How to Use Coconut Oil to Help Treat Your Dog’s Ear Infection

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We just brought home a new puppy, a Brittany Pointer mix, her name is Mirabelle, she is 12 weeks old.

One of the first things I noticed when we came home, besides her cuteness, was that her ears were bothering her.

When I checked them, they looked and smelled infected.

Meaning that the inner ear was mildly red, there was waxy, thick brown discharge, and her ears smelled yeasty.

Is coconut oil safe for topical use on dog ears with infections

Because we had a vet appointment scheduled for the next day, for her 12-week check-up, I held off on cleaning her ears since I would have them tested for a bacteria or yeast infection.

However, I did treat the scratches with coconut oil so they could start to heal.

After the doctor looked at and swabbed her ears, she determined Mirabelle had both a bacterial and yeast infection in both ears.

We were sent back home with an antibiotic and anti-fungal medication, plus instructions.

Can You Use Coconut Oil for Ear Infections?

Since Sophie just got over an ear infection, we still had an ear cleaner, which we could use for Mirabelle.

The cleanser aids in removing the brown waxy discharge.

In addition to the cleanser and medicine, I also used coconut oil for the cuts or abrasions caused by her scratching to avoid those becoming infected as well.

Because we were home this past weekend and close to the vet, we were able to take advantage of traditional methods for treating Mirabelle’s ear infections.

However, had we been on a trip or had it been a holiday weekend, I would have needed to use more holistic methods, like coconut oil, to manage things.

One of the best home remedies I’ve found is coconut oil.

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Do ear infections respond to coconut oil antibacterial properties

It has a multitude of uses for first-aid, which is why we always travel with a jar of it.

It has worked wonders on:

We use coconut oil for our pets as well as ourselves.

How Coconut Oil Works on Ear Infections

Though coconut oil works on all of the ailments above, the real question is, can it work on ear infections?

The answer is yes. Coconut oil:

  • Has anti-bacterial properties
  • Has anti-fungal properties
  • Fights yeast infections
  • Is anti-inflammatory
  • Increases collagen production[1]

All of these properties aid in resolving infections, making it the ideal choice for this situation. One of the primary attributes in coconut oil is lauric acid, which is a fatty acid.

Can You Use Coconut Oil for Dog Ear Infections

Lauric acid eliminates yeast, and since ear infections are either yeast or bacteria-based infections, coconut oil can often aid in reducing if not eliminating the problem.

However, it is critical to point out that coconut oil is only able to fight off specific bacteria, just like any other antibiotic[2].

Which is why it is always important to be sure what type of ear infection you are dealing with before committing to an at-home remedy.

Why You Should Use Coconut Oil to Treat Canine Ear Infections

Coconut oil is a non-abrasive substance that contains several beneficial properties.

It is well known to be able to heal minor wounds and skin irritations, as well as eliminate or avoid some infections[3].

As I mentioned above, I brought Mirabelle to the vet, but if we didn’t have access to the clinic the next day, I would have used a home remedy until I was able to get her into a see the doctor.

How to use coconut oil to treat canine ear infection

One of the many reasons I like using coconut oil topically is that it is a benign product and unlikely to worsen the issue.

However, if you are fighting a bacteria infection that isn’t responding, you must see a vet, so the infection doesn’t worsen.

Also, I use coconut oil on any cuts or abrasions caused by the Mirabelle’s itching her ears.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Coconut Oil to Treat Canine Ear Infections

There are times that coconut oil shouldn’t be used for ear infections, like:

  • If your dog has never had an ear infection, be sure to consult your vet before using any home remedies
  • If your dog has a severe infection
  • If you aren’t positive if your dog has an ear infection
  • If your vet has told you not to use it – this is often true when the doctor feels it is best to use a powder-based medication to decrease moisture in the ear.

I should note that Mirabelle’s ear infection was minor; had it been severe with excessive swelling and pain, I would have brought her to an emergency hospital instead.

How to Use the Oil

There are three methods of using coconut oil for ear infections:

  1. The first method is using just coconut oil.
  2. The second method is using essential oils in addition to coconut oil.
  3. And the third option, which is what I use currently, is coconut oil and prescription medication.

Material Needed

Instructions directions for cleaning infected dog ears with coconut oil

Some of the items listed below are optional or may not apply:

  • Coconut oil
  • Cotton swabs
  • Cotton balls
  • Cleaner
  • Prescription drops
  • Essential oils
  • Treats

We use canned food smeared on a paper plate for a treat.

It allows me to wipe out the ears without having to restrain Mirabelle and gives her something fun to do, making it a more positive experience.

It is easiest if two people are tackling this job, one to do the ears and the other to help restrain and provide treats as needed.

Step 1

Clean out the ear using a liquid cleaner or ear wipes that already have the cleaner on it, like Pet MD ear wipes.

I use the cleaner with cotton balls and swabs. You should never put anything larger than your finger into your dog’s ear canal.Zymox Ear Cleanser for cleaning dog ears before using coconut oil

If your dog moves quickly or you put a cotton swab in too deep, you could cause irreparable damage. I only use the swabs for the little crevices on the outer ear.

The brown junk further down will resolve with the use of the medicine.

If your dog has any open scratches, be careful when using the cleaner as it may cause discomfort.

To clean the abrasions areas, use warm water with a mild soap, then apply coconut oil.

Step 2

Put a few drops of coconut oil, coconut oil with essential oils, or the prescription medication into the canal of the ear.

Gently massage the base of the ear to distribute the oil or medicine through the canal area.

Step 3

Gently dab pure coconut oil on any abrasions or cuts caused by your dog scratching their ears.

When applying coconut oil, be conservative, a little goes a long way.

Plus, excessive use can cause clogged pores or skin irritation.

Final Thoughts

I have used straight coconut oil for one of Sophie’s more minor ear infections, and it worked well.

However, for her most recent severe infection, I used a combination of coconut oil treatments and prescription medication.

I used the coconut oil to manage the abrasions on her ears, and they cleared up immediately. The last thing you need in addition to an ear infection are cuts that are infected too.

The reason I didn’t opt to use just coconut oil for Mirabelle is that she is a puppy, and because we found out it was a combination of bacteria and yeast.

As she gets older, I would be more open to using coconut oil to see if that is enough to resolve the infection.

Resources

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coconut-oil-uses#section15
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC444260/
  3. https://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2014-05/treatment-dermal-infections-topical-coconut-oil

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