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Ear infection in dogs

June 24, 2022


Do you notice that your dog frequently shakes its head, scratches its ear and gives off a strong ear odor? These symptoms can be due to numerous disorders, however, they are typical of an ear infection, a disorder that generally has a good prognosis but must be treated in time to prevent damage to the eardrum or affection of the deeper parts of the ear.


We should also know that this treatment can be carried out naturally, using resources that are effective in restoring our pet's health and that are also safe and less aggressive than pharmacological treatment.


What is an ear infection in dogs?


First of all, we need to understand exactly what ear infection in dogs is, since initially we may believe that it is the same as otitis in dogs, however, they are two different terms.


Otitis is an inflammation of the ear and can have numerous causes, such as allergies, the presence of foreign bodies in the ear cavity or viral, bacterial or fungal infections. When there is an ear infection, there is usually otitis, since the colonization of the pathogenic agent causes inflammation in the ear canal, however, otitis is not always caused by an infection.


Causes and symptoms of ear infections in dogs


If our dog suffers from an ear infection, it will generally be caused by a bacteria, fungus or yeast. Depending on the level of ear infection your dog is experiencing, the symptoms can vary greatly. Your dog's symptoms can range from no visible symptoms to severe cases where facial paralysis is seen. Here are several symptoms that may indicate an ear infection in dogs:


  • Frequently shaking its head.
  • Excessive scratching in the ear area.
  • Scabs inside the outer ear.
  • Swelling in the ear area and redness.
  • Yellow, brown, or bloody discharge from the ears.
  • Foul-smelling discharge from the ear that can be mistaken for strong body odor.
  • Smell of "yeast" in the ear.
  • Leaning to the side of the affected ear.
  • Pain when opening the mouth or reluctance to chew.
  • Hearing loss.
  • Noticeable hair loss around the ear.
  • Loss of balance.
  • Pain signs.
  • Behavioral changes, aggressiveness.
  • In severe cases, there are signs associated with damage to the nervous system that indicate damage to the facial nerves (such as symptoms of paralysis or inability to blink).


What to do if your dog has an ear infection?


If you think that your dog may be affected by an ear infection, it is very important that you talk to a pet expert or go to the veterinarian as soon as possible, since the ear infection begins with a pathogenic colonization and inflammation of the external auditory canal, but if it is not treated in time, it can affect the middle and inner ear, causing irreversible damage to the eardrum.


Conventional veterinary treatment will be carried out using antibiotics (in the case of a bacterial infection) or antifungals (in the case of a fungal infection), these medications will generally be administered topically, but in severe cases they can also be administered orally, thus increasing the chances of side effects appearing.


However, if you prefer to use a more natural solution, we will talk about it in the next section. If the ear infection is caught and treated early, it will probably go away quickly.


Home remedies for ear infection in dogs


We also have at our disposal various natural alternatives, let's see below what they are:


  • Tea tree essential oil. It is an ideal remedy for any type of infection, whether caused by bacteria or fungi. If the ear does not have injuries, we can directly apply 2 or 3 drops, each day. On the other hand, if the ear has injuries, we will mix the essential oil of the tea tree with sweet almond oil, adding 20 drops of essential oil in half a glass of sweet almond oil. We will apply 5 drops of this mixture daily.

  • Application of hot pads. Topical heat acts as a vasodilator, this reduces inflammation and pain very quickly. In addition, by dilating the blood vessels, the irrigation of the tissues is improved and an easier recovery is promoted. We will soak a cotton cloth with hot water and after wringing out the excess water, we will gently press on our pet's ear, we will apply these pads several times a day.

  • Garlic maceration. We will crush two cloves of garlic and pour them into a hermetically sealed jar with olive oil, then we will leave it to rest overnight. The next day we will strain the mixture and add 5 drops of this preparation in the ear of our dog, we will administer it daily.

  • Aloe vera. Pure aloe vera juice is ideal for protecting our pet's ear canal. In addition, applied topically, it reduces inflammation and relieves pain due to its emollient action. We will apply it directly to our dog's ear at least 2 times a day.

  • Homemade antiseptic solution. Mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide, water and apple cider vinegar. With this solution we will soak a cotton swab and proceed to clean the affected ears. It is important that you make sure that the liquid does not enter the ear, as this could worsen ear pain in dogs. This type of antiseptic solution is used especially when the ear infection is external.


How to prevent ear infection in dogs


It is popularly said that prevention is better than cure and this is a very true statement, therefore, we must adopt the following measures, which will help us prevent ear infection in our dog:


  • Ear checks. Check your dog's ears regularly for developing problems. Smell is usually the most obvious change.

  • Ear cleaning. We should clean the dog's ears frequently with an antiseptic solution for veterinary use.

  • Dry ears. It is important to prevent excessive humidity, therefore, properly dry your dog's ears after bathing it and prevent it from spending long periods in the water. If your dog is prone to ear infections, it is advisable to insert a cotton swab into its ears before bathing it to prevent excessive water entry.

  • Trim excessive hair around the ears. Furry ears are usually very warm and moist, a perfect environment for bacteria and yeast to overgrow. Trimming the hair a bit can help get air into the ears. Always consult with a pet expert first.

  • Treat skin conditions. The inside of your dog's ears are lined with skin, so the overall health of the skin is particularly important when it comes to preventing infections.

  • Balanced diet. Give your pet a balanced diet, in this way you will keep its immune system in an optimal state.


For more information, talk to one of our Pet Experts and get customized advice by submitting a request in our Mavyn app or Mavyn Pet page.