Just like us, dogs can get ear infections after a swim or running around outside. This ear inflammation can be uncomfortable for your furry friend and may cause severe problems if left untreated. Here’s how you can identify an ear infection in your pet and some ways to treat them.
Does Your Dog Have an Ear Infection?
It can be hard to determine if your dog has an ear infection because some dogs never show symptoms. However, if your dog is showing the below signs of discomfort, they may be experiencing an ear infection:
- Your dog keeps shaking its head.
- Your dog is experiencing itchiness and frequently scratching at or around an ear.
- There is a dark discharge coming out of your dog’s ear.
- There is an odor coming from your dog’s ear.
- Redness and swelling can be seen in your dog’s ear canal.
- There are crusting or scabs in or around your dog’s ears.
Types of Dog Ear Infections and What Causes Them
There are three different kinds of ear infections that can affect your dog. The type of infection is determined by which part of the ear is impacted.
- Otitis Externa – The inflammation and infection is impacting the layer of cells that lines the outer or external portion of the ear canal.
- Otitis Media – The inflammation and infection is impacting the cells in the middle of the ear canal.
- Interna – The inflammation and infection is impacting the inner ear canal.
Media and internal ear infections are most often caused by an external ear infection that was left untreated. Severe middle and inner ear infections can cause deafness, facial paralysis, or nervous system issues like facial tilting and lack of balance.
Dogs with droopy ears are more susceptible to ear infections. The hairs that line their ears trap moisture and debris that can become a breeding ground for bacteria – one of the leading causes of ear infections. A fungal or yeast infection in dogs’ ears can also lead to an ear infection.
Preventing an Ear Infection
The best thing you can do if your four-legged friend gets frequent ear infections is to try to prevent them. Regularly trimming the hair around their ears can help stop bacteria and dirt from making its way into their ear canals.
Applying chamomile, garlic, or witch hazel solutions in and around your dog’s ears (especially after they’ve been for a swim) can also reduce your dog’s risk of an ear infection.
How to Treat Dog Ear Infection Symptoms Naturally
If you’re wondering how to treat a dog’s ear infection without the vet, it’s important to note that your dog’s ear infection will most likely require prescribed antibiotics. Before attempting any home remedies for symptoms on your own, it’s important to first talk to your vet to make sure that you are not exacerbating the condition. Here are a few at-home remedies for ear pain that you can try if your dog is experiencing an ear infection.
Green tea has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Add two green tea bags in eight ounces of hot water and let steep until it’s lukewarm. Use a sponge to apply the solution to your dog’s ear.
Use herbal calendula in tincture form and add eight or so drops to lukewarm water. Use a sponge to apply the solution to your dog’s ear.
Yogurt is a probiotic, meaning it encourages the growth of “good” bacteria. Place a small amount of plain, unsweetened yogurt on the edge of your dog’s ear canal to help repopulate the area with good bacteria and reduce inflammation.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
It is a powerful antioxidant with antibacterial and antifungal properties, and is excellent to add to ear drops for dogs. Mix about 10 drops with half an ounce of pure aloe vera juice to make a natural ear cleaner.
Oil of Oregano
Naturally antimicrobial, you can add a drop to half an ounce of pure aloe vera and use a sponge to apply the solution to your dog’s ear.
Vinegar and Water
Combine one part vinegar and one part water and apply to your dog’s ears once a day until symptoms have gone away. Hold your dog still to make sure you get the liquid into the ear canal.
Just like humans, dogs can get uncomfortable ear infections. Some dogs are more susceptible to these infections than others, and if your furry friend frequently gets inflamed ears, keeping their ears clean is the best way to prevent infection.