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Dog Ear Infections: All You Need to Know

Dogs are prone to many problems, especially infections. These canines are constantly exposed to dirt and bacteria in the air and on the surfaces they walk on. Remember that these animals do not have the same hygiene as human beings.

Many infections can affect dogs, but one of the most common is an ear infection. These are usually caused by bacteria or yeast and can be very painful, especially if left untreated.

Dog Ear Infections

The shape of the ear canals of dogs is different from that of humans. In these animals, the ear canals are more vertical and longer (in the shape of an “L”), so they tend to retain more liquid.

Also, if canines spend a lot of time outside, they will be more prone to bacteria and other microorganisms. It is important to understand the causes of ear infections in dogs to know how to prevent or treat them.

One important thing to consider is that this type of infection often affects dogs with floppy ears, as they are more prone to accumulating dirt, wax, and moisture. That causes canines with these ears to frequently develop otitis.

What Causes Ear Infections in Dogs?

As we have already said, dogs’ ears are more prone to infections due to the shape of their ear canals. The ear canals of these animals easily retain fluid which facilitates the growth of infections due to yeast, ear mites, or bacteria.

Some common causes of this type of infection in dogs are:

Exposure to Nature

Dogs love to run and play outside. Depending on their environment, they could be exposed to various microorganisms that easily cause ear infections.

In fact, a dog that spends a lot of time outside is exposed to various types of allergies related to dander, pollen, or mold. These allergies can cause the accumulation of wax in the ear canals of dogs, producing bacteria and yeasts responsible for developing infections.

Ear infections are very painful and can cause swelling and discharge. Some infections of this type could become very dangerous, so the help of a veterinarian will be required immediately.


A dog with allergies is very prone to ear infections. For example:

  • 80% of food-allergic dogs often develop ear infections and diseases.
  • 50% of canines with allergic skin diseases can also develop this type of infection.

Keep in mind that allergies not only cause infections in dogs’ ears but also in their skin.

Ear Mites

Ear mites can also be frequent causes of infections. Keep in mind that these mites can live on the canine’s fur. When they reach the ear, they will begin to devour debris from the skin, causing a lot of pain and itching in that area.

This will quickly lead to an infection that needs to be treated as soon as possible. Remember that mites often lay eggs in the ears, which need to be removed before the problem worsens.

Bacterial ear infections caused by mites can, in turn, cause inflammation in the ear canals and, depending on the severity of the situation, partial or total deafness.

It is very important to take the dog quickly to the vet to treat this problem before it is too late. We cannot take these types of infections lightly, especially if ear mites cause them.


Excess moisture can quickly cause ear infections in dogs. This is very common when the canine constantly gets into a pool or lake or simply when their ears stay wet after a bath because their owners did not dry them properly.

Moisture can cause serious infections, especially if the dog suffers from any type of allergy.

Endocrine Disorders

Some endocrine problems, such as Cushing’s disease or hypothyroidism, can cause ear infections and worsen the situation if the dog already has this type of infection.

It is important to know how to identify the cause of your dog’s ear infection because if it is due to an endocrine problem, it is best to take your pet immediately to a veterinarian so that it can be treated properly. Some symptoms that will help you identify an endocrine disease are:

  • Weight gain
  • Excessive hunger and thirst
  • Drowsiness
  • Increased urination
  • Unhealthy coat

Symptoms of Dog Ear Infections

Many dog ​​owners, especially less experienced ones, don’t know when their pets have a health problem. As we have said, ear infections in these animals are widespread, and we must learn to identify them in order to treat them in time.

It is important to know that not all dogs with ear infections show symptoms, making detecting this problem more difficult.

However, pain is something that your dog will almost always feel, so as soon as you notice that your pet is in pain, take it to the vet regardless of whether the problem is an ear infection or some disease.

Now, several symptoms will help us know if our dogs have an ear infection or not:

  • Crusting or scabs in the ears
  • Dark discharge
  • Head shaking
  • Itchiness
  • Unpleasant odor
  • Pain
  • Redness 
  • Swelling of the ear canal

Should I Clean My Dog’s Ears Regularly?

Yes! It is essential to always keep your dog’s ears clean. However, that doesn’t mean you should clean them every day or once every two days, as that can be a negative due to excess moisture. Remember that we previously said that this is one of the causes of ear infections in dogs.

Although cleaning the ears of dogs is not a difficult task, it is necessary that we explain how to do it correctly since using the wrong instruments can cause damage to them.

When cleaning your pet’s ears, it’s important to have a towel, cotton balls, and a special dog-ear cleaning solution on hand.

We use a Q-tip to clean our ears, but that is something we should not buy for these animals as we could push dirt deeper into their ears, which is not a good thing. Remember that excess wax can cause infections.

The following steps will help you properly clean your dog’s ears:

  1. Choose a place where your dog can shake its head after bathing. Many people would not like their wet dogs soaking all the living room objects in the house. The bathroom and backyard are good options.
  2. Use a dog ear cleaning solution. Add a moderate amount to your pet’s ears and rub each for 30 seconds to 1 minute. You want to ensure you perform these movements carefully to avoid hurting the canine.
  3. Now it’s time to carefully clean your pet’s ear canal with a cotton ball. You should try to do it superficially to avoid hurting your pet.

How to Treat Dog Ear Infections?

The best way to get rid of an ear infection is to take your dog to the vet. He will detect the cause of the problem and will tell you everything you need to cure your pet.

Some tips for treating ear infections are:

  • Clean the canine’s ears regularly using a dog ear cleaner
  • Give anti-inflammatory medications and oral antibiotics
  • Schedule surgery with the vet in more severe cases