Signs & Symptoms of Ear Infections in Dogs

Our Park Pet vets often treat dogs with ear infections, especially those with long, floppy ears. If caught early, most ear infections are easily treated. Today, our vets share some signs of dog ear infections, and what to do if you suspect your dog is experiencing one. 

Your Dog's Ears

If your dog swims frequently or has long floppy ears, they are probably more vulnerable to ear infections as moisture becomes trapped in the ear, fostering an optimal environment for bacteria to thrive. 

Dogs are also generally more susceptible to ear infections than humans. This can be attributed to the shape of their ear canal. If you discover your dog has an ear infection and book an appointment with your vet early on, you'll improve the chances of successful diagnosis and treatment. 

Ear infections in dogs that are left untreated can quickly progress, leading to symptoms including balance and coordination issues, pain, and in severe cases paralysis. 

Causes of Ear Infections

The most common cause of ear infections in dogs is bacteria. That said, fungus, ear mites, and yeast may also cause pain and infection in your pooch's ears. Other dog ear infections can be caused by allergies, trauma, foreign objects lodged in the ear, tumours, or polyps. 

Signs of Ear Infection in Dogs

An ear infection may become very uncomfortable or painful for your pup. If your dog displays any of the following signs of an ear infection, contact your veterinarian immediately to schedule an examination for your pet. Having ear infections treated early can help to prevent the development of more serious issues and decrease the chances of complications occurring. 

These are common signs of ear infections in dogs:

  • Tilting head
  • Odour in the ear
  • Rubbing or pawing at the ear
  • Redness inside of the ear
  • Swelling of the ear
  • Brown, yellow, or bloody discharge
  • Head shaking
  • Scabs or crusts just inside the ear

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

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

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 Park Pet 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.

Is your dog displaying signs of an ear infection? Contact our veterinary hospital to book an exam today.

(403) 328-0028