A dog lays napping in the sun with its ears up. Image demonstrates how ear infections in dogs affect certain breeds.

How to Spot Ear Infections in Dogs

Due to the shape of their ear canal, dogs are vulnerable to ear infections, especially those with floppy ears. When enclosed, dog ears create the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. Ear infections in dogs can become serious if not dealt with, but are generally easy to treat if caught early on. As such, it’s important for pet parents to understand what causes ear infections and how to spot the symptoms. 

What Causes Ear Infections in Dogs?

All in all, there are actually several different factors that contribute to ear infections in our canine friends. 

The L-shaped canals in a dog’s ear hold more fluid, making it as a result far more prone to becoming infected. Typically, the three things that cause ear infections are:


Some dogs will only have an accumulation of ear wax or discharge as a sign of their condition. Most dogs, though, experience significant discomfort and will exhibit recognizable signs. Things to look out for are:

  • Head shaking
  • Scratching at the affected ear
  • Dark discharge
  • Odor
  • Redness and swelling of the ear canal
  • Pain
  • Itchiness
  • Crusting or scabs in the ears

Chronic Ear Infections in Dogs

While most dogs will have at least one ear infection in their lifetime, some dogs deal with chronic ear infections. This means they get infections at least four to six times a year, if not more. A dog is more prone to infections for several reasons. The most common causes are allergies, foreign material, and masses in the ears. While it can’t always be cured, be sure to talk to Get Joy Health about how to reduce flare-ups. 

Home Remedies for Ear Infections in Dogs

If caught early enough, an ear infection is easily handled at home with a few simple remedies. Note how many days your dog has been infected. If the problem persists, please seek help from a professional to avoid permanent damage to your dog’s ears. 

Remedies to try:

  • A warm washcloth pressed in their ear a few times daily. 
  • Apple cider vinegar, water, and hydrogen peroxide. Spray the mixture gently into each ear twice a day and cleanse gently with a cotton ball. 
  • Aloe Vera. Rub a little natural aloe vera into your dog’s ear for an anti-inflammatory effect. 

Speak to a Vet  24/7 with Get JoyHealth

If you have questions about your dog’s behavior or suspect they may have an ear infection, seek professional care. Get access to on-demand pet care with Get Joy Health. You can speak to a care team no matter the time or the place. Schedule a call for your pup today.