Ear Infections in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatment (cont.)

How Are Ear Infections Treated?

Many ear infections can be treated with a professional cleaning followed by regular cleaning and medication given at home. Your veterinarian may prescribe topical and/or oral medicine. For severe or chronic cases, anesthesia and ear flushing-or even surgery-may be necessary.

How Can Ear Infections Be Prevented?

  • Check your dog's ears regularly for discharge, odor, swelling and other symptoms of infection.
  • If his ear canal appears dirty, clean with a cotton ball dampened with a solution suggested by your vet-but don't clean so often or deeply that you cause irritation.
  • After baths and swimming, be sure to dry your dog's ears as thoroughly and carefully as you can.
  • If your dog is prone to infections, ask your vet if canine ear-drying solution would be beneficial.
  • If your dog grows hair in or around the opening of his ear canals, periodically tweeze it away (if your dog tolerates it) or request that your groomer do so.
  • Inner-ear skin is delicate, so ask your vet to demonstrate the proper method for maintaining your dog's ear health.

When Is It Time to See the Vet?

If your dog is showing any of the symptoms described above, see the vet as soon as possible. Please also bear in mind that even though dogs in pain don't always show it with outward signs, a sudden increase in aggression can be an indicator of physical pain. Such behavioral changes should also prompt a veterinary exam.

The ASPCA Virtual Pet Behaviorist specializes in the resolution and management of pet behavior problems only. Please do not submit questions about medical problems here. Only licensed veterinarians can diagnose medical conditions. If you think that your pet is sick, injured or experiencing any kind of physical distress, please contact his veterinarian immediately. A delay in seeking proper veterinary care may worsen your pet's condition and put his life at risk.

If you are concerned about the cost of veterinary care, please read our resources on finding financial help.