Your pup is shaking his head, scratching his ears and clearly looks in pain and discomfort. You are at a loss as to what to do and may have tried everything, including expensive ear drops from your vet – nothing is working. You have come to the right place, and here at Barkin Bistro, we see this problem regularly.
Your pups ears are a window to digestive health and when something is wrong with their ears, it often means their immune system needs some help. Approximately 90% of your pups immune system lives in the gut – if the gut is not happy – the body fails to work properly.
What causes ear infections in dogs?
Ear infections can be caused by many things, folks; some breeds such as spaniels, have floppy, hairy ears and, are always in and out of the water. They are more likely to get ear infections than other breeds. Any dog can get ear infections and these breeds do have the perfect environment for bacteria to live and thrive in their ears. However, diet plays a really big part here too.
What is an ear infection?
There are three different types of ear infections:
Infection or inflammation of the external part of your pup’s ear.
Inflammation and infection in the middle ear which may have spread from the external problem, or could mean a foreign object has become stuck in the ear.
Infection and inflammation of the inner ear which can lead to deafness and loss of balance.
What are the signs of an ear infection in dogs?
- Head shaking
- Scratching or pawing at the ears
- Rubbing ears against furniture or floor
- Their ears feel hot when touched
- The ears are smelly
- Waxy discharge – can be brownish-yellow in colour
- Crusty, scabby, red, and irritated skin inside the ear flap
If very the infection is very severe, you may see
- Loss of hearing
- Loss of balance
- Droopy eyelids or mouth
- Dropping their food, difficulty with eating or drinking
- Walking in circles
In severe cases it is important to get veterinary help immediately.
How do I prevent my dog from getting ear infections?
Here at Barkin Bistro, we believe that diet plays a huge part in preventing your pup from getting ear infections. A fresh raw diet can be a game changer folks as we have mentioned before. If your pup is eating kibble, it will be high in carbohydrates, synthetic vitamins, minerals, and starch. These ingredients can be toxic to your pup and are likely to feed the yeast in their body – carbohydrates turn to sugar and yeast loves sugar, hence the reason your pup may be getting ear infections. Take out the unnecessary carbohydrates and the problem goes away.
Patience is important here folks, the healing process may take some time and can get worse before it improves. It is normal to see your pup releasing toxins through their ears and is part of the healing process (however hard for you as their pet parent). Conventional medicine may stop the problem quickly, but this will just drive the problem into the body further and may possibly cause more serious issues.
Topical relief and remedies to help dogs with ear infections
There are several effective topical remedies that can help soothe your pup before we find out what the cause of the problem is, which is likely to be the food they are currently eating.
Apple Cider Vinegar (with The Mother)
Apple cider vinegar with The Mother (these are the cloudy bits floating around) can help reduce the itch and discomfort of an ear infection, but do not use it on broken skin as it may sting. Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar and 1 part filtered or spring water. Clean the visible parts of the ear with a cotton wool ball soaked in the mixture. Be careful not to pour the liquid into the ear. A few drops into the ear canal can also help and then massage very gently below the ear.
Calendula can be very effective to relieve pain and inflammation and also has antimicrobial properties which may help with infection. Use 5-10 drops of calendula herbal tincture and mix with a cup of warm filtered water and drop a couple into the infected ear, massaging gently.
Garlic is a wonderful remedy that is antibacterial, and antimicrobial amongst many other things. Make your own oil by crushing a clove of organic garlic (very important as non-organic garlic may contain arsenic) in some warm olive oil and gently wipe the infected part of the ear.
Green tea can be soothing for infected ears and is easy to use. Simply boil around 8ozs of water, add two organic green tea bags, and steep for a couple of minutes. Allow to cool and bathe the infected ear with cotton wool balls. This mixture can be kept in the fridge for a week and reused, make sure you use a clean cotton wool ball each time.
A natural antibiotic and effective for infections. Add one drop to approximately half an ounce of pure organic aloe vera juice and wipe the infected part of the ear with a cotton wool ball dipped into the mixture.
Are there supplements I can give my dog for ear infections?
We have a range of supplements that can help your pup rebuild gut health that may have been damaged by the wrong diet. A healthy pup is less likely to suffer from ear infections.
Choosing natural pre and probiotics can help and also making sure your home and garden is not filled with chemical cleaners, shampoo, plug-ins and toxic weedkillers can also make a significant difference. Anything with synthetic fragrances should be avoided too!
Unnecessary vaccinations, antibiotics and other chemical medication, including flea and worm treatments may also harm your pup’s gut, which can lead to his immune system becoming weakened. Another couple of articles here!!
Should I clean my dogs ears regularly?
Some wax in your pup’s ears is normal and healthy ears should not need cleaning. Look at your own ears and you will know how bad it is to poke things down your ears folks! Over-cleaning your pup’s ears can disrupt the balance of the natural wax and the hairs in the ear which are designed to protect the inner ear. Only clean your pup’s ears if you feel it is necessary and never use medicated solutions that can damage the skin. Organic witch hazel is gentle and safe to use with a cotton wool ball.
The conclusion here folks is that if you feel your pup has a serious ear infection, seek the help of a holistic vet. If it is a mild infection, a change of diet or chat with a Canine Nutritionist may help alongside some of our natural topical remedies.