Ear Infection In Dogs

Ear infection in dogs is often discovered by the appearance of a red inflammation of the ear canal. Ear disorders can affect any part of the ear canal - the external or outer ear, the middle or the inner ears.

As you can imagine, it's best to identify an ear disorder before it spreads to a deeper level of the ear canal. Infections are one of the most common disorders affecting the ears of dogs.

However, it is especially common for those breeds that have narrow ear canals such as Cocker Spaniels or those with pendulous ears, like Beagles.

Dogs with ear flaps that are extra hairy on the inside such as Poodles and Schnauzers are also prone to infections and heavy wax build-up because excessive hair impairs air circulation.


However, unless medically advised, it is not a good idea to have this hair plucked out by the groomer as this procedure causes the skin to excrete serum, resulting in the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

While some breeds are more likely to have ear troubles, ear infection in dogs is such a frequent issue among all canines, that there's a good chance your dog will be affected at some time during his life.

So take a look at your dog's ears right now. What do they look like?

Hopefully, you will see a healthy ear with skin that is a pinkish color. Don't panic if you see a small amount of brownish-black wax present - that's quite normal in a healthy ear.

Now give them a sniff - if there's no unpleasant odor, that's a good sign!

When there's an infection present, a dog's ears will not only look bad, they will also smell bad!.

The Signs of Ear Infection In Dogs

Most of the time you'll know when your dog has an ear infection because he'll give you quite a few clues by his behavior, such as:

  • Repeatedly scratching at the affected ear.
  • Rubbing his head on the floor or other objects.
  • Tilting his head to one side.
  • Signs of discomfort when the ear is touched.

Upon closer inspection of the ear you may observe:

  • A build-up of wax or discharge.
  • Inflamed or swollen ear flaps.

Types Of Ear Infection In Dogs

The most common types of infections are either bacterial, fungal or yeast based.

  • When there is a bacterial infection present, the discharge may look light brown. yellow or green, depending on the type of bacteria involved. There could even be more than one bacteria present.

  • The telltale sign of a yeast infection is typically a rancid smelling waxy discharge of a brownish color.

  • Ear Mite Infections

Mite infections come from Otodectic mites of the cynotis type, and are frequently the instigators of ear infection or wax build-up especially in puppies and young dogs.

Much like other parasites, they are very invasive which means they will usually be present in both ears and may be found in various other places on the body.

If a dog is scratching at both ears, it a pretty strong indication that he is hosting a population of ear mites.

Their presence in the ear causes intense irritation, inevitably resulting in piercing of the skin. When this happens serum is secreted which, combined with their own debris, builds up to create a thick discharge that can lead to ear canal blockage and subsequent infection.

Ear mites are very contagious and can easily spread between pets.

puppy standing up close

If you have questions about ear infections your dog might have but are unable to take him to a professional,  you can ask a qualified veterinarian online by using the widget below (very modest cost).

Ear Infection In Dogs - What To Do

Many secondary conditions can develop from an ear infection that is left untreated. So don't be tempted to let the condition run its course.

  • Ear infections are best handled from the start by getting a diagnosis from your veterinarian. This is because it is very important to identify the underlying cause before determining the method of treatment.
  • If you try to treat an ear infection at home without sufficient information, you may just make the condition worse or even cause damage. Plus, any delay in getting to a vet, could result in the infection progressing into a deeper level of the ear canal where it is harder to treat, and more painful to your dog.

  • Conventional vets will ofteny differ in their treatment approach to ear infection in dogs, than holistic veterinarians. Mainstream vets usually favor the use of antibiotics, anti-fungal drugs and the like. On the other hand, holistic vets are more likely to favor non-drug treatments - initially.
  • Typically, they will start out with natural remedies to treat the root causes, such as allergies, while at the same time strengthening the immune system with herbs like echinacea, to fight the infection.

To avoid ear infection in dogs, the best thing you can do once a dog's ear has been restored to health, is to keep it healthy with regular cleaning and a natural dog food diet.

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