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Dog Ear Infection Treatment – A Simple Guide

Dog ear infection treatment
9 min read

If you see your dog scratching their ears at whining out of nowhere to the point where the ears become extremely red, then they might have an ear infection. Don’t worry, though, because an ear infection is a widespread health problem in dogs.

Today, I will talk about dog ear infection treatment. I will also discuss the causes, symptoms, and other important things that you should know. Ear infections occur more during the summer becaus of the warm, humid environment or if your dog likes to swim.

Dog ear infection treatment- About Ear infections

The suffix -itis means inflammation, so Otitis in dogs means the inflammation of the dog’s ears. Otitis is one of the top five reasons why pet owners take their dogs to the veterinarian.

What I am trying to say is ear inflammation and ear infections are very common, so don’t panic when you see the symptoms. Yes, it could become dangerous if you don’t act out upon seeing the symptoms, but there is no need for you to worry when you’re following the vetrenarian’s recommendations.

There are three different types of ear infections. They are:

  • Otitis Externa, which is the inflammation of the outer part of the ear.
  • Otitis Media, which is the inflammation of the middle ear.
  • Otitis Internal, which is the inflammation of the inner ear canal.

The Otitis Media and the Otitis Internal usually occur due to the infection spreading from the external ear. They are considered to be more advanced than the Otitis Externa as they could have dire consequences such as deafness, lack of coordination, and facial paralysis.

dog ear infection treatment

That’s why I always say prevention is better than cure. If we caught the infection while it is still in the external ear, we could prevent these terrible consequences that could happen to our beloved dogs

These ear diseases are more common in dogs who have floppy ears like the Cocker Spaniels. Almost twenty percent of dogs have some type of ear disease.

However, today I am going to share with information that will help you minimize the severity of pain your dog is going to experience while having an ear infection. I will also tell you how you can reduce their occurrences as well. You can do so by being aware of anything unusual that occurs to your dog.

Dog ear infection treatment- Symptoms of dog ear infections

The ear canal is such a sensitive body part, this makes the symptoms of infection easier to see.

The symptoms of a dog ear infection includes the following:

  • The ears having a bad odor
  • Your dog shaking their head uncontrollably
  • Your dog suddenly being extremely itchy
  • Their ears swelling and turning very red.
  • Seeing a smelly, dark in color discharge in the ear
  • You see them whining as they paw one or both of their ears

Dog ear infection treatment- What Causes Ear Infections in Dogs?

Before we talked about what causes ear infections in dogs, let us discuss the structure of the canine ear. Your dog’s ear canal is a bit more vertical than a human’s. The canine ear canal has an L shape, which explains why it can hold in fluid and thus make your beloved fog be more prone to having ear problems.

dog ear infection treatment

The structure of the canine ear canal, which is more vertical than that of humans and has an “L” shape, that tends to hold in fluid. This makes dogs prone to ear problems.

The common causes of canine ear infection include the following:

  • Yeast or fungal infections
  • Bacterial infections.
  • Moisture: recall how I mentioned earlier that moisture is one of the most common causes of ear infections in dogs during the summer?
  • Well, that is because moisture is the perfect environment of bacteria and yeast to grow.
  • Viral infections; aka, virus infections.
  • Excessive dog ear cleaning.
  • Injuries.
  • Build up of ear wax.
  • Meningitis is a disease where the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cords are inflamed. Its symptoms include high fever an sensitivity to light
  • Encephalitis which is a brain inflammation that is caused due to allergies or an infection.
  • Mites, which are usually more common in puppies.
  • drug reactions
  • Allergies: Eighty percent of dogs who have food allergies will eventually develop ear inflammation. Also, almost half of the dogs in the entire world suffer from some sort of allergic skin disease.
  • If they hay an autoimmune disease, they are prone to getting ear infections.
  • If your dog has a thyroid disorder, then they might develop an ear infection.

Dog ear infection treatment- The importance of an accurate diagnosis for your dog’s ear infection

If you notice any of the symptoms that I have mentioned above, then take your dog the veterinarian right away. Giving your dog painkillers might make their pain go away, but remember that outer ear infections are capable spreading into the middle and inner ear, which may lead to serious side effects and are harder to treat.

dog ear infection treatment

You must go to the veterinarian well prepared, especially if you’re visiting a new vet. Because ear infections can afflict your dog at any time, you might have to take them to the emergency room. There is no need to panic though because I have prepared a list of all the information you’ll have to give your dog’s vet or the ER’s doctor.

The information your vet is going to need includes the following:

  • The duration of the symptoms that you’ve observed, whether its discharge, odor or the swelling of the ear.
  • Your dog’s diet for the past few weeks.
  • Whether your dog has any allergies.
  • If your four-legged best friend is taking any medication.
  • The frequency at which you clean your dog’s ears.
  • If you trim your dog’s ear hair, and if you do, then how often?
  • Information about your dog’s grooming regimes.
  • And of course, if your dog has a history with ear infections. If they do, try to recall the cause and the treatment that they recieved.

When the vet has all of this information, they will examine your dogs. The examination might require your dog to get sedated, so don’t worry when the vet tells you that. Of course, the vet will examine both of your dog’s ears even if they’re only having an issue with one.

For those who like to be emtionally prepared before visiting the doctor, here is what the examintion might include:

  • The obvious one is, of course, a visual assessment, where the vet will be looking for the basic signs such as the swelling of the ear, redness, or even blood.
  • They might take some tissue samples from the ear and examine them under the microscope.
  • The might assess your dog’s level of pain via gently palpating the ear.
  • The might do a tissue culture.
  • They might take a biopsy if the case is a bit extreme.
  • Xrays are usually done if the case is chronic or extreme.
  • They might examine your dog with an otoscope, so they can look inside of the ear and identify if there are any foreign objects inside, ear mites, a massive wax build-up, ear mites, or even check to see if the eardrum is damaged.

Dog ear infection treatment- How are these ear infections treated?

After the veterinarian finishes examining your dog’s ear, they will begin to clean them thoroughly. They might give you a prescription that includes topical medication, pain killer, anti-inflammatory drugs, or/ and antibiotics that you will have to continue giving to your dog at home.

The veterinarian might also tell you to clean your dogs at home. However, that usually happens after your dog’s second visit to the vet, so make sure you listen closely while the doctor instructs you on what you should do.

If you want to learn how to clean your dog’s ears at home, then check out our 6 Steps for How to Clean a Dogs Ears at Home blog post.

If your dog’s ear infection is considered to be an uncomplicated case, then the problem might be resolved in less than a month. However, it takes some dogs a couple of months to get cured, and some cases turn out to be chronic.

Make sure that you follow the veterinarian’s recommendation precisely. Something that you might seem unnecessary could seriously affect your dog’s recovery. Don’t stop giving your dog their prescribed medication until they take their entire course even if they start improving.

Dog ear infection treatment- Prevention is better than cure.

As I mentioned earlier in this blog post, prevention is better than cure so learn how to properly clean your dog’s ears.

dog ear infection treatment

I mentioned how moisture is one of the most major causes of canine ear infection in dogs, so you can prevent the development of ear infections by thoroughly drying your dog’s ears after they go swimming. Also, avoid getting your dog’s ears wet while you’re showering them. You can use cotton balls to dry their ears.

To clean your dog’s ears, simply follow these steps:

  • Use a cleaning solution and fill your dog’s ear canal with it. ( Ask the Vet about what to use before doing so)
  • Massage your dog’s ear canal.
  • Clean and dry your dog’s ear canal with an absorbent gauze. ( Avoid paper towels and cotton cause they tend to be irritating.

Avoid usung Q-tips while cleaning your dog’s ear canals. We humans shouldn’t be doing that as well because the q-tip could puch the wax and debris deeper into the canal.

That’s it for today’s post. You should now know what symptoms to look for and how to handle your dog’s ear infection. You’ll find the resources at the end of this blog post, so please feel free to check them out and read more about dog ear infections.

If you have any questions regarding this dog ear infection treatment blog pots, then feel free to leave them in the comments down below.

As always, we really love reading your experiences about these topics. If you want to share any of your personal experiences with us, then leave them down in the comments as well!

Dog ear infection treatment- Resources

Veterinary Manual. (2019). Ear Infections and Otitis Externa in Dogs – Dog Owners – Veterinary Manual. [online] Available at: https://www.msdvetmanual.com/dog-owners/ear-disorders-of-dogs/ear-infections-and-otitis-externa-in-dogs [Accessed 8 Jul. 2019].

Csu-cvmbs.colostate.edu. (2019). How can we help your pet’s skin and ears?. [online] Available at: http://csu-cvmbs.colostate.edu/vth/small-animal/dermatology/Pages/default.aspx [Accessed 8 Jul. 2019].

Pendergraft, D. (2019). Ear ye, ear ye, otitis is common in dogs – SOURCE. [online] SOURCE. Available at: https://source.colostate.edu/pet-health-ear-inflammation-common-problem-dogs/ [Accessed 8 Jul. 2019].



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