Have you noticed your furry canine friend constantly scratching his ears and maybe caught a whiff of a foul smell coming from inside his ear canal?
Those are some of the most prominent signs that a dog may be dealing with an ear condition.
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If your dog has developed an ear condition, he’s certainly not alone – in fact, ear conditions rank as the number one reason dogs visit the vet.
The most common culprits for causing ear conditions in dogs are yeast, bacteria, mites, wax buildup, excess hair, and trapped moisture.
Dog ears are structured in such a way that makes it pretty easy for unwanted visitors or gunk to burrow their way in or get stuck. When stuff like dirt or yeast or anything else is in there for too long, an infection can develop and start causing your dog problems.
Common Ear Conditions For Dogs
Yeast infections are some of the most frequently occurring ear conditions that develop in dogs and can happen for a number of reasons, but the most common reasons have to do with a dog’s immune system. When a dog’s immune system has been compromised, thrown off balance, or overworked, it can cause a yeast infection.
- When a dog takes a high amount of antibiotics.
- When a dog’s diet is exceptionally high in carbohydrates.
- When a dog has already developed Leaky Gut Syndrome (a condition where pathogens slip through intestinal walls and cause yeast blooms).
- Itching (most apparent sign)
- Incessant chewing
- Constantly rubbing behind across the ground
- Having your dog consume a diet that’s low in carbohydrates and grains and contains low carb vegetables.
- Considering making a vet visit to receive further consultation and tips.
- Transitioning your dog to a raw diet (learn more here).
When bacteria, dirt, or other foreign debris gets trapped in a dog’s ear canal, an infection can develop. Dog ears naturally contain some moisture, which can be the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and infection, which is also why it’s important to keep their ears dry and not add to the moisture levels that are already naturally there.
- Swimming in rivers, oceans or other open bodies of water.
- Excessive hair in the ears.
- Ear mites or fleas burrowing into the ears.
- Foreign objects getting stuck in the ears.
- An excessive wax buildup in the ears.
- Increased scratching, specifically around ears
- Discharge coming out of ears
- Foul odor coming from ear canals
- Redness or swelling around or inside ears
- Crusts, scabs, or hair loss around ears
- Loss of balance
- Changes in hearing
- Odd changes in behavior (such as pacing in circles, weird eye movements, constant head shaking, etc.)
Dog ear infections can be a one-time event or recurring and can differentiate enough (depending on what pathogens caused the infection) that there’s not necessarily a one-solution-fits-all remedy and various tests may be needed, but these are some recommended suggestions for what to do.
- Depending on if you go to a traditional or holistic vet can determine the sort of test that will be taken and whether drugs will be prescribed or not, but a vet visit is recommended.
- Help your dog boost his immune system by transitioning him to a raw diet (learn more here).
You can help prevent ear infections from occurring by making it a habit to regularly check your dog’s ears. If you have brought a brand new puppy into the family, we recommend getting him used to his ears getting handled immediately by frequently petting and playing with their ears.
Keep your dog’s ears clean by making sure to dry them off after he goes swimming or gets wet. You can also get a cotton ball and safe, vet approved pH cleanser to gently wipe his ears. Never stick anything down your dog’s ear canals though, as this can potentially cause harm or damage.
Another way to help prevent ear conditions is to help boost your dog’s immune system through diet. Feed your dog a diet that’s filled with quality meat and other essential nutrients. We highly recommend transitioning your fur baby to a raw food diet, which helps naturally provide them the nutrients they need to thrive and is also made with high-quality meats that haven’t been processed or stripped of their nutrient quality.
Not only is a raw food diet delicious for dogs, but it also does wonders for their health, including maintaining healthy digestion, aiding their immune system, helping smooth out their coat, and supporting overall oral health. To learn more, check out this page. You can also give this calculator a whirl to help you custom design a raw food meal plan for your individual fur baby.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some dog ear infections can be contagious. If your dog develops an ear infection, keep his contact with other dogs limited until you’re sure what sort of infection it is and whether or not it’s contagious.
Q. How painful are dog ear infections?
Some dog ear infections can cause a dog pain, which can vary depending on the severity of the infection and also how vigorously the dog scratches or messes with it.
Q. What does dog ear infection smell like?
Dog ear infections will usually put off a foul, yeasty, repulsive smell. If your dog’s ear has a foul smell at all, there’s a good chance there might be an infection developing.
Q. Can dog ear infections cause vomiting?
If a dog’s ear infection has progressed into the inner ear, it can start affecting his organs and balance, often causing nausea and vomiting.
Q. Can dog food cause ear infections?
If a dog’s diet consists of excessive amounts of carbohydrates, grains, and/or sugars, then there can be a risk for an ear infection. Evaluate your dog’s meal plan and adjust as needed. We also recommend transitioning to a raw food diet.
Have any further questions about ear conditions that we can help you out with? Have you tried transitioning your dog to a raw food diet? How did it go? Let us know your thoughts and questions, we’d love to help support you and your fur baby however we can.