Ear mites are a parasite commonly found in cats, and less frequently occurring in dogs. Animals with weakened immune systems are especially likely to have problems with mites. Signs of ear mites include scratching of the ears and the presence of dark specks that are the mites' waste product. Conventional treatment typically involves use of an anti-parasite medication such as Ivermectin or Milbemite (milbemycin oxime). But many people prefer to use less harsh remedies that can be made from natural ingredients.
Applying olive oil in the dog's or cat's ear canals often successfully kills ear mites. Experts recommend placing three to five drops in the ear, and massaging the base of the ear to rub it in. It should be used daily for a month, to ensure that adult mites are killed and young mites are killed after eggs hatch.
Enhanced Olive Oil
Adding garlic to olive oil by infusion can be beneficial due to the antibacterial action of garlic. The same procedure should be used as with plain olive oil. Alternatively, an infusion of rosemary, oregano or mullein can be used.
Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E oil can help promote healing from ear mites, especially when combined with olive oil and grapefruit seed extract (GSE). The GSE is antibacterial and can help prevent infection of mite-infected ears.
Other oils besides olive oil can be used as a carrier, for instance, almond oil is effective. However, tea tree oil should be avoided, according to the authors of "Natural Healing for Dogs and Cats," as it can be dangerous for cats.
Veterinarian Michele Yasson recommends using green tea as an ear wash to rid cats and dogs of ear mites. Green tea is a natural antiseptic and is effective if used daily for a month to flush out the ears.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Marty Goldstein, DVM, recommends using diluted apple cider vinegar for ear mites. Mix a teaspoon of ACV into half a cup of pure water. Other products he recommends include liquid garlic, mixed in equal parts with water, and herbal washes that include sage oil, clove oil and mullein.
During and after treatment it is important to boost the animal's immune system to decrease the likelihood of recurrence. Echinacea can be administered for a couple weeks after treatment, and pets should be given high-quality food. Ears can be shampooed with a natural herbal formula periodically, as well.
- "The complete holistic dog book: home health care for our canine companions"; Jan Allegretti & Katy Sommers; 2003
- "Natural Healing for Dogs and Cats"; Prevention Health Books; 2001
- "The nature of animal healing: the path to your pet's health, happiness, and longevity"; Martin Goldstein D. V. M.; 2000