The Cause and Treatment of Dog Ear Infections4 min read

Dog Ear Infections - Cause, Symptoms, and Treatment

Dog Ear Infection Symptoms

About 1 in 5 dogs suffer from a dog ear infection. Unfortunately, in humid climates this rate goes up! Luckily, it is quite easy to determine if your dog has an ear infection. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine the cause of dog ear infections.

To identify if it is actually a dog ear infection, observe your dog for the following symptoms:

  • Ear swelling
  • Odor in the ear
  • Brown, black, yellow, or bloody ear discharge
  • Rubbing of the ear on the ground or furniture
  • Scratching of the ear
  • Hair loss around the ear
  • Crusting and scabbing around the ear

Cause of Dog Ear Infections

Ear Infection Cause


80% of dogs with allergies develop dog ear infections. Oftentimes, dogs have allergies due to their diet. If your dog consistently has ear infections, you may want to change their diet. Try a grain free diet for a week or two to see if your dog’s skin sees improvement!

Breeds prone to dog ear infections due to allergies:

  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Schnauzers
  • Setters
  • West Highland Terriers

Ear Shape

Breeds prone to dog ear infections due to the shape or skin of their ear:

  • Basset Hounds
  • Beagles
  • Lhasa Apsos
  • Maltese
  • Pekingse
  • Springer Spaniels
  • Shih Tzus

Cause of Dog Ear Infection

What Causes Ear Infections?

Dog ear infections are caused by bacteria (or yeast) in the dog’s ear. In general, the shape of dog’s ears makes it easy for dirt and moisture to build inside. Dog ear infections may also be caused by allergies or hormone imbalances.

Dogs with floppy ears are more prone to dog ear infections. The shape of floppy ears makes it more difficult for air to circulate, which causes moisture to increase and bacteria to grow. Although some puppies have dog ear infections because they have ear mites.

How to Treat Dog Ear Infections

How to Treat Dog Ear Infections

Home Remedies for Dog Ear Infections

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar

If your dog’s ears are sore or inflamed, we do not recommend using apple cider vinegar. Imagine placing vinegar on your own open wound – it is painful!

In other cases, you can use apple cider vinegar to cleanse the area and kill bad bacteria in the ear. Dilute apple cider vinegar (2 parts water to 1 part apple cider vinegar) and use a cotton ball to wipe and clean your dog’s ear.

Note: Never use Q-tips in your dogs ears! Instead of helping your dog, it can actually push dirt and bacteria into your dog’s ear canal.

  1. Coconut or Olive Oil

Place a few drops of the oil in your dog’s ear. After the dog’s earwax softens, use a tissue to gently wipe it away. This is a great alternative to chemical ear drops! Coconut oil especially has antifungal properties and soothes chapped skin.

  1. Increase their Omega-3 intake

Supplementing an Omega-3 supplement into your dog’s diet is a great way to heal your dog from the inside out. Omega-3’s help your dog’s skin heal, reduce inflammation, and boost their immune system.

Ear Drops for Dogs - Dog Ear Infection

Ear Drops for Dogs

We recommend using a natural ear cleansing solution to clear your dog’s ear infection. Use an ear cleanser to keep your dog’s ear clean and the enzymatic solution below to heal your dog’s ear infection.

Zymox Otic Enzymatic Solution for Pet Ears - Dog Ear Infection

Pet King Brand Zymox Otic Enzymatic Solution for Pet Ears, 1.25 Ounces, $22.99

This is an all-natural solution that contains three active enzymes that are antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral. The solution will reduce your dog’s desire to scratch and it will reduce the ear’s inflammation as well. This solution is great for chronic or acute conditions and helps manage bacterial, fungal, and yeast infections.

Use this solution for a week to two weeks and then wait two to three days before you clean your pet’s ears or use a different medication.

I was hoping this eat drop was everything everyone said it was. Thankfully this drop has been life changing for us. My 1 yr old has had ear infection after ear infection for at least 7 months. Just like everyone else multiple different treatments, doctors visits, etc. and no relief. It may appear to go away, but comes back quick and bad. She always scratched it til it was nleeding. I was so excited to get these drops in the mail. As soon as they arrived I started treating her. She has made huge improvements! Before now, she wouldn’t even let me look at her ear. Her ear was swollen and bloody, now it looks just like the other one! She is so much happier now! Will definitely continue using this product to keep my baby girl happy and healthy!

– KrisBarn

Antibiotics for Dog Ear Infection

Topical and Oral Antibiotics for Dogs

Unfortunately, the use of topical and oral antibiotics for your dog can lead to many issues down the line. For example, antibiotics can create poor gut health which leads to allergies, a poor immune system, or digestive issues. Certain ear infection medicines can also risk your dog’s loss of hearing.

Consult with your vet about antibiotics as a solution for your dog. Although, we highly recommend you consider removing grains from your dog’s diet before using antibiotics. In some cases, antibiotics can do more harm than god.

How do you best treat your dog’s ear infections? See other alternatives here!

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