Problem

Ear injuries happen for many reasons. Fights between dogs often result in tears to the pinna (ear flap), grass seeds and other objects can become lodged in the ear canal and dogs can pick up infections leading to discomfort and irritation.

Symptoms

What will I see?

Traumatic injuries to the pinna of the ear (the ear flap) are usually easy to see and may bleed a lot.

You may notice that your dog’s ears appear swollen or have a discharge and your dog may shake his head or scratch at his ears.

Treatment

What can I do?

If your dog is shaking his head:

  • Check the ear closest to the ground.  If a small object is visible, such as a grass seed or pebble, try to remove it with your fingers or tweezers.
  • If you can’t get the object out, bandage the ear flat against the head to avoid further damage and take your dog to the vet to be checked.

If an ear is bleeding:

  • Using absorbent pads (such as cotton pads, clean towels, or sanitary towels), apply pressure to both sides of the bleeding ear flap for several minutes.
  • Do not remove the pads, bandage them and the ear flat against the dog’s head and take the dog to see the vet the same day.

If an ear is swollen:

  • To prevent any further shaking or damage, bandage the ear flat against the head immediately
  • Take the dog to the vet within 24 hours.

Tip: If you need to bandage a dog’s ear but have no gauze available, you can cut the toe off a tube sock and put that over the dog’s head. Just make sure it isn’t too tight.

Other causes

Although ear infections are the most common cause of injury, ear-swelling can be caused by abscesses formed after a fight, mites, foreign bodies or tumors. Always have swelling and bleeding checked.

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