Symptoms of Ear Infections in Dogs

Symptoms of Ear Infections in Dogs
Symptoms of Ear Infections in Dogs

If you suspect your dog may have an ear infection, recognizing the symptoms is the first step toward getting him relief from this painful condition. Symptoms of an ear infection in dogs can be recognized by the appearance and condition of your dog's ear, his behavior and the way he carries himself. Often your veterinarian can prescribe treatment with a correct diagnosis so that your beloved companion will be back to normal in no time.

Distinctive head movements

A dog with an ear infection will often shake her head or scratch at the uncomfortable ear. She may even hold her head to one side to relieve the pain.

Changes in Behavior

An ear infection is very painful to a dog's sensitive ears. He may whimper, cry out or flinch away from your touch. Some dogs have even shown signs of irritability or aggression.

Condition of the Ear

Often you will notice a distinctive odor in an infected ear. There may be brownish, waxy discharge and, in some cases, swelling, sores or a raw look to the inside of the ear.

Balance Issues

If the infection enters the inner ear, the dog may experience balance issues. He may seem uncoordinated, listing to one side or the other. He may even vomit.

What to Do

As soon as you notice signs of an ear infection, take your dog to the veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment. According to Wendy C. Brooks, DVM, Educational Director of, most ear infections can be treated by a wash to clean and disinfect the ear followed by a prescribed medication.


The most important thing you can do to prevent ear infections is to practice good hygiene with your dog's ears. Keep the hair clipped around the ear for good air flow and dry your dog's ears after bathing or a trip to the creek.


Ear infections can be very painful for dogs and they have the potential to turn into a serious complication such as paralysis of the facial nerve, deafness and possibly tumors.

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