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How to Ease Dog Ear Infections

White big eared dog in a field of dandelions

If you’ve ever had an ear infection, you know how painful it can be. Did you know that dogs can get ear infections too? Sadly, our canine companions can’t tell us when they’re in pain. Instead, we have to keep an eye on the tell-tale signs that our dog is suffering.

Dog ear infections are both common and easily treatable. Just like in humans, ear infections should be diagnosed and treated by a professional as soon as the symptoms are noticed. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about dog ear infections, including how to spot the common symptoms to methods for easing your pet’s pain.

What are ear infections?

There are three types of ear infections in dogs: otitis externa, media, and interna. These terms refer to the location of the infection in the dog’s ear.

Otitis externa is an inflammation of the cells lining the outside of the ear canal. While otitis media and interna affect the middle and inner ear canal. Otitis interna ear infections can be incredibly dangerous due to their close proximity to aural organs and the brain.

What causes dog ear infections?

Dog ear infections can be caused by a number of different factors. Due to the shape of the canine ear canal, dogs are particularly susceptible to infections.

Causes of dog ear infections include:

  • Yeast/fungus
  • Bacteria
  • Mites
  • Auto-immune diseases
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Injury
  • Meningitis or encephalitis

What are the symptoms of dog ear infections?

Keep an eye out for the below symptoms in your pup, as they may be suffering from an ear infection.

  • Scaly skin
  • Whining and scratching the affected ear
  • Dark discharge from the ear
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Itchiness
  • Head shaking/loss of balance

If your dog is experiencing any or a combination of these symptoms, visit your vet immediately as your dog may require treatment for their infection.

How do you help your dog’s ear infection?

So, you’ve been to the vet and they’ve diagnosed your dog’s ear infection. The chances are, your pup is feeling pretty sorry for itself right now. While you’re waiting for the vet’s treatment to kick in, there is a number of things you can do to look after your dog while they’re suffering from an ear infection.


If you’re keen to take the natural approach to pain relief, then CBD oil is ideal. CBD oil for dogs is derived from the hemp plant and contains none of the psycho-active ingredient associated with marijuana (THC). You can buy it as an oil to mix into their food or even as tasty treats to dish out before bed. CBD acts as a natural muscle relaxant and pain reliever, which is ideal if your dog is in pain or struggling to rest with their infection.

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Inflammation is a common symptom of ear infections in dogs. Did you know that turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory? And dogs love it! Add the Eastern spice to your dog’s food or make some delicious turmeric dog treats from scratch. Turmeric boasts a myriad of health benefits for your dog, including cancer-fighting agents, so your pup should have their daily dose even when they’re not ill!

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Apple cider vinegar

The acetic acid in their product will help keep your dog’s ears clean and free from debris. Additionally, apple cider vinegar fights both yeast and bacteria. However, if your dog’s ears are inflamed with cuts or soreness, don’t try this method as it will sting!

Soak a solution of 50/50 apple cider vinegar and filtered water and soak a cotton ball in the solution. Gently use this to scoop any debris from your dog’s ear.

Coconut oil

Another kitchen cupboard necessity, coconut oil is not only delicious to your dog… but it’s also a yeast-fighting agent. Many dog owners add coconut oil to their food to keep their pup’s coat shiny, but did you know you can also use it to clean your dog’s ear infection? Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan (make sure it’s not too hot!) and add 2-3 drops into your dog’s ear. This can also be used to clean your dog’s ears on a cotton ball.

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Preventing dog ear infections

small white and black dog laying on a bed covered by a blanket

Of course, we can never completely prevent ear infections in dogs. In fact, some breeds of dog are more prone to infections due to genetic and/or anatomical development, these include:

  • Cocker spaniels
  • Basset hounds
  • Labrador retrievers
  • Poodles
  • Pit bulls

There are a few things you can do every day to minimize your dog’s chances of getting ear infections. Always dry your dog’s ears with a dry, clean towel whenever they go swimming, outside in the rain or even in the bath. Moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast!

You should always aim to clean your dog’s ears at least once a week. You can do this with any of the natural remedies mentioned above and a cotton ball. Never ever use cotton swabs to clean your dog’s ears as you may rupture the eardrum.

Check your dog’s ears regularly and take your pup to the vet if you are concerned about itchiness, inflammation or soreness.

Ear infections can be a very unpleasant experience, for humans and dogs alike. Make sure to look after your dog’s ears regularly, monitor closely for symptoms and try any natural remedies you can to treat the pain. Always visit the vet as soon as you spot any signs of infection, the sooner they start treatment, the sooner they’ll be back to their old selves.

Meet The Author 

Grant Withers

Canine Specialist & Writer

Grant is an award-winning writer for SitStay with a passion for pets and especially dogs! Grant loves writing about furry little goofballs and aims to educate pet parents about anything and everything regarding their dogs.

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