Common Ear Infections in Dogs

Common Ear Infections in Dogs
Francisco María García

Written and verified by the lawyer Francisco María García.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Ear infections in dogs can be more common than you think. Special precautions need to be taken during the hottest days of the year because the heat and humidity are ideal for microorganisms to spread.

There is an increase in number of pets that experience ear inflammations worldwide. Allegedly 20% of the canine population has, or has had, some type of ear problem.

Pay close attention to your dog if he is shaking and scratching his head often.  Likewise, check to see if the area around his ears give off heat. In each case, your dog probably has an ear infection.

So, it’s a good idea to know about the symptoms and causes of an ear infection to spot it beforehand. That way you’ll avoid future complications.

The Most Common Ear Infections, Their Symptoms and Causes

There are many ear-related conditions your dog could have. The legs, ears, nose, and eyes are generally the most exposed areas of the animal. Therefore, they can come into contact with a variety of microorganisms every day.

A corgi in the snow

Of course, this doesn’t mean that your dog has to remain indoors. It’s proven that outdoor exercise has many health benefits than risks. However, it’s still important to keep your animal healthy and current in regard to his vaccines in order for his immune system to handle external threats.


An ear infection normally causes otitisThe spread of a pathogen (fungus or bacteria) causes inflammation in the ear canal.

Otitis is a term used for one type of ear infection. External otitis (inflammation outside the ear) is the most common medical condition in dogs. It happens to one in every five dogs.

There are several causes for otitis. The main ones are viral, bacterial, or fungal infections, allergies, or foreign bodies in the ear canal. However, it’s important to understand that otitis isn’t always related to an infection.

You could try some natural remedies in order to treat it but check with your vet beforehand to avoid putting harmful chemicals into your animal’s body. Likewise, there are homemade otitis remedies, which consist of aloe vera, hot compresses, and applying macerated garlic topically.

Symptoms of Otitis

The initial and most common symptoms of otitis and ear infections are similar:

  • A strong smell around the ears.
  • Constantly shaking of the head.
  • Scratching their ears either with their feet or on other objects.
  • Wounds or flakiness inside of the ears.
  • Swelling and redness of the ears.
  • Pain and sensitivity both around and inside the ears.

Ear Infections

Ear infections can be related to things that are more severe than otitis. Therefore, it’s important to get an early diagnosis for ear infections in your dog.

In more advanced cases, your dog could have some secretion in the ear canal, loss of balance, changes in behavior, or become aggressive. They may also progressively lose their hearing.

It’s important to go straight to a vet if your pet has any of these symptoms. An ear infection could affect the ear drum and cause irreversible damage.

Treatments vary depending on the pathogen which caused the infection or otitis. In general, vets will prescribe antibiotics (for bacterial infections) or fungicides (for fungal infections).

How to Prevent Ear Infections in Dogs

The first step is to keep your dog current on his vaccinations. This also goes for their internal and external parasite treatments.

A terrier being checked for an ear infection

If your dog possibly has allergies, you need to first perform a control. A balanced diet is also important for a strong immune system and healthy growth.

It’s also very important to keep your dog hydrated. You should make sure he has cold drinkable water throughout the day.

Besides a dog’s basic care, it’s a good idea to pay attention to his ears, eyes, nose, and legsThese are sensitive areas that are exposed to the sun, microorganisms, and other environmental factors.

We recommend that you periodically wash your dog’s ears and always keep them dry. Humidity is an ideal condition for fungi and bacteria. You need to take pay close attention to your dog during the summer because the heat will boost the growth of any microorganisms in the ear canal. So, take good care of your dog’s ears, they’ll thank you for it.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.