dog's size. Too much Vitamin C can cause diarrhea in some dogs.

Warm compress

Warm compresses applied to the dog's ear several times a day is also effective to help with the pain. Dip a hand towel in warm water and wring it out. Apply the moist towel to the outside of the ear. Press very gently and hold there for about 30 seconds.