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Easy on the Ears: How to Treat a Dog’s Ear Infection Without a Vet

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Most dog owners truly love their dog and want to give their pet the very best possible care. When something is wrong and a trip to the vet is not an option or in the budget, what can be done? If an ear infection is suspected, there are quite a few treatments that you can use at home to heal the infection and make your dog more comfortable.

Signs That Your Dog is Suffering From an Ear Infection

Ear infections can be very uncomfortable and even painful for your dog. Symptoms of an infection can include vigorous head shaking, rubbing the ear on the floor or furniture, pawing at the ear, redness inside the ear, a foul odor in the ear, discharge from the ear, inflammation, crusty accumulation in the ear and holding the head in a tilted position.

Do Not Delay

As soon as you notice your dog’s ear infection, begin treatment. It is much easier to tackle a small infection than one that has been festering for some time. Of course, you will also want to alleviate your furry friend’s discomfort as soon as possible.

First Things First

Gather All Supplies Before You Begin

Easy on the Ears: How to Treat a Dog's Ear Infection Without a Vet

Having everything that you will need within reach will make the process much easier on you and less stressful for your dog. Be sure to have the chosen treatment, cotton balls or gauze pads, an extra towel or two, and some treats for your dog nearby.

Why It Is Important to Clean the Ear

It is always a good idea to gently and thoroughly clean the ear before applying any treatment. Cleaning out any accumulated debris will help to ensure that the treatment is able to reach the affected area and will also help to promote better air circulation to aid in healing.

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How to Clean the Ear

There are many over-the-counter ear cleaning products available, or you can make your own easily. Witch Hazel not only soothes the area but also cleanses efficiently and dries quickly. A teaspoon of vinegar mixed with a teaspoon of warm water works well, but will sting if used on any open wounds.

What Not to Do

If your dog is indeed suffering from an ear infection, avoid letting him go for a swim. Infections caused by yeast and bacteria thrive in warm, moist environments, so try to keep the ear clean and dry. Do not use any cotton-tipped swabs (like Q-tips) as they are likely to push any debris farther into the ear canal, compounding the problem.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Warm Olive Oil

Apple cider vinegar is an excellent treatment option, as long as there are no open wounds present. Raw, organic ACV with the mother present is even better. Just mix with a bit of warm, not hot, olive oil before use. Apply a few drops to the ear and gently massage the base of the ear, or apply this mixture with a cotton ball or gauze pad.

Apple cider vinegar has been used as a remedy for various ailments for hundreds of years. It has powerful antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. In addition to lowering both blood sugar and cholesterol levels and helping with weight loss, ACV is also an impressive fighter of infections. Following an ACV treatment, the ear should heal quickly.

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White Vinegar

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If you do not have any apple cider vinegar on hand, white vinegar will help clear up the infection as well. Simply mix together equal parts of white vinegar and warm water. Use a cotton ball, gauze pad or something similar to administer the mixture to the dog’s ear.


Calendula is prized for its abilities to heal skin and ear problems. You can purchase a calendula infused oil from health food stores or pharmacies and massage a few drops into the ear. If you have access to calendula flowers, you can make your own infusion by letting them soak in a carrier oil for a day or two.

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Aloe Vera Juice

Pure aloe vera juice can usually be found in the pharmacy section of grocery stores. Applied directly to the infected ear, aloe vera juice can alleviate irritation and dramatically reduce inflammation, making your dog much more comfortable. If you have access to an aloe plant, the gel found inside the leaves will also help to heal the ear.


Raw garlic not only boasts an incredible amount of health-boosting properties, but it is also quite potent when it comes to fighting infections. There are several ways to use garlic as a remedy for an ear infection.

Garlic and Olive Oil

Crush one clove of raw garlic, place it in a bowl or jar and add three tablespoons of olive oil. Cover tightly and allow it to sit overnight. Strain the mixture carefully the next day and apply two or three drops of the oil to the ear.

Garlic and Coconut Oil

Coconut oil itself is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. Combine that with the incredible properties of garlic, and you have a champion infection-fighter. Prepare the same way as the olive oil blend, but melt the coconut oil before beginning and before straining.

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Garlic and Other Carrier Oils

Easy on the Ears: How to Treat a Dog's Ear Infection Without a Vet

Carrier oils such as sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, grape seed oil and avocado oil are commonly used to dilute essential oils in the making of skin and hair products. While each oil has unique properties, most are high in vitamin E and contain anti-inflammatory properties. To combine with garlic, follow the above steps for the garlic and olive oil remedy.


Many health food stores carry either mullein leaf tea or a specially prepared mullein leaf oil for treating ear infections. Either option will help to quickly eradicate the infection. Drip two to three drops of the tea or oil into the ear and gently massage the base of the ear. Wipe off any excess.

Eco Ears

Eco ears is an over-the-counter product that you can have shipped directly to your home if purchased online. This 100% natural product works by making the ear environment uninhabitable to bacteria, fungus, yeast and mite species. Eco Ears claims to provide relief within two days.

Boric Acid

Boric acid can be used in three different ways when combating an ear infection.

Mixed With Water

You can mix two tablespoons of boric acid with half of a cup of warm water to clean the ear. The boric acid helps to break down and remove any wax or debris trapped in the ear. Carefully add a teaspoon of the solution to the ear and massage the base of the ear. Allow your dog to shake out the solution and wipe the ear clean.

Mixed With Glycerin

To use this remedy, mix two tablespoons of boric acid with one tablespoon of glycerin and gently clean the ear with the mixture. The boric acid helps to break down any debris and the glycerin coats and soothes the ear, leaving it feeling surprisingly soft to the touch.

In Powdered Form

Easy on the Ears: How to Treat a Dog's Ear Infection Without a Vet

After the worse of the inflammation has dissipated, you can sprinkle a small amount of boric acid straight from the bottle into the ear. This will help maintain dry conditions in the ear and make the ear a less hospitable environment for bacteria and yeast to thrive. Use with caution though, as boric acid should not be inhaled or swallowed.

Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea tree essential oil is quite well known for its capability to tackle numerous skin conditions. To fight an ear infection, mix two to three drops of the tea tree oil with one tablespoon of carrier oil such as avocado oil. Gently massage a few drops into the ear. Do not use tea tree oil undiluted or without a carrier oil.

Oregano Essential Oil

Another essential oil to try is oregano. It is effective in fighting bacterial, yeast and fungal issues, which are all common causes of dog ear infections. Add several drops to a tablespoon of a carrier oil and massage into the infected area. Essential oils should always be used with a carrier oil as they are quite potent on their own and could irritate skin.

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Green Tea

After a gentle, thorough cleaning of the ear, brew a cup of green tea and allow to cool. Pour a small amount into the ear and allow the dog to vigorously shake his head. Dry with a cotton ball or gauze pad. The green tea will sooth the skin and relieve some of the inflammation.

Use a Combination of Treatments

While all of the above treatments can be very helpful on their own, you can maximize their benefits by combining several into one. For instance, a combination of calendula oil, garlic and tea tree oil will pack a powerful punch. Mullein leaf oil, aloe vera juice and glycerin could be another combination to try.

Things to Remember

Do not delay. Begin treatment right away. Try to remain calm and patient when treating the ear. Always be gentle to avoid causing the dog any pain or discomfort. Try a combination of different remedies and treat the ear several times a day. Your furry friend will soon be on the road to recovery and have you to thank.

Last update on 2020-11-25

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