Dog ear infections are more common than you might think. Dogs can get ear infections from getting too much moisture in their ears or from mites and other conditions like yeast overgrowth. This condition can sneak up on owners who have never seen it before, and you might not be aware that your dog has an ear infection until it has become somewhat serious.
If you think that your pet has an ear infection, you will want to learn more about the signs and symptoms of a dog ear infection. This is actually a really easy condition to recognize when you know the signs of the problem and you will easily be able to identify an ear infection once you know more about it.
Are Some Breeds More Prone to Infections?
Dogs with floppy ears are more prone to getting ear infections. Breeds like beagles and hounds that have long, and floppy ears are much more prone to this problem. This is largely due to the way that long ears can trap moisture in the ear canal.
Floppy-eared dogs are also more prone to damaging their ears when they do have an infection. Scratching at long ears can lead to damage to the ear as well as the ear canal. People who own long-eared breeds need to be careful to pay attention to early signs of an ear infection.
Signs of a Dog Ear Infection
Here are a few common signs that your dog could have an ear infection. If your dog shows any of these symptoms it would be a good idea to talk with your veterinarian.
1. Head shaking
Many dogs with ear infections will shake their head on and off all the time. This might be a violent head shake or it could be a small shake that is harder to see. Long-eared dogs tend to shake their head much harder than dog breeds with shorter ears.
2. Scratching at the Ears and the Neck
Dogs that have ear infections will often scratch quite aggressively at their ears and their neck. This can lead to damage to the ears and injuries to the ear canal itself. Mites are usually the reason for the infection when this behavior is being displayed.
3. Bad Odor
Ears that are infected often smell bad and this foul odor is often the first sign that something is wrong with your dog’s ears. Make sure that you look at the interior of your dog’s ears if you smell a bad smell.
4. Dark Discharge from the Ear
Infected ears and ears that have mites will display dark discharge. The interior of the ear will be very dirty looking and might also be red and inflamed. This kind of discharge is obvious, and you will not be able to miss this clear sign of an infection.
There is nothing else that looks like an infected ear with dark discharge, and you will not have any trouble recognizing this symptom.
5. Swollen Ears
Dogs that have ear infections will often have very swollen ears. This is often due to the scratching at their ears and breaking blood vessels that lead to hematomas. Swollen ears often require additional attention as the hematomas will often need to be drained before the ear infection can be treated.
6. Scabs in the Ears
Ears that have an infection will often have lots of scabs inside of them. You might not even be able to look closely at an ear that is covered in scabs as the dog might find this to be very painful. You will want to be sure to get your dog to the veterinarian right away for help cleaning scabby ears as this often requires more than one person.
Why Do Dogs Get Ear Infections?
Dogs get ear infections for a variety of reasons. These are actually a common problem in many dog breeds even if you make sure that your dog is kept clean and dry most of the time. Some dog breeds are just more prone to infections than others as well.
Dogs get ear infections due to moisture in most cases, which can come from the dog swimming and their ears not drying out or from another dog licking their ears. Allergies can also be the root cause of an ear infection because your dog could scratch the ears and cause damage that allows for an infection.
Ear mites are another common root cause for ear infections. These annoying little invaders cause damage to the ear as well as itching which can lead to an infection.
Wax buildup can also be the reason for your dog’s ear infection, but this is far more common in dogs with floppy ears than dogs with ears that stand up.
You will want to be sure that you are paying attention to the early signs of ear infections and respond to them. Letting an ear infection get well established in your dog’s ears can lead to permanent damage to the ears. Even if you think that your dog should not be able to get an ear infection, it is still possible for your dog to get one.
Ear Infections in Dogs Can be Serious
Ear infections should always be a cause for concern as this condition can make your dog quite uncomfortable. You will want to be sure that you look at your dog’s ear carefully if you think that an ear infection might be the reason for their discomfort. You will not be able to clear up an ear infection without getting your dog to the vet for medication.
Taking care of an ear infection right away will help your dog to avoid serious secondary problems like hearing loss or hematomas on the ear. Your dog will thank you for getting them to the vet right away as soon as you see signs of an infection. Being able to save your dog from ear injuries as well as hearing loss is well worth the visit to the vet when you think that an ear infection is the reason for their behavior.
Book an appointment with your Gray Animal Hospital veterinarian by calling (224) 304-0668 or using the online form if your dog has an ear infection!