Chronic Ear Infections in Dogs
Never ignore your dog's ear infection. Make sure you treat it as fast as possible to prevent permanent ear damage or hearing loss.
Maybe the most popular vet visit is when you notice your dog scratching his ears too much. Dog ear infections are very common with dogs. When your dog scratches himself too much, it might be a clear sign of ear disease and also mean that maybe something else is going on that's worth checking.
Allergies can be another popular reason to visit the vet and make your dog scratch like crazy. Ear infections in dogs are so common that people tend to think dogs are meant to scratch so much.
When you see your dog itching and scratching above the normal amount, you should try and figure out what is the real issue. Because it might be a painful experience for your pet friend and you would want to sort it out fast.
Healthy dog ears vs chronic ear infections
So a normal ear canal of a dog is shaped like the letter L. The open side is located on the top of the vertical section unlike humans where this part is straight. Glands and hair are what you mostly see inside the dog's ear cannel and these make wax along with the hair that moves it up and out and essentially cleaning the ear.
In a normal setting, your dog's ears should not require any cleaning. You can tell if your dog's ears are healthy by their color, a healthy pink color will signal you that your dog has healthy ears.
If you notice any of these signs, it might mean the dog's ears are infected:
- Rubbing head on the floor.
- Shaking head excessively
- Scratching the ears
- If other dogs are licking your dog's ear
- A bad smell coming out of his ears
- Red ear canal
- Orange peel ear flaps.
How chronic dog ear infections start anyway?
Dog ear infections usually start when a trigger creates heat and inflammation inside the ear. That's when the glands inside the ear start creating wax in large amounts to try and battle the inflammation.
It creates the perfect conditions for yeast and bacteria to form in your dog's ears. They are always present at some level, but under these conditions, they thrive.
The ear will become swollen, if you don't treat it, the ear canal itself can become so swollen and inflamed that it closes completely and becomes useless.
Main causes of ear infections in dogs
It's not uncommon that ear disease in dogs is only a symptom to another issue your dog is facing. The rule is that there is always another reason why an ear infection developed, the trick is to find out what it is, and treat it.
Here are a few tips to help you identify the cause of your dog's chronic ear infections.
- Food reactions and environment allergies account for 97% of primary infections of the ears. That's right! 97%.
- Mites of other parasitic disease. They create that black discharge and if you see this you should consult your vet as it's easy to confuse with yeast.
- Grass awn and other foreign bodies inside the ear canal
- Keratinization disorders. Effecting the skin surface, these conditions involve abnormalities in the the skin and skin cell breakdown. If you take a condition called Seborrhea, it produces excess sebum and build up of skin cells.
- Adenoma and carcinoma glandular tumors.
- Autoimmune disease, pemphigus or others.
Predisposing that makes your dog more prone to ear infections
- Ear canal formation such as the structure of Shar-Pei who has a narrow ear canal.
- Dogs with floppy ears who like to swim or be in water a lot tend to get moist in their ears, which is the perfect conditions for yeast or infection to grow.
- Too much hair in the ear canal.
- Not treating previous ear infections. If your dog had an ear infection and you didn't treat it and resolved it, it may come back worse than ever.
Conditions where the dog was not treated to the full length of the disease and the infection may comeback or get worse over time. We see this with dogs that get a lot of infections and the owner doesn't understand why it keeps coming back.
How to diagnose ear problems with dogs
If you notice that the ears of your dog is bothering her, or if she has a recurring ear infection condition, you should take her to the vet to check it out and diagnose the situation, your vet will most likely do these:
- Look in your dog ears with a otoscope.
- Take a small sample and look under the microscope to see any sign of yeast or inflammatory cells.
- After diagnosing the condition, your vet will clean the dog ears and give you a plan for the short term, and long term.
When we say long term plans we mean that if your dog seems to have an allergy this means you need to adjust her diet or anything else that she is allergic too to stop the infections from starting.
Like many things in life, don't just put out the fire without understanding why it keeps coming back. Talk and work with your vet and go over all the symptoms to better understand how to treat your dog long term.
How to prevent chronic ear infections in dogs
Prevention is the best treatment for ear infections in dogs, regular ear cleaning and checks will keep your dog's ears healthy and happy.
Try a combination of water and white vinegar solution to keep the dog ears clean. Vinegar is antibacterial and anti yeast by nature so it makes the ear canal less hospitable for infections. If you own a yellow lab, check out this list of Labrador retriever ear infection home remedies to get an idea of natural treatments.
A few popular commercial dog ear cleaners are:
EcoEars - The all natural dog ear cleaner product by Vet Organics
Douxo - Antibacterial micellar ear cleaner
Some other ways to keep your dog's ears clean and less prone to infections is to keep the hair directly covering the ears short.
Below are some common questions relating to chronic ear infections in dogs
Q: How can I treat my dog’s chronic ear infection?
A: Choose a disinfecting ear cleaner made specifically for ear infections.
Chronic ear infections are a nuisance and inconvenient to both you and your dog. If your dog has chronic ear infections–unusually smelly, itchy, or gunky ears which keep coming back even after a seemingly successful treatment, it may be time for a change. While some companies advocate diet changes, liver cleanses and other supplements to address chronic ear infections in dogs, we have had excellent results using only our own natural disinfectant and herbal extract formula and nothing else.
If chronic dog ear infections describe your situation, relief is here. EcoEars Dog Ear Infection Formula & Cleaner works quickly and gently and is extremely effective and easy to use, even on chronic ear infections in dogs. Many of our customers have shared stories about how EcoEars was the only thing that worked. And some have gone for up to seven years after EcoEars without their dog’s chronic ear infection recurring. Will it work on your dog’s chronic ear infection? Odds are very favorable that it will, however we offer a 100% money-back guarantee if it does not.
By designing EcoEars with a broad spectrum of powerful natural ingredients–with each one targeting specific infections–we have created a product which is effective on the vast majority of dog ear infections. It has been used successfully on mites, yeast infections, and a wide range of bacterial infections. In addition to killing parasites and bacteria, EcoEars lowers the pH in your dog’s ear slightly which makes the ear environment far less susceptible to chronic infections.
When using EcoEars, you’ll notice the symptoms begin to improve in 1-2 days and be gone in a few days. (Treatment for chronic ear infections should be done twice per day for a full 14 days.) Will it work? It is extremely likely–and as mentioned above, if it does not, we offer a 100% money-back guarantee.
You simply fill the dog’s ear canal and massage the base of the ear for 90 seconds. Dab up the remaining EcoEars with a cotton ball or paper towel and let the dog shake. One bottle of EcoEars costs less far less than another vet visit. Chronic infections be gone!
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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.