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Are you in quest of remedies for dog ear infections? You have come to the right place. Joey, my male Cocker Spaniel companion once had signs of this condition, but I prevented the infection. If you own this breed or a Basset Hound, you may probably have heard your vet say they are more susceptible to ear infections than any other dog breed. Yeah, and that is because they have floppy ears that one can sometimes forget to clean when they are taking a bath.

Overall, ear infections in dogs are a common condition that affects approximately 20% of our canine friends. According to Elizabeth Racine, DVM, it can be any form of ear infection and can affect one or both ears. However, you can prevent the infections by cleaning your dog’s ears safely and taking him to see a vet in case of any signs of such disease.

Ear infections in dogs occur in three different types including otitis media, externa, and interna with otitis externa being the most common. The inflammation in this type of ear infection affects the layer of cells covering the outer part of your dog’s ear canal. The other, otitis internal, and media affect your dog’s internal and middle ear canal and can lead to hearing loss and facial paralysis.

Today, I shall be looking into everything you need to know about dog ear infections, including treatment, prevention, and more. I have also added a FAQ section that will try and answer some of the most common questions you could ask about this condition in dogs.

What does dog ear infection smell like?

When there is inflammation in your dog’s ear that causes irritation, this can lead to either a foul or pungent smell. The first one is an odor like that of the trash while the latter one can be like that of sweet. Either way, there is no denying that your dog has a problem that could lead to serious issues like deafness.

Check out the pictures below for better illustration:

Signs of ear infection in dogs

The symptoms of ear infections in dogs can vary from one dog to another with some only showing wax buildup and ooze in the ear canal. However, if you are wondering how to spot an ear infection in our dog, affected pooches might exhibit signs such as:

  • Discomfort from itchiness
  • Smell
  • Dark pus
  • Head shaking
  • Crusting in the ears
  • Scratching the infected ear
  • Affected ear canal becomes red and swells

If you notice any of these signs in your dog, be sure to take them to a vet immediately to start diagnosis and treatment. 

Is dog ear infection contagious?

Typically, dog ear infections are not contagious, but it is possible for ear mites and parasites to jump from an infected dog to another, or vice versa. This, in turn, might lead to a reaction that causes ear infections. Ira Roth, DVM, therefore, recommends dog owners keep their dogs on pro-active parasite medications.

Roth is a veterinarian and executive of the Community Practice Clinic of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine.

How to tell which kind of ear infection dog has

There is no straight answer to this question as symptoms can vary from dog to dog. However, otitis externa is easy to know as it affects the outer part of your dog’s ear. The other two are on the internal and middle part of the ear which means they cannot be seen. If you are wondering how you can distinguish which kind of ear infection your dog has, see a vet.

Causes of dog ear infection

Although there are several different causes of ear infections in dogs, the primary cause is said to be bacteria in the ear. However, your dog can get this condition from having unknown objects stuck into his ear, tumor, and swellings. Other notable causes of dog ear infections include yeast, ear mites, or fungus.

How to prevent dog ear infection

The best way to prevent canine ear infections is to keep your pooch’s ears clean and dry all the time. Whether you have a dog with floppy ears or not, hygiene is paramount, and it is how I was able to protect Joey from severe ear infections. Maintain your dog’s ear’s cleanliness as you do to yours.

Here are some tips on how to protect your dog from getting ear infections as handed over by the American Kennel Club (AKC):

  • Clean your dog’s ears at least one time a month or more if he or she is susceptible to ear problems.
  • Check your dog’s ears regularly for discharge, dirt, pests, or scratches.
  • Keep your dog’s ears clean and dry always.
  • Use a wet cotton ball with mineral oil to wipe your dog’s ears gently.

Diet also plays a significant role in these conditions, especially kibble, due to high levels of carbs and artificial ingredients. So, choose your dog’s diet carefully. You should avoid feeding him supplements unless they are probiotics and prebiotics and also manage his gut health. In addition, you should avoid cleaning your dog’s ears excessively as a little wax is important to ear health.

How to treat dog ear infection

If your doggie friend is diagnosed with ear infections, your veterinarian cleans his or her ears thoroughly using a medicated ear cleanser. Afterward, she will prescribe antibiotics medication or inflammatory medication that is suitable for treating your dog’s ear infections. It is possible for your vet to prescribe a topical treatment with directives on how and when to apply it to your pooch’s ear when you get home.

According to Roth, ear infections in dogs are one of the most challenging conditions to manage and that is because the origins of the condition are often ambiguous. If these infections are noted early and treated appropriately, mild dog ear infections can even heal within one or two weeks. Acute dog ear infections, on the other hand, can be hard to treat, especially if they are caused by an underlying health condition. If you can, prevent ear infections from being severe to an extent of causing facial paralysis or signs of vestibular disease.

Home remedies for dog ear infection

Some of you might wonder how to treat dog ear infections without a vet and do it well. If you are one of them, you find this interesting. You can manage dog ear infections at home, but otitis externa is easier to than the other types of ear infections. 

How to clean dog ear infection

If your dog gets ear infections, the best thing to do is make sure that you clean his or her ears. A successful cleaning requires the use of a gentle cleanser. The most effective method, however, is massaging your dog’s ears using a cleaning solution and some cotton.  Here are some tips are given by Jeff Grognet, DVM, who is an AKC Family Dog journalist. 

  • Fill your dog’s ear canal with a cleaning suspension. Rub the vertical ear canal from the outside to help disintegrate the debris and remove it.
  • Wipe out the ear canal using absorbent gauze to prevent irritation.
  • Use cotton-tipped sticks to clean the folding parts of your dog’s ear flap. Do not use them in your dog’s ear canal.

If you find it difficult to clean your dog’s ears, make sure that you consult your vet. Do not rely on the solutions given by some people on social media because although they work, the upshots are not endearing.

Dog ear infection with yellow discharge

Have you seen a yellow discharge from your canine buddy with an ear infection and wonder what this means? This could be a sign of outer ear infections or otitis externa and can be caused by a number of problems including mites, tumors, or too much swimming/bathing. It also can be due to the excessive creation of ear wax.

This discharge can also be caused by untreated otitis externa which develops into otitis media and otitis interna. So, you might be wondering what the remedy and treatment for this are, right? You should clean your dog’s ear using antimicrobial ear rinse, for instance, to help remove any irritants and alleviate itching. In addition, you can ask your vet to prescribe medicated ear drops or buy them over the counter and the treatment will work just fine.

Dog ear infection and eye discharge

I saw some of you asking about the connection between ear infections in dogs and eye discharge and wonder does it get worse and affecting the eye too? A short answer to your question is yes, dog ear infections can lead to eye discharge, especially when it is otitis interna.

According to a VCA Hospital article, infections can make blinking for your dog a problem. This, in turn, leads to a dry eye, scientifically known as keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS) in dogs. It makes eyelids on the affected droop. 

Dog ear infection vs yeast infection

Both yeast infections and ear infections in dogs are caused by bacteria or tumors within their ear canal. They also share most of the symptoms, including yellow, brown, or bloody discharge, redness, and swelling, odd eye movements, odor, head shaking among others. Both infections can be very painful and may lead to hearing loss in Fidos. So, what is the difference between the two infections in pooches?

The main difference comes in the treatment of yeast infections and dog ear infections. While dog ear diseases are treated using antiseptic ear cleansers, yeast infections use topical antifungal creams or ointments. Apart from the ears, yeast infections can appear anywhere on your pooch’s skin making it to be scabby, crusty, or reddened with a foul smell. Be sure to visit your vet to determine whether your canine friend has yeast or ear infections since the remedies are different.

Dog ear infection black or brown discharge

You might have seen your dog with ear infections showing brown or black discharge and you are left wondering is that normal. A short answer to that question is yes, it is normal for dogs with ear infections to discharge brown fluid but black is a bit rare. All these are signs you should be keen about.

Dog ear infection after grooming or after swimming

Water in your dog’s ear can create a damp environment these infections need to occur for your dog to develop ear infection problems after their dogs take a bath or swim. So, if you are a dog parent asking do these activities cause dog ear infections? The answer is yes, they do. As such, make sure that you dry your canine friend’s ears thoroughly but safely to prevent infections from recurring.

The reason why dogs are at greater risk of developing ear infections from swimming is because of their L-shaped ear canal that allows water to settle inside their ears. This creates a wet, warm, dark atmosphere that allows bacteria to thrive.

How to treat dog ear infection with blood

The best treatment for blood in your dog with an ear infection should be determined by your vet. In most cases, your vet will give you ear medication that you have to apply to your canine friend’s ears three times a day. In addition, you might be given an ear cleaner (or flush) solution with instructions on how to use it to clean your dog’s ears regularly. Other possibilities include prescribed oral treatments such as anti-inflammatories or antibiotics.

Hematomas is the name that is used to describe the presence of blood in your dog’s ear flap. This condition occurs when ear infection in dogs is left untreated. It is among the severe signs of acute internal ear infection in dogs and is not easy to treat or manage at home. You can read more about hematomas here.

How to treat dog ear infection with pus

The treatment of ear infections with pus in dogs involves using medicated ear cleanser given by your vet to clean your pooch’s ears. Other prescriptions may include ear flush solutions for removing the pus as well as oral medications. 

Pus in dogs with ear infections is caused by a tympanic membrane (eardrum) rupture as well as otitis media or middle ear infections. According to Ernest Ward, DVM, and Ryan Llera, BSc, DVM, the membrane separate your dog’s ear canal from the otitis media and interna. When it is infected, this means that your dog is one step away from getting acute otitis interna. So, if you see your doggie friend tilting his head or with pain around his ears, visit a vet immediately.

Dog ear infection not eating

At this point, there is no home remedy for your dog with acute inner ear infections. Therefore, you should take him to a vet who might recommend hospitalization with an IV fluid drip to prevent your dog from dehydrating. In some instances, some dogs with this condition at this stage might have to undergo surgery.

As we have seen so far, otitis interna is a very severe condition that develops when otitis externa is left untreated. When your dog reaches the acute phase of otitis interna, he might even end up having difficulties eating and dropping the food unintentionally. There is nothing you can do apart from what is mentioned above.

Dog ear infection images

Check out these images showing ear infections in dogs


Can dog ear infection cause diarrhea?

Diarrhea may occur in the acute phase of dog ear infections that affects the internal ear section. This is why you are advised to take care of your dog’s ears often and visit a vet for diagnosis and early treatment if you notice signs of dog ear infections.

Can dog ear infection cause vomiting?

Yes, vomiting is among the many symptoms of acute otitis interna and as we said earlier, your dog reaches this phase if the external ear infection is left untreated. Always maintain the right hygiene of your dog’s ears, especially if they are floppy, and see a vet frequently.

What antibiotic for dog ear infection?

The most commonly used antibiotics for canine ear infections include clindamycin, amoxicillin-clavulanate, cefpodoxime, and enrofloxacin. These doses work efficiently, but recovery time depends on how complicated your canine friend’s ear infection is.

Antibiotics work by destroying bacteria that cause ear infections in pooches or preventing them from proliferating.

What medication for dog ear infection?

The most suitable medication for your dog with ear infections, and what many veterinarians will prescribe, is antibiotics like amoxicillin-clavulanate if it is a bacterial infection. If, however, the infections are caused by fungal, your vet will recommend anti-fungal treatment like itraconazole. Your dog must take this medicine for 6 to 8 weeks.

Will dog ear infection go away on its own?

No, in most cases dog ear infections will not just disappear on their own. The worst part about it is that the condition can become more challenging to manage if left untreated for long. This is I recommend that you take your pooch for diagnosis when you see the first signs of ear infections. The earlier it is treated, the better and higher chances of recovery and non-recurrence. 

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