Our Concord veterinarians frequently encounter ear infections in dogs, especially those with charmingly long, floppy ears. Fortunately, treating most ear infections becomes straightforward when detected early. Our vets provide guidance on what steps to take if your pup's ear health isn't optimal.
Your Pup's Ears
Dogs are more likely to get ear infections than people because of the shape of their ear canal. Additionally, if your dog swims frequently or has long, floppy ears, they become even more vulnerable to ear infections because moisture can get trapped in the ear, creating an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.
However, you can prevent your dog from developing ear infections with some care. If your dog does get an infection, seeing a vet early increases the chances of quick and easy treatment.
Neglecting ear infections in dogs during the early stages can lead to the development of more serious infections. These advanced infections can result in symptoms like balance and coordination issues, severe pain, and, in some cases, facial paralysis.
Causes of Ear Infections
Bacteria in the ear primarily cause infections, but yeast, fungus, and ear mites can also infect your pup's ears, causing pain. Other factors contributing to dog ear infections include foreign objects stuck in the ear, injuries, and the presence of tumors or polyps.
Ear Infection Symptoms in Dogs
Ear infections can be very uncomfortable or painful for your dog. 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 symptoms of ear infections in dogs include:
- Pawing or rubbing ear
- Brown, yellow, or bloody discharge
- Redness inside of the ear
- Odor in the ear
- Head shaking
- Tilting head
- Swelling of the ear
- Crusts or scabs just inside the ear
If your dog's ear infection is more severe, you may notice other symptoms, such as:
- Loss of coordination or balance
- Signs of hearing loss
- Walking in circles
- Unusual eye movements
Treating Your Dog's Ear Infection
If your dog has an ear infection, your vet will clean your dog's ear with a medicated cleanser and prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medication if necessary. Your vet might also give you a topical medication and explain how to use it on your dog's ear at home.
With treatment, an uncomplicated ear infection caught early will typically clear up within just a week or two. If your pup's ear infection is more severe or is caused by 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.
Following your vet's instructions carefully is crucial to clear your dog's ear infection as fast as possible. Not completing the prescribed treatment or stopping it prematurely can result in recurring and increasingly challenging infections.
Taking your dog 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 veterinarians emphasize the importance of proactive measures in preventing ear infections in your pup. To prevent your pet from developing ear infections, maintain clean and dry ears for your dog.
Consult your veterinarian to identify a suitable ear-cleaning solution for your dog, and make sure to clean your dog's ears regularly and gently 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.