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Ear Infections in Dogs, Cats – Natural Herbal Treatment Guide

Ear Infections in Dogs, Cats Natural Home Remedies –
Treatments, Causes and Symptoms

– A Guide –

In this article…

1.0 Causes and Types of Ear Infections

       1.1 Acute Infection

       1.2 Chronic Infection

       1.3 Ear Mite Infestation

       1.4 Other Causes

2.0 Symptoms of an Ear Infection

3.0 Antibiotics – Not a Solution

4.0 Prescription Dog, Cat Food – a Solution or a Health Threat?

5.0 A Holistic Health Supporting Approach – the Real Solution

6.0 Ear Infections in Dogs, Cats Natural Home Remedies

       6.1 A Guide to Administering Treatments in a Safe Manner

       6.2 Ear Drops to Treat Ear Infections, Reducing Inflammation, Irritation
       6.3 Ear Drops to Reduce Inflammation and Irritation, Keep Ears Clean
       6.4 Ear Drops to eradicate Ear Mites
       6.5 Ear Drops for Pro-Active Regular Maintenance/Prevention of Infections

7.0 Supporting Your Dog’s, Cat’s Health from the Inside Out

 

Did you know that ear infections are now (and have been since 2012) the foremost non-life-threatening reason for a visit to the veterinarian’s office? This article will assist you in understanding why your dog or cat gets an ear infection; why the condition may have become a chronic issue for your dog or cat, and what to do to naturally treat and remedy the ear infection and the root cause or the condition – not just temporarily treat the symptom. 

 

 

1.0 Causes and Types of Ear Infections
  
There are many reasons why a dog or cat develops an ear infection. The list below will provide you with an overview of types of ear infections and causes.
Before we look at the list of cause and type it is important to note that if your dog or cat is on a diet that truly and fully supports a strong immune system and good overall health your dog’s or cat’s chance of acquiring any type of ear infection dramatically decreases.
Without any doubt the root cause of most illness is inappropriate ingredients in food and overall diet which can be compounded by exposure to environmental toxins. Conversely the solution to avoiding illness is a good diet. 
 
1.1 Infection Type One – Acute Ear Infections 
This type of infection may be caused by:
  1. Bacteria which thrives in a humid environment – the inside of the ear and, or
  2. A scratch or cut inside or near the ear canal which then becomes populated with bacteria;
  3. Predispostion to acquire ear infections – 
    • It is important to note that dogs with floppy ears may be particularly prone to ear infections as air circulation inside the ear is limited, fur on the inside surface of the ear can become overgrown and dirt and particulate can become trapped;
    • Hence the importance of checking your dog’s and cat’s ears on a weekly basis to ensure his/her ears are clean.
If you have a puppy or kitten make sure you get them accustomed to having their ears touched, failure to do so can result in behavioural issues (i.e. bite reactivity) around the touching of his/her ears later in life. You can read this article to understand how you can inadvertently create stress and tension during grooming – from ear cleaning, to brushing fur and teeth to bathing and nail clipping. 
1.2 Infection Type Two – Chronic Ear Infections
This type of infection may be caused by:
  1. Allergiesfood allergies or environmental allergies;
  2. Overuse of antibiotics;
  3. Chronic Bacterial infection;
  4. Hormonal unbalance;
  5. Stress;
  6. Suppressed immune system (enables fungal and bacterial infections);

 

1.3 Infection Type Three – An Infestation of Ear Mites
 
Ear mites are tiny spider-like insects that like to infest the ears of dogs, cats, rabbits and other small animals. Although mites prefer the ear canals they can also live elsewhere on the animal’s body. Mites thrive in the moist warmth of the ear canal. They burrow into the ear, casing irritation and inflammation. The animal’s body responds to the attack by producing excess ear-wax. The ear mites feed on epidermal debris and ear wax.
1.4 Infection Type Four – Other Causes, Foreign Material
Other foreign material – organic and non-organic can become lodged in a dog’s or cat’s ear canal…
  1. Particulate blowing about in the wind can impact and lodge into the ear canal. This can occur when for example a dog sticks his/her head out the window of a quickly moving vehicle.
    When running through or rolling-in certain grasses that have hard seed-bearing seed heads;
  2. Some seed heads have sharp points and microscopic barbs that can become lodged in a dog’s or cat’s ears as they run through, play or roll-about in the grass;
  3. These barbs can easily work their way into flesh – the barbs then prevent the seed head from working its way back out;
  4. Hard seed bearing grasses are often referred to as ‘Fox Tails’.
The following are typical examples of ‘fox tail’ grasses: 
Cheat grass’ (Bromus tectorum);
Foxtail also called wild barley, squirreltail barley,
skunktail (Hordeum murinum), 
Red Brome (Bromus madritensis);
Rip-gut grass’ (Bromus diandrus).
2.0 Symptoms of an Ear Infection
Typical symptoms of an ear infection include:
  • Build-up of ear wax;
  • When you clean the wax it redevelops quickly, i.e. within the next day or two;
  • Ear sensitivity/pain;
  • Your dog or cat may turn its head away if you try to touch his/her ears or may cry in pain at your touch;
  • Dizziness and/or vomiting;
  • Holding of the head to one side;
  • Inflammation of the ear flap and ear canal skin (swelling, redness);
  • Scratching at the ear (repeatedly, excessively, persistently);
  • Shaking of the head (repeatedly);
  • Strong odour. 
It is important to note that persistent scratching and/or head-shaking can lead to a secondary condition called an Aural Hemotoma. 
An Aural Hemotoma
  • Constant irritation from scratching and head shacking can break blood vessels resulting in an accumulation of blood between the layers of skin;
  • This condition creates a large blister-like pocket that must be drained – usually done by a veterinarian;
  • A surgical procedure can be done in which the skin is cut and the blister completely drained;
  • Less intrusive procedures such as draining the blister with a needle or small tube can also be done – however the blister will usually refill with blood in a matter of hours or days.
3.0 Antibiotics – Not a Solution
A reactive, non-strategic, dangerous approach…
Most allopathic veterinarians prescribe antibiotics for ear infections.  Antibiotics can be very useful when used in the right situation however antibiotics have become the most over-prescribed conventional medication used today. Conventional western medicine is designed to deal with health emergencies. When drugs that are designed to deal with an emergency situation are indiscriminately applied to non-emergency situations grave results can ensue.
If the root cause of the infection is type one as described in section 1.0 above:
  • A cut – either from a foreign object lodged in the ear/skin, or from a misplaced nail scratch subsequently infected with bacteria;
  • Ears impacted with overgrown fur and dirt on the inner flap subsequently infected with bacteria;
  • A single course of antibiotics may be a reasonable course of action;
  • Addressing the infection topically and ingested with herbs and nutraceuticals may also be an option – the problem is that the majority of allopathic veterinarians do not know how to do anything but prescribe conventional drugs – so antibiotics become the mainstay even in situations where an alternative approach could have been equally or more appropriate.
If the root cause of the infection is type two (i.e. Candida) as described in section 1.0 above;
Prescription of repeated courses of antibiotics is in my opinion a completely irresponsible method of approach;
  • Antibiotics will not address or correct the root cause of a type two infection;
  • The infection remains unaddressed and will continue to occur;
  • The veterinarian prescribes more antibiotics at every re-occurrence;
  • The end result is:
    • A dog or cat that continues to suffer from the root cause and the symptom;
    • And the dog’s or cat’s health is further put at risk as he/she will develop immunity to the first antibiotic prescribed;
  • The veterinarian will then prescribe another type of antibiotic – which the dog or cat will also develop an immunity to.
Over prescription leads to additional adverse health impacts.
How does this happen? There are multiple contributing factors…
Factor #1 – Beginning the Process of Immunity
Bacteria are highly adaptable microorganisms and overtime and exposure to repeated doses of antibiotics bacteria mutate in order to adapt and survive. As the dog or cat is exposed to more antibiotics the bacteria that they are hosting undergo this adaption process, each time this occurs immunity to a specific antibiotic is created. The more the bacteria adapt the better they get at adapting. Once bacteria have adapted to a series of antibiotics, antibiotics are no longer effective. The antibiotics are no longer effective. If your dog or cat ends up in a truly life threatening situation where antibiotics are required to save that animal’s life your animal’s life is in great jeopardy.
 
Factor #2 – Hastening Immunity
If your dog or cat is on a diet that includes meat from non-organic sources your dog and cat is already ingesting antibiotics from the meat he/she is eating. Animals raised on factory farms (concentrated animal feeding operations – CAFO) are fed food that includes antibiotics. When the animal is slaughtered antibiotics remain in the flesh of the meat which is then consumed by your dog or cat. Between the antibiotics passed on through the meat and over prescription of antibiotics by veterinarians your dog’s and cat’s rate of acquiring immunity to antibiotics increases exponentially.
 
Factor #3 – Destruction Of Good along with Bad
Antibiotics destroy both good and bad bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract (GI Tract). The destruction of good bacteria causes a suppression of the immune system leaving your dog’s or cat’s natural defence against bacteria, fungal infection, parasites, and viruses in a weakened state. The GI tract is also the body’s major center for serotonin production. The death of good flora has a negative impact on serotonin levels. This can result in creation or heightening of anxiety and stress. Administration of antibiotics can actually make the ear infection worse and as well trigger and create other health issues.
Factor #4 – Root Cause Remains Unaddressed, Unsolved
In addition to placing your dog’s or cat’s future health at risk, the root cause of the infection has not been identified or addressed making the chance of re-infection inevitable.
For all of the above reasons it is very important that antibiotics only be used when absolutely necessary.
 
And one more thing to beware of…
4.0 Prescription Dog, Cat Food – A
Solution or a Health Hazard?
If the root cause of the ear infection is food allergies and your allopathic veterinarian prescribes prescription dog or cat food beware. Your dog’s, cat’s health may be placed in further jeopardy as many allopathic prescription foods are actually not health supporting. In fact many allopathic veterinarian prescribed ‘anti-allergen’, ‘limited ingredient’ diets contain toxins that are known allergy triggers – an example of this can be found here. These diets also tend to be inflammatory as the bulk of the ingredients are carbohydrates – often genetically modified corn and soy and/or other grains, inexpensive fillers and fibre such as cellulose (wood pulp), etc. These foods can also be dangerously low in protein and what protein they do have can be of very questionable quality – the same can be said for the fats used in the food.
5.0 Strategic Health SupportingApproach – The Real Solution
The solution to ear infections should be a strategic one in which the goal is to find the best all around health supporting option:
  • Topically treat the immediate symptoms – i.e. the inflammation of the ear;
  • Provide ingested herbal and nutraceutical treatment to assist the body in cleansing itself of the infection;
  • Remedy the root cause of the ear infection – for example, if the ear infection is a result of a yeast bloom from an allergy to a food ingredient or additive in the dog’s or cat’s diet it’s time for a full review of the daily diet and a redesign of that daily diet to eliminate the triggers and provide a health supporting diet;
  • Ongoing maintenance – put a regime in-place to check and clean the ears on a regular (i.e. weekly, bi weekly) basis.

 

6.0 Ear Infections in Dogs, Cats Natural Home Remedies
6.1 A Guide to Administering Topical Treatments in a
Safe Manner
The following provides a guideline for administering the treatments provided in section 6.2 further below… 
  • Make sure that the liquid solution being dropped into or applied to your dog’s / cat’s ear is at room temperature;
    •  If the liquid is too cold you can cause additional discomfort, if the liquid is to hot you can cause discomfort and damage;
      • If you need to warm the solution up to room temperature simply take the solution, place it in a vial, dropper, small glass or bowl (dropper with the open end up) and sit the vial, dropper, glass or bowl in a larger vessel (glass or bowl) that contains a little warm water –  this will warm the solution up quickly.
    • If you want to dry your dog’s / cat’s ear once the application of the treatment has been completed use a cotton ball to gently pat the ear dry;
  • Gently rub/massage the ear in a circular motion, then remove your hand and let your dog/cat shake its head.
    • You can use a cotton ball to gently wipe any excess oil off the inside of the ear flap;
    • If you need to use a cotton swab to clean more precisely – never put the cotton swab past the portions of the ear that you can readily see…do not put the swab into the ear canal – you can very easily damage the ear drum either temporarily or permanently!
  • Do not use any of these treatments if your animal’s ear drums are perforated or punctured; 
Number of Applications Per Day
When treating ear infections make sure that you apply the drops  2 to 3 x per day.
Drop Dosage
The number of drops suggested for each flush is a typical dosage – however if your dog or cat is very small, i.e. 4 lbs, use less drops, if your dog is 150 – 200 lbs you will need to use more drops. 
 
Purchasing Tinctures
Some of the following Ear Flush Recipes call for tinctures. Tinctures are readily available at most health food stores and on-line.
6.2 Treating Ear Infections, Reducing Inflammation,
and Irritation
In this section –
6.2.1 Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) Ear Drops
6.2.2 Calendula Ear Drops
6.2.3 Garlic Oil Ear Drops
6.2.4 Garlic and Mullein Ear Drops
6.2.5 Colloidal Silver Ear Drops
6.2.6 Oregon Grape Ear Drops
6.2.1 Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) Ear Drops
Excellent for treating yeast infections (candida) of the ear. If there is no broken skin or lesions you can use the ACV undiluted. If the skin is broken make sure you dilute the ACV with distilled water as indicated below.
Don’t use pasteurized apple cider vinegar such as Heinz’s pasteurized apple cider vinegar – a product typically found on grocery store shelves. Pasteurized vinegar does NOT have the medicinal properties present in organic unpasteurized, unfiltered ACV. To understand how to discern between the two types of ACV you can read here. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties (primarily from the acetic acid and malic acid in ACV).
In addition to falling short of providing medicinal properties pasteurized regular ACV is high in pesticide residue. Much of the pasteurized non-organic ACV produced in North America is made from apples imported from China where the amount of toxic pesticides and herbicides used on apples is even greater than in North America. Pesticide and herbicide application in China is also poorly if not completely unregulated in many regions.

Ear Drop Recipe
  1. Combine equal parts of ACV and distilled water, mix the solution;
  2. With a syringe or dropper, gently drop about 10 drops of the liquid into your dog’s /cat’s ear – make sure that the syringe is located at the entrance to the ear canal – the syringe should never be placed inside of the ear canal.
  3. Gently rub/massage the ear in a circular motion, then remove your hand and let your dog/cat shake his/her head.
If you would like to know more about the many beneficial uses of ACV for your dog or cat read here. ACV can be added to your dog’s and cat’s daily diet – provided that you adhere to the correct product and dosage. My dogs get organic ACV with their meal once a day on a daily basis. 
6.2.2 Calendula Ear Drops
Calendula has excellent anti-fungal properties. It is also very effective in promoting the healing of wounds.
Ear Drop Recipe
Combine the following in a glass:
  1. 1 cup warm distilled or filtered water;
  2. 1 teaspoon calendula tincture;
  3. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt;
With a syringe or dropper, gently drop about 10 drops of the liquid into your dog’s /cat’s ear – make sure that the syringe is located at the entrance to the ear canal – the syringe should never be placed inside of the ear canal.
Gently rub/massage the ear in a circular motion, then remove your hand and let your dog/cat shake his/her head.

This ear flush may also be expanded to include several drops of Meadow Anemone (Pulsatilla nigricans) tincture.

6.2.3 Garlic Oil Drops
Garlic is a natural broad-spectrum antibiotic. The active antibiotic agent in garlic is allicin (a sulfur compound). Allicin is produced when garlic is chopped, chewed or bruised. Garlic also has many other health promoting properties including antioxidant, anti-allergen, anti-fungal, and anti-carcinogenic properties.
Garlic oil can be used to:
  • Keep ears clean;
  • Treat bacterial of fungal infections of the ear;
  • Eliminate ear mite infestations;
  • Treat inner ear fluid and inner ear swelling;
Ear Drop Recipe
To prepare Garlic Oil you will need:
  • A small, clean wide-mouth glass jar;
  • Cheesecloth or other breathable clean cloth;
  • Elastic band or string;
  • Amber, brown or blue storage bottle;
  • Garlic cloves;
  • Virgin olive oil (cold-pressed olive oil) or Almond Oil;
  • For maximum efficacy I recommend using organic garlic 
Preparation:
  • Remove the outer skin (also called ‘paper’) from the garlic cloves;
  • Cut the garlic cloves into thin slices;
  • Put the sliced garlic in the jar, leave a little space at the top of the jar empty;
  • Pour the olive oil into the jar, making sure to add enough oil to completely cover the garlic – make sure that you leave some empty space at the top of the jar;
    • Cover the top of the jar with a few layers of cheesecloth:
    • Stretch the cheesecloth so it lays flat on top of the lid – if the cloth touches the oil it will absorb the oil and make a mess;
    • Secure the cloth with string or an elastic band;
  • Let the garlic/oil filled jar sit top cure, in a warm location for 10 to 14 days;
  • Once the curing period is over, separate the garlic from the oil by straining the oil into an amber, brown or blue storage bottle;
  • Store the Garlic Oil in the refrigerator.
Administering
  • For infection and mites: twice daily, until the infection/infestation is resolved;
  • For maintenance and cleaning: once a week to once a month as required to keep ears clean…
Make sure the oil is warmed up to room temperature. With a syringe or dropper, gently drop several drops of the oil into your dog’s/cat’s ear – make sure that the syringe is located at the entrance to the ear canal – the syringe should never be placed inside of the ear canal.
Gently rub/massage the ear in a circular motion, then remove your hand and let your dog/cat shake his/her head. You can use a cotton ball to gently swab any excess oil off the inside of the ear flap.
To learn more about the many health benefits of garlic you can read here. Garlic can be added to your dog’s daily diet to boost his/her immune system – provided that you adhere to the correct preparation and dosage. My dogs eat fresh garlic on a daily basis. Garlic should not be ingested by cats.
6.2.4 Garlic and Mullein Ear Drops
 
Mullein has anti-microbial and anti-viral properties. Garlic is a natural broad spectrum anti-biotic.
Ear Drop Recipe
Combine the following in a glass:
  1. Equal parts of mullein oil and garlic oil;
  2. Combine the two oils;
  3. Add 10 to 20 drops of olive oil, almond oil or vitamin E for every one ounce of garlic/mullein oil mixture.
With a syringe or dropper, gently drop about 10 drops of the liquid into your dog’s/cat’s ear – make sure that the syringe is located at the entrance to the ear canal – the syringe should never be placed inside of the ear canal.
Gently rub/massage the ear in a circular motion, then remove your hand and let your dog/cat shake his/her head.
This ear flush may also be expanded to include a small amount of Meadow Anemone (Pulsatilla nigricans) tincture.
6.2.5 Colloidal Silver Water or Gel Ear Drops
 
Silver is a natural and powerful broad spectrum antibiotic agent and speeds healing. Silver has excellent antiseptic, anti-fungal and disinfectant properties.
Ear Drop Recipe
Apply the Colloidal Silver Gel or Colloidal Silver Water Treatment
  1. With a syringe or dropper, gently drop about 10 drops of the liquid into your dog’s /cat’s ear – make sure that the syringe is located at the entrance to the ear canal – the syringe should never be placed inside of the ear canal.
  2. Gently rub/massage the ear in a circular motion, then remove your hand and let your dog/cat shake his/her head.
If you would like to know more about the many beneficial uses of Colloidal Silver for your dog or cat read here. Colloidal Silver can also be used as an ingested treatment to help fight infection provided that you adhere to the correct protocol and dosage.
 
6.2.6 Oregon Grape
 
Oregon grape has multiple properties that help to combat an ear infection and/or an infestation of mites. These beneficial attributes include – antibacterial, anti-fungal, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  
Ear Drop Recipe
Combine the following in a glass:
  1. 4 oz of warm distilled or filtered water;
  2. 1 teaspoon Oregon grape tincture.
With a syringe or dropper, gently drop about 10 drops of the liquid into your dog’s /cat’s ear – make sure that the syringe is located at the entrance to the ear canal – the syringe should never be placed inside of the ear canal.
Gently rub/massage the ear in a circular motion, then remove your hand and let your dog/cat shake his/her head.
6.3 Ear Drops to – Reduce Inflammation, Irritation and
Keep Ears Clean
In this section – 
6.3.1 Green Tea Drops
6.3.2 Yellow Dock Drops
6.3.3 Other Drops
6.3.1 Green Tea Drops
Add two tea bags (or two teaspoons of green tea) to 8 ounces of boiling water. Allow the tea to steep and cool. Apply ½ of a dropper (about 10 drops) twice daily to irritated ear. Make sure that the dropper or syringe is located at the entrance to the ear canal – the syringe should never be placed inside of the ear canal.  Gently rub/massage the ear in a circular motion, then remove your hand and let your dog/cat shake his/her head.
6.3.2 Yellow Dock Drops
Add one tablespoon of dry yellow dock to ½ cup boiling water. Allow the tea to steep and cool. Once the tea is cool, strain it so that the fluid is clear and free of particulate. Apply ½ of a dropper (about 10 drops) twice daily to irritated ear. Make sure that the dropper or syringe is located at the entrance to the ear canal – the syringe should never be placed inside of the ear canal.  Gently rub/massage the ear in a circular motion, then remove your hand and let your dog/cat shake his/her head.
6.3.3 Other Drops
Calendula Ear Drops – 
  • see 6.2.2 above for recipe.
Garlic Oil Ear Drops – 
  • see 6.2.3 above for recipe.
Garlic and Mullein Ear Drops – 
  • see 6.2.4 above for recipe.
Colloidal Silver Ear Drops – 
  • see 6.2.5 above for recipe.
Oregon Grape Ear Drops – 
  • see 6.2.6 above for recipe.
6.4 Ear Drops to Eradicate Ear Mites
In this section – 
6.4.1 Garlic Oil Ear Drops
6.4.2 Yellow Dock Ear Drops
6.4.1 Garlic Oil Ear Drops
Garlic is a powerful, natural broad-spectrum antibiotic. The active antibiotic agent in garlic is allicin (a sulfur compound). Allicin is produced when garlic is chopped, chewed or bruised. Garlic is also an antioxidant, anti-allergen, and anti-carcinogen – garlic contains germanium, an anti-cancer agent. See recipe and instructions provided in section 6.2.3 above
6.4.2 Yellow Dock Ear Drops

Yellow dock is an astringent, anti-inflammatory, and purifier. This combination of medicinal properties make yellow dock an excellent choice to eradicate ear mites while soothing inflammation and itchiness. If your dog/cat is prone to ear mites you can use this recipe to shampoo your pet’s head, ears and tail once a week.
Recipe
Combine in a glass;
  •  3 drops of yellow dock tincture;
  • 1 tbs of distilled water.
Apply ½ of a dropper (about 10 drops) once daily to irritated ear. Make sure that the dropper or syringe is located at the entrance to the ear canal – the syringe should never be placed inside of the ear canal.  Gently rub/massage the ear in a circular motion, then remove your hand and let your dog/cat shake his/her head. Repeat the treatment once every three days for up to three weeks.
 
6.5 Ear Drops for Pro-Active Regular Maintenance and
Prevention of Infections
In this section –
6.5.1 Lemon Drops for Dogs That Swim Frequently/Daily
6.5.2 Other Options
6.5.1 Lemon Flush for Dogs That Swim Frequently/Daily
You can use this flush once a week during swimming season or more often if your dog swims on a daily basis
Recipe
In a glass combine…
The fresh squeezed juice of ½ a lemon;
1 cup of warm distilled water;
Strain the resulting liquid to remove lemon pulp and seeds. Apply ½ of a dropper (about 10 drops) once daily to irritated ear. Make sure that the dropper or syringe is located at the entrance to the ear canal – the syringe should never be placed inside of the ear canal.  Gently rub/massage the ear in a circular motion, then remove your hand and let your dog/cat shake his/her head.
Lemon offers many other health benefits and uses – you can read more here.
6.5.2 Other Drops for Weekly Cleaning
For regular cleaning of the ears you can use any of the ear drop recipes provided in section 6.2, 6.3 and 6.4 above. 
7.0 Supporting Your Dog’s, Cat’s Health
from the Inside Out
 
7.1 Daily Diet – the Foundation of Issues, Remedies
Remember that diet  – listed and hidden ingredients are the #1 trigger for chronic ear infections. Make sure your dog and cat is on a daily diet that truly supports a healthy immune system. A good diet is the best defense against infection, parasites and helps to speed healing. Herbs and nutraceuticals should be incorporated into the diet to support treatment, remedy and ongoing long-term daily health.

Chronic infections CANNOT be resolved using topical treatment only – the root cause of the infection MUST be addressed. Review of every aspect of the existing diet, existing health care regimen and design of a new diet, health care regimen is essential to remedy chronic ear infections.

7.2 Holistic Remedy

If you require additional support and guidance I would be pleased to assist you via my Holistic Diet, Nutrition Wellness Services:

  • Unbiased Diet, Nutrition, Product Advice is available via this service
  • Diet, Nutrition Wellness Plans are available via this service

About Karen

Dogs are my life, my work, my passion… I am a Dog Whisperer, Dog Behaviorist and Holistic Canine Wellness Adviser with a wealth of real-time, real-life experience living and working with dogs. For two and a half decades I have worked with and shared my life with dogs. My own dog pack is comprised of eleven dogs, various breeds and ages. I provide a full range of services including Obedience Training for puppies and dogs; canine Behavior Modification; canine Psychological Rehabilitation, specializing in assisting dogs that are experiencing extreme states of insecurity, anxiety and aggressive-reactive behavior; Diet, Nutrition and Wellness Advice and Plans for canines and felines…natural wisdom for you and your companion animal.

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87 comments

  1. Hi, how right you are in saying antibiotics are over prescribed. My poor old boy was horrifically abused for 7 years before l got him, to the extent they cut most of his ears off. This has led to multiple infections Yeast) and external ulcers, the vets over the past few years have prescribed every antibiotic on the market and still we have the same problem. I am now at my wits end on what to do next but have maintained in keeping the ear and the ulcers clean, have tried the cider vinegar recipe (no go) and now using witchhazel. It hasn’t fixed the problem but it hasn’t worsened but thought l might give the colloidal silver a try. I have changed his diet to as no sugar as much as possible and prepare his evening meal with fresh meat and rice. What else would you suggest? The vet has suggested he go on prednisone but having tried that once with little success and some major unpleasant side effects l am reluctant to agree. Help us please!

  2. Dear Karen,

    Love your site. Just what the Doctor ordered! I was wondering what you thought of Raw Grass Fed Cows Milk for the dogs and cats?

  3. Some background info:
    We got Our pup a week and a half ago for a rescue organization in Colorado that rescues from high kill shelters. He was transported from Texas to Colorado. They said he had a few fleas and was treated with Frontline before we got him. I would not have used frontline, I prefer natural alternatives.

    Right away I could tell he had a yeasty smell, he was constantly itchy, scratching, licking and even vomiting some. I took him to the vet right away and she said he had a yeast infection in both ears and food allergies. I discontinued the kibble given to us by the rescue place and started making him his own food from grass fed beef. The vet gave him ear drops for the yeast infection.

    I have been supplementing with organic, grass fed plain yogurt, coconut oil and bone meal (in his beef dinner). We ordered him some Wild Alaskan Salmon oil but it has not arrived yet. Once it does we will start him on that. We are also going to add digestive enzymes to his meals once that package arrives too.

    I made several huge batches of homemade food using your recipes. So far he does good with beef dinner, ground turkey dinner and wild Alaskan salmon dinner. He is no longer vomiting but he is still itchy, though not as much.

    The yeast was all gone in one ear and still there a little in the other. The vet wants us to finish the course of ear drops for 3 more days. I ran out of the ear drops, though, so I decided to try the ACV. I prefer natural anyways. This brings us to where we are now. He is finally resting, but I am still really worried about him. Thanks in advance for your help! Your blog has been a wealth of information, and I am so grateful to have found it!

    • Hello Lou, If you prefer a natural approach, my holistic wellness consultation services are available to you. I have quite a few clients in Colorado. You can engage my consultation services anytime you need to do so. Cheers, K

  4. Hi Karen, I have a 4 year old mastiff x and she has gotten her first ear infection.
    I am feeding her presidents choice salmon and potato grain free food. I also mix it with wet food. Some of the brands I use are merricks, GO, party animal (organic, and the one with coconut oil), wild calling (rainbow river grain free) natures variety . Some of the canned food I use has some grains in them but they are healthy grains.
    I am on disability so I can’t really afford arcana or Orijen like you have suggested in other posts.
    What is your opinion on the PC grain free? And I was wondering what I should try for her ear infection?
    Was thinking ACV. Or the oil and garlic remedies.
    Thanks.

    Niina

  5. My great pyr x dog has had a chronic pseudomonas ear infection for a year and a half. I’ve tried both allopathic and holistic vets. He’s had food sensitivity testing with no red flags. He’s been on numerous antibiotics and has become resistant to then all. For the past six months he’s been on Carnivora raw goat, elk and rabbit, plus freshly juiced greens, Dr Dobias supplements and sees a chiropractor. The ear has improved slightly but is still painful and oozing. He’s had two ear flushes under sedation and his ear drum is perforated. You state not to use your herbal remedies if ear drum gone so I’m at a loss as to what to do. Am considering total war canal ablation surgery.

    • Joane most of my clients have been to numerous allopathic and holistic veterinarians before engaging my assistance – I would be pleased to assist you via my consultation service – you can email me if you are serious about addressing this.

  6. I have a 8 year old English Springer Spaniel that has struggled with yeast type ear infections all its life. 2 years ago he was diagnosed as diabetic, and now get a non yeast ear infection. He has had it off and one for a few months now. Have used the vet recommended drops, as well as a two week course of pills to help clear it up. It does not seem to bother him ( not red or itchy as the yeast infections are) but a green/yellow/brown discharge is present, sometimes this discharge is more of a ear wax consistency, other times it is almost slimy. Which treatment would you suggest I try for his condition?

    • Elizabeth – Treating the ear infection topically is one part of what must be addressed, but doing so will not on its own cure the chronic nature of the infection. Treatment must be comprehensive as it must 1) identify and 2) resolve the root cause – failure to do so will result in re-occurrence and 3) treat the current symptoms. For this you would require consultation in the form of my holistic diet nutrition wellness plans. No single topical treatment will cure the infection and BTW the majority of veterinarian prescribed ear infection and cleaning solutions contain toxins and carcinogens.

  7. What is the shelf life of the garlic oil? Thanks for the valuable informacion!

  8. Hi
    I am hoping to get some advice please as we are at a loss as to how to help our dog. I have a cocker spaniel that is 11 now. She has had an ear infection for such a long time and it has now become open wound inside the ear. We have been to the vets over the years and have spent an absolute fortune, they have given every antibiotic possible as well as many many other drops etc. They had her in and put her under to have a look deep in the ear and they say we need to spend three to five thousand pounds on an operation!
    They have sent swabs off to the lab and it came back that it was resistant to ALL antibiotics.
    Is there ANYTHING we can do for her?
    I just want to stop the uncomfort for her.
    Kind Regards
    Michelle

    • Hi Michelle,

      Yes it is definitely worth trying to address this naturally. Here is what I would need from you…

      Critical information that I require from you:
      FOOD
      Food – manufacturer, product;
      Treats – manufacturer, product;

      SUPPLEMENTS & DRUGS
      Current supplements if any;
      Conventional medications/drugs if any;
      Alternative medicines if any;

      HEALTH CARE
      Prescription or off-the-shelf insect and parasite preventatives if any;
      Vaccination schedule – are you vaccinating annually?

      OTHER HEALTH CONDITIONS
      Known allergies/allergens if any;
      Any other known health issues – chronic conditions etc.

      After you provide this I can provide you with a cost for putting together a Diet/Wellness Plan. The cost of doing this for you will be between 150.00 and 250.00 Canadian dollars – I can verify the cost after you provide me with the information noted above.

      You can email me at ottawavalleydogwhisperer@gmail.com

      Cheers, Karen

  9. Hi Karen- I have an otherwise healthy 8yr indoor cat that has come down w an ear infection that will not go away.
    She is not vacinated regularly since she is an indoor cat and she has been on grain free Orijen 5 fish for the past several years. I changed her food about 3 weeks ago to Orijen chicken/turkey hoping that would help if she had developed an allergy to the fish. The vet said she had bacterial/yeast infection and we tried 2 dif ear treatments- Animax and Tresaderm. I had a culture done after tx because she is still shaking her head eventhough her ears dont have much debris or look inflamed.I am concerned there might be some inner/middle ear invovlement due to the fact she cant jump on things she could in the past and also gets her chest wet when she drinks water and cant seem to eat food out of her bowl. She is an extremely finicky eater- I have tried to get her to eat a raw diet with no luck…she will starve herself for days if she doesnt like the food and I didnt want it to be a constant battle. I just really want her to feel better, but am at a loss of what to do. My Vet has suggested a diff antibiotic to treat middle ear. Thanks so much for your help.
    Nancy

  10. I have a 2 1/2 Labradoodle I rescued about six months ago. I had been feeding him Taste of the Wild dog food until today(I just made your homemade dog food, he loved it!) Since getting him, he is up to his goal weight and has made a wonderful transiting into living inside. My issue is he is constantly itching and biting at his skin. He also has been getting yeast infections frequently in his ears. I’m feeling kind of at a loss at this point because I don’t know how to help him. I bath him in a very mild soap about once a month, and try to keep his ears clean. But he is constantly struggling with one or the other, or both. Any advise?

    • He has food allergies and may have environmental allergies as well. Bathing him will not resolve the issue and bathing him with the wrong substances can make his symptoms worse.

      If the root cause of his allergies are not a) identified, and b) resolved his condition will continue to be a chronic one.

      To resolve this requires a multi-directional (holistic approach)…
      Ingested Treatment and Remedy
      – Diet and nutrition;
      – Herbs and neutraceuticals
      – Detox

      Topical Treatments
      – Herbal, natural including rinses and soothing applications

      What is NOT Required
      Chemical based drugs! – nor should they be used – this includes steroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (topical or ingested) including prednisone – these are very health threatening and DO NOT resolve the root cause.

      Antibiotics – not required and are health threatening

      Allergy testing and allergy shots – not required, often ineffective and a big waste of money.

      If you would like to address this – I would be happy to advise you through my consultation service.

  11. I have 6 dogs none of which have ever had an ear infection, but I greatly appreciate the cleaning drops you have posted. They are very welcomed in our home full of rescues. Thank you.

  12. Hi… I have a 11 week old BC puppy and she has ear infection already. The vet put her on ZYMOX Otic HC10% Enzymatic Solution but it doesn’t seem to be getting better. She is on Loyall Puppy 31/20 for food but gets generic treats. My husband also takes her for walks through the woods and I wonder if the ferns, etc. may not be helping her ears. I appreciate any advice. Thanks.Dee Smith

    • Hi Delia – this is an easy one to answer! Get your puppy off of Loyal Puppy food ASAP it is causing the infection. She is experiencing a bloom of bad bacteria due to the main ingredients in the food – grains. She has a yeast infection and it will not resolve itself unless you repair her diet. The infection will be chronic. Count your lucky stars that she has this now, as the food she is on is full of toxins and carcinogens. The faster you know the better :>)

      Her ear infection has nothing to do with plants believe me. I have analyzed a lot of dog food.

      Stop treating her ear with the Otic Solution it is garbage. Use the Organic Apple Cider Vinegar and follow the protocol that I give for it above. Only use a few drops – do not fill the ear canal!

      You have to change her food – you have three options…

      1. Make her a balanced homemade cooked dog food – grain-free, this will get her ear infection cleared up quickly, here is a recipe http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/06/home-made-diy-dog-food-recipes-grain.html

      2. Get her on a raw food diet – you can buy premade raw in pet stores, but you have to make the switch slowly or she will get diarrhea. Because the transition must be done slowly the ear infection will not clear up for a while;

      3. Get her on a good dry dog food – go with Orijen’s or Acana’s grain-free products.

      Cheers, Karen

  13. karen my dog having bother with her ear wrote to you eariler about it bt gt no replie !! its reg my dog her ear very soar shakin her head etc used extra orgain virgin cocnut oil redness clamed down bt her ear still soar think its in the canal i gt organic non pastuerized unfiltered apple vinegar bt it has no acv in it and was wanderin is it safe to use on her i couldnt gt it herer were i live bt i will order the acv online as i cant get it here so was wandering in mean time while wating is the above ok wat i bought today safe be grateful 4 the advice thx :)

    • I left a reply to you on the Apple Cider Vinegar article – I will copy and past it here for you as well…

      Aspall organic vinegar does not have the antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral properties that organic unpasteurized, unfiltered ACV has. Aspall will not help her ear.

      GSE or Colloidal Silver are even better than Organic ACV. Both can be used topically and as an ingested treatment. Choose only one to use not both (i.e. just use GSE or just use Colloidal Silver).

      Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) you can use it – its benefits and dosage is provided in this article http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/05/diy-natural-herbal-homeopathic_31.html

      Colloidal silver http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/08/colloidal-silver-diy-treatment-for-dogs.html

      Cheers, K

    • awk thx so much karen didnt see it was probley on diff page my mistake my apoligey !!!! so is usin colloidal silver better that avc and would it not cause any problems to her having bleedin ulcers in the past !!! her ear really soar i did apply a little of the vinegar the day as i couldnt find your replie due to my fault !! sori :) and can i bug this at my hollent and barret health store as its the only health store in our town i really need her to be her happy we self again and nt sad !!! all i applied to her ear was i padded the top her ear with it nt the canal as i wouldnt take the chance is it because she is a white german shephard the problems comin from !! would i do any damage buy applyin this tonite on her ear nt in ear like i sais padded it with very little vinegar more water o i am tryin everthing nothing easin the we critter

    • The Aspell will not hurt her ear if you just dab it on but don’t drop any on her ear canal. Colloidal Silver or Grapefruit Seed Extract have more powerful antibiotic , anti-fungal properties than ACV and should not cause ulcer issue.

  14. Hello Karen,

    Thank you for sharing a lot of precious information :)
    My 11 lbs cat has ear infection and I think I’ll try ACV drops. How much of ACV should I give to him? Should I mix it with dilluted water? Because the article said to mix it. But at your previous comments, it needs pure ACV (no water mixed).

    • If there are no cuts or scratches on his ear you can use the 100% ACV. If there are any cuts or scratches use the 50/50 ACV/Distilled water solution. Don’t fill the ear canal with drops – just place a few drops in the canal and also swab the inner ear clap with the solution ^._.^

    • Thanks for your reply :)

      I’ve tried the 50/50 solution for a week (twice a day) because there’s small scratch in his ear. And now after I stop the ACV for 2-3 days, the ear wax has reduced a lot, even if it hasn’t gone perfectly.

      How long should I give the ACV exactly? Because the ear wax is still there (a little).

      Note:

      I’m giving him an itchy medicine in these 3 days. It works for stopping him from scratching. My friend said that if the anti-itchy medicine works, it means that the allergy comes from the outside (dust, mites). And if it doesn’t work, it means that he has allergy towards some foods.

      Did you ever hear about this? Because I haven’t found it in internet. We also can’t depend on the vets here in my city, because they mostly giving wrong diagnoses.

    • Leev – I have no idea what anti-itch medicine you are using nor what is in it, so I can’t comment on the medicine that you are using.

  15. Hello Karen!

    I use Acana Dog food. Can you tell me how good that food is…please. And, does it contain GMO products?

    I have also recently read that the company has had recalls in the past.

    http://www.wherearethepetfoodchampions.com/web/Orijen_Recall.html
    http://www.acana.com/

    • Hi Snoopy1960,

      Most dog food companies have had recalls :>)

      As far as processed dry dog food goes I would rate Acana and Orijen as being at the upper echelon of available products.

      All commercial dog food has issues – even the ones that try to pass themselves off as all organic. They all cut corners and include things they should not.

      As for GMO – go with Acana’s or Orijen’s grain-free products and those that do not contain canola oil.

      Acana Regional Praire does not contain canola…

      Brand – ‘Acana’
      Type – Regional Prairie
      Available at – Globo Pet Foods
      Deboned chicken, chicken meal, green peas, turkey meal, chicken liver oil, field beans, red lentils, whole potato, deboned turkey, whole egg, deboned walleye, sun-cured alfalfa, pea fibre, chicken liver, herring oil, whole apples, whole pears, sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut squash, parsnips, carrots, spinach greens, cranberries, blueberries, kelp, chicory root, juniper berries, angelica root, marigold flowers, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, lavender, rosemary.

      The US and Canadian government continues to approve more GMO – most recently some parts of the US – GMO salmon and some parts of US and Canada GMO Alfalfa. Will those end up in pet food – inevitably.

      Indirectly most dog food contains GMO’s in one form or another.

      Sometimes the GMO is obvious – corn soy and derivatives;

      Sometimes hidden –

      i.e. ‘mixed tocopherols’ that are usually made from unspecified vegetable oils such as cottonseed, safflower, soy, canola oil.

      i.e. the chicken, cows etc. (that become the protein source in pet food and human food) are fed GMO corn and soy.

      I have seen dog food products that claim to be all organic but are not. Or are organic but then include foods that are not species appropriate for dogs.

      Cheers, Karen

    • Thank you for the quick response, Karen.

      It’s a shame the money these companies charge for the better quality dog food, why should we find anything bad in them at all.

      I’m going to play it on the safe side and make my own organic dog food using only organically grown fruits and veggies, grass feed meats and I’ll use my organic cold pressed oils I use like…Barlean’s flax seed, Garden Of Life Coconut & Cod Liver oils, Barlean’s olive & borage oils.

      Thank you again! :)

    • You are welcome :>) I have a grain-free recipe you can use to make the food – http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/06/home-made-diy-dog-food-recipes-grain.html

      The entire pet industry from food, to health care to ‘shelters, pounds and ACCs’ are infused with a great lack of ethics :<(

      Paw-shakes, K

  16. Hi Karen,
    I’m glad I found your website. My beagle only has 11 months and already started with ear infection in both ears. Of course at first I went to the vet and he was on ear ointment for 2 weeks. He finished last week. After he was still having discharge in one of if ear and found a more natural approach which was oil of oregano from OregaPet. He has been on it for a few days and yesterday I noticed that one of his ear is red again and he started scratching a lot. Started the medication again (ointment) this morning because I didn’t know what else to do. I found your website and plan on giving him ACV, I have the organic kind at home. I guess my question is can I start the drops right away even if I gave OregaPet yesterday and medication this morning? I wouldn’t want to cause a reaction in his ears by putting too much different products. Also he has been eating Hills food and I’m currently changing him to Canine Caviar, what do you think about that brand, is it a good one? It’s considered a holistic approach.
    Looking forward to your response.

    • Hi :>)

      You can start treating his ear with ACV right away. The fact that he was treated with OregaPet yesterday and medication this morning will not cause an adverse reaction with the ACV.

      Hills is really bad so it is good that you have taken him off of it.

      Canine Caviar is much better than Hill’s however it does have some issues…Canine Cavier is messing with the consumer, making the food look better than it really is so that they can increase their profit margin while duping the consumer – like most dog food products :<( Having siad that it is still a decent product but for the price I think you would do just as well if not better feeding Acana or Orijin grain-free products…Acana’s grain free Prarie is a good example, no ethoxyquin, no grains, no wasted money on non-viable probiotics, no alfalfa etc.

      Some Concerns I have with Canine Cavier

      First – the Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids are not in the correct balance – you will need to supplement your puppies diet with additional Omega 3 fatty acids http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/06/fatty-acids-for-dogs-omega-3-omega-6.html Please note that regardless of the food you choose you will need to supplement with Omega 3 as all commercial dog foods fail to provide the correct ratio.

      Second – the microbes that Canine Cavier are adding to the food are not viable – you will need to add viable probiotics. I would suggest you add the real thing http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/07/dairy-products-cheese-kefir-yogurt-are.html or purchase a supplement from Dr. Mercola (on-line) as most off-the shelf probiotic supplements are garbage.

      Third – Alfalfa is high-up on the ingredient list. Alfalfa is a cheap source of protein and lacks the amino acids that are found in species appropriate protein. Dog food manufacturers add alfalfa when they are short changing the product on quality protein.

      Canine Cavier is pushing their product as something much better than it really is and they are relying on the consumer to fall for their ‘hot-button’ words knowing that the average consumer will not pick-up on the short cuts being made to increase profit at the expense of truly good nutrition.

      Cheers, K

    • Thanks Karen! Hope the ACV works, I started yesterday, twice a day, will see how it goes. His ear is really red. As for the food, the same store that sells Canine Caviar where I live has Acana. I just started with the CC last week, after what I just learned I think I’m going to switch him right away to Acana.

    • Karen, does it usually take long after starting the ACV for the brown discharge to stop? I’ve been using it twice a day and I’m on my 3rd day. I wipe his ear first and then put the ACV and let it dry.

    • If the infection is advanced it can take a week or more. Also the root cause (diet – grain) needs to be removed and the GI tract needs time to re-balance. The discharge is caused by on overgrowth of bacteria in the GI tract due to food allergies, so while you are using the ACV, the bacteria bloom in the GI tract also needs time to recede. Double the dosage of yogurt and get her away from grains in her diet right away so that the root cause of the ear infection is also treated.

      Get some witch hazel (you will find it in the pharmacy in the aisle with bandages and disinfectants. After treating her ear with ACV, put some witch hazel on a cotton swab and gently swipe around the exposed portion of the inside of the ear. This will help sooth the skin.

      Cheers, K

  17. I have a Himalayan cat that suffers from chronic ear infections due to yeast caused by food allergies. Can you please recommend a good brand of cat food. Thanks

  18. I have a Himalayan cat that suffers from chronic ear infections caused by yeast from food allergies. Can you recommend a good brand of cat food.

  19. My 10 year old cockapoo has had ear infections her whole lie but not so severe as some that I have read on your site. She did have an allergic reaction to a flea bite and she got dermatitis in April and its now July and she still has a few spots that haven’t stop scabbing over.
    What if any natural remedy could I use to clear things up completely. I didn’t mention she has always been an itchy girl and she did have 3 stage 2 mast cell tumors removed in December 1012.Thank you for your thoughts. Dolores

  20. Thank you so much for this information. I love the use of home remedies. My Grandmother past down cures that the Cherokee Indians used.

  21. Hi Patty,

    For the ear drops, use the organic ACV straight (don’t dilute it with water). Also I would suggest you add acv to their diet to make their skin and blood less attractive to the mites – dosage is provided here http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/02/apple-cider-is-good-for-your-dog-and.html

    If you can trim the fur around their ears it would help as the mites like moist humid environments – trimming the hair will allow better air circulation.

    Also in order to avoid infestations in the future, boost your dogs’ immune system by taking a close look at their diets and eliminating foods that are not best supporting their health, add foods that will boost their immune system…read my articles on nutrition…scroll down this page to find the articles http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/p/index-of-articles.html

    Cheers, K

  22. I just want to comment real quick (and not be a silent follower), and tell you how thrilled and relieved I am to have found you last night! I spent 5 hours poring over your blog and another couple of hours tonight! My dog is an 11 year old pit mix. She has an ear and eye infection. She also chewed her paw raw a few days ago which is what spurred me on this hunt for a solution. She suffers from fatty deposits on her body as well. I am 100% for home remedies and am so relieved and thrilled to have found you. I immediately used the iodine and water soak for her paw and have already seen improvement. I will be switching her food as soon as possible to a grain free diet. Tomorrow night I will be getting some organic apple cider vinegar and a dropper to help with her ears. I am now looking on your blog for an eye infection remedy. I felt so awful that I couldn’t afford to take my dog to the vet to get taken care of. Thank you so much for what you do!

    • Hi Michelle,

      It is probably a very good thing that you could not get your dog to the veterinarian as he/she would have likely just prescribed antibiotics – in which case you would not be in a position to truly resolve the root cause of the infections :>)

      For her eye you can dilute some of the organic acv 50/50 with distilled water and flush her eye out with it. As you do not have ACV at the moment if you do have some green tea, rooibos tea, camomile tea or calendula tea you can brew one of those, let it cool, then take a cotton swab and clean her eye with it 2 or 3 times a day. The ACV drops in her eye will need to be done twice a day.

      Paw hugs, Karen

  23. I have two male dogs with bad ear infections..It is caused by mites. The treatment I bought at the store does not work. They are miserable.I am going try the Organic Apple Cider Vinegar & Distilled Water. I live very far away from the Vet and also it is very expensive. I hope for relief. My other dog does not have this problem but her ears aren’t floppy. Should I trim the hair around the male dogs ears?

  24. My goodness Karen- THANK YOU so much for your wealth of information. It’s sad to think how little time is spent on nutrition by vets :( All it takes is a little dedication and research on your own. I’m always trying to learn in my profession, you would think they would drive to learn more. I had a feeling some of the unknown (to me) ingredients might not be great. I used to feed a homemade diet, and was overwhelmed with life and his restrictions so I just haven’t put the time into getting back into it. I really appreciate you taking the time to get me started! I had no idea that I could give sauerkraut to my dogs as probiotic, and had recently learned how to make homemade sauerkraut, so I am very excited about that. I have given him coconut oil, but not consistently, and will incorporate your other suggestions. Thank you again, and I will report back :)

  25. Thank you so much for sharing this information. I thought we had finally gotten to the bottom of my dogs recurring ear infections. I finally bit the bullet and decided to allergy test because I was so sad everytime his ear would flare up and he would start shaking his head. He was doing so well until it started up again. I would really like to get back to feeding a home prepared diet. I looked at your diets and both recipes include his allergens. I hope one of these treatments will help alleviate his discomfort, but I don’t know if we will ever get to what is causing them :(

  26. Hi Karen!

    My 5 pound yorkshire terrier who is almost 3 years old has been suffering from an ear infection and has been walking in circles. I took her to the vet and they said she had ear mites and gave me some ear drops as well as antibiotics. After the treatment she was fine and was even walking straight. Three or so weeks later she started to walk in circles again and it looks like the infection was back. I took her to the vet again and they gave her yearly rabies vaccinated and about two weeks after Luna got conjunctivitis and walking in circles even more so and seems like she can’t see and her pupils are dilated. She definitely had a reaction to the vaccine and I would rather treat her holistically. Any advise on what I could give her? She’s on a raw diet now and I’m wondering if there is anything else I could be doing?

    Thanks!
    Karla

  27. Thank you for your help, I appreciate you writing me back. I will pass that information. Mitch

  28. My mom has a dog that gets frequent bladder infections and I was wondering if she started giving her some apple cider vinegar in her water if that would help her

    thanks Mitch

  29. Thank so much for very possibly saving my cat’s life. He will be 19 in July and is so terrified of vet offices that I have to treat him at home from now on. He has had an ear infection for some time; I took a swab to a vet and it was confirmed that he has a yeast infection in both ears. The anti-fungal medication that was prescribed actually made him ill so I started searching for safe, effective methods that I could help him with. Because his ears were so sore from the meds, it has taken over a week to transition to ACV and water. I did flush his ears with a basic ear cleaning solution, then used green tea a few times in an attempt to soothe them, but the medication had made his ears so sore that it was a slow process. This morning he was nearly frantic – the pain and itch were overwhelming him. It was clear that it was time for ACV, even if it might sting a bit. I mixed 1 part natural ACV with 2 parts water and just flooded his ears – after all that he has been through, I knew that a few drops would be out in seconds. He wasn’t happy, but I managed to get enough in that I could hear it “squish” as I rubbed his sore little ears. I checked on them a few times during the day but they were still too sensitive to touch. Now – only 12 hours later!! – he not only lets me rub his ears, but is coming to me to have me rub them!! Another “flood” tonight and then I’ll switch to a more moderate dose. He’s feeling better than he has in months!!

    I’ve used ACV since the ’70s when my Mom told me that she had read about the great healing qualities of this simple old stuff. I’ve used it for so many things that I’ve lost track, but it has always achieved the desired results. Thank you again for reassuring me that it is safe for healing a sick kitty’s ears.

    • I am very glad to help! But now you have to get to the root-cause of his infection or it will continue to re-occur. Most yeast infections happen because of diet and a comprised immune system. So…
      STEP 1
      Make sure you eliminate all grain-in dry and wet cat food from his diet;
      Make sure you eliminate all toxins and carcinogens from his diet as these unwanted items compromise his immune systems ability to naturally fight off infection.
      Read this as what I write about in this article is also applicable to cat food…Is Your Dog’s, Cat’s Dry Food (Dog Kibble) Full of Toxins and Carcinogens
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/04/is-your-dogs-dry-food-dog-kibble-full.html

      STEP 2
      Add a few things to his diet to boost his immune system…I do this for my cats as well as my dogs…
      a) Start giving him turmeric once a day, mixed in with his wet food Curcumin and Turmeric is Good For Your Dog’s Health
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/11/turmeric-and-curcumin-good-for-your.html

      b) Start giving him a tbs of cottage cheese once a day

      c) start giving him a small piece of mackerel, salmon or sardines once a day (canned in water is fine, not vegetable oil as it is likely to be GMO)

      d) give him a bit of real meat (i.e. cooked chicken, cooked chicken liver, cooked ground beef) once a day

      These are just a few of things that you should introduce to his diet to help him naturally fight and no-grain included food.

      Cheers, K

    • Thank you so much, Karen. I will look at his diet carefully and start working on easing him into a healthier one. Your suggestions are wonderful and simple to implement. He is very healthy for his age but I know that I have to improve what he eats.

      I’ve recently changed my dogs’ food to no-grain and can already see the difference.

      Thanks so much – you have a wonderful site and your help is truly appreciated.

      Kim

  30. I have a Diabetic cat (treated with insulin) who has recurrent bacterial ear infections. The infections create havoc with her blood glucose. I’ve been using a commercial ear cleaner to try to keep the infections at bay, but it isn’t working. Do you think the ACV would be a good treatment for her? Should I use it daily? I’m really desparate.

    • Hi Julie,

      Two things you need to do immediately:
      1.0 Treat the current infection;
      2.0 Remedy the root cause of the infection or it will continue to occur.

      1.0 Treating the Infection
      .1 Stop using the Commercial ear cleaner – most of them are chemical-based and are a) ineffective and b)full of carcinogens and toxins – which enter the blood stream through the skin c) are expensive. There are some herbal/homeopathic ones that are fine.
      .2 Use straight, undiluted organic apples cider vinegar twice a day until the infection clears up and then use it once a day for at least a few weeks. See the article above for details on how to use it.

      2.0 Root Cause
      The most common cause of chronic ear infections in dogs and cats is DIET!
      .1 Get your cat off of any food or treats that include any type of grain. Allergy to grains are the #1 cause of chronic yeast infections – (Candida), your cat has candida.
      Read these articles – the information is applicable to cats and dogs…
      Is Your Dog’s Dry Food (Dog Kibble) Full of Toxins and Carcinogens – Do You Really Know What to Look For?
      In this article you will find examples of very popular brands of dry dog kibble to help you assess whether you are purchasing and feeding your dog a food that is going to… a) Outright destroy the health of your dog – in which case you are literally paying a dog food manufacturer to kill your dog – death by toxic loading, acquisition of cancer and organ failure, or; not so adversely effect your dog’s health. Please keep in mind that no dog food is perfect, you will find out why as you read through this article…However there is a vast difference between ingredients as pertains to species appropriate v.s not; quality, inherit dangers and…the price you pay for the food is not an indicator of its safety nor quality…
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/04/is-your-dogs-dry-food-dog-kibble-full.html

      How to Choose a Good Kibble for Your Dog
      Diet plays a big role in a dog’s ability to maintain a healthy immune system. If you are feeding your dog commercial dog kibble, knowing how to choose a quality dog kibble is essential for your dog’s health and well being…
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.com/2012/02/how-to-choose-good-kibble-for-your-dog.html

      Species Appropriate Diet for Dogs – Get the Grains Out of Your Dog’s Diet – For Your Dog’s Health
      Carbohydrates are NOT bad for dogs – in fact, when provided in appropriate quantity and from an appropriate source carbs can provide a useful source of energy and nutrients. Grains are, however NOT an appropriate source of carbohydrates for multiple reasons as you will see further below…
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/02/species-appropriate-diet-for-dogs-get.html

      Fish, Fish Meal and Ethoxyquin – Danger, Do You Really Want This in Your Dog and Cat Food?
      If fish represents a large portion of a dog’s daily diet (or if fed fish exclusively) fish becomes a very dangerous food stuff. Large amounts can result in a thiamine (Vitamin B1) deficiency…
      Almost all fish meal used in dog and cat food contains Ethoxyquin. Ethoxyquin is an anti-oxidant used as a food preservative and a pesticide (called ‘Stop-Scald’). It is listed and identified as a hazardous chemical by OHSA. It has a rating of 3 on a scale of 1 to 6; with 6 indicating super-toxicity and requiring less than 7 drops to cause death. The containers that Ethoxyquin is stored and shipped in are marked with the word/symbol ‘POISON’. The US Department of Agriculture lists and controls Ethoxyquin as a pesticide…
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/02/fish-fish-meal-and-ethoxyquin-danger-do.html

  31. Hello, Karen.
    I’m sooo glad finding this page through random search. It seems like you also have lots of other information – which will be very helpful for me since I’m a beginner dog owner who wants to care everyone in the family in natural/ basic way.
    I’m going to try ACV later (yay I have the one from TJ’s in my cupboard!)

  32. I am so happy I found your site. This information is awesome. Can you address yeast infection and natural cure for a mini-Dachshund? Thanks so much, Karen

  33. Karen,

    Thank you for this wonderful informative page. Can you please advise if you have information or experience on using the Organic Apple Cider Vinegar for chronic yeast /bacteria infections in domestic rabbits ears? The infection is considered a middle ear infection but is like an abscess and lump, the Vet also stated my rabbits ear drum was perforated from the pressure of the pus.

    After months of antibiotics and treatments I feel her immune system has been compromised, she is however going to be 13 in May and also has developed arthritis. Her 3 different labs came back with a heavy growth of Malassezia yeast /and budding yeast, with a light trace of other bacteria on 2 of the reports.

    Kind regards, Linda

    • Hi Linda,

      I have rabbits too ᵔᴥᵔ you can check them out here http://www.ottawavalleydogwhisperer.com/My_Pack-Rabbits.html#.UQhA3WcT-os

      So for your bunny-girl…

      PART ONE
      You can use the ACV as long as you do not allow it to drip into her ear:
      1) So take a q-tip or cotton ball;
      2) Dip it into the organic ACV;
      3) Press excess moisture out;
      4) gently rub it again set the surface of the ear.

      PART TWO
      The fact that she has a yeast infection leads me to diet…are you feeding her…any of the following:
      1)Pellets that are primarily alfalfa?
      2) Pellets or commercially manufactured rabbit treats that have any of the following ingredients – nuts,seeds, grains, flour or other starches,sweeteners of any kind, artificial food colouring, yogurt covered, etc?

      If you are get her off of the food ASAP!

      PART THREE
      What to feed her – please read here http://www.ottawavalleydogwhisperer.com/Rabbit-Nutrition.html

      Cheers and best hopes for your sweet bunny girl, Karen

    • Hi Karen,

      Thank you so much for the response, I am sorry that I missed it. I will send you an email shortly, your rabbits and website are both beautiful!

      Kind regards,

      Linda

    • Have you tried…
      Purchasing a good probiotic supplement – (while most are junk, Dr. Mercola sells a truly effective good quality probiotic);
      – Put a little of the probiotic in a slury made up of;
      – A few drops of coconut oil, or olive oil,
      – A little pineapple juice;
      – A little mashed papaya;
      – Crushed, mashed pellets;
      – Soaked and mixed together in water;
      – The resulting slury should be thick but not so thick that you cannot get it out of a syringe.
      – Then syringe feed once or twice a day.
      She needs the good bacteria in her system boosted to help her fight the bad bacteria. Especially as the cipo will kill all bacteria – good and bad which will make the infection worse.

      As long as her ear drum is not punctured you can use the ACV in her ear – use only undiluted organic ACV as described here http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2013/02/apple-cider-is-good-for-your-dog-and.html

  34. when doing the garlic oil do you HAVE to store it in an amber brown or blue storage bottle?

  35. hi i would like to ask, my dog needs an bilateral ear ablasion and her infection is getting really bad and i cannot afford op yet, i have been syringing white vinegar and warm water but has not helped, can you recommend anything for her? she has severely infected ears which are very hot and sore

    • Kelly, you may be able to avoid giving your dog the operation – I will explain. I have dealt with this before and have in other cases been able to treat and remedy – and thereby negate the need for the operation. Your dog’s chronic ear infections are very likely caused by the diet she is on. Has the vet told you what type of infections your dog gets – they are probably yeast-based ear infections. So to cure the problem you have to do two things:
      1) Get the intensity of the infection – inflammation – under control.
      2) Fix her diet – this is the long-term maintenance portion of the solution = the remedy.

      So to address:
      1) STOP using white vinegar it will do nothing to stop the inflammation and may make conditions worse!
      1a)Instead use ORGANIC, NON-PASTURIZED, UNFILTERED apple cider vinegar (ACV) available at health and natural food stores, or stores such as Trader Joe’s if you are in the USA. The manufacture ‘Bragg’ produces the most commonly available organic ACV in North America. DO NOT use non-organic,pasteurized, filtered ACV such as Heinz manufactures – it will not be effective.

      TREAT THE INFECTION TOPICALLY
      1b) DO not water down the ACV with water! Use the ACV pure, un-diluted.
      1c) DO NOT heat/warm the ACV up, just use it at room temperature. Use a dropper to apply it to your dog’s ear. Put some drops on the inner flap making sure all You can use a cotton ball to apply the ACV to the inner flap of the ear and then use a dropper to apply the ACV to the ear canal – don;t stick the dropper into the canal, but just at the opening of the canal.
      1d) As soon as you place the drops in your dog’s ear, massage the ear at the base and then let her shake her head.
      1e) Apply the ACV twice a day until you see the inflammation completely recede.
      1d) Once the inflammation is under control continue to apply the ACV once-a-day.
      1f) Allow the ACV to dry on/in her ear do not dry it off with cotton swabs etc.

      TREAT THE INFECTION INTERNALLY
      2a) You have to fix her diet and boost her immune system. The trigger for her chronic ear infection is likely a food sensitivity – probably to grains and most certainly if there is any sugar in her food.

      Food sensitivity so often causes overgrowth of bad bacteria (candida)in the dogs GI Tract which then results in leaky gut syndrome and nasty yeast infections!

      2b) I can’t stress enough how important it is for her to be on a grain-free diet. You need to do this ASAP.
      2c)Make absolutely 100% sure that there is no sugar or molasses (and for that matter any artificial sweeteners) in her diet.

      See more below

    • 2d) Boost her IMMUNE SYSTEM ASAP! She needs good flora restored to her GI Tract immediately so her internal system can battle the candida.

      Read the following articles…and if you find you require guidance on creating a proper diet regime for her I can design one for her. You can check this out to understand how my e-consultation service works…http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/08/advice-via-email-for-national-and.html

      Read…
      Coconut Oil is Good for Your Dog’s Health
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.com/2012/02/coconut-oil-is-good-for-your-dogs.html

      Curcumin and Turmeric is Good For Your Dog’s Health
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/11/turmeric-and-curcumin-good-for-your.html

      Fatty Acids for Dogs – Omega 3, Omega 6, Health Benefits, Best Sources, Dosage
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/06/fatty-acids-for-dogs-omega-3-omega-6.html

      Fresh Whole Food for Your Dog’s Health
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.com/2012/02/fresh-whole-food-for-your-dogs-health.html

      Foods Rich in Probiotics – Beneficial for Your Dog
      Kefir and fresh sauerkraut are inexpensive, readily available and are two of the best sources of viable, high quality probiotics – in fact both of these foods contain more strains of bacteria and more probiotics than most supplements. Sauerkraut typically contains 13 strains of bacteria and about 100 times more probiotics than most probiotoc supplements. Kefir typically contains about 10 strains and 5 billion beneficial bacteria. Only the best of Probiotic Supplements for dogs can match these two foods! Your dog gets all of the health benefits at a fraction of the cost of prepared supplements…
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/05/foods-rich-in-probiotics-beneficial-for.html

      Garlic For Dogs – Health Benefits, Preparation and Use, Safe Dosage
      Garlic is a powerful, natural broad-spectrum antibiotic. Garlic is also an antioxidant, anti-allergen, and anti-carcinogen – garlic contains germanium, an anti-cancer agent. Garlic can also be used topically to treat specific ailments – for example ear mite infestation and ear infections…
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/06/garlic-for-dogs-health-benefits.html

      Home Made, DIY Dog Food Recipes – Grain Free or Wholesome Grain, For the Health of Your Dog
      You can choose the recipe that best suits your dog’s needs – grain-free or wholesome grain…
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/06/home-made-diy-dog-food-recipes-grain.html
      Home Made, DIY Healthy, Natural Dog Treats – Recipes and Health Benefits
      You can choose the recipe that best suits your dog’s needs…
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/07/homemade-diy-natural-healthy-dog-treats.html

      How to Choose a Good Kibble for Your Dog
      Diet plays a big role in a dog’s ability to maintain a healthy immune system. If you are feeding your dog commercial dog kibble, knowing how to choose a quality dog kibble is essential for your dog’s health and well being…
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.com/2012/02/how-to-choose-good-kibble-for-your-dog.html

      Rooibos Tea for Dogs – Immune System Health, Cancer Inhibitor, Allergy Mediator Dog’s Health
      Rooibus tea is just as beneficial for dogs as it is for humans. The tea is naturally caffeine free (caffeine is not good for dogs) and is low in tannin and free of oxalic acid. In this article you will learn about…
      1. The nutritional value of rooibos tea;
      2. The Health Benefits;
      3. How to add rooibos to your dog’s daily diet;
      4. How combining the tea with a little cinnamon can help with your dog’s oral care;
      5. How to use the tea topically to treat skin disorders due to allergies.
      http://ottawavalleydogwhisperer.blogspot.ca/2012/06/health-benefits-of-red-rooibos-tea-for.html

      Cheers Karen

  36. This is music to my ears my dog has constant ear infections as well as ear mites. Thank you for the wealth of information as well as the weight chart!!!

  37. I found you through facebook, and I have a question. We have a 10 pound Maltese who has meningitis, and I am wondering if there is something we can give her that is natural to help get rid of the infection in and around her brain and spinal cord. As it stands now with the vet and meds, she may have to be on prednizone the rest of her life. The prednizone is controlling it, but we want it cured!! :) thanks for any help you can offer. Jan……I am at: snicfamily@yahoo.com

  38. Thanks for sharing this!

  39. This is wonderful information. Thank you so much.

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