Canine ear infection, also known as canine otitis is a very common issue that is typically caused by a bacterial or fungal imbalance with the microbiome of the ear. Over the counter treatment is available, but usually a visit to the vet is standard. Medications such as Mometomax or Otomax Ointment or Tresaderm are the "go-to" treatments.
PetMD says that possible side effects of these medicines include can include loss of hearing, loss of balance and diarrhea, while side effects of the topical medication can include enzyme elevations, weight loss and anorexia. Additionally, some of these common bacterial and fungal species have developed a resistance to antibiotics and could require multiple doses of medication to be resolved. Also, by treating just the symptoms, we are not healing the root cause, which means the symptoms will most likely return.
According to a recent publication, "some dog owners would prefer to try a natural treatment before resorting to antimicrobial prescriptions to help combat antibiotic resistance and avoid subjecting their pets to substances that may have concerning side effects. This was confirmed during a recent survey where approximately 48% of individuals reported being interested in trying at-home remedies to treat their pet’s ailments."
As a dog mom myself, if there is anything I can do at home to make my dog feel better, I am going to do it.
The same publication investigated the effectiveness of 22 different essential oils, "including clove, lemongrass, cinnamon leaf, oregano, and tea tree oil, against M. pachydermatis" and S. pseudintermedius common ear bacterias. The results indicated that clove was the most effective at treating S. pseudintermedius by "producing an inhibitory zone with water extraction techniques" and "Garlic was the next most successful extract, but not all extraction methods produced inhibitory effects."
While further studies need to be completed to prove the efficacy of using essential oils to treat ear infections, using clove and garlic is an easy, cost-effective first line of at-home defense for ear infections that have no side effects.