August 2012

If your dog has any of the following signs, he may have an ear infection:

  • Ear discharge, may be yellowish or black
  • Smelly ears, different than your dog’s normal smell
  • Head shaking, pawing at ears
  • Rubbing head on the ground, furniture and other objects
  • Red ears, tender ears, irritability

If the ear infection gets worse or goes untreated, it may affect your dog’s balance. He may seem dizzy or uncoordinated. A severe infection may even cause deafness.

Its important to identify an ear infection quickly so your dog can receive the proper treatment.

There are natural balances of both yeast and bacteria inside your dog’s ears. Sometimes these balances are offset and an ear infection occurs.

Bacterial Infection

Bacterial infections in dogs are more common than yeast infections. They are usually recognized by an strong odor coming from the ear, usually accompanied by a strong smelling discharge.

The ear may be red and swollen, and your dog may indicate he is in pain. He may shake his head as another indication. Moist, warm conditions, with little air movement are the ideal environment, so dogs with floppy ears can be especially prone to them.

Yeast Infection

Yeast infections are recognized by redness, scaly or dry patches and extreme itching. There may also be a chalky smell to the ear, as well as some discharge.

A yeast infection can be transferred to other parts of the body. A dog who scratches his ear may then transfer the infection to his feet, or it may spread to his face. The extreme itching may cause the dog to scratch so hard he creates sores in the ears, which may then cause a secondary bacterial infection.

Treatment

If your dog exhibits these symptoms, take him to the vet for diagnosis and treatment especially if he hasn’t had an ear infection before.If your dog gets chronic infections you may be able to treat him at home, but always follow your veterinarian’s instructions.

If you’re sure he has an ear infection, and not ear mites or some other problem, there are some home remedies to try first.

Chronic ear infections are often associated with allergies. If you have a dog with skin allergies, it is even more important to inspect his ears often and clean his ears when needed.

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