by Tahni Segars
Any time my dog Lola, a sweet little Dachshund/Beagle mix, shows any signs of distress, I’m quick to jump into action. While she can be boisterous, Lola unfortunately lacks the ability to tell me exactly what ails her, but I’ve learned some clues. When I see her shaking her head and rubbing on furniture, I know I need to head to the kitchen for some olive oil.
Ear care is essential when caring for your pet. Like humans, dogs and cats are susceptible to ear infections. To avoid the pain and agitation of an infection, regular ear cleaning is important. And a good way to keep your feline and canine family members free of ear irritation is to cleanse their ears with olive oil.
The health benefits of olive oil go well beyond dietary uses. Dog and cat ears are very sensitive. Using water to clear your pet’s ears won’t do the trick. Water can make matters worse and bring on an infection.
The good news is the process is quick and easy. And I bet you have the necessities in your home already. All you need is olive oil and cotton balls. Dab the cotton ball in the oil and gently swab the inside of your pet’s ears. Use a clean cotton ball to remove the excess oil and debris. Avoid Q-tips for cleaning — this can push wax farther in the ear canal, push an infection deeper or injure your pet. Regular ear cleaning with olive oil will keep your pet happy and healthy.
If your animal does get an ear infection, olive oil can help then, too.
Ear infections are caused by common bacteria that your pet can come in contact with through water, dirt or from any surface in their environment. If your dog does a lot of swimming, infections can be common and recurring, as bacteria thrive in warm, moist areas. Pets can also get ear infections from allergies, fungus and ear mites.
If you notice your cat or dog with symptoms of an ear infection, reach for the olive oil early and get a head start on alleviating the irritation.
Symptoms of an infection include:
• Excessive head shaking
• Scratching at the ear or rubbing the ear on furniture or other objects
• Cocking the head to one side
• A foul odor
1. Surface clean your pet’s ear. Moisten a cotton ball with olive oil and gently swab the inside of the ear.
2. Straighten the ear canal by softly pulling on the ear and pour in a few drops of the olive oil, letting it travel down the ear canal.
3. Massage the base of the ear gently and remove any excess oil with a clean cotton ball.
According to the Veterinary Institute of Integrative Medicine, an organization focused on holistic medicine, placing several drops in each ear daily will kill any mites, and the process will gradually heal an ear infection. Repeat the drops for three to four weeks.
For keeping your four-legged friends in tip-top shape, olive oil is the panacea for ear care. Keep your house stocked with olive oil and cotton swabs, and you and your pet will be set.
May the sun shine through your branches.