Ear infections are one of the most common health issues dogs can face, especially if they have larger ears. Such infections can be caused by a number of factors, including ear mites, bacteria, allergies, yeast, or even hair growing deep in the ear canal.
Regardless of the underlying cause, this can be a painful and distressing issue for your dog that can get worse and lead to serious complications, so it's important to see your vet as soon as possible. In many cases, cleaning and medication will be all your dog needs to get better.
With that in mind, it's well worth learning the following five common signs your dog has an ear infection.
1. Scratching or Pawing
Ear infections cause pain and discomfort, so your dog will probably respond by paying more attention to the infected ear than they used to. You may notice them scratching or pawing at their ear. They may also rub it against furniture or the floor. Even if you don't actually see them doing this, you may notice hair loss around the ear that could indicate they've been scratching and pawing that area.
Ear infections commonly cause inflammation, so you may notice the inside of your dog's ear appearing red or sore. This will be especially likely if the infection is towards the outer ear, but it can occur even with inner ear infections. If the condition is allowed to worsen, inflammation may even cause the ear canal to become noticeably narrow.
There are several reasons why you might notice an unpleasant discharge from one of your dog's ears, including infections. The colour you notice will tend to depend on the type of infection. For example, a black discharge is commonly caused by ear mites, whereas a yellow or green discharge is more associated with bacterial infections. In any case, any discharge should prompt you to visit a vet as soon as possible.
You probably don't think your dog's ears ever smell that great, so it's easy to assume this symptom will be hard to spot. However, an infection can often cause extremely unpleasant odours that are hard to ignore. Foul-smelling ears aren't always caused by infections, but you should still see your vet to have the problem investigated.
5. Odd Movements
When a dog's ear infection becomes severe, you may notice them moving in odd or erratic ways. They may begin to walk in circles. In some cases, the loss of equilibrium caused by an ear infection can cause your dog to appear uncoordinated or unbalanced.
For more information, contact a veterinary service near you.