3 Natural Dog Ear Infection Treatments

Can dogs eat it

The Can Dogs Eat It Team

3 Natural Dog Ear Infection Treatments
Reading Time: 6 minutes

joana garridoReviewed By Joana Garrido DVM

If left untreated, ear infections in dogs can lead to permanent hearing damage and cause discomfort, severe itching, and pain. It is crucial to address mild dog ear infections promptly, and natural treatments can be beneficial in resolving them before they progress into more severe issues.

In this article, we will share 3 home remedies with antimicrobial properties that curb bacterial growth responsible for ear infections in dogs.

1. Medical-Grade Manuka Honey as a Natural Dog Ear Infection Treatment

manuka honey

Honey has antibacterial properties that can suppress bacteria strains commonly seen in canine ear infections.

In an in vitro experiment, medical grade honey was able to inhibit the growth of bacterial isolates associated with otitis externa. It is an ear infection occurring in the outer ear canal.

More importantly, honey has an effect against meticillin-resistant strains of Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (MRSP) and other types of drug-resistant bacteria.

Dogs participating in the study showed quick recovery from otitis externa. 70% of them were cured between 7 and 14 days of treatment. On day 21, above 90% were free from this type of ear infection.


  1. Use medical-grade manuka honey for dog ear infection treatment.
  2. Choose a product containing higher levels of methylglyoxal since it is responsible for the potency of manuka honey’s therapeutic abilities.
  3. Look for medical-grade manuka honey labeled with 10+ UMF or MGO 250+ because it is considered to be of therapeutic quality.
  4. Clean your dog’s ears by flushing them with a 50/50 mix of medical-grade manuka honey and a warm saline solution.
  5. Completely dry his ears with a clean towel.
  6. Gently apply a thin layer of manuka honey using a cotton ball. It is recommended to use 1ml of honey per ear daily.
  7. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes before removing.
  8. Apply at least once a day until your dog’s ear infection clears up.

Additional information

  • Topical application of manuka honey can also help treat burns, wounds, and itchy skin.
  • Internal use of manuka honey promotes stronger immunity against canine allergies.
  • Manuka honey supports dogs’ digestive health by encouraging the growth of good gut bacteria.
  • Rich in antioxidants, manuka honey keeps the immune system of pooches resilient against diseases.


  • Avoid using raw manuka honey on young dogs below 1 year of age as well as immunocompromised dogs. It may potentially contain the Clostridial botulinum bacteria, which can cause the deadly disease called botulism.

2. Sage (Salvia officinalis) as a Natural Dog Ear Infection Treatment

dried herbs

Several in vitro studies demonstrate the antibacterial activity of sage against a wide range of bacterial strains, including common causes of dog ear infections such as Streptococcus spp., Proteus spp., and Corynebacterium spp. It is worth noting that sage also exhibits significant effectiveness against the most important bacterium, S. aureus, associated with dog ear infections.

Similar to manuka honey, this herb can hinder the proliferation of certain methicillin-resistant bacteria, particularly Staphylococcus epidermidis. It has also exhibited effectiveness against yeast and fungi and has anti-inflammatory compounds.


  • 500 ml water
  • 10 dried sage leaves


  1. Place the dried sage leaves and water in a pot.
  2. Bring the water to a boil on high heat.
  3. Turn down the heat and allow the water to simmer for at least 5 to 6 minutes.
  4. Use a strainer to separate the leaves from the tea.
  5. Pour the sage tea into a medium bowl.
  6. Wait for it to fully cool down before using it for dog ear infection treatment.
  7. Dip a clean cloth into the sage tea and squeeze to remove excess water.
  8. Gently rub it on the affected area of your dog’s ears. Repeat twice a day.

Additional information

  • Adding sage to your furry pal’s meals provides him an extra dose of vitamins A, E, and K, as well as small quantities of calcium, potassium, and zinc.
  • This herb has antioxidative agents that fight off free radicals, which contribute to the development of various canine ailments.
  • Sage is dense with fiber, which helps improve digestion in dogs and alleviates gastric issues such as constipation and diarrhea.


  • Sage is a close relative of ragweed. If your pooch is allergic to this type of plant, avoid using sage as a home remedy for dog ear infections.

3. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) as a Natural Dog Ear Infection Treatment

lemon balm leaves and oil

A 2011 research looked into the antimicrobial properties of essential oils and ethanolic extracts coming from 14 herbal plants.

They were tested out on Staphylococcus spp. and Pseudomonas spp. bacterial strains collected from dogs with otitis externa.

Out of all of them, lemon balm essential oil showed the most potent antimicrobial ability.

In a  vitro study in 2010, combining lemon balm essential oil with the topical form of the antibiotic gentamicin increased the drug’s efficacy against antibiotic-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is a bacterial strain causing canine otitis externa.



  1. Place beeswax pellets into a small saucepan over a double boiler on low heat.
  2. Stir until all of them have melted completely.
  3. Pour in the olive oil and combine thoroughly with the melted beeswax.
  4. Remove from the heat, then let the mixture slightly cool down.
  5. Add the lemon balm essential oil. Stir quickly to properly incorporate it into the mixture.
  6. Transfer the lemon balm essential oil ear balm to a dark glass jar before it begins to harden.
  7. After every ear cleaning, apply it on your dog’s ears in small amounts 3 times a day.

Additional information

  • Diffusing diluted lemon balm essential oil around dogs helps ease anxiety and depression.
  • It also works in repelling certain types of insects, specifically mosquitoes, which commonly spread heartworms to canines.


  • Do not skip adding olive oil when making the ear balm. Aside from acting as a skin moisturizer, it also functions as a carrier oil, which prevents causing essential oil toxicity in dogs.

FAQs About Dog Ear Infections

1. What Dog Breeds Are Prone to Ear Infections?

a dog with long ears

Some of the dog breeds very prone to ear infections are:

  • Basset Hounds
  • Beagles
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Poodles

Many factors contribute to the prevalence of ear infections in certain breeds. Hairy and floppy ears tend to hasten bacterial growth in the ear canal. Infestation of ear mites can lead to secondary dog ear infections.

High susceptibility to allergies increases the risk of dog ear infections. Dogs that frequently come into contact with water often have damp ears. It allows bacteria to proliferate, resulting in infections.

2. Are Ear Infections Painful for Dogs?

a dog having his ears checked

Yes, ear infections can be painful for dogs. Some may scratch their ears in an attempt to alleviate the discomfort, which can worsen their condition.

Other symptoms of dog ear infections include head shaking, reddened and inflamed ears, dark or yellowish ear discharge, and pungent ear odor.

3. Can Dog Ear Infections Go Away on Their Own?

a dog having an ear check

No, dog ear infections often do not resolve on their own. If your dog shows early signs of an ear infection, it is important to seek proper diagnosis and treatment from a veterinarian.

While natural remedies may help control mild cases, chronic or unresolved infections should be addressed by a professional to prevent further complications and irreversible damage to the ears.

4. How Long Can a Dog Ear Infection Last?

If given timely treatment, dog ear infections will last for only a few weeks. Delayed treatment may cause this condition to become more difficult to resolve. Thus, it can persist for months.

5. How Do I Know If My Dog’s Ear Infection Is Serious?

dog ear infection treatment

You will know if your dog’s ear infection is serious if he exhibits head tilting and loss of body coordination. It is a sign that the infection has invaded his inner ear canal. Lack of prompt treatment can lead to permanent hearing loss.

In rare cases, the infection can negatively impact your dog’s brain function and cause breathing and cardiac abnormalities.

If this is the state of your dog’s ear infection, natural remedies will do little to stop its progression, and it should not be used because of the high probability of tympanic membrane rupture. Seek the vet’s help to treat ear infections.


a basset hound

Natural treatments can aid in reversing dog ear infections in their early stages. They possess antimicrobial powers that can suppress the growth of various bacterial strains in your furry pal’s ears.

However, if you catch the ear infection too late, home remedies will be ineffective in easing its symptoms. Consult the vet for the most appropriate treatment for your dog’s condition.

Add more natural home treatments for dogs to your arsenal by checking our Diet and Recipes section.