The indication that your dog has an ear infection is an appearance of swelling, redness or inflammation.  Dogs who have long floppy ears are more susceptible to ear infections than those who have ears which stand straight.  Also, dogs who have a lot of ear fluff and you mainly find this in the small fluffy dogs like the Shih Tzu, Maltese, Lhasa Apso or their variations of cross breeding are susceptible to ear infections.

A dog with a red and swollen ear canal

There are several reasons a dog’s ear becomes infected

Allergies –  can be caused through fleas, food allergies, insects, pollen, grasses, etc.

Ear Mites –  live in the ear canal and can cause major infections if not treated.

Yeast or Bacteria – a build up of yeast or bacteria in the ear can result in infection if not cleaned out and treated properly.

Skin Irritation – if the dog has a skin irritation and keeps scratching the ear then this can develop into an infection.

Moisture – if moisture gets into the ear and is not able to dry out then yeast and bacteria will start to breed and the result will be infections.

Foreign Bodies – sometimes the dog might get some sort or foreign body, like a grass seed stuck in the ear.  If it is not removed and the dog keeps scratching the ear will become traumatized and infection occurs.

Hormonal Imbalance – excesses or deficiencies of hormones can be a cause of dog ear infections.

Trauma – caused through excess scratching can create an irritation in the skin and create an infection.

Hereditary diseases – it may be that the dog has inherited some sort of disease which causes him/her to repeatedly suffer from ear infections.

If the presence of any of the above upsets the balance of the normal environment of the ear canal then bacteria and yeast can multiply causing an excess of ear wax.  This can in turn result in the dog scratching excessively and further irritation to the skin will mean swelling and redness.  If the ear is looking red and swollen plus there is a lot of ear wax lodged in the outer canal then you know you have a problem.

Your Dog Will Almost Tell You He/She Has An Ear Infection

You will see him/her scratching more than normal.
The ear will look red and sore if you look at it closely.
The ear will become very smelly.

What Do I Do If My Dog Has An Ear Infection?

The best thing to do for your dog if you discover an ear infection is to take a trip to the vet.  Your vet will be able to examine the ear and determine the exact cause of the infection.  Unless your dog regularly suffers from infections and you know the cause of it then you should not treat it yourself.

Your vet may prescribe a special cleaning solution and antibiotics depending on whether this is an outer ear infection or whether the infection has gone deeper into the inner ear and ear drum.

How Can I Prevent Ear Infections From Recurring?

Once you have got on top of the problem then the only real solution is regularly cleaning your dog’s ears of any wax build-up.  This should be done at least once a week.

If your dog has a lot of ear hair then plucking the dog’s ear hair out will allow the air to flow into the canal.

For dogs that swim a lot or if you live in a humid climate making sure that water or moisture doesn’t get into the dog’s ear.  Wiping the ears out every day will help.  When you bath your dog prevent water from going into the ear canal by plugging the ears with cotton balls – don’t forget to remove them after the bath.

Giving your dog supplements using natural remedies can help keep the dog’s immune system and hormones in balance.  They can soothe the ear passage to prevent itching and scratching and assist in keeping the whole ear in a healthy balance. 

Related pages:

Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears
Plucking Dog’s Ear Hair
Ear Cleaning Supplies


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