If your dog is digging at his ears and rubbing his head, suspect itchy ears. Yeast infections, bacterial infections, allergies or ear mites may cause the irritation. According to the website "Dog Health," redness and discharge are symptoms of ear infection. If your dog has a severe infection, he will need the help of a veterinarian. For other causes, there are several home remedies for itchy ears that may help.
Yellow dock grows in North and South America, Asia and Europe and many consider it a weed. However, American Indians and Chinese have used it for several centuries for healing rashes, wounds and burns. You can purchase the dried herb root in health food stores. To quiet the itching, due to a yeast infection or allergies, add 2 Tbsp. dried yellow dock in 2 cups water. Bathe the ear flap and skin with the lukewarm tea. Keep the liquid out of the ear canal.
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Olive Oil With Tea Tree Oil
The website "Life Extension" suggests tea tree oil as an effective topical treatment for itchy ears, as it has antifungal properties. Add one drop tea tree oil to a quarter cup warm olive oil. This mixture will soothe and clean the outer ear and treat an underlying yeast infection. Olive oil with tea tree oil will also suffocate ear mites. Put a few drops into the ear and massage the base of the ear to get it down into the canal. This will stop itching and you can clean out loosened debris with a cotton ball. Continue to use the mixture for 10 days to eliminate the mites.
Zymox Otic, available at pet-supply stores, treats both yeast and bacterial infections. It does not contain antibiotics, but uses active enzymes. According to the manufacturer, this product is safe even if swallowed.
Aloe will not cure an infection, but the gel can be soothing. Only use gel that you can purchase at a grocery or drugstore. Do not apply the juice straight from the aloe leaf—this can be harmful to your dog if he licks it. Pure aloe contains saponins, which are toxic to dogs.
Use 16 drops gentian violet in 16 ounces rubbing alcohol. Add 4 tablespoons boric acid powder. This solution will treat ear infections caused by yeast or bacteria. It will also soothe and stop the itch. Once the infection is gone, you can avoid a recurrence by using it each month. Be warned, gentian violet will stain furniture and fabrics until it has dried.
Isopropyl Alcohol and Vinegar
Moisten cotton balls with a warmed solution of equal parts alcohol and vinegar. Carefully clean all debris and dried blood from the outer ear. Do not let the solution get into the ear canal. The website "Healthy Pet" instructs you to keep your dog's ears dry. The vinegar in the solution cleans the ears and the alcohol dries it. The alcohol will also help soften wax in the ear.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.