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Ear Infection in Dogs: 12 Symptoms and Treatments

Dogs can be affected by two main types of ear infections: otitis media, which is an infection of the middle ear, and otitis externa, which affects the animal’s outer ear. Both types of infection usually have bacterial causes.

While ear infections can be painful for dogs, they are quite common and the good news is that most cases are highly treatable. Breeds with long ears, floppy rather than pointed ears, and large amounts of hair around the ears are more susceptible to ear infections. These breeds tend to get ear infections more frequently.

Symptoms of Ear Infection in Dogs

In dogs, the symptoms of ear infection are usually quite apparent. It’s important to seek prompt veterinary attention if you notice them, because ear infections can worsen quite quickly and cause significant complications (note: treatment options are listed after the 6 symptoms below):

Symptom: Unusual Head Movements

You may notice your dog making unusual head movements if it has an ear infection, such as constantly shaking its head or tilting its head to one side. This is because the dog can feel the presence of a microbial infection in its ear and is trying to shake it loose. Alternately, or in addition to these symptoms, you may also see your dog rubbing its ear on furnishings in your home. Dogs will also scratch at the affected ear, which can make things worse.

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