Dog Ear Infection Symptoms

Breeds with long or floppy ears, such as Cocker Spaniels and Basset hounds are particularly susceptible to dog ear infection. However, any dog can suffer from an ear infection at some point in his life. Ear infections are painful, and if left untreated, can cause permanent hearing loss and other damage. Because dogs rely so heavily on their ears, hearing loss can be devastating to their everyday life. In order to prevent long-term damage, and also to ensure that your pet is comfortable and happy, learn to recognize the signs of a canine ear infection so that you can act promptly to treat it.

Signs of Infection around the Head

Dogs have deep and sensitive ears, and it's not advisable to examine your pet’s ears closely without the help of a veterinarian. However, some ear infections present symptoms that are obvious even upon casual observation.

One of the most common symptoms of a canine ear infection is excessive or abnormally colored earwax and discharge. While it's normal for dogs to have some amount of earwax, most dogs’ ears clean themselves in order to prevent a buildup. If you notice a buildup of earwax or any other discharge from your pet’s ear, this is a primary warning sign of a canine ear infection.

You can also detect an ear infection by observing your pet’s behavior. Ear infections are uncomfortable and often painful for your pet, and he might experience irritation and excessive itchiness. Be on the lookout for ear and head scratching as your dog attempts to relieve himself of his discomfort. He may also shake his head or rub his ears against walls and furniture. Some dogs with ear infections act as though they have something in their ears and attempt to get it out with shaking movements and rubbing, much like a dog that has been swimming.

Your dog might cock his head to one side in an unusual fashion, indicating an imbalance in his ears or a buildup of pressure in one ear over the other.

Other Symptoms of Ear Infections in Dogs

If your dog’s ears appear to be unusually inflamed or red, this is a sign of an ear infection. This condition can worsen if your pet has been scratching or rubbing his ears excessively.

Dogs with severe ear infections might have some difficulty walking or standing upright. The canine ear serves to help balance the rest of your dog’s body. If one or both ears become infected, your dog may partially lose his sense of balance. This is a sign of a severe infection that must be addressed immediately.

If you observe any of these symptoms in your pet, take him in for a vet examination quickly. Ear infections will not always resolve themselves, and in some cases the infection may become severe or may spread to other parts of your animal’s body. The best situation for your dog is early detection and treatment of an ear infection.