I’ve been hard at work on a series of electronic books that will soon make their debut here at www.HerbCompanion.com. They’re jam-packed with useful tips, in-depth information on all sorts of health conditions, delicious herbal recipes and more.
Working on the “Natural Pet Care” E-Book, I came across this great information about ear washes from holistic veterinarian Randy Kidd.
Several natural solutions can be used periodically to wash (or “irrigate”) a dog’s ears to help maintain the normal flora of the ear and thus help prevent ear diseases. Simply pour several teaspoons of the solution into your dog’s ear, gently massage around the base of the ear, and then (after your dog has his go at shaking his head) wipe off the excess fluids with a clean cloth or piece of cotton.
How often you use an ear wash depends on the environment of your dog’s ears. Long, floppy ears tend to trap moisture, which provides an ideal growing place for microorganisms; small, upright ears that allow plenty of air circulation tend to stay cleaner and infection-free. For floppy-eared dogs, you may need to wash once a week; once a month probably is plenty for a perky-eared dog. When you are treating disease, you will probably want to begin with treatments three or four times a day and taper them off as the disease process resolves.
One of our goals is to keep excess wax and oil from building up and obstructing the ear canal. A simple saline mixture or diluted vinegar may be adequate for this. Herbal preparations often have many simultaneous benefits: they ease pain and are calming, many are anti-inflammatory and most are antimicrobial, typically effective against a wide range of bacteria, yeasts and fungi.
• Hydrogen peroxide. Place about 1 teaspoon hydrogen peroxide in each ear. Let your dog shake, then wipe off the excess.
• Calendula flush. Combine 1 cup water, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1 teaspoon calendula tincture; warm to 101 degrees and gently flush using an ear syringe.
• Vinegar drops. Add 3 drops white vinegar and enough water to fill a 1-ounce dropper bottle. Warm to 101 degrees and put 6 drops in each ear. This should feel good. If the ear is inflamed, it may hurt. If pain is evident, try the formula again using only 1 drop of vinegar. If the animal still objects, use the above calendula formula, which is milder.