How To Tell If Your Dog Has An Ear Infection, And What To Do About It


Ear infections in dogs are one of the most common conditions that veterinarians treat. Although some pet owners bring their dogs to the veterinarian specifically with the suspicion of an ear infection, many ear infections are discovered incidentally during a routine exam.

Dogs can get ear infections for any number of reasons, and certain breeds are more predisposed to them. For example, the large floppy ears of some breeds like cocker spaniels cover the canal, trap moisture, and inhibit airflow in the ears, which creates the ideal environment for bacteria and yeast to grow. Exposure to water, allergies, ear mites, and tumors also contribute to ear infections in dogs. However, many ear infections occur for no specific reason at all.

Ear infections can be painful for your dog. If left untreated, they can become chronic and lead to complications such as hearing loss or damage to the eardrum. Some common symptoms that may indicate your dog has an ear infection include:

  • Head shaking
  • Scratching at ears
  • Tilting the head
  • Sensitive or painful ears
  • Ear discharge
  • Unpleasant smell
  • Scabs or inflammation

In order to treat an ear infection appropriately, your veterinarian needs to determine what the root cause is—bacteria, yeast, ear mites, allergies, or perhaps a combination of these. After a physical examination of the ear, your veterinarian will most likely  recommend doing an ear cytology exam. He or she will use an ear swab to get a sample of your dog’s ear discharge, which will then be examined on a slide under a microscope.

By microscopically examining the organisms in the discharge, your veterinarian will be able to tell whether the infection is due to bacteria, yeast or another cause. Treatment will depend on the cause and severity of your dog’s ear infection, and may include antibiotic ointments, drops, sprays, or creams for the ear, or oral antibiotics.

PetWellClinic® can help you determine whether or not your dog has an ear infection, and how best to treat it. By operating convenient hours for non-surgical care, PetWellClinic® is able to offer substantially discounted prices for routine exams, vaccinations, safe and effective flea and tick preventative products, and treatment of minor conditions like ear infections.

We offer quick in-and-out service during convenient evening and weekend hours with no appointment necessary. To see how we’re able to offer more affordable pet care without compromising quality, check out our free and quick guidebook to how PetWellClinic® can save you time and money.

PetWellClinic® has three locations: 10549 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37922; 7329 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919; and 228 S. Calderwood Street, Alcoa, TN 37701. Learn more about how PetWellClinic® can exceed your expectations for top quality, affordable pet care by visiting our website at


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