How to comfort a Dog with Ear Infection

Many dog owners have learned to recognize the symptoms of an ear infection: whining, scratching, and head shaking are frequently the first indicators of the condition.

Ear infections are prevalent in dogs, particularly those with floppy ears like Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels. An estimated 20% of dogs suffer from some sort of ear illness, which can affect one or both ears. Fortunately, you may take actions to lessen the length and severity of these episodes in your dog. There are even a few over-the-counter options.

Ear infections are classified into three types: otitis externa, otitis media, and otitis interna. The most frequent is otitis externa, a condition in which the layer of cells lining the exterior section of the ear canal becomes inflamed.

Infections in the middle and inner ear canals are referred to as otitis media and interna, respectively. These infections are frequently caused by the spread of infection from the external ear.

Otitis media and interna can be fatal, resulting in deafness, facial paralysis, and vestibular symptoms. That is why it is critical to avoid infections and get treatment as soon as issues emerge.

What Causes Ear Infections in Dogs?

The dog ear canal is more vertical than the human ear canal, generating an L-shape that tends to keep fluid in. This increases the likelihood of ear infections in dogs. Bacteria, yeast, or a mix of the two most commonly cause ear infections. Ear mites can potentially be a cause of infection in pups.

The following factors may predispose your dog to ear infections:

  1. Moisture, which can provide a favorable environment for the growth of bacteria and yeast.
  2. Allergies, which cause ear problems in around 50% of dogs with allergic skin disease and 80% of dogs with food sensitivities.
  3. Thyroid illness is an example of an endocrine ailment.
  4. Autoimmune conditions
  5. Wax accumulation
  6. Organizations from other countries
  7. An ear canal injury
  8. A lot of cleaning

Precise Diagnosis Needed for a Dog’s Ear Infections

If your dog exhibits any of the frequent symptoms of an ear infection, you should take him or her to the doctor as soon as possible. Not only is prompt treatment required for your dog’s comfort (these conditions may be excruciating! ), but it is also vital to prevent infection from spreading to the middle and inner ear. Ear infections should not be treated at home.

Prepare to provide your veterinarian a detailed history of the condition. This is especially crucial if you are experiencing your first illness or if you are seeing a new veterinarian. Your veterinarian will want to know the following information:

The duration of any symptoms, including pain, swelling, discharge, and odor. If your dog has any allergies or other underlying medical concerns, see a veterinarian. If your dog is being treated with medication.

Read also: How to comfort a Dog with separation anxiety

What has your dog been eating?

How frequently do you clean your dog’s ears, and what items do you use?
If you’ve cut or plucked your dog’s ears,. Baths, grooming, or swimming are examples of recent activities.

If your dog has a history of ear infections, please tell us when they happened and how they were treated.

Following the collection of your dog’s medical history, your veterinarian will conduct a physical examination. In extreme situations, your doctor may also prescribe sedating your dog to allow for a deeper inspection of the ear canal. Your veterinarian will examine both ears, and the exam may include the following:

  1. Examine the skin for symptoms of redness, swelling, and discharge.
  2. An otoscope is used to evaluate the ear canal and eardrum.
  3. Palpation of the ear to determine the amount of discomfort
  4. Microscopic study of materials obtained via ear swabbing
  5. Samples from the ear are cultured.
  6. In severe or chronic instances, biopsies or X-rays may be required.

How are Dog Ear Infections Treated?

Your veterinarian will use a medicated ear cleaner to thoroughly clean your dog’s ears. Your veterinarian may also advise you to use an ear cleaner and a topical medicine at home. In extreme situations, your veterinarian may advise you to take oral antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs.

When adequate treatment is initiated, most simple ear infections cure within 1–2 weeks. However, serious infections or those caused by underlying disorders might take months to clear or become chronic issues.

In severe chronic illness instances where all other therapies have failed, your veterinarian may consider surgery such as Total Ear Canal Ablation (TECA). A TECA procedure eliminates the ear canal, eliminating unhealthy tissue and prevents infection from recurring.

It is critical to strictly adhere to your veterinarian’s recommendations and to return to the veterinary hospital for any suggested review appointments. Inadequate treatment for your dog may result in a recurrence of the infection.

Even if your dog appears to be improving, it is critical that you complete the whole course of medicine. Failure to complete the entire course of therapy may result in additional issues such as resistant infections.

Read also: How to comfort a dog with kidney failure

Can You Prevent Ear Infections in Dogs?

Prevention, like with most illnesses, is always preferable. Excess moisture is a major cause of ear infections, so thoroughly dry your dog’s ears after swimming or bathing. If your dog has a history of chronic or recurring ear infections, diagnosing and treating any underlying causes, including as allergies, can help avoid future infections.

Ear infections can also be avoided by cleaning your dog’s ears at home. Wipe the canal clean with absorbent gauze. “Do not use paper towels or cotton, since these may leave fibers behind, which may cause discomfort.” Cotton swabs may also be used to clean your dog’s pinnae (the external ear flaps), but they should not be used in the ear canal since they may push material deeper into the canal.


Ear infections are a frequent and often recurring condition in many dogs, but you can keep your dog’s ears clean and comfortable with the aid of your veterinarian. If your dog exhibits symptoms of an ear infection, seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent the disease from worsening.

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