Veterinarians Discuss Treating Dog Ear Infections

Our South Bay Vets Explain Ear Infections in Dogs -

Most of the ear infections that our veterinarians see in dogs are caused by bacteria or yeast. Ear mites, an overgrowth of hair, moisture, wax, foreign objects, allergies, and even hypothyroidism can also contribute to the development of a dog’s ear infection.

Remember that a dog’s ear canal is primarily vertical, unlike a human ear canal which is horizontal. So it is much easier for debris and moisture to be stuck in their ear canal. Our veterinarians have seen dirt, grass, twigs, carpet fibers and more.

Additionally, certain breeds of dogs are more predisposed to ear infection. Dog breeds with non-erect outer ears can be more likely to develop ear infections, and dogs prone to hair overgrowth in the ear canal may also be more susceptible to ear infections.

Symptoms of Ear Infections in Dogs from our South Bay Veterinarians

The following symptoms may indicate that your dog is suffering from an ear infection, and should to have his ears checked by a veterinarian:

  • south bay veterinariansScratching of the ear or ear area
  • Rubbing the ear or head on the floor, walls or furniture
  • Unusual amount of head shaking or tilting
  • Any discharge from the ear – especially brown, yellow or bloody discharge
  • Odor coming from the ear
  • Any visible swelling or redness on, in or around the ear
  • Crusts or scabs inside or outside of the dog’s ear
  • Hair loss around the ear
  • Loss of balance or walking in circles
  • Hearing loss or less responsive to usual voice commands
  • Growling, whimpering, aggressive behavior or sensitivity when the ear is touched
  • More uncommonly, there may even be unusual eye movements

How Veterinarians Diagnose Ear Infections in Dogs

A skilled veterinarian can usually diagnose a canine ear infection by examining the ear canal and drum with a magnifying ear cone – just like your people doctor uses on you! In rare instances, if the dog is in excessive pain, examination may require sedation.

A sample of ear discharge may also need to be extracted and examined to look for evidence of bacteria, yeast, and parasites. If the infection appears to be caused by bacteria, your veterinarian may need to send a sample of to a lab to identify the bacteria.  Other tests may also need to be done by your vet, such as checking for an underactive thyroid or allergies.

Veterinary Treatments of Ear Infections in Dogs

Typically, ear infections can be treated with two steps:

(1.)  Professional cleaning by the veterinary staff; and,

(2.)  Topical and/or oral medication prescribed by your veterinarian.

If you suspect an infection, do NOT try to clean your dog’s ears at home. You could make the situation much worse by damaging the eardrum or spreading rather than removing the infection. Additionally, if you use the wrong “over the counter” or “online” medication you could also worsen your dog’s condition. For example, antibiotics – while used for bacterial infection – can actually worsen a yeast infection.

Veterinarian Tips for Preventing Ear Infections in Dogs

It is important to check your dog’s ears regularly for sensitivity, discharge, odor and/or redness, etc. During your dog’s regular check-ups our veterinarians can recommend how frequently you should clean your dog’s ears. A professional groomer, or you yourself, can regularly clean the ears gently using a cotton ball dampened with a solution suggested by our veterinarian.

After every bath or swimming, also be sure to dry your dog’s ears thoroughly with a clean absorbent towel.

Additionally, if your dog has excessive or overgrown hair in their outer ear canal, it should be removed by a professional dog groomer. Or you can ask our veterinarians to show you the proper technique for removing the hair from your specific breed of dog.

Our South Bay veterinarians have helped hundreds of canine patients maintain clean, healthy, pain-free ears. If you suspect your dog’s ears are bothering him or her in anyway, call us today at 310-536-9654.


Our South Bay veterinarians treat dogs and cats from the entire Los Angeles area, including:
Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Torrance, Hawthorne, El Segundo, Marina del Ray, Palos Verdes, Gardena, Carson and the surrounding areas.

CLICK HERE to schedule an appointment with one of our caring and experienced vets.

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  Manhattan Beach, CA 90266



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