Why Does My Dogs Ear Hurt

We frequently see dogs in New Ulm with ear infections, especially those with folded or floppy ears. Even though they might become dangerous, ear infections are usually simple to treat if they are discovered in time.

Your Dog’s Ears

Dogs’ ear canals’ shape makes them susceptible to ear infections. Dogs who frequently swim or have floppy ears are especially vulnerable because the moisture that is constantly retained in their ears provides the ideal environment for bacteria to flourish.

The good news is that you can frequently prevent your dog from getting an ear infection with a little work on your part. If your dog does become infected, there is a good chance that it can be easily and rapidly treated if you seek veterinarian care as soon as possible.

However, if your dog’s ear infection isn’t treated right away, a much more serious infection might grow and cause catastrophic symptoms like facial paralysis, difficulty with balance and coordination, and excruciating pain.

Causes of Ear Infections in Dogs

Dog ear infections can have a variety of different reasons. Yeast, ear mites, and fungus can all result in your dog’s ears becoming infected and painful, while bacterial infections are the most typical cause of ear infections in dogs. The presence of foreign items in the ear, trauma, tumors, and polyps are additional reasons of dog ear infections.

Types of Dog Ear Infections

  • Otitis media is a sign of a middle ear infection in dogs.
  • The external ear is affected by otitis externa infections.
  • Otitis interna, or inner ear infections, can affect your dog.

Symptoms of An Ear Infection in Dogs

If your dog does develop an ear infection, they may feel extremely uneasy and may even go through some fairly unpleasant symptoms. Contact your veterinarian right once to schedule an evaluation for your dog if any of the following symptoms of an ear infection are present. Early ear infection therapy can assist to avoid the emergence of more serious symptoms.

Common symptoms of canine ear infections include:

  • A smell in the ear
  • The interior of the ear is red.
  • Bloody, brown, or yellowish discharge
  • Pawing or scratching at the ear
  • Otosclerosis of the ear
  • Head trembling or swaying
  • scabs or crusts directly behind the ear
  • Rubbing one’s ear against a wall or piece of furniture

Other indications that your dog has a more serious ear infection include:

  • loss of coordination or balance
  • indicators of hearing loss
  • Circling ineffectively
  • Strange eye motions

Treating Your Dog’s Ear Infection

If your dog is found to have an ear infection, your veterinarian will take the time to wipe its ear with a medicated cleanser and will prescribe any antibiotics or painkillers necessary to treat the illness. The doctor might also suggest a topical drug and provide you instructions on when and how to administer it to your dog’s ear at home.

The ear infection usually clears up in a week or two with proper treatment in the early stages. Treatment for more severe cases or those brought on by underlying illnesses may be difficult and need months of careful attention. More serious cases frequently lead to recurrent or chronic ear infections over the course of the dog’s life.

The secret to treating your dog’s ear infection as rapidly as possible is to carefully adhere to your veterinarian’s recommendations. A reoccurring illness that gets harder to treat can result from not finishing prescriptions or halting therapy before the infection has fully resolved.

For dog ear infections, returning to the veterinarian for a follow-up appointment is strongly advised. Even while it could appear that the infection has subsided, there might still be undetectable signs of the virus.

Preventing Ear Infections in Dogs

Our veterinarians think that prevention is always preferable to treatment. It’s crucial to keep your dog’s ears dry and clean in order to assist avoid the development of an ear infection.

Consult your veterinarian for advice on the best ear cleaner to use, and spend some time each week carefully cleaning your dog’s ears.

Please take note that the information in this page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice for animals. Please schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a precise diagnosis of your pet’s illness.

Ear flapping

You might notice your dog tossing their head and flapping their ears more frequently if they have long, dangling ears. This can be a strategy to attempt to calm their irritated ears.


In an effort to lessen the irritation, dogs with upright ears are more inclined to brush their ears against their paws or legs. Additionally, they might brush their ears on your furniture or you.

Head tipping

Your dog may tip their head to one side, frequently with the irritated ear on the lower side of their head, if only one ear is affected by a grass seed or other irritant.


Your dog’s ear is likely to be painful after an ear infection has taken hold. They can try to avoid having you touch their ears and exhibit some head shyness. If you try to look inside your dog’s ears, they could become aggressive in extreme situations.

How can you spot an ear infection in your dog?

See this useful list of symptoms if you’re unsure how to tell whether your dog has an ear infection.

  • scratching the ear or the area around
  • Bloody, brown, or yellow discharge
  • Redness Swelling scabs or crusts on the outer ear’s inside
  • loss of hair near the ears
  • Rubbing the ear and surrounding area against a wall, a table, or other object
  • Head tilting or head shaking
  • loss of equilibrium
  • loss of hearing

Seemingly more visible than others, some of these signs. Take a quick look at the ear if your dog is tossing his head a lot more than normal or pawing at his ears. Is there a bad smell? Is that red? You should bring your dog in for a consultation in any case.

Do not assume that ear infections take days to manifest; they might manifest fast as well. Within a few hours, your dog could shift from feeling OK to having a nasty ear infection. Please don’t be reluctant to schedule a meeting.

Can I handle the ear infection on my dog myself?

Usually, Grant explains, you require prescription medicine once an infection has set in. As soon as you start experiencing symptoms, you should visit your veterinarian because ear infections don’t go away on their own.

A sample of the discharge from the ears will be taken by your veterinarian, who will examine it under a microscope to determine whether it is caused by bacteria, yeast, or mites before prescribing the right treatment. Antibiotics, antifungals, and anti-mite drugs are among the available treatments, which are typically given topically. Oral treatments, however, might be suggested by your veterinarian if the infection has spread to the inner ear.

How do I treat my dog’s ear infection at home without visiting the doctor?

I don’t think apple cider vinegar is a good idea. It didn’t work for us, and if done incorrectly, it might do more harm than good. But if you’re seeking for home-made natural cures, this is the most popular one.

If your dog’s ears are red or have open sores, DO NOT use this cure. She will feel the burn and the sorrow. In order to work, apple cider vinegar must destroy both yeast and bacteria.

Use a cotton ball soaked in a solution of 50% organic apple cider vinegar and 50% water to clean your dog’s ears.

Stop using it and take your dog to the doctor if you see any signs of discomfort or excessive ear drying.

What occurs if you don’t treat a dog’s ear infection?

Untreated ear infections can result in long-term problems, hearing loss, and perhaps the requirement for pricey surgery. Untreated outer ear infections can progress to more serious infections of the middle and inner ear. Damage to the nerves that results from this may potentially result in eye ulcers.

Do dogs experience pain from ear infections?

Otitis externa, also referred to as an outer ear infection, is one of the most typical types of infections observed in dogs. Although ear infections can affect any breed, some breeds, particularly those with large, floppy, or hairy ears like Cocker Spaniels, Miniature Poodles, or Old English Sheepdogs, tend to be more susceptible.

What are the symptoms of an ear infection?

Infections in the ears hurt. Many dogs will shake their heads and rub their ears in an effort to feel better. Ears frequently get red, swell, and produce an unpleasant odor. It frequently manifests as a black or yellowish discharge. Due to the ongoing inflammation, in chronic cases the ears may seem crusty or swollen, and the ear canals frequently narrow (stenotic).

Don’t these symptoms usually indicate ear mites?

These signs, which include a black discharge, itching, and head shaking, can all be brought on by ear mites. However, puppies and kittens are more likely to get ear mite infections. On rare occasions, infected kittens or pups can give ear mites to adult dogs. The environment that ear mites produce in the ear canal frequently encourages subsequent bacterial or yeast (fungal) infections.

Since these symptoms are similar and usually mean an infection, why can’t I just get some ear medication?

Ear infections are frequently brought on by a variety of bacteria and at least one form of fungus. It is impossible to know which treatment to use without knowing the precise type of infection that is present. A tumor, polyp, or foreign body may occasionally be the issue. These issues cannot be solved by medical treatment alone. It’s crucial to check your dog’s eardrum to make sure it’s intact. If the eardrum ruptures after taking certain drugs, hearing loss may follow. Only your veterinarian’s comprehensive ear examination will be able to identify this.

How do you know which drug to use?

An otoscope, which has magnification and light, is used to check the ear canal first. With the help of this examination, your veterinarian can find out if the eardrum is healthy and if the canal contains any foreign objects. It could be essential to sedate or anesthetize the dog for a comprehensive inspection if the dog is in excruciating pain and won’t accept the examination.

To identify the kind of organism causing the infection, a sample of the ear canal’s material is examined under a microscope in the following step. Your veterinarian’s decision regarding the best medication to treat the inflamed ear canal depends in part on the results of a microscopic examination. To make sure your pet is getting the proper treatment, culture and susceptibility testing are frequently utilized in cases of severe or persistent ear infections.

How are ear infections treated?

The diagnosis and course of treatment are often determined by the findings of the microscopic and otoscopic examination. The ear canal will be cleaned of any foreign objects, wax plugs, or parasites. For this or to enable a thorough ear flushing and cleaning, some dogs must be anesthetized. Many dogs will have many infections at once (e.g., a bacterium and a fungus, or two kinds of bacteria). Typically, a broad-spectrum medicine or a combination of medications are needed in this circumstance.

Many dogs with recurring or chronic ear infections also have hypothyroidism or allergies.

The detection of underlying disease is a crucial aspect of the patient evaluation. Numerous canines with recurring or chronic ear infections also have allergies or thyroid issues (hypothyroidism). If an underlying condition is thought to be present, it must be identified and treated for the pet to stop having ongoing ear issues.

What is the prognosis?

When detected and treated correctly, almost all ear infections are treatable. The result will be less favorable if an underlying problem is not discovered and treated. Before the result is successful, there may be a requirement for several recheck exams.

How important is it to treat an ear infection?

Ear infections in dogs are uncomfortable. They frequently shake their heads and itch their ears because they are in constant agony. A disease known as a “aural hematoma” may result from this in which blood vessels in the ear flap rupture, resulting in a painful swelling that needs surgical intervention. An internal ear infection and potentially irreversible hearing loss can result from deep ear infections that damage or rupture the eardrum.

My dog’s ear canal is nearly closed. Is that a problem?

A chronic ear infection can also cause the ear canal to close. This is referred to as stenosis or hyperplasia. Medication penetration into the horizontal canal is either impossible or very difficult if the ear canal is enlarged. In some dogs, anti-inflammatory drugs may be able to reduce the swollen tissues and widen the canal. The majority of hyperplasia instances will eventually need surgery.

What is the goal of ear canal surgery?

This issue is treated surgically using a variety of techniques. A lateral ear resection is the procedure that is carried out the most frequently. The surgery’s objectives are to remove the horizontal canal’s enlarged tissue and the vertical canal’s vertical portion. The vertical canal can be removed rather easily, however it is more challenging to get rid of a lot of tissue from the horizontal canal. Total ear canal ablation is the term used when the entire ear canal must be removed, which may cause long-term hearing loss. For further details on this procedure, refer to the handout “Total Ear Canal Ablation with Bulla Osteotomy (TECA-BO)”.

Is there anything I need to know about administering medication in the ear?

It’s crucial to provide the drug to the ear canal’s horizontal portion.

It’s crucial to provide the drug to the ear canal’s horizontal portion (see above diagram). The dog’s external ear canal is formed like an L, unlike ours. The upper portion of the letter “L” is the vertical canal, which joins the outside of the ear. Deeper in the canal, the horizontal canal comes to an end at the eardrum. The lower ‘L’ of the horizontal ear canal is where the drug is to be injected.

The following procedures can be used to treat the ear canal:

  • Holding the earflap with one hand, gently draw it straight up and slightly back.
  • Keeping the earflap raised, insert a small amount of medication with the other hand into the vertical portion of the ear canal. Hold the ear up for a sufficient amount of time to allow the medication to reach the bend in the vertical and horizontal canals.
  • Put your thumb behind and at the base of the earflap, then place one finger in front of it.
  • Your finger and thumb should be used to rub the ear canal. You may tell the drug has entered the horizontal canal when you hear a “squishing” sound.
  • Your dog can shake its head when you release the ear. Many drugs contain a wax solvent, and as your dog shakes its head, you could notice debris dissolved in this solvent exiting the ear.

Apply a second dose in the same way if you need to. Usually, you need to wait between 5 and 30 minutes before using any further drugs. Ask your veterinarian for detailed instructions before using any ear medications or cleaning solutions.

Q-Tips should not be used for this since they have a tendency to drive debris back into the vertical ear canal.

Once all meds have been applied, use a cotton ball soaked in some of the medication to clean the inside of the earflap and the exterior portion of the ear canal. Use a cotton swab instead of a Q-Tip to remove the debris; Q-Tips have a tendency to push it back into the vertical ear canal.