Dog Ear Infections: Symptoms and Treatment

Do you have a dog? Have you noticed any recent behavior in your pet that seems like they might have some ear pain? If so, your dog may be at risk for an ear infection, and it’s important to explore this possibility.

Ear infections are not uncommon in dogs, although some dogs are more prone to them than others. In the article below, we’ll walk you through the basics you need to know about the common symptoms and treatment options for dogs with ear infections. You can use this information to figure out what to talk to your vet about during your dog’s visit. If you have any questions or need emergency vet care, call Parkway Veterinary Emergency Clinic at (863) 665-3199.

dog ear infection in lakeland, fl


Head shaking or tilting

Head shaking or tilting are the most common symptoms associated with ear infections in dogs. If you see your dog tilting his head or shaking it frequently, this probably means they’re dealing with an ear infection and are trying to relieve the pressure building up in their ear as a result of the condition.

Pawing at or scratching the ear

If your dog’s ear is hurting or itching, they will probably paw at it often. You may notice them whining when he does this, but he might also paw at the ear as if this is a perfectly normal behavior without any other symptoms as well.

Redness and swelling of the ear

The longer your dog’s ear infection goes on untreated, the more likely you will be to see swelling and redness of the ear. This is a sign that the infection is worsening and needs to be treated right away, so go to the vet immediately if you notice this symptom crop up.

Discharge from the ear

Discharge from the ear is common with ear infections in dogs. The discharge may be almost constant, running from your dog’s ear, or it might only happen when your dog is laying down. Either way, this is a symptom that means something is wrong and needs veterinary attention fairly quickly to resolve it.

Foul smell from the ear

A foul smell coming from your dog’s ear may indicate an ear infection, especially if you notice it in conjunction with the other symptoms on this list. However, if you notice the foul smell only without other symptoms, this could be a sign of a fungal infection or other issues.

Scabs in the ear

Finally, scabs may form inside the dog’s ear as a result of ear infection. These scabs may also occur if your dog has been scratching their ear a lot due to the itching caused by the infection. Dogs with scabs from an ear infection may need oral medication to treat any secondary infection risks.


Medicated ear cleanser

The most common treatment for ear infections in dogs is medicated ear cleanser. Your vet will give you a bottle of this topical ointment and instruct you on how to place it into your dog’s ear. Daily treatments with this cleanser usually clear up most ear infections.

Oral antibiotics

Some ear infections may be a little trickier to get rid of and might need oral antibiotics to take care of them. Your vet will give you information about how often to dose your dog with oral antibiotics when using them to treat an ear infection, so be sure to ask if you have any other questions.

Pain medication

If your dog is in a lot of pain or has a lot of swelling from the infection, the vet will instruct you on how to medicate your pet with pain medication as well. This medication will take down the pain and swelling as well as any fever associated with the infection.

Steroid medication

Some dogs may require steroid medication as a treatment for an ear infection, although this is not very common. In severe cases of ear infections that can’t be cleared up by other means, however, steroids may be able to help.


Surgery is extremely uncommon as a treatment for ear infections, and almost all ear infections will clear up with the help of the other treatments listed here. However, if your dog’s ear infections become chronic or cause severe damage, the ear canal may need to be removed. Your vet will talk with you more about this rare potential.


With the help of this information, you should be more well-equipped to determine when it might be time for your dog to go to the vet for an ear infection. You may also use this information to explore some of the treatment possibilities your dog might need to undergo to help with their ear infection.

If you have any further questions or concerns about your dog’s health and wellness, be sure to talk to your vet for more information. Your vet can give you the most accurate information specific to your dog’s individual health needs. Call us at (863) 665-3199 if you have any additional questions. We are here when you need us.

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At Parkway Veterinary Emergency Clinic, our team consists of experienced veterinarians and veterinary professionals dedicated to providing exceptional after-hours emergency vet care to the pet community of Lakeland.