Dog Ear Infections: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Dog ear infections can be a common and painful problem for our canine friends. If your dog shows signs of an ear infection, we recommend acting quickly to get them the help they need. This blog will discuss the symptoms, causes, and treatments of dog ear infections to help you better understand this issue. If you have any concerns about your dog’s ear health, please contact Kryder + Harr Veterinary Clinic in Granger, IN, at (574) 277-6533 for an appointment or more information.

treating a dog with an ear infection

Symptoms of Dog Ear Infections

Dog ear infections can cause a variety of symptoms that can affect your pet’s comfort and health. Knowing these symptoms can help you identify an ear infection early.

  • Ear Scratching and Head Shaking: If your dog is constantly scratching their ears or shaking their head, this could be a sign of an ear infection. 
  • Odor: A strong, unpleasant smell coming from your dog’s ear is another sign that they might have an infection. This odor is usually caused by the bacteria or yeast causing the infection.
  • Redness and Swelling: Look inside your dog’s ear. If you notice that the ear canal is red or swollen, it could be due to an infection.
  • Discharge: Any unusual discharge from your dog’s ear, especially if it’s yellow, brown, or bloody, can indicate an infection.
  • Pain and Sensitivity: Your dog may show signs of pain or sensitivity when you touch their ears. They might whine, pull away, or act aggressively.
  • Balance Problems: In severe cases, an ear infection can affect your dog’s balance, causing them to stumble or walk in circles.

Causes of Dog Ear Infections

Knowing what causes dog ear infections can help you prevent them from happening in the first place. Here are some common causes:

  • Bacteria and Yeast: These are the most common culprits behind ear infections in dogs. 
  • Allergies: Dogs with allergies to food, pollen, or other substances are more prone to ear infections. 
  • Moisture: Water trapped in the ear after swimming or bathing can create a perfect environment for bacteria and yeast to grow. Drying your dog’s ears thoroughly after they get wet can help prevent infections.
  • Ear Mites: These tiny parasites can live in your dog’s ear and cause irritation and infection. Ear mites are more common in puppies but can affect dogs of any age.
  • Foreign Objects: Sometimes, small objects like grass seeds or dirt can get stuck in your dog’s ear, leading to an infection. Regularly checking your dog’s ears can help you spot and remove these objects before they cause problems.
  • Underlying Health Conditions: Certain health issues, like hypothyroidism or autoimmune diseases, can make dogs more prone to ear infections.

Treatments for Dog Ear Infections

If we diagnose your dog with an ear infection, we’ll recommend treatment that is tailored to their health history, lifestyle, and other factors. Conventional treatments for dog ear infections usually include:

  • Medications: Your vet will likely prescribe ear drops or ointments containing antibiotics, antifungals, or steroids to treat the infection and reduce inflammation. 
  • Cleaning: Cleaning your dog’s ears is also a critical part of treatment. We’ll show you how to properly clean the ears to remove discharge and debris. 
  • Oral Medications: In some cases, your vet might prescribe oral antibiotics or antifungals to help clear up the infection, especially if it is severe or has spread beyond the ear.
  • Addressing Underlying Causes: If allergies or other health issues are causing your dog’s ear infections, we can help you manage these conditions to prevent future infections. 

How to Prevent Future Ear Infections

Preventing ear infections in your dog involves a few simple steps that can make a big difference in their ear health:

  • Keep the Ears Dry: After your dog swims or gets a bath, make sure to dry their ears thoroughly. Moisture can create a perfect environment for bacteria and yeast to thrive.
  • Regular Ear Checks: Regularly inspect your dog’s ears for any signs of redness, swelling, or discharge. Early detection can prevent a minor issue from becoming a major infection.
  • Healthy Diet: Feeding your dog a balanced diet can help support their immune system and overall health, making them less prone to infections.
  • Manage Allergies: If your dog has allergies, work with your vet to manage them effectively. This might involve medications, dietary changes, or other treatments.

Healthier Ears Make for a Healthier Life

Dog ear infections are a common problem that can cause ongoing discomfort for your pet. By knowing the symptoms, understanding the causes, and following the recommended treatments, you can help your dog recover quickly and keep future infections at bay. For any ear-related concerns or to schedule an appointment, call Kryder + Harr Veterinary Clinic at (574) 277-6533.



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Welcome to Kryder & Harr Veterinary Clinic! Our animal hospital has been a fixture in the Granger community since 1981, practicing full-service veterinary medicine for all our pet parents and their furry family members. At KHVC, we pride ourselves on our history, of providing excellent customer service for our clients, along with dedicated, compassionate, and exceptional medical care for all of our patients.