Dog ear infections are something our Hoquiam vets see on a regular basis, especially in dogs with long floppy ears. Luckily, if ear infections are caught early they are easier to treat. Today our Raintree Veterinary Hospital team shares the signs, causes and symptoms of ear infections in dogs as well as how to treat them. 

Your Dog's Ears

Dogs are at a higher risk of developing ear infections than humans due to the shape of their ear canals. Also, if your dog has long floppy ears or swims often they are even more susceptible because, there is more moisture being trapped in their ears, allowing bacteria to thrive.

The good news is with a bit of care, you can help prevent your pup from getting ear infections, and if your dog does develop an ear infection you can get it cleared up fast and easily by taking them to the vet early.

If an ear infection is left untreated in it's early stages, a more serious infection can occur leading to symptoms including severe pain, balance and coordination issues and in some cases facial paralysis.

What Causes Ear Infections

The primary cause of infection is bacteria in the ear however yeast, fungus and ear mites can all cause your pup's ears to become infected and painful. Some other causes of dog ear infections include foreign objects lodged in the ear, trauma, and tumors or polyps.

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

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

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

Treating Your Dog's Ear Infection

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

With treatment, an uncomplicated ear infection that is found early will usually go away within just a week or two. If your pup's ear infection is more severe or is caused by an underlying health condition, treatment could be more challenging and might take months to clear up. Often, more severe cases result in chronic or repeated ear infections over the course of the dog's lifespan.

Following your veterinarian's instructions carefully will be essential to resolving 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. 

Bringing your dog into the vet for a follow-up appointment is highly recommended for dog ear infections. Even if it it looks like the infection has cleared there could still be traces of infection that are difficult for pet parents to see. 

Preventing Ear Infections in Dogs

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

Talk to your veterinarian about the best cleaning solution to use for your dog's ears, and take the time to gently clean your dog's ears on a weekly basis.

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.

If you suspect your dog has an ear infection contact our Hoquiam vets immediately to schedule an appointment.