Ear infections are quite common in dogs, especially those with long floppy ears. But the good news is most ear infections are easily treatable if caught early! Our Port Jefferson vets share some of the signs of dog ear infections, and what to do if your pup's ears aren't as healthy as they should be.
Your Pup's Ears
Dogs are at higher risk for ear infection than humans because of the shape and size of their ear canal. For dogs with floppy ears, the canal is protected, dark and warm, which makes it an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. That said, with just a little preventive care, you can avoid your pup suffering from a painful ear infection and keep their hearing as healthy as possible.
Left untreated, early-stage ear infections can develop into much more serious conditions, leading to severe symptoms such as imbalance and even hearing loss.
Causes of Ear Infections
Bacteria within the ear is a primary cause of infections 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.
Ear Infection Symptoms in Dogs
Early treatment is key when it comes to ear infections in dogs. Below are a list of common symptoms of ear infections in dogs. If you notice any of the following signs in your dog, seek veterinary attention right away!
- 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
With more advanced ear infections, you may notice:
- Loss coordination or balance
- Signs of hearing loss
- Walking in circles
- Unusual eye movements
Treating Your Dog's Ear Infection
Once your veterinarian diagnoses an ear infection in your dog, they will first clean the area with a medicated cleanser. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medication best suited to your dog's condition. If you are given instructions on medicine to administer to your dog at home, make sure to follow it closely!
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.
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.
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
Prevention is better than treatment when it comes to dog ear infections. To help prevent an ear infection in your dog, keep their ears clean and dry. Speak to your veterinarian about the best cleaning solution and practices to use for your dog's ears. Add ear cleaning to your dog's weekly hygiene routine!
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.