Treating Ear Infections in Your Dog

While all dog owners know to be on the lookout for problems like fleas and ticks, less experienced owners might not know just how common ear infections can be in their beloved pooch. Floppy eared breeds such as hounds and spaniels are at high risk for developing ear infections, because the shape of their ears traps in moisture that causes yeast build-up. Even if your dog’s breed doesn’t have a high risk of ear problems, the area you live in might have a higher chance of causing them. Warm, humid climates breed excess moisture that can cause big problems in your pup’s ears. Other risk factors include allergies or taking medications such as antibiotics, of which ear infections can be a negative side effect. Even if your dog doesn’t have any of these risk factors up against them, it’s better to be safe than sorry and know the warning signs and treatment methods now.

Preventing Ear Infections Before They Happen

If your dog does have one or more risk factors, such as breed or location, against them, it’s best to start practicing preventative measures now. Make sure you dry your dog’s ears thoroughly after bathing, swimming, or even going outside on a wet day. Clean your dog’s ears regularly with ear cleaning solution that can be purchased at your local pet supply store. Make sure to have the hair around your dog’s ears trimmed, as that hair can help lock in the moisture.

Catching Ear Infections Early

Now, let’s discuss recognizing the signs of an infection early. Having the know how for treating the infection is all well and good, but it won’t help your poor pooch one little bit if you don’t even know when they need the treatment. When you own a dog who’s likely to get ear infections, your vet should give you one very important piece of advice: You’ll smell it before you see it. And this is absolutely true. Infected dog ears smell nasty. If you notice odor coming from Fido’s ear canal, it’s probably due to an infection. But this isn’t the only sign you should be on the lookout for. Dogs with ear infections tend to scratch excessively at the infected ear. If you notice this, especially if the dog is crying while scratching as if in pain, it’s almost definitely an infection. Redness, swelling and brown, yellow, or bloody discharge can also indicate an infection.

These are just the fairly early warning signs. More advanced symptoms such as loss of balance, unusual eye movements, walking in circles, or even hearing loss indicate that the infection is more severe. At that stage, I recommend taking your dog to the vet for strong antibiotics. Caught early enough, however, and some doggie ear infections can be treated right at home.

Treat Dog Ear Infection at Home

If treating your dog’s ear infection at home, you’ll want the ear cleaning solution and some cotton balls. Fill the ear canal with the solution, place the cotton ball at the opening of the ear canal, and then begin gently massaging the ear at the base. You’ll want to do this several times, with several different cotton balls, until they come away clean. If you notice your dog continues to have problems with his or her ear over the next few days, it’s time to call the vet.

Treat Dog Ear Infection With Help From Your Vet

Your vet will most likely prescribe you two separate medications for your dog. The first will be medicated ear drops that help to alleviate the pain, and the second will be antibiotics to combat the infection itself. While following their instructions, you will also want to continue regularly using the ear cleaning solution and cotton ball method, as that will help to keep your dog’s ear clean and speed the healing process along.

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Dogs at Risk for Yeast Infections in Ears