Ear infections in dogs could result in redness, discharge, odor, head shaking, and ear scratching or rubbing the ears on the floor or on other surfaces.
It is estimated that 20% of the dog population is affected by ear infections according to Pet Education.com .
Causes of Ear Infections
Dogs can have ear infections from a variety of causes, the most frequent of which are:
• Allergies including food allergies – The ear may be the first indication that the dog has allergies. The allergy should be treated as well as the infection symptoms.
• Parasites including ear mites – some dogs are hypersensitive to ear mites and may scratch to the point of causing damage to the ear.
• Bacteria or yeast infections – the normal dog’s ear has a natural resistance to bacteria and yeast infections but shifts in hormones, moisture or allergies can cause a breakdown in the defense system.
• Foreign bodies – plant awns or stick tights that are picked up in tall grasses and wooded areas can sometimes enter the ear canal of the dog. The irritation of their presence causes the dog to scratch and this may develop into an infection.
• Trauma – this is usually self inflicted by the dog as it over scratches an irritant.
• Hormonal abnormalities – thyroid, glucocoriticoids (produced by adrenal glands) and sex hormones can all create an environment that can breed infections.
• Excess moisture and the anatomy of the breed – cocker spaniels and other heavy, floppy eared dogs are prone to infection.
• Hereditary or immune conditions or tumors – some breeds are more prone to infection
Home Remedies for Ear Infections in Dogs
When grooming the dog after it has spent time in wooded areas or tall grasses be sure to check the ears for mites, plant awns or other foreign debris. Do not stick any instrument including cotton tipped swabs into the ear as damage to the ear canal or ear drum can easily occur.
Be certain that when grooming any excess hair in the ears is cleared allowing the ear’s defense systems to work better.
Probiotic foods, allergen free foods and proper diet can all reduce the presence of ear infections. Foods like corn, wheat or additives and preservatives are likely allergens for dogs.
Adding a few drops of apple cider vinegar to the pet’s water dish may reduce the over production of yeast.