dog-ear-infection

Dog ear infection in dogs is a very common occurrence, almost 20% of dogs have ear infections in either one or both ears. Ear infections in dogs can be detected by dog parents basis their behavior like whining, scratching ear or shaking of the head. There are certain dogs who are more prone to ear diseases due to the shape of their ears i.e., Cocker Spaniel.

Which dogs are more prone to ear infections?

Dogs who have floppy shaped ears, swimming loving dogs or dogs with allergies are most prone to ear infections.

Which dog has floppy shaped ears:

  1. Beagle.
  2. Basset hound.
  3. Coonhound.
  4. Bloodhound.
  5. Afghan hound.
  6. English cocker spaniel.
  7. Poodle.
  8. Setter.

Example of the floppy shaped ear is below image:

floppy ear dog
Floppy shaped ear of dogs keeps the inner ear of the dog wet which makes the conditions congenial for bacteria and yeast to flourish.

Ear infection in dogs is categorized into three categories:

  1. Otitis externa: This refers to an infection in the outer lining of the ear
  2. Otitis media: Infection in the middle ear canal
  3. Otitis interna: This Infection in the inner ear canal

What are the symptoms of Dog Ear Infection?

Some dogs do not even show any symptoms of ear infection other than discharge from ear or wax buildup.

Following are common symptoms of ear infection in dogs:

  1. Red ear
  2. Skin scrabs in ear
  3. Foul smell from ear
  4. Scratching of ear
  5. Dark Discharge
  6. Shaking of head

What causes a dog ear infection?

Ear infection in dogs is a very common and primary reason for it is the shape of dogs’ ear canal. A dog has L shaped ear canal which retains water in ear making conditions appropriate for yeast or bacteria to flourish.

Below are some of the causes of infection:

  • Moisture in ear causing yeast and bacteria buildup.
  • Food or Skin allergy
  • Thyroid disease
  • Autoimmune issues
  • Too much wax in the ear
  • Foreign objects in the ear
  • Too much cleaning of the ear

How to treat infection?

An ear infection needs to be treated as soon as possible since its a painful experience to the pet and if it is not treated in early stages, then it can lead to infections in the middle or inner ear canal, which can cause deafness. Never treat ear infections at home, always goto vet for medications.

The vet will clean the ear with medical cleansing liquid. Your vet might prescribe medical cleaner and topical medication for application at home. In bad cases of infections, antibiotics are prescribed. Simple ear infections can take 1-2 weeks to heal completely. Chronic ear infections due to underlying ailments can take a while to heal.

Which medications to give for an ear infection?

There can be multiple reasons because of which there is ear infection in the dog. Vet cannot prescribe medication without examination of the dog’s eardrum and type of bacteria or fungus which infects the ear.

The vet will check the eardrum of the dog with an otoscope and determine whether there is an issue with eardrum or not.

If the eardrum is fine then the swab from the dog’s ear will be examined in the microscope to determine the bacteria or fungus which infects the ear and will prescribe a medication post proper examination.

How to prevent ear infections?

Prevention is always better than cure and incases of dogs its even more important since dogs can’t speak about their troubles. 

The following are the best ways to avoid ear infections:

  1. Resolve underlying health conditions: Many times dogs have allergic reactions due to other factors that cause redness and warmth in ears. Due to warmth, the ear canals of dogs become breeding grounds of yeast or bacteria. The growth of yeast or bacteria in-ears leads to ear infections. In this condition treating ear infection along with allergy is also necessary.
  2. Keep ears dry: For dogs who have floppy ears or are avid swimmers will require keeping ears dry and cleaned as soon as they are back from a swim or bath.
  3. Keep ears clean: Open up the ear and soak a cotton ball with the medicated solution. Pour the medicated solution from the cotton ball into ear canal and massage the base of the ear for 10-20 secs. Take another cotton ball and clean the debris in-ear but don’t push the cotton ball deep inside the ear canal as it can harm the eardrums. This should be done regularly 1 or 2 times a month as general dog hygiene.


I am a veterinary by profession and a passionate animal lover. My passion for animals made me become a veterinary surgeon and my vision is to spread animal health and welfare through online dissemination of information and assistance, like what we are doing at Drwaggers.com.