Dogs will always have a certain amount of microbes growing in their ears, but for various reasons, you can end up dealing with a dog ear infection. Dogs’ ears can be infected with yeast or bacteria. Either infection will be extremely bothersome to your dog and should be dealt with ASAP.
Symptoms of a Dog Ear Infection
Any one of the following symptoms, is likely a clue that your dog has an ear infection:
- Nasty smell in your dog’s ears – particularly if it smells like chalk.
- Dog is constantly rubbing or scratching the ears, or shaking or tilting the head.
- Black or yellow discharges in the ears.
- Dog has pain when being touched on the ears.
- Ear canal or inner flap of the ear is red or swollen. In addition to any of these, your dog will become easily annoyed when he has an ear infection.
The dog’s ear infection is probably bacterial, if:
- The ears stink badly, but they don’t smell like chalk.
- The dog’s ears hurt or are very tender to the touch.
In both cases, there may be discharges, redness and/or swelling.
Know the Difference:
Is It a Dog Ear Infection, or Other Problem?
The biggest factor to dogs getting ear infections is a moist environment and or dog food and treats.
Drafty, moist air is a problem. Swimming without properly drying out is another. It’s suggested that any time your dog’s ears are going to get wet, you rinse the ears with a product such as Epi-Otic. You should fill the ear completely up, and then allow him to shake it out. Finish by swabbing out the remaining debris with a cotton swab. You can also pinch the base of the ear to squeeze out the base of the ear canal as you do this. This kind of product will evaporate quickly, removing both the medicine and any other moisture.
Another cause of dog ear infections, is an allergic reaction. Dogs’ ears react to most allergies, so if your dog has repeated ear infections, you should consider the possibility of an allergy. The allergy could be related to their food, a flea attack, to something in their environment such as plants or pollen, or it could be a medication or soap. If you suspect an allergy, your veterinarian can help with blood tests.
Hypothyroidism is another common source of infection. Hypothyroidism has many side effects, and one of them is water retention. Once again, your veterinarian can perform blood tests to check to see if hypothyroidism is the cause of your dog’s ear infections.
Weakened immune systems, hereditary skin problems, and a lack of certain nutrients in the dog’s diet are also possible causes for dog-ear infections. There are immunity supplements for dogs that will help with all three of these causes.
A dog with an active ear infection should be taken to the vet. The veterinarian can quickly determine the degree and type of the infection. In most cases, the vet should be able to send you home with a prescription that will fit the exact type of ear infection. Epi-Otic flush is commonly prescribed for both bacterial and yeast infections. Temeral-P, a steroid, is also given for both types of dog ear infections. Other drugs your veterinarian might prescribe include Otomax or Cephalexin for bacterial ear infections, or Mometamax for yeast.
If you’ve already determined that your dog’s ear infection is coming from yeast growth, you can try a heavily-diluted solution of vinegar, to flush out the ears. Fill the ear and let the vinegar sit for a minute, massaging the base of the dog’s ear to make sure the vinegar gets everywhere. Let the dog then shake out the vinegar, and use cotton swabs to wipe them out. You’ll need to repeat this a few times per week before the yeast level drops to normal.
Here are the basic dog ownership habits that will help you prevent your dog from getting ear infections:
- Keep the dog clean with proper grooming habits. Make sure he has good exercise.
- Give him good, nutritious food including vitamin C.
- Certain herbs also fight ear infections when used as a dietary supplement, try paud’orca and acidophilus together, with your vet’s permission.
- Make sure his ears are properly dried after every bath or swim.
Remember – a dog’s ear infection is serious enough on its own, but left untreated, it can turn into a bigger health problem. You and your dog will be fine, so long as you catch the ear infection early and do the right thing for your dog.