What To Do For Dog Ear Infections

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
Does your dog have problems with his ears? Any pooch can be at risk for an ear infection. Here’s what you can do for dog ear infections.

If you notice your dog scratching at his ears or shaking his head more often, it could be a sign of infection. Ear infections are fairly common in dogs, particularly in breeds with long floppy ears. If your dog’s ears get wet and fail to dry, it could create a moist environment ideal for bacteria to thrive. And where bacteria gets a chance to flourish, trouble happens. Overgrowth of bacteria and yeast in ears can have serious consequences for your pet, ranging from pain and discomfort all the way to deafness if the infection is not treated on time.

Needless to say, it’s important to catch the signs of ear infections timely and begin treating the issue as soon as you notice anything amiss. So, what do you do when your dog gets an ear infection? Read on to find out!

Related: Why do Dogs Get Ear Infections?

Tips for Handling Ear Infections in Dogs

The first thing you need to know about ear infections in dogs is how to identify the symptoms. Common symptoms of dog ear infections include head shaking, scratching the ears, discharge in the ears, foul odor, redness or swelling inside or around the ear, itching, pain, and crusting or scabs in the ears. If you notice these symptoms, it is a good idea to take your dog to the vet to identify the underlying cause of the infection so you can treat it properly.

Here is an overview of how you should treat your dog’s ear infection:

  1. Carefully clean your dog’s ear with a dog-friendly cleanser – you can ask your vet for a recommendation or find one online or at your local pet store.
  2. After cleaning your dog’s ear, make sure to wipe away any residual cleaner to keep the ear nice and dry.
  3. Once the ear is completely dry, administer whatever medication (oral or topical) your veterinarian has given you.
  4. Keep administering the treatment, cleaning the ears as needed until the infection clears up.
  5. Check your dog’s ears at least once a week to see if the infection is coming back.

If your dog’s ear infection returns, you may want to talk to your veterinarian to figure out what is causing your dog’s chronic ear infections. Food allergies are a common cause for recurrent ear infections in dogs, so ask your vet whether you might need to change what you’re feeding your dog. If you do decide to change your dog’s diet, make sure you transition him slowly to avoid digestive upset. If your dog’s infection stays cleared up, you may still want to follow a few tips to prevent future infections.

Related: Hydrogen Peroxide in Ears

Here are some simple tips for preventing ear infections in dogs:

  • Always keep your dog’s ears dry during bathing and dry them well after swimming.
  • Keep your dog’s ears clean by cleansing them once every week or two.
  • Complete all follow-up checks with your veterinarian and complete the course of treatment.
  • Check your dog’s ears regularly to make sure they are dry and free from infection.
  • If your dog has long fur, keep the fur in and around his ears trimmed to reduce irritation.

Some infections may take longer than others to clear up, so just be consistent with your treatment until the problem goes away. Once your dog’s infection has been resolved, you should continue to check his ears at least once a week to make sure it doesn’t come back.

Best Remedies for Dog Ear Infections

If your pet has a persistent or severe ear infection, your veterinarian will want to prescribe a course of antibiotics to suppress the bacteria in your pet’s ears. The antibiotics can be either taken orally or applied directly into the ear- it will depend on the severity of your pet’s case. However, in some situations, the problem can be remedied with natural solutions. Dog ear cleaners are often recommended by vets both as a preventive and as treatment. The formulas and application methods vary, from gentle wipes to potent ear liquids, and your vet will be able to properly advise you which option is better for your pet.

Another remedy for dog ear infections not many pet parents know about are dog probiotics. Changes in diet, issues with the immune system, and other seemingly unrelated issues could create ideal conditions for bacteria to flourish in your pet’s ears, and no matter how much you try with specific ear medications, it won’t work long-term unless you target the underlying issue too. Chronic ear infections can be a cause of persistent and resistant bacteria and one way to help neutralize them is to boost the growth of good bacteria- to tip the scales in favor of the beneficial microorganisms, so to speak.

Dog probiotics are mainly used to promote better digestion but their benefits don’t stop there: cultures in these supplements can improve your pet’s skin and coat as well as offer relief for chronic ear infections. There are plenty of options on the market, too – from liquid and powder formulas that are mixed in your dog’s chow, to those that are given as a chewy treat, such as Bernie’s Perfect Poop. Similarly, if your pet is on a course of antibiotics for his ear infection, it’s advisable to give him probiotics as well: the meds will obliterate all bacteria in his gut, good and bad both, and it can cause a range of digestive and other problems in the long run. Combining probiotics with antibiotics ensures that there are no side-effects of this sort when you’re treating your dog’s ear infection.

Regardless of the route you pick, it’s important to consult with your vet before you do anything, You might inadvertently make matters worse for your pooch if you act without consulting a medical professional first: inadequate treatment can make matters so much worse for your pooch.

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

More by Kate Barrington