How to Use Olive Oil to Treat Dog Ear Mites at Home
Ear mites are tiny insects that live inside the ear canal and suck your dog´s blood.
Next to fleas and ticks, these little bugs are a dog´s greatest headache. They really annoy her and she will scratch constantly.
Your dog can pick up ear mites just playing with others at the dog park and a lot of time they are not even noticed until quite far along. Most vets will prescribe chemicals to kill the mites, and a steroid to keep her from itching, but there are quite a few things that can be done at home.
Diagnosing ear mites at home
This is pretty hard to diagnose at home. If you do not have a vet available, you can remove some of that black waxy material from the ear and put it on a wet paper towel. That black material is blood, so the paper towel should turn red around the wax.
If you do have a vet available, take her in for an ear swab and so that the vet can check the ear drums before you start treatment. You will usually notice an ear mite infestation when your dog starts shaking her head and scratching; if not taken care of your dog can bleed pretty severely. When you take the dog in for an examination the vet will look at a swab under the microscope and if mites are found will recommend several medications.
You are not obligated to purchase medication! You can use plain vinegar and water to loosen up the dried blood in the ear before using the treatment suggested below.
(Don’t do this if your dog has already scratched up the insides of her ears because it really hurts.)
Simple ear mite treatments at home
Ear mites can actually be treated in several ways. They are most active at night so clean and treat the ears each evening at bedtime.
1.You can put olive oil in the ears every other night for six weeks and the mites will drown. As the new mites hatch over the next six weeks they will also drown in the olive oil and the problem will be eliminated.
2. I have also heard about people just using corn oil but the olive oil works well so I have never had to use this alternative. Olive oil is also a better moisturizer and may actually improve healing of the skin.
Are There Other Alternatives to Treat Mites at Home?
3. Another therapy, one I have not needed since I have had good results with killing the mites with olive oil, is to use a dilute yellow dock solution (yellow dock is Rumex crispus) and treat the ears every three days for six weeks.
The yellow dock solution is diluted nine drops to 15 drops of water but you can buy it in an herbal pharmacy already diluted and ready to use. I have also heard of using the yellow dock on other parts of the body where the mites spread, but if you destroy the infection in the ears this probably won´t even be needed.
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Is this an emergency?
A simple mite infestation can be treated at home and it is certainly nothing you need to rush to the emergency vet for. I have heard about dog and cat ear mite infections affecting some humans and causing rashes but have been treating these infections for over 30 years and HAVE NEVER seen it.
If you have a dog with floppy ears and she starts shaking her head until her ears swell up at the tips, she probably has developed blood between the skin, an aural hematoma. This is more serious and cannot be treated at home. She will need to have her ear punctured, the blood drained out, and she may have to have her ear sewn down to keep it from filling up with blood again. If you do not get this taken care of properly the clot will contract and she will end up with a “cauliflower” ear.
This slideshow will give you an idea of what your dog´s ear mites look like when seen under the microscope.
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© 2012 Dr Mark