Ear infections can be a very common problem for dogs, with some breeds being more prone to them than others.

Your daytime vet can routinely manage ear infections in dogs, but if your dog is in a lot of pain, you may want to consult an emergency vet.

What causes ear infections in dogs?

In dogs, especially those with droopy ears or a lot of fur on the inside of their ear, trapped moisture can cause a hospitable environment for yeasts or bacteria that can lead to an ear infection.

Ears can also become irritated due to allergies or foreign objects.

How do I know if my dog’s ear is infected?

Redness, irritation, any kind of discharge, and a foul or yeasty odour all might signal an ear infection.

Also, if your dog’s ears are irritable or painful, he will often scratch them or shake his head more frequently than normal, and may flinch or pull away if you try to touch his ears.

Ear Odor: A sour, yeasty, or foul odour from your dog’s ears is a common sign of an ear infection. While some odour may be normal, a strong, unpleasant smell is cause for concern.

Is my dog’s ear infection an emergency?

Most dog ear infections, while unpleasant for your dog, are not emergencies and can be seen by your daytime veterinarian.

Look out for these five signs below that may indicate a more serious condition and should be attended to as soon as possible:

  1. Pain: If your dog is in severe pain, yelping, crying, or continuously pawing at their ears, it’s crucial to seek immediate veterinary care. Pain can be an indicator of a severe infection, or a foreign object lodged in the ear.
  2. Bleeding: If there is bleeding from the ear or a head injury that has caused blood to pool in the ear canal, you should contact your veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately.
  3. Sudden hearing loss: If your dog experiences a sudden and significant loss of hearing, it’s a red flag that requires immediate attention.
  4. Head tilt: A noticeable head tilt or loss of balance can indicate a more severe ear infection that has affected the middle or inner ear. This condition can be an emergency, especially if it’s accompanied by other symptoms like vomiting.
  5. Swelling: Swelling around the ear or neck area can be a sign of a more serious infection that requires immediate medical intervention.

Are dog ear infections contagious?

Ear infections in dogs are common, but not all are emergencies. If you aren’t sure and want advice, call our Vets Now telehealth service and speak to a vet who can help.