Dog Ear Infection Treatment

Dog ear infection treatment generally depends on the reason for the ear infection. Dogs exhibit allergies through their skin and ears, so chronic ear infections are often caused by allergies. Treatment involves not only fixing the ear infection but also solving the underlying problem.

Treatment of Ear Mites

First-time ear infections might simply be caused by ear mites, which are found during an ear culture. Though they are very uncomfortable for your dog, they are easy to treat with topical ointment.

Usually, your veterinarian will prescribe a gentle cleanser, often containing a steroid or antibiotic, to clean the infection from the ear. Then, a topical ointment or ear drops are added to kill the mites, yeast or bacteria infecting the ear.

If the ear infection is severe or persisted awhile, your veterinarian may prescribe oral antibiotics for a week or two or suggest an over-the-counter antihistamine such as Benadryl or Prednisone.

If the ear infection is cured at this time and doesn't recur, regular ear cleaning is probably all the maintenance your dog will require.

Treatment of Allergies

However, many infections are caused by allergies and recur frequently throughout the year. Treatment of these consist of the same remedies as the short-term treatment listed above with the additional task of discovering the underlying cause.

Persistent allergies and ear infections can be caused by an allergic reaction to fleas, food or environmental agents such as pollen. To eliminate the ear infections, you must treat the allergy.

Flea allergies are caused by an increased sensitivity to flea bites, which will cause the itching to last weeks after you've seen the last flea. When a dog chews on their skin, it can be infected with yeast and bacteria, causing infections on the skin and ears that appear unrelated to the fleas. This problem can be easily cured by keeping all of your dogs on year-round flea medication, which comes in oral and topical applications, and keeping your house free of fleas.

Dogs can also develop food allergies. Since most kibbles and even home-cooked diets contain a wide variety of ingredients, it is often difficult to pin down to exactly which substance your dog is allergic. A veterinarian will put your dog on a food trial, which means eliminating everything from your dog's diet and gradually adding things back in to determine the allergy. Allergy tests for food allergies are available but relatively ineffective. Your vet will put your dog on a special food with one unique protein and vegetable source, such as duck and potato, for a couple of weeks until the allergens are removed from your pet's system, and then start adding in new protein and vegetable sources until the allergen can be pinpointed.

If flea and food allergies have been eliminated and your dog still has recurring infections, the cause must be environmental allergies. These are often difficult to treat and may require regular doses of antihistamines, steroids or allergy shots, which slowly increase your dog's resistance to its allergies.

Though an ear culture usually shows bacteria, yeast or mites when your dog is having ear infections, chronic ear infections are usually caused by allergies. The two-part treatment consists of curing the ear infection as well as the allergies that caused it.