How to Use Olive Oil to Treat Dog Ear Mites at Home

Updated on January 9, 2018
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

Ear mites can be painful but are easy to treat.
Ear mites can be painful but are easy to treat. | Source

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.

Swollen ears are painful!
Swollen ears are painful!

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.

Your dog will be much happier after the ear mites are gone.
Your dog will be much happier after the ear mites are gone. | Source

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.

© 2012 Dr Mark


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    • profile image

      susan duffy 7 months ago

      do you use a dropper to put in the olive oil and should you clean their ears with a flushing solution firsts?

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 11 months ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Peppersmom--the hematoma should be drained as soon as possible. The ear then needs to be taped down to the head so that it does not fill back up if the dog starts shaking her head again.

      If it is not drained, it can develop into a cauliflour ear. The scarring is permanent.

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      Pepper'sgmom 11 months ago

      Thank you so much for this! Sadly, my grandpup's new Vet did nothing I've read to treat the when she woke w a hematoma Monday. We were sent home w antibiotics & ear cleaner (which I've had to google to use). I've given her aspirin for pain. Is it best to drain the hematoma when it initially happens?

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      smithy 11 months ago

      This essential oil is enriched vitamin E and other fatty acids, which helps in faster healing. It soothes the irritated, swollen, and red skin in the ears. Almond oil is great for sensitive skin.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 11 months ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      I cannot tell you an exact amount since dog ears are sometimes large, sometimes small, etc. It has to be a liberal amount, enough to drown the mites. Make sure all of the inside of the pinna is coated, so if you need 10 drops, use them. If you need 15, use 15, etc.

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      Carol Robertson 11 months ago

      How much olive oil do u use ?

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      Renee 18 months ago

      Hi Mark,

      I swabbed the inside of my dog's ears last night before bed and have seen improvement already. I didn't add any drops to the ear canal because I wasn't sure how many drops to add. Can you please tell me what is safe and effective in terms of the amount? Many thanks.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 21 months ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Will: who would have told you something like that? Someone selling ear products? Yes, it is okay to clean your dog´s ears with dilute vinegar and treat ear mites with olive oil.

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      Will Morgan's 21 months ago

      I got told never put olive oil in a dogs ear.My dog has been constantly scratching her ear and shaking her head for the last two weeks.So its ok to put olive oil in her ear?