Does Your Dog Have an Ear Infection? Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

Friday, March 29, 2019 | 
If your dog has an ear infection, it can range from a minor irritation to a painful and serious situation, especially if left untreated. The earlier you can diagnose your dog, the better. To help, here is more information on signs, causes, and potential treatment options for dogs suffering from an ear infection.

Senior dog checked for ear infection.

What causes ear infections in dogs?

There is not just one type of ear infection in dogs. Bacteria, yeast, mites, fungus, allergies and even tumors or polyps, can bring on the ear infection. The dark and damp inside of a dog’s ear can provide the perfect conditions for bacteria, yeast, or fungi to flourish. Some floppy-eared dogs such as Cocker Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers, and Basset Hounds are more susceptible to ear infections too.

Signs your dog may have an ear infection
  • Repeated scratching of the ear 
  • Pawing at the ear frequently
  • An odor emanating from your dog’s ear
  • Head shaking or tilting the head to a specific side
  • Heat radiating from the ear
  • Excessive moisture or discharge coming from the ear
  • Reluctance to chew or pain when opening mouth
  • Loss of balance
  • Scabs or crusting around the outer ear
Can you use a home remedy to treat your dog’s ear infection?

You can find some home remedies online to treat an ear infection for a dog. However, we encourage you to discuss any treatment with your veterinarian prior to taking action at home. Since different things can cause ear infections, it is important to pursue the proper treatment. You also do not want to risk messing up the natural pH balance in your dog’s ear. Your veterinarian will be able to better diagnose the ear infection and help you come up with a plan for treatment.

Recurring ear infections in dogs

There are some dogs, often related to specific breeds that are more susceptible to repeated ear infections. Chronic ear infections in dogs can be easily managed once you begin to recognize the signs. There are also preventative measures you can take to try and decrease the number of ear infections your dog experiences. When dealing with frequent ear infections in dogs, your veterinarian will be your most valuable source for helping you determine the cause, and possible things you can do to decrease their occurrences.

Preventing ear infections in dogs

Do you want some tips for how to prevent ear infections in dogs? Keeping your dog’s ears clean is the main preventative action you can take to prevent ear infections. However, if you clean their ears TOO frequently, you could also cause issues for them. Luckily, a dog’s ears are designed to take care of themselves, for the most part. However, there are a couple of ways you can help them out. After your dog bathes or swims, make sure you properly dry their outer ear. Also, when you do clean their ears, just gently wipe around the outer ear and in any creases. Do not go deep into their ear though. You risk pushing dirt and bacteria further in their ear, which could result in a future ear infection or damage to their eardrum. If there are over-the-counter cleaning products you would like to try on your dog for their overall ear care and maintenance, run it by your vet first. They can provide you with guidelines for frequency of ear cleanings and products to use.

Treating an ear infection in dogs

Your vet may prescribe antibiotics to treat your dog’s ear infection. Antibiotics can provide some relief of any pain or discomfort and start the healing process. Treating the ear infection early is recommended to prevent it from worsening or causing other health complications. Your vet may also recommend a follow-up appointment to ensure the ear infection has completely cleared up. Treatments can vary based on the severity and root cause of the infection.