Audience: Executive Leadership, Foster Caregivers, Public, Shelter/Rescue Staff & Volunteers, Veterinary Team
Ear problems are fairly common in dogs, especially dogs with floppy ears. Dogs with ear problems might scratch their ears, have smelly ears, and/or shake their heads.
Signs that Your Dog Needs to See a Veterinarian
- Excessive ear debris (black/brown or yellow)
- Constant scratching at the ears(s) and/or shaking of the head
- Backs of ear(s) are irritated or are missing hair
- Bleeding from the ear
- Ears smell bad
- Swelling of the ear
- Ear(s) are sore or painful
- Frequently tilts head to side
What You Can Do in the Meantime
- If your dog allows it, you can use a moistened cotton ball to gently wipe debris out of the ears.
- If the backs of your dog's ears are irritated and missing hair, you can gently apply some over the counter triple antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin®.
Common Cause of Ear Problems
- Ear infection (otitis externa)
Treatment of Ear Problems
- Regular cleaning of the ears with an ear cleaner recommended by a veterinarian.
- If your dog has an ear infection, a medication applied directly into the ears may be prescribed.
- If your dog has a severe ear infection, or if the backs of the ears are irritated and missing hair, oral antibiotics may be prescribed.
- If your dog's ears are very sore, pain medication may be prescribed.