Treating Dog Ear Infections

Ear infections in dogs can be a very common health problem, but treating them is not so simple. While treating them may seem quick and easy, ear infections may lead to serious health complications in dogs.


Chronic Ear Infections

Chronic ear infections may lead to permanent changes in the anatomy of a dog’s ear, making ear infections in the future more likely and more difficult to treat. Consult with the veterinarian in a timely manner when you see signs in your dog such as shaking of the head, scratching the ears, redness on the ear flap, and discharge and foul odor from the ear.


Vet Visit For Ear Infections

It is tempting to try to clean the ears of a dog, but it can cause more damage, and it can be painful for your dog. If an ear infection is bad, a veterinarian may have to sedate your dog to properly flush the ear canal and examine the eardrum.

Once the ear is clean, a veterinarian will thoroughly examine the eardrum and determine the cause of the infection. Since structures behind the eardrum are the cause of most chronic ear infections, this will require more aggressive treatments. The veterinarian will prescribe the most effective treatment for your dog’s ear infection.

If your veterinarian has prescribed medications for your dog’s ear infection, follow the instructions exactly. Never use products in your dog’s ear that you have not discussed beforehand with your veterinarian. If your pet has ruptured eardrums, some topical medications may cause deafness when used on pets.


Veterinarian-Recommended Ear Cleaning

If the veterinarian recommends cleaning your dog’s ears, use their recommended products. Do not dig into your pet’s ear canal with cotton swabs and other objects. Doing this will push material deeper into the canal and make the eardrum rupture.

When cleaning your dog’s ears, lift the ear flap to make the ear canal visible. Fill the ear canal completely until it overflows with the cleaner recommended by the veterinarian. Then place the ear flap back over the canal of the ear. Next, gently massage the ear flap until hearing a squishy noise. Finally, stand back letting your dog shake their head vigorously. Letting your dog shake their head is especially important because it brings deeper material to the surface where you can wipe it away. 


Causes of Dog Ear Infections

A healthy adult dog with normal ear anatomy typically never gets ear infections. An ear infection should be seen as a symptom of an underlying condition.

A lot of people think ear mites might be to blame for ear infections, but in most cases of ear mite infections, it is diagnosed in a kitten. Puppies may also get ear mites, however, the chances of adult dogs getting ear mites is exceedingly small if they have not encountered puppies or kittens.

Ear infections, also called otitis, can be caused by a variety of organisms, including bacteria, yeast, and mites. Yeast infections in a dog’s ears are single-celled fungi that normally live in small amounts on a dog’s skin, which typically multiply. This form of infection is very common in dogs.  If a dog’s immune system is compromised, bacteria can also grow in your dog’s ears. Ear mites are the most common, and your dog catches them by direct contact with another infected animal.


Factors Affecting Ear Infections

Several factors such as lifestyle, genetics, and sensitivity to allergens can make your dog predisposed to developing ear infections. Some dog breeds with droopy ears have a higher risk of developing ear infections because these droopy ears trap in moisture. Dogs who live in rainy environments or who love to bathe also develop more ear infections for the same reasons. 

Humidity, however, is the main reason for ear infections. Dogs with allergies, environmental or food, are also prone to getting infections of the ear because the immune system is fighting allergens.


Natural Ear Infection Remedies

For minor ear infections, you can treat your dog at home with natural remedies, without having to visit a vet. There are homeopathic solutions and cleaning techniques using apple cider vinegar or peroxide, and also a treatment using coconut oil.

These homeopathic products help soothe the itching and reduce redness associated with inflammation. Apple cider vinegar is a cleanser, antifungal, and agent of anti-bacterial. You can dilute the cider vinegar with water and dip a cotton ball in this mix to clean your dog’s ears. When using coconut oil as a remedy, you can mix the coconut oil with garlic as an ear cleanser.


Take Action

Food allergies, environmental allergies, anatomical abnormalities, foreign material in the ear, masses, chronically damp ears, hormone disorders, bacterial infections, and yeast infections are a few things that can cause infections in a dog’s ear. If you think there is something wrong with your dog’s ear, visiting your vet will be the best source of help!



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