Mullein is one of the most commonly suggested herbs for dogs – and for good reason.

For dogs, there is evidence that suggests its use in treating respiratory illnesses like the common cold. It’s also great for calming the pain of ear aches and treating mild ear infections. There is also evidence to support the usage of mullein leaves as a poultice for soothing the skin and for providing antimicrobial sustenance for irritations, wounds, bites, and burns.

How Mullein Can Help Your Dog

There are several applications for mullein worth exploring thanks to its antimicrobial and antiviral properties. It contains mucilage and small amounts of saponins and tannins, which sets it up as a quality cough suppressant. It soothes mucus membranes and can treat kennel cough.

  • Mullein’s use as a natural expectorant shouldn’t be discounted, as the leaves can be used to treat everything from the common cold to coughing, bronchitis and even asthma. It can even assist in reducing the symptoms of allergic reactions, with a mullein tea suggested for the suppression of various respiratory concerns.  See the dosage for tea below.
  • Mullein can aggravate some skin types, so testing on a small area should be done first when using a poultice. Mullein leaves can nevertheless make for a terrific treatment selection for irritation, wounds, bites, and burns.
  • Some pet owners have successfully used mullein for ear infections. Read more below.

directions for using mullein for dogsDirections & Dosage for Teas, Tinctures & Drops

Tea:  You can use tea bags made from organic Mullein as well.  To brew your own, you’ll want to make the tea fairly strong and give 10 milliliters or a little less than  2-1/2 teaspoons for every 30 lbs of your dog’s body weight twice daily.  Recommended for respiratory issues.

How to make your own glycerin tincture: A tincture is best for those dogs that won’t readily drink the tea.  Using a mason jar, fill it half way with dried mullein that is chopped well.  In another mason jar, mix three parts of organic vegetable glycerine to one part distilled water. Gently shake the jar to mix.  Pour the liquid over the dried mullein and cover completely until the jar is full.  Gently stir daily for a period of 4-6 weeks.  Strain by using cheesecloth.

Poultice for wounds, bites & burns: Pulp up a few mullein leaves with a little water and apply directly to the affected area.

Ear drops for mild infections:  To make a quality mullein mix, Randy Kidd suggests packing both leaves and flowers in a jar. Cover the mixture with olive oil and let sit for two to three weeks. To add more antibiotic support, consider adding a clove of garlic. Strain the mixture and apply several drops to the ear canal, Cup the ear with your hand and gently massage the base of the ear to moisten the ear with the drops. Wipe away any excess with a tissue. This may help in fighting mild infections.  Use for at least 3-5 days.

If the infection still persists, try this ear solution instead.

What You Should Watch Out For

Mullein is a safe and versatile option for dogs and cats, but it should be kept away from fish and amphibians. It is toxic to those creatures, so keep the family goldfish or frog away from your mullein concoctions. Mullein has been used as a piscicide (fish poison) due to high levels of odorless rotenone.

As mentioned above, the poultice can cause some irritation with some four-legged friends, so it’s always best to check it out on a small portion of skin first. There are no noted cases of serious problems, but it’s never a bad idea to exercise care when trying something new.

Reasons to Use

Mullein is a brilliant option for your herbal treatment collection due to its effectiveness in fighting everything from the common cold to ear infections to skin afflictions. It is a multipurpose and safe element for dogs, even if it does spell out a nightmare for the fish and frogs of your world.

One final note: when applying the mullein oil to your dog’s ear infection, make sure that you are reaching the affected area and putting the product deep into the ear canal. If you’re uncertain, it’s never a bad idea to consult your veterinarian for the proper technique of administering ear infection care.

how to use mullein for caninesAbout Mullein

Verbascum or “velvet plant” is a biennial or perennial plant native to Europe and Asia and has a long history of use as an herbal treatment, even though its arrival in North America is relatively recent. The flowers are popular in Austria for use in teas, for example, while some use mullein flowers in baths or as compresses to treat a host of disorders.

The flowers are generally of most interest in mullein, with high levels of vitamins A, B-complex and D found along with calcium, iron, potassium, and sulfur. The leaves can be used in a poultice, as mentioned, and in a tea. And the leaves and flowers can be used together to create an oil to assist with ear infections.

References: Herbs for Pets by M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford

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Showing 13 comments
  • Foggy Ozarks Robin
    Reply

    sometimes Mullein is refered to as Lambs Ear.. people with emphazema smoke it to clear broncials

    • janie
      Reply

      Thanks for sharing! Never knew…..

    • T C
      Reply

      Keep in mind, mullein and lambs ear are actually two separate plants though..

  • Karen Mitchell
    Reply

    Hello,
    I’d like to share my experience with you. A few years back, my shih tzu got a grass seed in her ear, vet ointments did nothing, so I went on a mission and found a recipe for some oil drops made from olive oil, garlic and mullein flowers. After a few drops and then cleaning them in-between with ACV and witch hazel (50/50), her ear cleared up within a couple of weeks.
    This mullein/garlic/olive oil also healed our two other dogs ears. Now I have some oil which I haven’t needed to use again, but I’m going to try it for other things. 🙂

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Karen!

      Wow, that’s awesome that you were able to heal your dog’s ear problems with the mullein, garlic and olive oil mixture. That is really good to know. I’m sure this will help other doggy parents as well.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to share Karen!

      Janie

  • Tammie
    Reply

    The link to what you should do for ear infections that don’t clear isn’t working. We are desperate to clear our dogs ear infection naturally and stop the roller coaster of steroids and antibiotics.

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Tammie:

      I sent you a private email.

      Janie

  • Bonnie A
    Reply

    Hi , My sweet 16 1/2 yr old best friend, Abby, was diagnosed with COPD over a year ago. She coughs a lot and occasionally regurgitates some mucus. Some days are better than others. We go for 2 walks a day . Some are slow and others she wants to run a little 🙂 I want to help her with her cough and breathing by giving her Mullein. I can’t seem to find out any information regarding a dosage for administering Mullein via Supplement like this one.

    She’s fine with taking her Vitamins each day ( Ester C 1000mg, Probiotic, Cranberry, Cosiquin , Fish Oil 1000mg) so I know a supplement will be the easiest way to administer to her. Can you provide me with any supplement dosage suggestion for my Abby girl (35lbs) Golden Retriever, German Shepherd & Sheltie mix?
    Thank you, Bonnie

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Bonnie:

      I’ll add this to my article. Thanks for pointing it out.

      I would use the human dosage for a person weighing 125lbs. This is typically a good rule of thumb to follow when trying to figure out things like this:

      Multiply Abby’s weight of 35 lbs by 1000mg. Next divide it by 125 in order to get the dosage Abby needs daily. (35lb x 1000mg = 35.000 now divide by 125 = 280mg). She would need 280mg daily. I wouldn’t worry the difference between the 280 she needs and the one 330mg Solary capsules come in.

      I hope this helps.

      Janie

  • Shaela Gross
    Reply

    I am also looking for the link for the ear solution .

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Shaela:

      I’m not sure which ear solution you’re referring to. I recommend Zymox Ear Solution in the article if Mullein doesn’t work and your dog has more than a mild infection.

      Janie

  • Deedee
    Reply

    Actually, I have a question. On the reply to Ms Bonnie, you shared a formula for dosing a 35 lb dog. Can I use this same formula for my 16 year old, toy PomPoo? He weighs 6 lbs.

    • janie
      Reply

      Hi Deedee:

      Yes you can. Here’s the formula using your dog’s weight:

      6lbs x 1000mg = 6,000 now divide by 125 = 48mg. He would need 48mg daily.

      I hope this helps.

      Janie

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