Ear Infection in Dogs

At our animal hospital in Charlotte, our vets often see dogs with ear infections, especially those with long, floppy ears. Most ear infections in dogs are easily treated if caught early. Here, our vets share some signs of dog ear infections, and what to do if you suspect your dog has one.


Your Dog's Ears 

Does your dog swim a lot or have long floppy ears? They are likely more susceptible to ear infections as moisture gets trapped in the ear, creating the ideal environment to allow bacteria to thrive.

Dogs are also typically more susceptible to ear infections than humans due to the shape of their ear canal. If you do find that your dog has an ear infection, you’ll increase the chances of successful diagnosis and treatment by seeing a vet early.

Left untreated, ear infections in dogs can quickly progress and result in symptoms including coordination and balance issues, pain and facial paralysis in severe cases.

Ear Infection in Dogs, Charlotte Vets

Causes of Ear Infections

Bacteria is the most common cause of ear infections in dogs. However, ear mites, yeast and fungus can also lead to pain and infection in your pup’s ears. Some dog ear infections can be attributed to polyps or tumors, trauma and foreign objects lodged in the ear.

Signs of Ear Infection in Dogs

Ear infections can be very painful or uncomfortable for your pooch. If your dog shows any of the following signs of an ear infection contact your veterinarian immediately to book an examination for your pet. Early treatment of ear infections can help to prevent more severe symptoms from developing and reduce the chances of complications.

Common signs of ear infections in dogs include:

  • Pawing or rubbing at the ear
  • Brown, yellow or bloody discharge
  • Odor in the ear
  • Redness inside of the ear
  • Head shaking
  • Tilting head
  • Crusts or scabs just inside the ear
  • Swelling of the ear

If your dog's ear infection is more severe you may notice other symptoms such as:

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

How Dog Ear Infections are Treated

If your dog 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 medications appropriate for treating your pet's ear infection. Your veterinarian may also prescribe a topical medication and instruct you on how and when to apply it to your dog's ear at home.

With treatment in the early stages, an uncomplicated ear infection will typically clear up within just a week or two. If your dog'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 pet's lifetime.

Carefully following your veterinarian's instructions will be essential 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.

Follow-up appointments with your vet are 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 owners to spot. Finishing treatment before the infection has fully healed can lead to recurring symptoms that are difficult to treat.

Preventing Ear Infections in Dogs

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

Speak to your primary care veterinarian about the best cleaning solution to use for your dog's ears, take the time to gently clean your dog's ears every week, and always dry your dog's ears whenever they come out of the water.

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.

Do you suspect that your dog has an ear infection or other ailment? Please contact our Charlotte vets today to schedule an assessment

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