3 Signs Your Dog’s Ear is Infected

If your dog is scratching at its ear or shaking its head, it could be more than just a minor annoyance, but a developing or full-blown ear infection. Don’t panic–ear infections can be uncomfortable for dogs, but they are treatable! In this blog, we’ll explore the signs that your dog’s ear may be infected, what you can do to identify these signs early, and why it’s important to get professional help from your vet. If you do notice any of these signs, it’s a good idea to call Veterinary Medical Center of St. Lucie County at (772) 337-8570 for advice and treatment options. We’ll be more than happy to help!

Woman cleans a dog ear, hygienic and health care for the pet, infection or allergy

What Causes Ear Infections in Dogs?

Ear infections in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors. Allergies, yeast, bacteria, and even ear mites can lead to uncomfortable infections. Dogs with floppy ears like Cocker Spaniels and Basset Hounds are especially prone to ear infections because their ear structure can trap moisture and debris.

Understanding what causes ear infections is the first step in preventing them altogether. Regular ear cleaning can help remove debris that might lead to infection. However, it’s essential to approach cleaning with care to avoid damaging the delicate structures inside your dog’s ear.

How to Tell If Your Pet has an Ear Infection

One of the first signs of an ear infection in dogs is often an increase in scratching or pawing at the infected ear. You might also notice your dog shaking its head more frequently. Here are some specific symptoms to watch for:

Discharge and Odor

If your dog’s ear is infected, you might see a brown, yellow, or bloody discharge in the ear. A strong, unpleasant smell is also a common symptom of an infected ear.

Redness and Swelling

Carefully take a look inside your dog’s ear. If it’s infected, the ear canal might look red and swollen. This inflammation can cause considerable discomfort for your pet, so employ a gentle touch when checking the ear (or ears). 

Changes in Behavior

Dogs with ear infections may become irritable or depressed. They might also react painfully when their ears are touched. This change in behavior is a clear indication that it’s time to consult your vet.

When to See Your Vet

If you suspect your dog’s ear is infected, you should seek professional veterinary care as soon as possible to keep the problem from worsening. Trying to treat an ear infection on your own can lead to further complications, including potentially damaging the ear canal. Ear infections are very common in dogs, and we are no strangers to treating them! 

Your vet can help you determine the exact cause of your pet’s infection and recommend the best treatment. This might include medicated ear drops, antibiotics, or other therapies depending on the severity of the infection.

Preventing Future Ear Infections

Preventing ear infections can save your pet considerable discomfort, and they’ll be much happier and healthier, too. Here are a few tips:

  • Routine Ear Checks: Regularly checking your dog’s ears for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge, can help you catch problems before they become serious.
  • Proper Ear Cleaning: Learn the proper technique to clean your dog’s ears. This involves using a vet-approved ear cleaning solution and gently wiping the outer ear. We can do a demonstration for you during your appointment.
  • Diet and Allergies: Sometimes, ear infections are related to allergies. Talk to your vet about whether your dog’s diet might be contributing to ear issues.

Partner with Us to Keep Your Pet’s Ears Healthy

Monitoring your dog’s ear health is an essential part of their overall care, especially if their ears predispose them to infections. Knowing the signs of an ear infection and responding quickly can lessen your companion’s discomfort and spare them from unneeded stress. If you’re concerned about your dog’s ears, don’t wait. Contact Veterinary Medical Center of St. Lucie County at (772) 337-8570 to schedule an appointment. Our team is ready to assist you and ensure your dog remains comfortable and healthy.