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What Are the Signs of a Dog Ear Infection?

Do you think your dog might have an ear infection? Some dogs are prone to developing ear infections, especially those who have floppy, long ears.

Dogs who spend a lot of time swimming may also be more likely to develop ear infections, but any dog can potentially come down with this condition.

If you think there’s a chance your dog may have an ear infection, you should take them to the veterinarian to find out for sure.

However, you can also check out the list of symptoms below to help you narrow down the possibility and determine whether or not this could be the problem affecting your furry friend.

If you have any questions, feel free to call Lakeland Animal Clinic at (863) 688-3338.

Scratching or Pawing at the Ear

If your dog’s ear infection is mild or just beginning, they may start to paw or scratch at their ear frequently. This is because the ear is starting to hurt or itch. This sign may worsen with time if the ear infection is left to progress without treatment.

Your dog may also paw or scratch at their ear if it is simply itchy, too. In this case, the pawing will stop after the itch goes away. If the pawing continues for a few days, then there’s a good chance your dog has an ear infection instead of just a normal, itchy ear.

Head Tilt and Shaking

One of the most common early signs of ear infection in dogs is heat tilt, which often goes along with head shaking. When your dog’s ear pressure builds up from the infection present there, they may try to tilt their head to one side to relieve that pressure.

They may also shake their head frequently in an attempt to loosen the pressure in the ear that is causing their pain.

Head tilt and head shaking may also be signs of neurological problems in dogs. If this is the only symptom you notice, you should take your dog to the vet for a full checkup.

Loss of Balance

Just like humans, dogs rely on their ears to help them keep their balance. As an ear infection worsens, it may affect your dog’s balance and may cause them to become lopsided in their gait when they walk. They may stumble often and may have difficulty going up and down stairs for the same reason.

This is a moderate-to-severe symptom and means that the ear infection is getting quite a lot worse. Your dog needs to see a vet soon if they are dealing with a loss of balance due to an ear infection.

Strong Odor from the Ear

Dogs who have moderate-to-severe ear infections may also suffer from a strong, unpleasant odor coming from the ear. This odor may come from the outer part of the ear, but it is much more likely that it will come from deep within the ear. You may be able to smell it without even really trying.

This symptom occurs because of the buildup of bacteria within your dog’s ear. As the infection progresses, your dog’s ear will become more and more bacteria-laden and the smell will get worse and worse.

Swelling and Redness of the Ear

As the ear infection moves from the mild stage to the moderate stage, it will cause your dog’s ear to become swollen and red. This may be visible all the way to the outer shell of the ear, or it may only be visible when you look inside their ear. Either way, it’s necessary to get your dog treatment for this condition right away.

A swollen and red ear is likely to be very tender to the touch, so try not to bother your dog’s ear more than you have to during this stage. You will need to give them ear drops form your vet, but otherwise, let the ear heal to avoid aggression related to your dog’s pain.

Oozing from the Ear

Severe cases of ear infection in dogs may lead to oozing from the ear. This is usually due to pus that is oozing from the infection itself, and it may look green, white, or brown in most instances.

This unpleasant stage of the ear infection means that things have gotten serious, and your dog may even suffer from some hearing loss without prompt medical treatment. With the right antibiotics and ear drops, however, they will likely be back to their usual healthy self soon.

Contact us about dog ear infections

These symptoms are some of the most common associated with ear infections in dogs. However, your dog may also show some other signs along with his ear infection.

For this reason, it’s important to work with a trusted vet to get the right diagnosis for your pet, and then to work on figuring out a good treatment plan too. If you have any questions, call Lakeland Animal Clinic today at (863) 688-3338.

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Family is family, whether it has two legs or four. At Lakeland Animal Clinic, we've spent the last 40 years healing and caring for your pets. As a family-operated practice, we know that family is about more than simply being related. Animals give us the ability to develop strong bonds and feel great compassion for a fellow living creature.