What are the signs of ear infections in dogs?

Our Davidson County vets see a lot of ear infections in dogs, particularly in dogs with cute floppy ears. Fortunately, most ear infections are easy to treat if caught early. Below are some of the most common signs of dog ear infections, and what you should do if your dog's ears aren't as healthy as they should be.


Your Dog's Ears

The shape of a dog's ear canal makes your canine companion more susceptible to ear infections than people are. Not only that, dogs that swim frequently and dogs with adorable floppy ears are even more prone to ear infections due to moisture that gets trapped in the ear, creating the ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. 

The good news is that in many cases, with a little care, you can prevent your dog from developing an ear infection. If your dog does develop an infection, by seeing a vet early there's a good chance that the infection can be cleared up quickly and easily.

On the other hand, if your dog's ear infection goes untreated in the early stages a much more serious infection can develop, possibly causing serious symptoms such as facial paralysis, balance and coordination issues, and severe pain.

Causes of Ear Infections in Dogs

There are a number of different causes of ear infections in dogs. Bacteria in the ear is a primary cause of infections however yeast, fungus and ear mites can all cause your pup's ears to become infected and painful. Other causes of dog ear infections include foreign objects lodged in the ear, trauma, and tumors or polyps.

Types of Dog Ear Infections

There are three types of ear infections seen in dogs;

  • Otitis externa infections affect the outside of the ear.
  • Otitis media indicates an infection in the dog's middle ear.
  • Otitis interna which are infections of your pet's inner ear.

Symptoms of Ear Infections in Dogs

If your pooch has developed an ear infection they are likely to feel very uncomfortable and in some cases, the ear may be very painful. If your dog shows any of the following signs of an ear infection contact your vet straight away to book an examination for your pet. Early treatment of ear infections can help to prevent more severe symptoms from developing.

Common signs of ear infections in dogs include:
  • Scratching or pawing at the ear
  • Yellow, brown or bloody discharge
  • Redness inside of the ear
  • Odor in the ear
  • Head shaking or tilting
  • Swelling of the ear
  • Crusts or scabs just inside the ear
  • Rubbing ear on floor or furniture

If your dog is suffering from a more severe ear infection you may notice other symptoms such as:

  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Signs of hearing loss
  • Walking in circles
  • Unusual eye movements

Treating Your Dog's Ear Infection

If your pooch is diagnosed with an ear infection your vet will take the time to clean your dog's ear with a medicated cleanser and prescribe any antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medication appropriate for treating your pet's ear infection. The vet may also prescribe a topical medication and instruct you on how and when to apply it to your dog's ear at home.

When caught early and provided with appropriate treatment, uncomplicated dog ear infections typically clear up within just a week or two. If your pup's ear infection is more severe or is due to an underlying health condition, treatment may be more challenging and may take months to resolve. In many cases, more severe cases result in chronic or repeated ear infections over the course of the dog's lifetime.

Carefully following your veterinarian's instructions is the key to clearing up your dog's ear infection as quickly as possible. Not finishing prescriptions, or stopping treatment before the infection has completely cleared can lead to a recurring infection that becomes increasingly difficult to treat. 

Taking your pup back to the vet for a follow-up appointment is highly recommended for dog ear infections. While it may look as if the infection has cleared there may still be traces of infection that are difficult for pet parents to spot. 

Preventing Ear Infections in Dogs

Our vets believe that prevention is always better than treatment. To help prevent your dog from developing an ear infection it is important to keep your pup's ears clean and dry.

Speak to your vet about the best cleaning solution to use for your dog's ears, and take the time to gently clean your pup's ears every week.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your pup showing signs of a painful ear infection? Contact Thomasville Veterinary Hospital Urgent Care + Surgery for urgent vet care for your pup. Our Davidson County emergency vets are here to help your dog whenever your regular vet is unavailable.

Ear Infection in Dogs Symptoms, Davidson County Vet

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