Are your dog’s ears looking out of sorts? A big part of owning a furry friend is to care for them and to look out for things that may compromise their health. If they’re scratching their ears and shaking their head repeatedly, these could be signs of an ear infection or otitis.
Because of the shape of their ear canals, dogs are more prone to getting infections compared to humans. In this detailed guide, we share the 10 best medicines for dog ear infections and help to expand your knowledge on this common condition.
What are Dog Ear Infections?
More often than not, dog owners will take a trip to the vet as a result of a dog’s ear infection. Unfortunately, dogs will suffer from painful ears under this condition which could lead to chronic ear infections, deafness, and even facial paralysis if left untreated. Certain breeds such as Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds, Poodles, Pit Bulls, and those with floppy ears have a higher risk of ear infections.
Some dogs will also suffer from recurring ear infections, so keeping their ear medication close by at all times can help to relieve them from pain. Fortunately, there are plenty of over-the-counter (OTC) treatments that you can give your pooch. While a home remedy may be able to help treat your dog’s ear canal, it’s still best to consult with your veterinarian for the best course of treatment for your puppy.
Your vet will be able to determine the kind of ear infection that your canine pal might have, and this will lead to the appropriate treatment. Moreover, there are three different kinds of ear infections in dogs; otitis interna (inner ear infections), otitis media (middle ear infection), and otitis externa (outer ear infection), where the most common kind is an outer ear infection.
Causes of Ear Infections in Dogs
There are different causes and types of ear infections in dogs, which include the following.
- Bacterial Infection: Bacterial ear infections are among the most common causes of this condition.
- Fungal Infections: A fungal or yeast infection may produce a brown discharge along with a musty smell from the ear.
- Excess Moisture: As a result of allergies, dogs may develop ears with extra moisture that could lead to more severe symptoms.
- Ear Wax: Producing too much ear wax can quickly turn into an infection and may cause pain in your pet’s ears.
- Ear Mites: This problem is more common in puppies rather than adult dogs.
- Foreign Object: If your dog has a foreign object stuck in their ear, you’ll need to see your vet to have them removed entirely and safely.
- Hormonal Disorders: Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism can also cause ear infections.
Symptoms of Ear Infection
Because canine ear infections are both itchy and painful for our dogs, it’s likely that you’ll notice the following symptoms:
- Scratching or pawing at itchy ears
- Skin irritation around the ears
- Head shaking
- Rubbing their ears on furniture or the ground
- Heavy wax buildup
- Foul smelling odor
- Crusting or scabs in the ear
- A dark discharge
- Swelling or redness in the ear canal
- In more severe cases, the dog may also experience a loss of balance
However, not all dogs will show signs of an infection, so checking your dog’s ears is a good idea to help lower their risk of infection. Start with your dog’s external ear canal and work your way toward the inner ear to ensure that are no symptoms of severe infections.
Best Medicines for Dog Ear Infection
Here are our top picks for the best medicines for dog ear infections which include over-the-counter remedies, anti-inflammatory medications, oral antibiotics, and oral medications.
- Effective for fungal, yeast, and bacterial infections
- A liquid solution that works as both a treatment and cleaner
- Hydrocortisone to provide relief from inflammation and itching
The Zymox Otic Dog & Cat Ear Infection Treatment is the best option when you’re looking for a solution that’s antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial. Its three-point enzyme system helps to eliminate microorganisms that are resistant to antibiotics such as Staphylococcus. Thanks to the added 1% Hydrocortisone, it also helps to give relief from inflammation and itching, and pet owners will surely be happy that it’s proudly made in the USA.
- Cleanses and deodorizes the ears with Aloe Vera
- With Ketoconazole and Chlorhexidine to combat infections
- Prevents irritation and restores balance to your dog’s ears
With the Vetnique Labs Oticbliss Anti-Bacterial & Anti-Fungal Medicated Ear Flush, your fur baby will be able to fight off various ear issues, get rid of odors, and soothe inflammation. It has been formulated with Ketoconazole, Chlorhexidine Gluconate, and leaf juice from Aloe Vera to provide effective yet gentle treatment of ear infections. Simply apply it to your pup’s ear canal and ear flap for a more natural solution.
- Dries the ear canal by removing wax and debris
- Best ear infection treatment for chronic otitis externa
- Prevents bacterial development through a non-irritating solution
Perfect for use on sensitive ears, Epi-Otic Advanced by Virbac has a low pH and a non-irritating ear-cleansing solution that won’t disrupt other ear preparations. Its patented technology for anti-odor eliminates unpleasant smells from the ear canal. With a mild citrus aroma, 0.2% salicylic acid, and more, it’s easily the best ear cleanser on the market.
- Can be used as a pretreatment ahead of topical antibiotics
- Non-stinging formula safe to use long term
- Recommended by veterinarians for cats, dogs, and horses
If you’re looking for an ear-cleaning solution, then the TrizULTRA + Keto Flush is for you. Delivering an antibacterial, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal formula, it can be used for your pets as a gentle cleanser for dogs with long ears. This solution contains TrizULTRA’s combination of patented active ingredients that have been guaranteed safe for long-term use.
- The alcohol-free formula makes it suitable for sensitive ears
- Suitable for animals aged 12 weeks and older
- Breaks down buildup that may lead to itching and bad odors
If you don’t want to use prescription medication, you can count on Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Ear Therapy. It provides fast relief for symptoms such as redness, scratching, and itching of your dog’s ears while it comes in a light scent that both dogs and their owners will enjoy. These pH-balanced ear drops are great for dogs over 12 weeks old and are gentle enough to be used every day, even for those with sensitive ears.
Preventing Ear Infections
When you want to prevent ear infections in your dogs, as well as more serious ear health issues, it’s best to keep their ears dry and clean. You can do this by using cleansers that you can then massage at the base of their ears. There are also natural products that contain natural ingredients such as olive oil, witch hazel, and grass seed to help keep infections at bay.
However, natural remedies aren’t usually recommended by vets, so be sure to get medical advice to get the best dog ear infection treatment for your pet. During the summer months, your dog’s ears may need a little extra care as a result of the humid environment, which could contribute to an ear infection.
The early treatment of ear infections will ensure that your pooch won’t have to face consequences such as a total ear canal ablation. The good news is that you can always do research online — while you may see information online that suggests the use of hydrogen peroxide, or rubbing alcohol as a solution to your pet’s ear problems, these aren’t vet recommended. Even using a cotton ball to apply them can cause dryness and irritation to your dog’s inner ear.
Know When it’s Time to Visit the Vet
When natural alternatives and home remedies don’t work, the best thing to do is to see your veterinarian, who will be able to determine the precise cause of your dog’s ear infection. To ensure that your pup recovers quickly and completely, be sure to go to every follow-up appointment. Just remember that your dog can’t clean its own ears, so it’s up to you to keep them safe and healthy!