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How to Tell If Your Dog Has an Ear Infection: Signs and Symptoms to Watch For

Updated: May 8

Ear infections are a common ailment among dogs and can cause discomfort and pain if left untreated. As a responsible pet owner, it's essential to be vigilant and recognize the signs of an ear infection early on to ensure prompt treatment and relief for your furry friend. In this blog post, Doggy Styles Dayspa discusses how you can tell if your dog has an ear infection and what steps you can take to address it effectively.

Understanding Canine Ear Infections

Before diving into the signs of an ear infection, let's briefly understand what causes them. Ear infections in dogs can be caused by various factors, including bacteria, yeast, allergies, parasites, or foreign objects trapped in the ear canal. Certain dog breeds with floppy ears or excessive hair in the ear canal may be more prone to ear infections.

Signs and Symptoms

1. Ear Scratching and Head Shaking: If you notice your dog frequently scratching at their ears or vigorously shaking their head, it could indicate an ear infection. This behaviour is often an attempt to alleviate the discomfort caused by inflammation and irritation in the ear canal.

2. Foul Odour: A strong, unpleasant odour emanating from your dog's ears is a common sign of an ear infection. This odour is usually caused by the presence of bacteria or yeast in the ear canal.

3. Ear Discharge: Ear infections can result in the production of abnormal discharge, which may appear as yellowish, brownish, or even bloody in severe cases. Excessive discharge can indicate an underlying infection that requires attention from a veterinarian.

4. Redness and Swelling: Take a close look at your dog's ears. If you notice redness, swelling, or inflammation in the ear canal or around the ear flap (pinna), it could be a sign of an infection.

5. Pain or Sensitivity: Dogs with ear infections may display signs of discomfort when you touch or manipulate their ears. They may flinch, yelp, or pull away, indicating that the affected ear is tender and painful.

6. Changes in Behaviour: Sometimes, dogs with ear infections may exhibit changes in behaviour, such as irritability, lethargy, or reluctance to eat. These behavioural changes can be a response to the discomfort and pain caused by the infection.

What to Do If You Suspect an Ear Infection

If you suspect that your dog has an ear infection based on the signs mentioned above, it's essential to seek veterinary care promptly. Your veterinarian can perform a thorough examination of your dog's ears and determine the underlying cause of the infection. Depending on the diagnosis, treatment may involve cleaning the ears, administering medications (e.g., antibiotics, antifungals), and addressing any underlying issues contributing to the infection (e.g., allergies).

In addition to veterinary treatment, you can help prevent ear infections in your dog by regularly inspecting and cleaning their ears, especially if they are prone to wax build up or have floppy ears. Use a veterinarian-recommended ear cleaning solution and gently wipe the outer ear with a cotton ball or pad. Avoid inserting anything into the ear canal, as this can cause injury or push debris further into the ear.


Ear infections can be uncomfortable and painful for dogs, but with early detection and appropriate treatment, most cases can be resolved successfully. By familiarizing yourself with the signs and symptoms of ear infections and taking proactive measures to care for your dog's ears, you can help keep your furry companion happy, healthy, and free from ear-related woes.

Remember, if you have any concerns about your dog's health or suspect an ear infection, don't hesitate to consult with your veterinarian for guidance and support. Your furry friend deserves the best care possible, and addressing ear infections promptly is a crucial part of ensuring their well-being.


basset hound with big ears

About the Author:

Leita Culpeper is the creative mind behind Doggy Styles Dayspa, Doggy Hampers, and Doggy Eco. With six years of experience in the pet industry, she's mastered the art of pet care through her grooming business and pet gift hamper company.

Fascinated by animal psychology, Leita shares her expertise through her YouTube channel, Doggy Lifestyles, where she interviews top experts in dog training, nutrition, and lifestyle trends. Doggy Lifestyles has become the go-to resource for pet owners seeking to enhance their furry companions' quality of life. With Leita's passion and dedication, Doggy Styles Dayspa, Doggy Hampers, and Doggy Eco epitomize excellence in the pet industry, fostering stronger bonds between pets and their humans.

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