Ear Infections – How do I know if my dog has one?


Ear infections (otitis externa) are a common and frustrating problem in many dogs. An understanding of why infections occur and how they can be managed may help you to keep your dog comfortable and itch-free! Below we have outlined some of the signs you might see if your dog is developing an ear infection.

  1. Head Shaking

This is the most common symptom we see with ear infections. Most dogs will start shaking their heads even if they have a very mild infection

  1. Scratching ears

Ear infections are itchy so a natural reaction for a dog is to scratch the ear. Unfortunately excessive scratching can cause damage to the outside of the ear

  1. Rubbing ears on the floor

This is another way of relieving the itch caused by ear infections

  1. Painful when touching around the ears

Infections are painful and often dogs will react when you try and touch or examine infected ears.

  1. Head tilted to one side

Head tilting can indicate that there is an infection in one ear or there is a foreign object stuck in the ear canal. In some instances it can also be a sign that the ear drum has ruptured and there is a middle ear infection.

  1. Loss of balance

This can be a sign of middle or inner ear disease and is far more serious than a simple ear infection.

Ear infections are usually caused by “opportunistic” bugs and are not contagious. There are many factors that can predispose a dog to infections including:

  • Allergies to food or environmental allergens
  • Conformational or structural defects in the ear canal
  • Poor air flow due to hairy or floppy ears
  • Moisture in the canals from swimming or bathing

If your dog is showing any signs or symptoms of ear infections then please contact us for more information regarding treatment and management of ear infections. Ear infections are extremely common in our canine companions and the sooner we check the ears and begin treatment the better the result will be for our itchy friends.