If you've noticed that your dog has recently begun to shake her head, scratch her ears, or is rubbing the side of her face on household items, like the carpet, you may have an ear infection on your hands. This can ring especially true if your canine companion has just enjoyed a swim, a playful romp through the backyard hose, or has been exposed to any other situation where water may have come in contact with her ears. Whether your dog is a floppy-eared breed who is naturally prone to ear infections, or if you just noticed an irritation out of the blue, you will need to seek treatment. Luckily, there are many home remedies for dog ear infection techniques, one of which involves the antibacterial and antifungal powers of tea tree oil.
How to Treat a Yeast Infection in Dogs' Ears With Tea Tree Essential Oil
Types of dog ear infection
To properly treat an ear infection in your dog, it's important to familiarize yourself with the various types of infections out there. According to PetMD, the most common cause of ear infections in dogs is bacteria, although fungal infections and ear mites are common ailments, as well. Additionally, yeast overgrowth can lead to ear infections, the symptoms of which usually appear as waxy residue, redness, discharge accompanied by a foul odor, and loss of hair or crusted skin on or around the ear, WebMD explains.
Treating a yeast infection
To treat a dog ear infection caused by yeast, a visit to your veterinarian will be your best bet. You don't want to ignore the symptoms of an uncomfortable dog, as untreated ear infections can lead to serious side effects, including loss of balance and permanent hearing loss. When your doctor examines a sample taken from your dog's ear, she will be able to determine the cause of the infection. From there, medication will be provided, and your dog will be back to his usual self in no time. If yeast is the cause, you may be able to treat the infection naturally by using tea tree oil for your dog's ears, as long as you take the proper precautions.
Tea tree oil for dogs' ears
Tea tree oil has many therapeutic uses. And it's well-known for its effectiveness in treating skincare issues, ranging from acne to dandruff, and even to ear infections in dogs. To treat a dog yeast infection with tea tree oil, you'll first want to get the go-ahead from your veterinarian. Then, you'll need to create a tea tree oil formula safe enough for your dog to withstand before administering a tea tree oil treatment in or on her ears.
When used on dogs, tea tree oil has been known to treat ear infections, mild cases of fleas, dry, flaky skin, and hot spots caused by allergies. Vet Street does warn, however, that pure tea tree oil has proven toxic for some dogs, which is why it's crucial to never administer tea tree oil orally and to always dilute the oil with the appropriate amount of water to form a safe solution. Most tea tree oil is sold undiluted at 100 percent strength, so you must water it down until it's at .1-to-1 percent strength to ensure a safe experience for your dog.
How to treat at home
To treat an ear infection naturally, Fab How says to start by mixing 3 drops of tea tree oil with 1 tablespoon of carrier oil, like olive oil, which can help the solution stick to the inside of the ear. You can also use water to dilute your tea tree oil by mixing 1 part oil to 250 parts water. Blend everything well, then use a dropper to place a few drops of the solution onto the outside of your dog's ear at the base, taking extra care to make sure the tea tree oil won't touch a part of his body that he may be able to lick. Next, gently massage the oil into the base of his ear to help the solution spread throughout the ear, and repeat once or twice daily for about one-to-two weeks.
Finally, make sure to keep an eye on your dog and his behavior after using tea tree oil to treat any condition, yeast infection or otherwise, suggests Wag. If you notice signs of possible tea tree oil poisoning; like drooling, vomiting, muscle weakness, depression, or rashes on her skin, rinse the treated area with water immediately, and visit your veterinarian if symptoms persist. If you still wish to treat your dog using natural remedies but feel worried that tea tree oil may be too much for your pet, you can instead mix 1 part apple cider vinegar to 1 part water to create a safe, antibacterial rinse for his ears.