Ear infections in dogs are a common problem. Thankfully, they can be treated very easily, and the symptoms usually subside just hours after treatment begins. However, if left untreated, the resulting problems could be drastic. In fact, if you don't know how to treat a dog's ear infection, your dog could lose his hearing.
Table of Contents
- How to Treat a Dog Ear Infection
- Common Questions about Canine Ear Infections
- How Can I Treat My Dog's Ear Infection at Home?
- Will Dog Ear Infection Go Away on Its Own?
- Can You Put Peroxide in a Dog's Ear for an Ear Infection?
- How Can You Tell If a Dog Has an Ear Infection?
- What Should You Expect at the Vet for Ear Infections?
- Are Dogs with Floppy Ears More Prone to Chronic Ear Infections?
- What Do Vets Give Dogs for Ear Infections?
- What Is the Best Medicine for Dog Ear Infections?
- What Happens If a Dog's Ear Infection Goes Untreated?
Most pet owners seek veterinary assistance if they suspect their pet has an ear infection, but home remedies for a dog ear infection can also be very effective. If you do try a home remedy, keep a close eye on your pup. If the symptoms get worse, you will need to seek veterinary help immediately.
It's important to keep your dog's ears in good condition. His ears aren't just used for hearing. They also help him with balance and coordination. If left untreated, ear infections can not only lead to hearing loss but also a drastic decline in your dog's overall health and well-being.
How to Treat a Dog Ear Infection
1. Using Home Remedies for Dog Ear Infections
As with any home remedies, you will need to keep a close eye on your dog's condition until his ear infection has cleared up completely. If the symptoms get worse, you will need to seek veterinary help immediately.
Home remedies usually need to be applied more often than medications as well. This is because the ingredients are not as strong as the chemicals in prescription treatments or over-the-counter remedies.
Dog ear care products and medication don’t need to be complicated or expensive. Some of the best ear infection treatments can be made right at home. And, it's likely that you already have the ingredients on hand.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
The most effective home remedy is a mixture of 1 part water and 1 part apple cider vinegar. The vinegar has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also highly acidic, which helps it eat through the dirt debris and wax build-up in your dog's ear.
Apple cider vinegar has been shown to kill yeast and bacteria – the two main causes of dog ear infections. To use this remedy, you can either wet a cotton ball and swab it around the inside of your pet's ear or put a small amount of the liquid in your dog's ear with a syringe.
If you choose to put the liquid directly into the ear, be sure to massage the ear's base to work the mixture around thoroughly. Then, allow your pet to shake his head and wipe away any excess liquid.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has several health benefits for dogs, and one of them is that it is an effective home remedy for dog ear infections. When using coconut oil to treat an ear infection, you'll need to melt it into liquid form first.
Of course, you don't want to apply hot oil to the ear. You'll need to allow the oil to cool enough that it won't hurt your dog, yet not enough to congeal.
Dip a cotton ball in the softened oil, and wipe a thin layer throughout your dog's inner ear. Coconut oil has natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. You can use it to treat ear infections caused by yeast or bacteria.
Whichever way you choose to treat your dog's ear infection, apply it 3-4 times per day for at least 7 days. Be sure to continue applying the treatment until all infection signs have been gone for at least 48 hours. Remember, if the infection gets worse, you need to call your veterinarian immediately.
Best OTC Treatments for Ear Infections in Dogs
While home remedies are natural and less intrusive and will generally work for minor ear infections in dogs, they aren't always the best solution. If you noticed these home remedies not being effective enough, you might need a stronger solution. Below are some of the best treatments for ear infections in dogs, available over-the-counter.
|Zymox Otic Enzymatic Solution for Dogs and Cats to...||4,599 Reviews||Check Price|
|ZYMOX Enzymatic Ear Solution with 0.5-Percent...||8,094 Reviews||Check Price|
|Curaseb Dog Ear Infection Treatment - Stops...||9,231 Reviews||Check Price|
|Vet Organics EcoEars Dog Ear Cleaner. Natural...||9,035 Reviews||Check Price|
Common Questions about Canine Ear Infections
If you still have questions about your doggie's infected ear or want a quick summary of the most important information from above, these questions should help.
How Can I Treat My Dog's Ear Infection at Home?
You can try treating it at home with simple ear cleaning. Common home remedies include apple cider vinegar and coconut oil, which you can apply to the affected ear with cotton swabs. Or you could get a vet-approved ear cleaning solution and use that instead.
Will Dog Ear Infection Go Away on Its Own?
It is possible but not likely that the infection will go away. Whether the infection affects the middle and inner ear, ear canals, or another part of the ear, you need to consult a vet. More importantly, dog owners will not usually notice severe ear disease, like a ruptured eardrum. This is particularly concerning as a ruptured eardrum can make certain medications and ear cleaners toxic to your dog's middle ear, even causing severe chronic disease.
Can You Put Peroxide in a Dog's Ear for an Ear Infection?
Since you likely have peroxide in your house, you may want to use it to keep your dog's ears clean. Don't! It would help if you never used hydrogen peroxide or alcohol for this. Either could make recurring ear infections worse and inflame the ear canal.
How Can You Tell If a Dog Has an Ear Infection?
Most ear infections come with signs from your dog that something is wrong. You may not notice anything by the external ear, or it may be red, swelling, or have scabs. There may also be an odor in the ear, discharge (yellow, brown, or bloody), or hair loss in the area. You may also notice head shaking or your dog scratching in and around his ear. These are all dog ear infection symptoms to be aware of.
What Should You Expect at the Vet for Ear Infections?
Expect your vet to inspect your dog's ears thoroughly. He will look at the outer ear canal, check for ear mites, and look for irritated skin inside the ear.
The vet will not only want to check for infection but determine what type it is. Otitis refers to ear infection, and types include otitis media, middle ear otitis interna, otitis externa, and infections affecting the inner ear canal or vertical ear canal.
Are Dogs with Floppy Ears More Prone to Chronic Ear Infections?
Yes, if your dog has floppy ears, there is a higher risk he will develop ear infections. Dogs that swim a lot also have a higher risk. In either case, moisture plays a role in the dog's ear infections.
What Do Vets Give Dogs for Ear Infections?
Your vet will treat your dog's chronic infections by treating the underlying cause. If it is a bacterial infection, you will likely have to give your pup antibiotics for about six to eight weeks or more. If the underlying cause is a fungal infection, expect an anti-fungal medication. Fungicide also helps with a yeast infection. Most vets prescribe oral antibiotics that you can easily hide in dog treats.
Your vet may also suggest allergy testing to ensure the infections or irritation aren't due to dust mites or other allergens.
The vet may also offer options to treat or prevent ear infections, including recurrent ear infections.
What Is the Best Medicine for Dog Ear Infections?
The best medicine always depends on what caused the dog's infection. It may be a fungicide, anti-bacterial medicine, or something else.
What Happens If a Dog's Ear Infection Goes Untreated?
It would help if you never left an ear infection untreated. In the best-case scenario, your dog will still be in pain. However, it is much more likely that there will also be major damage to the ear canal, outer ear, or other parts of the ear.
Deep infection can lead to the eardrum rupturing or be seriously damaged. Your dog may even develop permanent hearing loss.