What are Ear Infections in Dogs?

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Ear Infections In DogsA dog’s ear infection can be spotted easily enough if you know about the symptoms of ear infections. Unfortunately, first-time owners may not always be able to tell when their dog is already in pain or how they can treat painful ears. In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about ear infections in dogs and the treatment options that you can look into.    

Why Do Dog Ears Get Infected? 

Due to the shape of a dog’s ear canal, they are more prone to inner ear infections compared to people. Dogs with floppy ears such as Cocker Spaniels or those that love to swim such as Golden Retrievers will be more prone to yeast infections when moisture gets trapped inside their ear, creating the ideal environment where bacteria can multiply. Fortunately, giving your pup adequate veterinary care should be enough to help lower your pup’s risk of ear infections and will give them the appropriate treatment plan when needed. 

If your dog does get an infection, be sure to see a vet as quickly as possible to ensure it gets cleared up easily without any complications. When left untreated, severe ear infections can result in a lot of pain, coordination issues, and in worse cases, facial paralysis.  

What Causes Ear Infections in Dogs? 

Bacteria infection is the top cause of ear infections in dogs but ear mites, fungus, and yeast can all lead to canine ear infections which is a painful condition. Other causes behind dog ear infections include trauma, polyps, tumors, or foreign objects stuck inside the ear. There are 3 types of ear infections in dogs, classified depending on where it takes place.

  • Otitis Externa: These outer ear infections occur in the external ear canal.
  • Otitis Media: Refers to a middle ear infection that indicates infection within the middle ear.
  • Otitis Interna: Inner ear infections that take place inside your pet’s ear. 

Symptoms of Ear Infection in Dogs

Infections inside your dog’s ear canal can be quite painful and uncomfortable for your pup. If your pup exhibits the following signs of an ear infection, be sure to speak to your veterinarian immediately and book an appointment to have your pooch examined.  

The following symptoms may help to indicate a dog’s ear infection: 

  • Rubbing or pawing their ear
  • Bloody, yellow, or brown discharge
  • Odor coming from the ear
  • Shaking head
  • Redness inside their ear
  • Head tilt
  • Swelling of their ear
  • Scabs or crusts inside the ear

You may also notice more severe symptoms if your dog is suffering from a more serious form of ear disease, such as:

  • Loss of hearing
  • Loss of balance
  • Walking around in circles
  • Strange eye movements

The early treatment of ear infections will help to prevent the development of more serious symptoms while ensuring that your dog only suffers from an uncomplicated ear infection. Moreover, your vet will be able to give you an accurate diagnosis of your pet and determine if there’s an underlying cause behind your pet’s condition. 

Treating Dog Ear Infections 

As soon as you notice your pet’s ear infection, visit your vet as soon as possible; they will spend time clearing your dog’s ear using a medicated cleanser. They will also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications as well as oral antibiotics. Your vet might also prescribe your pup topical medication with instructions on when and how it should be applied to your pooch at home

Bacterial ear infections in canines will often be treated using antibiotics for the next 8 weeks or longer, but ear mites will typically be treated by cleaning the ear and using topical antiparasitic medications. Getting treatment during the early stages, a mild ear infection (even recurrent ear infections), can be cleared after a week or so. But if your dog’s case is more serious or is the result of an underlying health condition, getting the right treatment may take as long as months. 

Unfortunately, more serious cases may lead to chronic ear infections or a recurring infection that comes back many times over the course of your dog’s lifetime. Going on a follow-up appointment with your vet is important when treating your dog’s ear infections. Sometimes, traces of infection may not be obvious to dog owners but their vet will be able to detect them, so it’s best to finish treatment with your vet’s help. 


Prevention is always better than a cure, so be sure to maintain clean and dry ears at all times to help them avoid getting any kind of infection. Be sure to speak to your vet to get medical advice on the best cleaning solution for your pup and ask them about the right way of cleaning your dog’s ears. It’s also important to listen to your veterinarian’s instructions to keep any bacterial infections and fungal infections at bay.