What are the Signs of a Dog Ear Infection?

Do you suspect your dog might have an ear infection? Ear infections in dogs are more common than you might think, and there are several signs you can learn to recognize that may help you pinpoint this problem in your own pet. By knowing the common signs of a dog ear infection, you’ll be able to identify this condition fairly quickly so they can get the treatment they need.

Signs of dog ear infection

5 Signs of Ear Infection in Dogs

Read through the list below to see if your pet is exhibiting any signs of a dog ear infection. If so, take them to the vet as soon as you can, as they will likely need antibiotics to help clear up the infection.

Below are the signs of a dog ear infection that pet parents should keep an eye out for:

Aggression or Hiding

Dogs who are in pain—from their ears or from anything else—are prone to display aggression, especially if the affected part of the body is touched or “threatened” in any way. Other dogs may hide from you or from other pets in the household if they are dealing with pain.

If you think your dog is in pain, an ear infection could be the cause. However, there may be other causes too, so consider the rest of the list to narrow down the possibilities further.

Visibly Swollen Ear

A visibly swollen ear means your dog’s ear infection is fairly serious. If your dog has a swollen lump or swelling at the base of their ear, they likely has an infection. Additionally, swelling and redness of the shell of the ear may mean the same thing.

Depending on your dog’s skin color, hair color, and ear type, they may or may not have visible redness on the exterior of their ear. If they do, the ear may also be hot to the touch, which can further indicate a risk of infection.

Head Tilt or Head Shaking

Head tilt and head shaking are both common signs associated with ear infections in dogs. As the infection worsens, it causes a buildup of fluids within the dog’s ear that can create pressure and discomfort. The dog may tilt their head to one side or shake their head frequently to try to get rid of this pressure.

Head tilt and head shaking can also be symptoms of neurological problems, so it’s important to get to the bottom of this behavior if you notice it in your dog. If you see head tilt along with other symptoms on this list, however, ear infections are much more likely.

Oozing from the Ear

Oozing from the ear can indicate a moderate to severe ear infection. Your dog may ooze pus or clear fluid from their ear if it is infected. If they have been scratching or pawing at their ear a lot, they may also ooze blood from this irritation.

Check your dog’s ear thoroughly if you notice any oozing. You are likely to see some of the other symptoms on this list if you look closely. Take them to the vet as soon as you can when you notice this issue.

Foul Ear Odor

Along with oozing and swelling, your dog’s ear will likely give off a foul odor if there is an infection present.

This is a sign that your dog has an ear infection deep within their ear, but it could also mean they have an abscess on the shell of their ear as well. Check their ear carefully to make sure the problem is not an external one.

Risk Factors of Dog Ear Infections

Some dogs are much more prone to developing ear infections than others. Dogs with ears that flop over instead of stand up may be more likely to have ear infections, and dogs who have recently been swimming or had a bath are at a greater risk as well.

Bring Your Pet to Heart + Paw for Any and All Signs of Dog Ear Infections

Ear infections are not usually serious in dogs if they are treated in a reasonable amount of time. However, it’s important to make sure you don’t leave your dog’s ear infection untreated for too long, as this can cause permanent damage to her hearing.

An ear infection is not an emergency situation, so it’s okay to wait for a visit with your regular vet. Call the vet as soon as you notice the symptoms on this list so you can help your dog heal as quickly as possible.

At Heart + Paw, your pet’s wellbeing and comfort are always our top priorities. Our team understands how uncomfortable this condition can be for your pet, which is why we always develop the best course of treatment possible. If you notice any signs of dog ear infections in your pet, book an appointment with us at any of our locations.

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About Us

Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.

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