The Short Answer is:
Tea tree oil contains terpinene-4-ol which is the active ingredient. It has some antibacterial and antifungal properties according to scientific studies (such as here and here). Researchers have found that tea tree oil is effective in fighting Malassezia a type of yeast that causes ear infections in dogs. This kind of stuff is incredibly exciting.
In this research you will know the answer to the query “Tea Tree Oil For Dog’s Ear Infection“.
- How common are ear infections in dogs?
- Other causes of ear infections
- What types of ear infections do dogs get?
- What is tea tree oil?
- How might tea tree oil help a dog’s ear infection?
- What are the possible dangers of using tea tree oil?
- How do I dilute tea tree oil for my dog’s ear infection?
It is painful to clean the ears of my dogs.
They run away as soon as they hear the medicine cabinet is opened.
Do not worry I do not really have a medicine cabinet but we do have a cupboard where we keep our dog grooming supplies.
The dogs do really try to melt into the floor when the cupboard opens.
There is no surprise that dogs hate it when we squirt liquids into their ears since their hearing can be very sensitive.
In addition to cleaning a dogs ears tea tree oil is also effective in treating an ear infection.
How common are ear infections in dogs?
Dogs are believed to suffer from ear infections in up to 20% of cases.
To me this seems like a staggeringly high number.
Dogs of certain breeds are more susceptible to infections than dogs of other breeds.
You can see why this is so when you examine certain breeds.
You know those breeds where the dog seems bigger than the ear.
Breeds such as the Cocker Spaniel Poodle Basset Hound or Afghan Hound.
Breeds like these have not only bigger ears but the actual ear is hotter because it is covered in all that hair.
Heat makes ear infections worse because it encourages things like yeast to thrive and spread.
Other causes of ear infections
Rather than focusing only on breeds with long floppy ears I think we need to think more broadly about ear infections in dogs.
As an owner of two Golden Retrievers I believe the environment in which we “live” can make them more susceptible to ear infections.
Firstly I am referring to the fact that my dogs spend a lot of time in the water.
There is a river nearby and we are also 11 miles from the coast so we regularly take them to the beach.
We did at least before lockdown!
A dogs wet ears are another cause of ear infections- or at least one factor.
Because drying the rest of their body with a towel takes so long you do not usually think of drying inside their ear.
Combining this with the heat generated by being enclosed damp ears can serve as an ideal breeding ground for infections.
However I believe there is a second environmental factor that makes my dogs more vulnerable to ear infections than other dogs.
My dogs walk across muddy fields and on muddy paths when they are not in water.
Our mud will become more and more saturated as temperatures rise in the UK and our winters become wetter.
An infection can begin as soon as a dirty muddy paw scratches its way into an ear.
What types of ear infections do dogs get?
Dogs can suffer from ear infections just like humans and as you may know from experience that can be a dreadful experience.
Bacteria or yeast can accumulate in the ear and cause an infection in dogs.
The buildup is caused by an existing problem such as ear mites excessive wax excessive cleaning or a foreign body.
Puppies are normally the only ones affected by ear mites.
You can tell if your dog is suffering from an ear infection by certain tell-tale signs.
Some of these symptoms are fairly obvious including head shaking excessive scratching strong odor and possibly a discharge.
What is tea tree oil?
Melaleuca Alternifolia is the plant that produces tea tree oil.
Crude leaves of the plant are used to produce the oil.
Aboriginals in Australia have been telling stories about the healing powers of these leaves for hundreds of years.
Early reports of the oils antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties led to the crushing of leaves for its oil in the early twentieth century.
How might tea tree oil help a dog’s ear infection?
Tea tree oil contains terpinene-4-ol which is the active ingredient.
It has some antibacterial and antifungal properties according to scientific studies (such as here and here).
Researchers have found that tea tree oil is effective in fighting Malassezia a type of yeast that causes ear infections in dogs.
This kind of stuff is incredibly exciting.
It is encouraging to know that a natural product can demonstrate some of these qualities in an age where antibacterial resistance is on the rise.
This seems like a great idea at first glance.
Our dogs’ ear infections are usually caused by either yeast (a fungus) or bacteria.
Nevertheless these studies have been very small there havenot been many of them and to my knowledge all have been conducted on people rather than dogs.
The effectiveness of tea tree oil needs to be confirmed by more trials according to scientists.
What are the possible dangers of using tea tree oil?
In my opinion there are three dangers associated with using tea tree oil to treat your dogs ear infection.
I have not really mentioned it but if an ear infection isnot caught quickly enough it can travel from the dogs outer ear to their middle ear and ultimately into their inner ear.
An inner or middle ear infection is a serious condition that can only be treated by a veterinarian.
At this point you should not try to treat the ear with tea tree oil or other essential oils.
How can we be sure that the infection hasnot already spread as owners?
Furthermore no one really knows what concentration of oil you need to treat an ear infection.
It has not been determined yet what concentration of oil to use in clinical trials so I know this!
Third there is a possibility that your dog may experience an allergic reaction to tea tree oil.
18 cineole was thought to be the ingredient responsible for this.
According to some studies 18 cineole does not cause allergic reactions.
How do I dilute tea tree oil for my dog’s ear infection?
As I just spent time describing some of the uncertainties that are associated with using tea tree oil this might seem like a strange section for me to include.
In order to emphasize my point you must never use 100% tea tree oil on your dog.
A shocking report describes the harmful effects of using pure tea tree oil on cats and dogs.
Hypersalivation and trembling are among the symptoms.
Nevertheless I want to give you the best advice I can give to those of you who are interested in giving it a try.
Most experts recommend diluting tea tree oil to about 1% or even less.
Dilute the oil with another carrier oil such as olive oil or sunflower oil.
In order to do it properly you will need at least two eye droppers (one for the tea tree oil and one for the carrier oil.)
The process will require a lot of patience on your part
You can use a shallow pot or a plastic container similar to the one you use for takeout food.
Then place 100 drops of your carrier oil into the same container as the tea tree oil.
You need to take your time with this as it is very important to be accurate.
After you have finished ‘dropping’ the oil stir it quickly with a clean spoon and then you are ready to go.
If you want to read more about dog health tips read here: Dog Health Tips and Tricks.