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Why Do Dogs Ears Stink?


You’ve sniffed under the sink. You’ve done the laundry check. You know, where you check the pile of towels you accidentally left in the washer for two days before putting them in the dryer. That’s not it either. Then you spot your dog shaking his head, and you come closer. Holy Stink! What has he swallowed? Sound familiar? 

Why do my dog’s ears smell is an age-old hunt-and-sniff mystery, and we invite you to join us to explore some of the reasons why. As with any good mystery, there’s some prep work involved. You’ll need to monitor your dog, and pay attention to his head movements and how he holds his ears. This is as much for your safety as his.

You’ll want to make sure you approach him for further inspection when he’s calm and content. Next, you’ll want to focus on the ear itself. Having his favorite treat or toy handy can go a long way in making this part of your sleuthing more successful.  You’re going to need to examine his ears, and it’s safe to say that he may not like this one bit. Trust your nose, and follow the stench to its source. 

Examine the external area around each ear, as well as the crown of his head in between his ears. Then shift your focus to his ear canal. You’ll want to have a flashlight, if possible, to aid in seeing as deeply into the canal as your pup will allow.  You are looking for any lacerations, dried blood, discharge or pus, all commonly associated with ear odor. If there are any visible wounds, you’ll need to clean and treat them, or depending on the severity, and your comfort level, schedule a visit for your veterinarian to assess the situation further. If there is fungus, a bacterial infection, or a mite infestation, these can result in a buildup of foul-smelling discharge. Fungal infections are associated with a waxy, brown discharge that is often thinner is consistency. Bacterial infections are generally recognized by yellowish green pus. If your dog has a mite infestation, it will be characterized by a grainy substance which looks similar to dirt 53682575_sor coffee grounds.  ALL of these infections are extremely putrid and pungent, and will need to be treated immediately to rid your pet (and your house) of the stench. Now that you’ve uncovered the mystery smell you have two options:

  • Visit your veterinarian for professional treatment.
  • Use a safe dog ear disinfectant to treat at home quickly, easily, and inexpensively. In addition to to killing the parasites and bacteria, a disinfectant will lower the pH in your dog’s ear slightly making the canal less susceptible to a recurring infection.

And that, my dear Watson, is why your dog’s ears stink.

Further Reading:

Craig Davis

Craig is a lifelong pet owner and dog advocate with a special interest in animal and human longevity. He founded Vet Organics to develop an affordable, all-natural, safe and effective ear infection remedy for his dog, Lucy, whose chronic ear problems could not be solved by the vet.

What Customers Are Saying


EcoEars by Vet Organics fixed our girl's ears in the first couple of days & she was a whole new, happy dog again. THANK YOU Vet Organics!!!*

Nikki Wiedmer


EcoEars is a great product! I used it in my Lacey's ears and we haven't had any problems since.

Bonnie Schweitzer


Thank you for the peace of mind that my dog is not in discomfort anymore, thank you for this product being organic and good for our dog's ears, and seriously thank you for giving us an...

Melissa Block Demant


I used this product for my Boston last summer. Worked awesome. In 2 days, I've seen a improvement. Within 4 days, the infection was gone. My pit bull started having an issue with his...

Tina Neupauer


This stuff really works--after spending money at the vet @ $25 a bottle, it's saving me a lot of money.

José Olivo

*Results may vary based on factors such as age, size and physical condition of your pet.