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How to Give Mineral Oil to a Cow

| Updated September 26, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • 1 quart mineral oil

  • Long hose or tube

  • Bloat needle

According to Penn Dutch Cow Care, cows can become bloated from grazing on lush alfalfa and clover, especially after a dew or frost. This type of bloating could kill a cow because of the tiny bubbles that form inside the cow’s body, which expand and cause the cow’s airway to be blocked. To prevent the bloating before it happens, the cow should be fed dry hay 30 minutes before letting it graze, and the dew or frost moisture should be entirely dried up. If the bloating already occurred, mineral oil can help relieve the bloating.

Rapid action must be taken if signs of bloating are obvious, according to Penn Dutch Cow Care. The Cattle Health Handbook suggests looking for signs such as a swollen rumen, panting or shallow breaths, labored breathing due to pressure on the lungs, increased urination and discomfort or restlessness.

Fill a long hose or tube with a quart of mineral oil and stick it down the cow’s throat and into the rumen, which is the first of the cow’s four stomachs, located on the left side of the cow‘s body. Do not just allow the cow to swallow the mineral oil down the throat, because if the cow inhales the oil into its windpipe, it could cause aspiration in the lungs or pneumonia, according to Drugs.com.

If the cow seems on the verge of suffocation, puncture the rumen with a bloat needle that is at least six to seven inches long, according to Dr. Jane A. Parish and Dr. Justin D. Rhinehart, professors of animal and dairy sciences at Mississippi State University. Puncturing should be a last resort, because it could cause infection. After puncturing and allowing excess gas to be released, which will only take about a minute, pour a quart of mineral oil directly into the lumen from the punctured hole.

Walk the cow around a pasture until it shows signs of easily breathing again. If the cow does not show signs of recovery after 15 minutes, take a break of five to 10 minutes and then repeat the exercise. Continue to do this until symptoms are relieved, or consult with a veterinarian if symptoms do not improve.


  • If the cow is experiencing free-gas bloating, which is caused from the cow’s failure to burp or belch after eating, the process of feeding the cow a quart of mineral oil through a tube can also relieve this type of bloating.

    Add a teaspoon of peppermint oil to the mineral oil, which can provide extra gas-relieving effects, according to Penn Dutch Cow Care.


  • Do not use mineral oil as a solution to bloating for a prolonged period of time. This could interfere with normal absorption of nutrients in the digestive track, according to Drugs.com.

    If you have time, because of the numerous side effects and infections that could occur from puncturing the rumen and sticking a tube down the cow’s throat, it is always best to consult with a veterinarian.