How to Identify, Treat, and Prevent Dog Ear Infections

While dogs are our loyal buddies, they’re a bit hard to understand when it comes to illness since they’re much different from us. One of the main features that differ between various dog breeds is the ear shape and size. 

On the whole, all dogs have a longer ear canal than humans that contains horizontal and vertical components. Owing to this, the shape of the ear canal turns out to be a J or an L, trapping debris quickly. 

When debris accumulates in your dog’s ears, it leads to ear infections. Dog ear infections are, in fact, one of the most common medical conditions faced by canines. 

So, it’s only logical for you to learn about dog ear infection symptoms so that you can get dog ear infection treatment for your pooch as soon as possible. 

Types of Ear Infections In Dogs 

Dog ear infections are classified into three types, depending on the region of inflammation in the ear. The eardrum comes after the ear canal. 

After that, the middle and inner ear follows. 

Inflammation in the ears is called otitis, and it is categorized according to the region of the dog ear infections: 

  • Otitis interna: Inflammation in the inner ear
  • Otitis media: inflammation in the middle ear
  • Otitis externa: Inflammation in the ear canal

Since the external ear is more exposed to the environment, most dogs suffer from otitis externa. Your pup may have an infection in one or both ears. Moreover, the infection may be recurrent, acute, or chronic, depending on the underlying condition. 

Dog Ear Infection Symptoms 

Typically, small microbes live in your dog’s ears, and they don’t harm your little buddy. However, if the debris and microbes are in abundance, they can compromise the ear canal’s health, leading to inflammation and infections. 

Here are some common dog ear infection symptoms: 

  • Odor 
  • Redness
  • Pain 
  • Scratching or itching 
  • Head shaking 
  • Discharge and head tilt 
  • Hearing loss
  • Balance issues 

Normally, dog ear infections do not affect your pet’s appetite. However, in some cases, this symptom may also occur, and it’s more common in otitis internal or otitis media. 

Causes of Dog Ear Infections 

Dog ear infections may be due to different reasons. One of the common causes of dog ear infections is the inefficiency of the ear’s barrier to protect the ear canal. Due to this, the inner ear gets moist, and inflammation takes place. 

Some other causes of dog ear infections include: 

  • Ear mites 
  • Food allergies
  • Foreign bodies 
  • Excessive moisture build-up due to swimming or bathing 
  • Environmental allergies 
  • Endocrine issues 
  • Cancer 
  • Ear trauma 

Do Dog Ear Infections Go Away On Their Own?

No, dog ear infections do not go away on their own. You have to take your pet to the vet for dog ear infection treatment. 

The vet will take a look at the eardrum to determine the type of otitis and tell you the possible interventions. 

Is It Possible To Treat Dog Ear Infections At Home?

No, it’s not possible to treat ear infections at home. A vet exam is required to get to the root of the cause and find the possible treatment method. 

Your vet may tell you some at-home tips to prevent this in the future. 

Dog Ear Infection Treatment 

The dog ear infection treatment will depend on the amount of debris that has accumulated in your dog’s ears. Your vet might do the following tests to find the right treatment method for your little friend. 

  • Blood Tests may be run to check for the signs of endocrine disease. 
  • Cytology refers to the study of cells in which the debris swabs are examined under the microscope to identify the cause of dog ear infections. 
  • CT Scan or MRI: Your vet may have to run these tests to determine the extent of the damage in the inner ear. 

After finding the cause of the problem, your vet will recommend one or many of the following therapies to put your pet out of this pain. 

  • Topical: You’ll have to apply a topical ointment inside the ear to cleanse the inner compartments. The vet may also prescribe an oti pack, which is a lanolin-based medicine for cleansing the inner ear. 
  • Surgical: If your dog’s ear infection has progressed, there might be a need for surgical intervention. In this case, surgery helps remove the diseased tissue or open up the canal. 
  • Oral: An oral steroid, antifungal, or antibiotic medications can help heal the inner ear.

Prevention For Dog Ear Infections 

You should ensure regular ear cleaning to keep your pet safe from infections. Plus, make sure that you dry your dog’s ears if they tend to swim often. 

Use a professional cleaning product for your dog’s ears as they’re designed to provide a deeper clean. Here are some tips for cleaning your dog’s ears. 

  • Don’t use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol for cleaning your puppy’s ears, as these chemicals kill healthy cells.
  • You can use cotton balls to clean the earflap or the crevices. 
  • Don’t push cotton swabs into your pet’s ears because this could lead to the rupturing of the eardrum. 

If you’re new to cleaning your dog’s ears, here’s a simple technique to follow. 

  • When using a professional cleaning tool, follow the directions. 
  • Apply a liquid cleanser on a cotton ball and use this to massage your pet’s ear bases.
  • Wipe the outer ear clean with cotton balls. 
  • Apply medication for infections, if required. 

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Conclusion 

Like humans, ear infections also affect dogs quite severely. Your good little boy might be a brave one, but if you’re not attentive to the dog ear infection symptoms, the problem could get worse. 

That’s why it’s essential to look out for any signs of dog ear infections. In case you notice symptoms, talk to your vet as soon as possible since there’s no at-home dog ear infection treatment.

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