Dog Ear Infection Prevention and Treatment

Labrador getting ears clean
Written by The Best of Breeds

If your dog is constantly shaking his head, scratching at one or both of his ears, and emits a smell that goes far beyond the normal ‘dog smell’, it’s quite possible that it’s a dog ear infection that they are suffering from.

Prevention of dog ear infection is more desirable than the treatment, since the treatment for a long standing dog ear infection can leave your dog deaf. Prevention of dog ear infection is vital, every day that your dog has an ear infection, the inflammation is causing permanent damage to the dog’s ear canal and will make future dog ear infections more frequent and severe. When a dog has an ear infection, the ear canal becomes scarred and narrowed while the ear wax glands become larger and more active, thus creating a vicious cycle of dog ear infection. Each subsequent dog ear infection does more harm to the dog’s ears and hearing.

Certain dog breeds are more prone to having ear infections than others, the Shar-pei and Cocker Spaniel are genetically disposed to having dog ear infections. Genetics is not the only cause of dog ear infection, any breed of dog can have ear infection, the cause is the same for dog ear infection as it is for a human: heat and moisture.

Any dog that enjoys time in the water will be prone to having an ear infection. Allergies are another contributing factor to dog ear infection.

While the genetic predisposition of your dog can’t be changed, treatment for allergies and products that will help keep your dog’s ears dry are available through your veterinarian for prevention of dog ear infections.

If an ear infection in your dog is left untreated for a prolonged period of time, the yeast and bacteria causing the ear infection will spread deeper into the inner ear, causing your dog severe pain. If the dog ear infection spreads deep behind the eardrum, surgery is the only treatment option, and that treatment option could leave your dog deaf.

The first sign that your dog has an ear infection is red ears. By the time your dog is shaking his head incessantly and emitting a strong ear odor, the dog ear infection has progressed and damaged the ears. A trip to the veterinarian is in order to seek treatment.

Keeping your dog’s ears clean and dry is the key to the prevention of dog ear infection. Diligent treatment of any allergies that your dog may have that can lead to ear infection is also key. Your veterinarian can recommend products for dog ear cleaning, and a veterinarian dermatologist can recommend treatment for your dog’s allergies.