Why Do Dogs Get Ear Infections

Find out why dogs get ear infections, what to do about them, and how to prevent them in this month’s blog!

Why Do Dogs Get Ear Infections

Many underlying factors can make dogs prone to ear infections such as:

  • The shape of the ear canal
  • The shape of the ear flap (pinna) and whether it is droopy or upright
  • Breed – Some dogs produce more wax (or sebum)
  • Age – Young dogs are more prone to ear mites
  • Underlying medical disorders such as low thyroid hormone levels and other – hormonal diseases
  • Exposure to moisture from swimming or baths
  • Allergies – This is the #1 cause of ear infections in dogs
  • The lifestyle your dog leads. Activities such as running in the brush and woods can lead to foreign material getting stuck in the ear

How Will I Know if My Dog Has an Ear Infection

Signs and symptoms of ear infections in dogs include:

  • Head shaking
  • Tilting of the head
  • Rubbing their head or face against objects
  • Pawing at or scratching the ear
  • Redness or swelling in or around the ears
  • Bloody, yellow, or brown-colored discharge from the ears
  • Foul-smelling ears
  • Scabbing or crusting in or just outside of the ears

If you notice any signs or symptoms of an ear infection in your dog, seeking veterinary care as soon as possible will help prevent more serious issues from developing. Left unaddressed, ear infections in dogs can be painful and in serious cases can even lead to coordination and balance problems, hearing loss, and facial paralysis.


Treating Your Dog's Ear Infection

Treatment for a dog’s ear infection is two-fold. We want to treat the infection and we also want to treat the underlying cause. The treatment for the infection depends on the type of infection (bacteria or yeast) and the severity of the infection. The treatment for the underlying cause will also need to be considered and possibly investigated more thoroughly with testing.

One of the mainstays of treatment for the infection is to clean out all the debris that is present in your dog’s ears and then apply topical treatments. We might also prescribe oral antibiotics and/or antifungals, anti-inflammatory medications or itch-relieving oral medications for ongoing treatment.

Additionally, depending on the underlying cause, we’ll talk with you about ways to prevent your dog from developing ear infections in the future.

How to Prevent Your Dog From Getting an Ear Infection

Since dogs are prone to ear infections, it’s important to take steps to protect your dog from developing them in the first place.

  • Keep your pet’s ears clean with regular cleanings or groomings
  • Do not pluck hairs from your dog’s ears (Leave this to the professionals who only do it when needed)
  • Make sure your dog’s ears are thoroughly dry after swimming and bathing. – – Ask one of our veterinarians for a drying solution if needed
  • Do not let your dog stick his or her head out the window when driving
  • Be on the lookout for any other signs of allergies such as paw-licking, red skin, crusting or generalized itchiness.

If these symptoms are occuring in your dog, it is best to make an appointment to discuss this with one of our veterinarians.

To learn more about preventing ear infections in dogs or to schedule an appointment for your pet, we welcome you to contact Sleepy Hollow Animal Hospital today.