Unfortunately, ear infection in dogs is widespread, affecting an estimated 20 percent of all dogs. Floppy-eared pooches, like Bassets and Cocker Spaniels, are especially prone to an ear infection.
How can you treat this ear infection, and what happens if .you don’t treat it?
The Internet is awash with the benefits of coconut oil and how you could use it for just about everything, but is it true?
Let’s find out.
Can coconut oil cure dog ear infections?
In a word, yes. Coconut oil can clear up your pooch’s ear infection in two ticks. There are some other things you could use for this purpose, too, like apple cider vinegar or over the counter medication from the vet’s office.
What types of ear infections do dogs get?
Dogs can suffer from three types of ear infection: otitis externa, otitis medina, and otitis interna. These three types of ear infections affect different parts of your pup’s ear.
Generally, ear infection starts with otitis externa, where the layer of cells lining the external (outer) part of your pup’s ear gets infected. It’s imperative to treat and cure the infection at this stage.
If the infection spreads into the ear, things can get dire very quickly. Side effects of internal ear infection include deafness, vestibular disease, or facial paralysis.
If you notice your pup tilting his head continuously, circling, or being super uncoordinated, you might have a case of an internal ear infection on hand. Now, it’s time for a vet visit, stat.
What are the leading causes of dog ear infections?
Ear infections have many causes. If your pup gets chronic ear infections, he might have some environmental or food-related allergies. Like his human parents, he might be sensitive to pollen, or ingredients in his diet, like chicken, beef, or soy.
I know it’s weird, but dogs can actually be allergic to meat.
Sometimes, your pup’s breed renders him more prone to infection. That sucks, but it’s something you (and he) will have to live with and manage as best you can.
Then, there are the (hopefully) once-off causes, like ear mites, those yucky parasites that sometimes make their home in our beloved pup’s ears.
Or foreign bodies, like when Fido had a ball rolling through the pile of leaves and somehow got a piece of dirt in his ear. Or maybe he got into a fight with another dog or a raccoon and got a pretty deep scratch in his ear.
All of these could lead to ear infections and should be treated as soon as you notice anything amiss.
Medical causes of ear infection include hormone imbalances and tumors or polyps. Your vet will spot these and recommend treatment.
How does coconut oil cure a dog’s ear infection?
Coconut oil, that miracle of nature, can cure many things. When dropped into your pup’s ear, it soothes the itchiness and clears the infection. Additionally, it also kills ear mites.
The fats in coconut oil consist of two main ingredients, lauric acid and caprylic acid. According to research, these two acids have antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.
So, basically, along with the physical soothing effect coconut oil has for your pup, it also kills the bugs that cause infection, helping your pup recover faster.
How should you prepare or apply coconut oil?
Treating your pup’s ear infection with coconut oil is incredibly simple. All you need is coconut oil, a medicine dropper or syringe, and a soft washcloth. Easy peasy!
Before you get started, check that the coconut oil is in liquid form. That stuff turns solid at the drop of a hat, so you might have to heat it up a bit. Not too much, though, because you don’t want to add burn wounds to Fido’s ear infection.
Once you’re satisfied that the coconut oil is at the right temperature, suck it into the medicine dropper or syringe. Heck, you could even use a straw if you have steady hands. Anything that has a point narrow enough to get into your pup’s ear should work.
Wet the washcloth in some lukewarm water and wipe your pup’s ear. Here, you’re aiming for the outer part, just inside the ear. Don’t try to stick the washcloth into his ear – it’s too big, and you’ll spook him or hurt him, or both.
Now, for the tricky part. Get your pup to lie down on his side if you can. This makes it a whole lot easier to get the stuff into his ear. If you can’t do that, you might have to pull some ninja stunts. Either way, get a few drops of coconut oil into Fido’s ear, as deep as you can, without damaging or hurting his ear. It’s best to let it soak there for a bit. For this, it would be best if you could have him lie on his side for a bit longer. Since dogs aren’t known for lying perfectly still, especially when they’re being poked and prodded, this would obviously not work for most dogs. To get around that, put a ball of cotton wool in his ear to stop the coconut oil from running out.
Repeat this process once every two or three hours during the day, with the last run just before bedtime. Once the infection clears up, you could repeat this process once or twice a week to maintain good ear hygiene.
What other natural remedies are there for a dog’s ear infection?
It’s time to check in with Granny again. The natural remedies available for doggy ailments are legion, and, believe it or not, they actually work. A common alternative to coconut oil is apple cider vinegar, which you mix half-and-half with water before dropping it into your pup’s ear.
Then, there’s good old yogurt. You know, the plain, unsweetened kind. Yogurt is famous for the good bacteria it contains. That good bacteria could counteract the baddies causing your pup’s ear infection. Just put few drops of yogurt in your dog’s ear.
Have you ever tried green tea to clear up your dog’s ears? Place a few drops of strongly brewed green tea in your pup’s ear, and away you go.
The essential oil crowd will go wild for this one: oil of oregano, that natural antibiotic, could also sort out Fido’s nagging ear infection. Mix a few drops with some Aloe Ferox juice and either drop it into his ear or onto his food. Whatever he allows you to do.
Some more essential oils: grapefruit seed extract, nature’s own antifungal, and antiviral antioxidant. This one also gets mixed with pure Aloe juice and dropped into your pup’s ear or onto his food.
Alternatively, you could try oil of Mullein. It’s a natural pain killer with antiviral properties. It will also reduce the swelling associated with a doggy ear infection. Mix this one with oil of garlic and drop it into your pup’s ear.
What other ways might you use coconut oil with your dog?
Coconut oil is super versatile and can be used for basically everything. Just ask the internet. Seriously, though, coconut oil is good for treating many ailments our four-footed fur kids may suffer, like dry skin and dandruff. For this, you could either apply the coconut oil directly onto the skin or add it to your pup’s food as a dietary supplement.
During the dry season, our pups need extra moisturizer for their paws and noses, just like we do for our skin. If they don’t get this, their noses and paws might get cracked, leading to infection. To prevent this, apply some coconut oil straight to the sensitive areas.
Then, there’s that most dreaded of parasites, the common flea. Oh man, do we hate this one. It turns out, coconut oil can be used as a natural flea remedy. While it has some anti-parasitic properties, coconut oil won’t actually kill fleas. It will just smother them, making them run away to find some fresh air. Whatever works, right?
What are the dangers with an ear infection of not going to the vet?
Ear infections affect many dogs, and in most cases, it’s nothing to worry about. That is if you treat it in time, and it clears up quickly. If ear infections aren’t treated quickly, they spread from the outer ear to the inner ear. Here, things get hairy, and your pup could get seriously ill. Infection in Fido’s inner ear, or Otitis Interna, could cause deafness, facial paralysis, or vestibular disease. All of these are serious and, in most cases, preventable.
So, if you notice your pup showing signs of ear infection, take him to the vet immediately. The vet might recommend home remedies or offer you medication. Either way, it’s crucial to get that ear infection sorted out quickly and practice good ear hygiene to keep your pup healthy and happy.
Ear infections in dogs are relatively common and generally easy to treat. If you notice signs of ear infection, take your pup to the vet. He will recommend home remedies or administer medication. Either way, it is imperative to treat the ear infection before it spreads from the outer ear to the inner ear, where it could cause severe damage.
A good home remedy for ear infections in dogs is coconut oil. Here, it serves a dual purpose, soothing the topical irritation and acting as an antifungal and antiviral agent to cure the inflammation.