What Floppy-Ear Dog Owners Should Know About Ear Infections


Are you the owner of a dog who has floppy ears? As cute as those ears may be, they are at a higher risk for infection than ears that stick straight up. Not every dog with floppy ears will end up with an ear infection, many do — so as an owner, this is a problem to at least be aware of. Here are the basic facts that you should know.

What causes ear infections, and why do floppy-ear dogs get them so often?

Most ear infections are bacterial. There are a few species of Streptococcus and Staphylococcus bacteria that can cause them. As you may know, bacteria love warm, wet spaces, and a dog's ears are warm and wet. Floppy ears keep the moisture inside far better than ears that stick straight up, which is why floppy ears are more prone to infection. Other factors that increase your dog's risk of an ear infection include ear wax buildup and allergies.

What can you do to help prevent ear infections?

While you cannot protect your dog against ear infections 100%, you can decrease their risk somewhat by keeping their ears clean. Your vet can give you some prescription-strength cleaner and show you how to clean your dog's ears, which is something you should do once a week. 

You can also help protect against infections by treating any allergies your dog may have. If he or she develops itchy, red eyes or starts sneezing, talk to your vet about allergy remedies. Keeping the symptoms under control helps keep your dog from itching his or her ears, which could introduce dangerous bacteria.

What are the symptoms of an ear infection?

The most obvious symptom of an ear infection is usually frequent itching. Your dog may persistently and relentlessly itch his or her ears. Other symptoms include:

  • Frequent and severe head-shaking
  • Discharge from the ears
  • An odor coming from the ears
  • Red or pink crusting or scabs around the ears

How are ear infections treated?

Do not try to treat an ear infection on its own. Your dog will need antibiotics for a speedy recovery, and those must be prescribed by your vet. The veterinarian will typically give the dog an oral antibiotic and a pain reliever, which will help keep them from scratching at the ear. They'll also provide a cleanser you can use to physically disinfect the ear. Most infections clear up within a week with treatment.

Floppy ear dogs are at a higher risk for ear infections, but this is something you can easily manage with the right tools and knowledge.


11 September 2020

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