Dog Ear Problems

Common Dog Ear Problems 

Is your furry friend shaking his head, scratching at his ear, rubbing against furniture or the floor in an effort to find relief from itching or discomfort? If your canine friend is exhibiting any of these actions, then the animal might be suffering from an ear problem. 

Common Ear Problems in a Dog

Many things afflict your furry friend's ears, but in this article, we will explore the most common ear problems in dogs.

Bacterial Infections

A bacterial infection of the ear is often referred to as otitis externa. It can strike a dog of any age. 

Symptoms include:  

  • Shaking the head excessively
  • Scratching the ears
  • Unpleasant smell in the ear or head
  • Aggressiveness
  • Avoids letting you touch the ear

If your dog suffers from an ear infection, then your veterinarian will probably treat the condition by cleaning the ear and prescribing medication such as drops or tablets or a combination of the two. 

Ear Mites

One of the most common ear problems that dogs suffer from is an infestation of mites. Ear mites (Otodectes cynotis) cause the following symptoms. 

  • Head shaking
  • Scratching of the ear
  • An abundance of brown particles in the ear
  • Waxy black or brown ear secretions. 

The dog often scratches his ear with such force that the dog causes the skin of the ear to bleed and blood to pool in the ear canal.

Medicated ear drops will take care of the ear mites. Your dog might also require antibiotics if the animal has scratched the ear and caused a secondary infection. 

Penetration by a Foreign Object

Small objects, such as grass seeds, can easily penetrate your dog’s ear. Your dog will scratch and shake his head. Upon examination, you might notice inflammation in the dog’s ear canal. 

Many dogs pick up grass seeds in the ear canal when playing in the long grass. A veterinarian will remove the seed and prescribe medication to relieve the ear’s inflammation. 


IF you do not seek prompt treatment for an infection or foreign body, then your dog might continue to scratch his ear until he damages the ear flap. Repeated scratching can lead to an aural hematoma which is a pocket filled with blood on the dog’s ear flap. The hematoma happens when the dog continues to scratch or shake the head causing the blood vessels to burst in the dog’s ear flap. You will notice a warm, fluid-filled spot on the ear flap. 

When a hematoma occurs, your veterinarian will need to drain the blood from the damaged area. Often scar tissue occurs that can make the ear flap heal in a cauliflower position. 

Diagnosis and Treatment

As you can see, diagnosis and treatment do vary depending on the cause of the irritation. In almost all cases, you’ll need to seek the prompt medical assistance of your veterinarian to bring relief to the pet and treat the problem before a secondary infection sets in. 

Your veterinarian will examine the dog and decide on the best course of treatment needed to overcome the problem. 

You should never avoid treating the dog’s ear problem or it could lead to a life-threatening infection or hearing loss. 

Proper care of a dog’s ears is a necessary part of pet ownership. Any time your dog starts showing signs of ear problems then it’s time to make an appointment with the pet’s veterinarian


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