Ear Infections in Dogs – A Holistic Way to Treat Ear Infections

Making a Mullein Mix

For an easy-to-make-at-home preparation for mild infections, you can make a mullein mix as follows:

Pack mullein leaves and flowers in a glass jar and cover with olive oil. For increased antibiotic effectiveness, you can add a clove or two of garlic per pint of oil. Let the mixture sit for two to three weeks. Strain and apply several drops of the warmed oil into the ear canal.

Please note that the key to curing external ear infections is getting the herbal mixture into contact with the offending bugs. Have your veterinarian show you how to properly apply vinegar or herbal solutions so that they reach deep into the ear canal. And remember, as always, it’s much easier to prevent infection than to cure it. For prevention, I recommend using a mild herbal ear remedy once a month or so throughout your pet’s lifetime, both internally and topically into the ear canal. For infections, the duration of use can vary on a case-by-case basis from once or twice daily for a few weeks to once a week for several months.

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) has relaxing, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, sedative, and antiseptic qualities and is perfect for soothing sore ears. Taken internally, it has a powerful ability to calm your pet and help her sleep through the pain.

St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) has antibiotic properties and is wonderful, both internally and externally, for calming your pet during an infection.

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) has an amazing healing ability and is one of the best herbs for treating local skin and external ear problems. Used either internally or externally, it is a potent antifungal herb.

Mullein (Verbascum spp.), extracted in olive oil as directed above, is perhaps the best single remedy I’ve found for soothing and healing inflamed surfaces. For otitis, use the solution externally in the ear canal.

Garlic (Allium sativum) is often added to otitic herbal mixtures for its antibiotic properties.

Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is an excellent astringent that decreases swelling in the ear canal and eases pain.

To balance the immune system and help counterattack the microbes from the inside out, I typically recommend a combination of echinacea (Echinacea spp.) and Oregon grape root (Mahonia aquifolium), given as a tea, tincture, or capsules/tablets. Read the label and adjust the dosage for the weight of the animal based on a human weight of 150 pounds.

The good news is that herbal remedies are effective against fungal, yeast, and bacterial infections. So herbal ear-infection remedies won’t allow the yeast overgrowth common with antibiotic use. What’s more, several of the above herbs (chamomile, mullein flowers, and witch hazel) relieve the pain, inflammation, and irritation common with ear problems. This means that when you’re using herbs, you almost never need to resort to ear medicines that contain steroids.

However, herbal remedies are not the magic bullet for all external ear infections. Remember that herbs tend to act slowly. While your pet’s ears are healing, you may want to give them soothing herbs such as valerian (Valeriana officinalis) or chamomile internally to keep them calm. It’s been my experience that the herbal remedies work nearly as fast as other veterinary drugs, and whatever we lose in quickness of response we get back with a more completely healed ear at the end of the therapy.

Interested in learning more about natural treatment options for your dog? Then you’ll want to be a part of the NCHS! Dr Randy Kidd DVM PHD and other great presenters will give you their top veterinary secrets and  tips at the Natural Canine Health Symposium.

Another great article on holistic treatment for ear infections in dogs from Dogs Naturally Magazine. 

This article was written by Randy Kidd, DVM PHD in Holistic Care. 

White Oak Golden Retrievers








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