Cause and treatment of dog ear infections

Sensitive hearing is in the nature of dogs, but many diseases affect the extension of the dog’s nature. For dogs and dog owners, it’s an issue that can’t be ignored. Today, we will reveal to you the causes of and how to treat dog ear infections.

Cause and treatment of dog ear infections
Cause and treatment of dog ear infections

Signs your dog has an ear disease

Before learning about the causes and treatment of dog ear infections, here are some signs that your dog ear infections:

1. high frequency and short duration of head shaking

2. Constantly scratching the outside of the ear

3. Bad and dirty ears

4. Red, swollen ears; easy to bleed

5. There is pus or blood coming out.

6. Hearing loss

7. Tilt your head

Some ear infections in dogs and how to treat them

Here are the causes and treatments for dog ear infections and some common ear problems.

Inflammation of the ear canal

Because the structure of the dog’s ear differs from that of the human ear, the human ear canal is the same, whereas the dog’s ear canal has an “L” shape, the ventilation ability of the dog’s ear canal is very poor, and otitis media is common. Otitis media is classified into three types based on the location of the inflammation: otitis externa, otitis media, and otitis media.

Cause and treatment of dog ear infections
Cause and treatment of dog ear infections

Otitis externa is an inflammation of the epithelium of the outer ear canal, sometimes extending beyond the pinna. Otitis media occurs within the tympanic membrane, the tympanic cavity covered with mucosa, and the eustachian cavity. The most common is acute otitis media, which manifests as purulent discharge and a characteristic or foul odor. Because puppies are frequently neglected, they have coughs, colds, and sore throats. Bacteria take advantage of this weakness to invade the middle ear, causing inflammation. When the inner eardrum and middle ear are abnormal, the eardrum is perforated, or perforated and infected with bacteria and fungi that cause inflammation.

With otitis media, the dog has pain, tilts the neck or slowly shakes the neck, and sometimes there is bleeding. In addition, neurological symptoms such as nystagmus and facial paralysis occasionally occur. Examples of pain-induced anorexia can also be seen, causing otitis media with inflammation. This will destroy the parallel sensory organs in the dog’s inner ear, causing the dog to lose its sense of direction, often turn around, and be unable to stand. Vomiting, anorexia, and neurological symptoms such as neck tilt are also sometimes present.


The high temperature and high humidity of the environment also make it easy to cause parasitic diseases when there is dirt in the ear canal, which is a favorable place for bacteria to grow and multiply, especially in dogs with large ears that fold down. insect: dog ear mites, causing cross-infection. In the outer earwax, bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus, Proteus, and coliform bacteria) easily multiply at the right temperature and body temperature, causing the lining of the ear canal to become inflamed and pus-filled, causing extreme pain. In addition, there may also be tumors in the outer ear, which become the cause of difficult-to-treat otitis media.


Dogs with otitis externa and otitis media show signs of fidgeting, shaking their heads, itching, scratching their ears with their hind paws, yellow-brown discharge in the outer ear canal, emitting a foul odor, and concurrent ear infections. If there is only some black discharge and dirt in the ear, then special ear medicine can be used to cure it, but if there are symptoms such as fever, ear ulcers, a bad odor, or constant shaking of the head, there is a problem. It could be a serious case of otitis media. externa, otitis media, or otitis media.

The furry and inner-eared breeds need to be especially careful with this disease. If the ear hair falls out a lot, it means that the disease is very serious. The dog will scratch the ear with its hind paw, so it must cut its toes short and disinfect the toes. On rainy days, the situation will be worse, so it is better to stop walking.

Cause and treatment of dog ear infections
Cause and treatment of dog ear infections

Treatment measures

Completely remove the pus in the outer ear canal and apply antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs. Bacterial otitis media can be treated with a cotton ball dipped in gentamicin solution to thoroughly clean the dirt in the ear canal. Use ear drops for ear drops, 2-3 times a day, or a mixture of penicillin, dexamethasone, and lidocaine, 2–6 drops at a time, 3–4 times a day. If due to ear lice, it can be washed with a solution of trichlorfon. Severe infections can be treated with systemic antibiotics.

Measures to prevent otitis media:

1. When bathing, put cotton balls in the dog’s ears to avoid splashing water.

2. After bathing, dry the ear canal and surrounding hair with a hair dryer.

3. For puppies, avoid feeding on the back because the physiological structure is not yet complete and it is easy to choke on milk, causing otitis media.

4. Regularly use cotton swabs to clean earwax to ensure clean, non-polluting ears.

Measures to prevent dog ear infections:

1. Try to keep the dog’s sick face down so the fluid can drain out.

2. Use special medicine for otitis externa to wipe and clean.

3. Supplement with many vitamins and manganese-rich dog food, such as dog formula food; this period needs to be fortified with nutrition.

4. In the case of very serious otitis media, immediately go to the hospital for treatment.

Itchy ears

Ear itch, also known as ear mites, is different from otitis media. Ear mites are a very common parasitic disease in dogs, cats, and other domestic pets that is highly contagious and spreads rapidly. Males are about 0.3 mm long; females are slightly larger, about 0.5 mm, and round in shape. They lay eggs, develop, and reproduce in the dog’s ears. In pet medicine, they are also called “cub ear ticks.” The resistance and killing ability of ear mites are higher than those of scabies; they are very stubborn; they collect food in the ear canals of pets and, at the same time, secrete a special chemical poison that irritates the nerves.

Picking a dog’s ear makes dogs itchy, and once the skin is damaged and infected with pathogenic bacteria, it will cause purulent otitis externa, otitis media, and even encephalitis. Dogs often shake their heads, and sometimes they even have ear hematomas, lymphatic drainage, inflammation, or allergic reactions, as well as a thick, dark-brown crust-like discharge in the outer auditory tube.

In the early stages of infection, dogs and cats with itchy ticks are usually bilateral; as the infection progresses, the entire earlobe will be infected with a wide, clear scab, thickened horns, and scratched on its own. More serious infections have thickened hyperkeratosis scales on both ears and spread to the front of the head.

Ear mites in dogs usually attack the external auditory canal, but ear mites can also cause itchy dermatitis on the tips of the ears and tail and sometimes temporary dermatitis on the legs of the ipsilateral extremities due to an ear infection. The dog’s ears should be checked as often as once a month, with the dog on a table and a person holding the dog by hand. Another person checks the ear canal. In a normal ear canal, the surface is clean, and there is only a small amount of earwax. If there is too much earwax or a lump of hair blocking the ear canal, remove the earwax or hair. If the ear is healthy, the ear canal is warm and slightly waxy; if there is a strong or strange smell, the ear canal is infected, so it should be taken to a doctor for treatment.

You can read more: What to do when a dog has heat stroke?


The outer ear has black seeds, black discharge with a bad odor or yellow-green thick fluid, pain in the ear, a bad odor, and constant scratching of the ear. (A lot of earwax remains after frequent washing with ear cleaners.) In severe cases, the inner ear may be red and hot, and in mild cases, it may not be red and hot. In general, big-eared dogs, bob-eared dogs, and long-eared dogs are more common. Ear mites are a type of mite, and many parents have bought expensive ear cleaners that are not only unsatisfactory but also difficult to treat.

Treatment measures

To treat itchy ear mites in dogs, it is necessary to first clean the outer ear canal, then inject the ear canal and rub the tick killer after the subcutaneous injection is complete, combined with topical antibiotics and corticosteroids. Clinical experience has shown that, for dogs that do not allow human ear drops, ear sprays are effective.

The best medication recommended by pet doctors to treat ear mites is “Abamectin,” aka “Ivermectin,” which is a poison and insecticidal drug that can kill ear mites. one-time (can be used many times; you just need to put a few drops in at a time) and expensive type. Dog owners with relatively mild ear mites can also ask their doctor for a prescription. It cannot be treated with drops with a mildly toxic effect alone.)

Ticks reproduce once every seven days; for mild ear mites, you can drop them once a week, but be careful not to overuse to avoid poisoning. Apply a few drops to each ear and rub them in thoroughly. covered with abamectin. If the ear mites are particularly severe (with redness and fever), you can use the drops every three or four days. Usually, only a few drops are needed.

Cause and treatment of dog ear infections
Cause and treatment of dog ear infections

Swollen ear wings

Swollen ear wings are usually caused by broken blood vessels in the ear; the blood slits gather to form a hematoma, usually due to foreign injuries such as severe blows, ear infections, or fights.


Dogs shake their heads, pick their ears, tilt their heads, and there are soft, fluid, swollen places on the ears.

Treatment measures

Send a doctor for treatment; if the hematoma is not treated, it will form scars, atrophy, and deformed ear wings.
How to prevent dogs from getting ear infections

After helping people understand the causes and treatment of dog ear infections, here are ways to prevent dogs from getting ear infections effectively. Otitis media is a relatively serious ear infection that requires medical attention.

The basic measure to prevent and care for your dog ears is to keep them clean and free of moisture.

The process of treatment and recovery from ear infections is quite slow, causing not only pain for the dog but also a lot of effort for the owner.

To avoid ear infections in dogs, we should pay more attention to our daily lives and prevent them at the source.

Details are as follows:

1. Keep the ears dry. When bathing the dog, take care not to get water in his ears.

2. After bathing, it is recommended to dry your hair to avoid fungal reproduction.

3. Keep the dog’s utensils clean: regularly wash and dry the dog’s kennel, mat, etc. to keep the surrounding environment clean.

4. Regularly shave the hair in the ears and clean the ears with ear lotion.

5. Periodic deworming with in vitro dewormers can prevent ear mites.

6. When going out, wear a leash to avoid being bitten or scratched by a dog.

7. Dogs with large ears that cover the pinna, such as the cocker spaniel, beagle, basset hound, etc., need enhanced ear care.


The above article has helped people understand the causes and treatment of dog ear infections. I hope everyone has the right information to treat their dog’s illness.

You can refer to more knowledge about pet dog care here: Dogs care

Written By Pet Cares

Lee Ana has worked in all aspects of the veterinary field, and therefore has a deep understanding of animals. She graduated from veterinary school and has since worked in multiple countries, fostered many animals, and volunteered her time to help pets and vets alike