by Mariana Burgos
Ear infections are very common in dogs. In fact, our own canine companion has had an ear infection twice already. That’s because we did not properly educate ourselves enough about it before. When Milky, our dog, had another infection just last week (and it was a lot worse than the first time because of the infected wounds caused by her constant scratching in just a day), it was so bad that we had to bring her to the vet again for treatment. Getting a proper diagnosis as to the cause of the problem is important, after which a range of natural remedies can help to effectively get rid of it.
Types of dog-ear ailments:
The following ear conditions can mimic an ear infection and have similar symptoms, making the diagnosis more challenging:
1. Ear mites are little parasites that enter your dog’s ear canal and consume any wax or accumulation there. Due to their mobility, ear mites are simple to identify even though they produce severe itching and irritation. They are particularly common in puppies and dogs with recurrent ear infections, but any dog might end up as the unlucky host to these frightening spiders.
2. Loose Hair in Inner Canal. If you’ve ever had something trapped in your ear canal, you can only imagine how upsetting it may be for your dog. Your dog will display symptoms of an ear infection without any odor or discharge if there is a loose hair or fiber that has been deeply embedded in the ear canal. Even though it can seem innocuous, a single hair can destroy the eardrum and must be removed right away by a veterinarian.
3. Hair Growth in Inner Canal. On occasion, hair will grow deeply inside the inner ear canal, making your dog scratch constantly and rub his ears against the floor. You can leave the hair alone unless your dog exhibits symptoms of discomfort. Your veterinarian can assist in getting rid of the irritant hairs if your dog is agitated.
4. The Swimmer’s Ear condition affects both humans and dogs, and it can be very uncomfortable for both. Water being stuck in the ear canal causes swimmer’s ear, which can cause Otitis Externa. Keep your dog’s ears clean, and as soon as they exit the water, dry them off to avoid swimmer’s ear. (Nicole Crosgrove, Four Natural Home Remedies to Treat Dog Ear Infections, 24 August 2022)
Before doing home remedies…
It’s crucial to collaborate with your veterinarian to provide an accurate diagnosis for any ailment that affects your dog. He or she will start by asking you a lot of questions about your health and performing an ear examination. An ear swab to exclude the presence of ear mites and to provide a preliminary cytological assessment of the bacteria in the ear may be necessary as part of diagnostic testing. You could also require an ear culture. These are typically sent to specialized labs where it will be determined which microorganisms are causing issues with the ear and which treatments are most likely to work.
Your veterinarian should enquire not just about your dog’s diet but also about his environment because certain ear infections might be brought on by allergies. Dietary modifications or allergy tests may be alternatives for additional diagnosis and treatment.
When it comes to treating canine ear infections, there are numerous possibilities. You are probably most familiar with a treatment regimen that includes some sort of medication that is either directly applied to the ear canal or taken orally in the form of antibiotics, antifungals, or anti-inflammatories. Although these drugs have long served as the cornerstone of veterinary treatment, there is a risk of adverse effects, and infection-causing agents are becoming more resistant. This indicates that other possibilities are getting more and more significant.
Some DIYs to clean the ears of your dog.
Start by maintaining the cleanliness of your dog’s ears. One of the simplest remedies to produce is a mixture of 3 per cent (%) hydrogen peroxide and water, which can help eliminate wax buildup in the ears. This not only helps remove debris, but also assists in balancing the ear’s natural environment and keeping the right pH.
Apple cider vinegar is a fantastic natural ear cleanser that may be used either alone or in conjunction with isopropyl alcohol. Just a tiny capful of ACV should be mixed with two cups of water. Pour a tiny bit of the mixture into the ear canal and massage the ears to treat an ear infection. After that, carefully absorb as much as you can with a cotton ball. Simply use the same combination to clean the outer ears and apply it with a cotton ball as preventive care.
GSE is a potent natural antioxidant made from grapefruit seed extract. Additionally, it is antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial. Mix 10 drops of GSE with 12 ounces of pure aloe vera juice before applying topically. Cleanse the ears with it. Add 3 to 5 drops of GSE to your dog’s food to administer it orally.
Everyone seems to be using coconut oil in their meals and therapeutic salves. If your dog frequently develops ear infections, coconut oil is a fantastic thing to keep on hand because of its antifungal and antibacterial characteristics. It works similarly to Apple Cider Vinegar in preventing them. Apply 1-2 drops of melted (WARM, not hot!) coconut oil carefully into the ear to treat infections. Apply coconut oil with a cotton ball to the outer ear to avoid infections.
One of the most helpful natural healing components that is practically ubiquitous is green tea, which is commonly regarded as such. If a dog owner cannot immediately take their pet to the veterinarian, green tea can help ease the pain and discomfort. Add a bag of organic green tea to water that has been brought to the point of boiling. Then allow a five-minute steeping, followed by cooling off. The infected ear should have 3–5 drops applied, and the canal should be massaged. (Dana Scott, Natural Remedies for Dog Ear Infection Treatment, 3 August 2022; Nicole Crosgrove, Four Natural Home Remedies to Treat Dog Ear Infections, 24 August 2022)
Avoid overcleaning your dog’s ears. The tissue lining the ear canal might become irritated or damaged by excessive or vigorous cleaning.
The root cause of ear problems in dogs:
A healthy “gut” is equal to a very strong immune system. A GI (gastro intestinal) environment that is healthy can be preserved with the help of probiotics. The influence of “gut” health on other areas of the body, however, has become more widely known in recent years. A stronger immune system, improved cognitive ability, and improved skin health, for instance, have all been connected to good GI health.
The body has a better chance of maintaining correct pH and skin functioning with improved immunity and skin health. As a result, the ears are better able to maintain the ideal microenvironment, which includes the right numbers of healthy bacteria and other microorganisms required for pH balance and proper function. While it can take a few weeks before results are seen, starting a probiotic program is crucial for both overall wellness and ear health. (Dana Scott, Natural Remedies for Dog Ear Infection Treatment, 3 August 2022; The Natural Pet Doctor, Natural Remedies for Dog Ear Infections, https://thenaturalpetdoctor.com/natural-remedies-for-dog-ear-infections/)
There are numerous different probiotic formulations and dosage recommendations. To choose the best product for your dog and his unique condition, speak with your veterinarian.
About the Author: Mariana Burgos is a freelance artist. She is a solo parent for 15 years now because she is wife to a desaparacido. She and her daughter are animal lovers and are active in advocating not only human rights but the rights of animals as well.
This article also appears in the Manila Standard
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