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What Causes Ear Problems in Dogs?

Everyone knows that your dog’s ears do a great job of expressing his emotions. But many do not know that your dog is actually pretty vocal about what’s going on with his ears as well, especially when his ears aren’t feeling quite normal.

The main cause of ear infections is skin disease. A big part of the ear is made up of skin. Because unlike most of the skin in the body, the inside of the ear is hidden from sight, many times you cannot tell that something is wrong till it's been some time. There are numerous skin diseases that a dog can acquire, so many in fact that we will need a separate article to address them properly, so for now we will stay focused on your pooch's adorable, floppy ears.

It’s important to pay attention to the signs our pets are sending us. These signs include pawing at the ear and shaking the head frequently. You might even notice a cheese like odor coming from your pets ear, ear discharge (can be black or brown) or a change in color from normal, fleshy pink to extremely red.

Other causes of ear problems are foxtail plants, as well as fluids entering and remaining in the ear canal.

We all know your pal loves a little fun in the sun and a trip to the beach is enough to make any Labrador throw all caution to the wind. Playing with sprinklers, swimming in a pool or the ocean, a bath, even another friendly dog licking your pet’s ears can result in unwanted moisture, creating a perfect breeding ground for YEAST.

A few yeast organisms here and there are normal. However, water inside the ear makes a favorable environment for yeast to flourish and multiply excessively. This over growth of yeast causes an offensive smell as well as redness and black sebum (wax) build up in the ear.

The excessive wax causes reduced ventilation, or air exposure, which is another favorable condition for yeast. So if Lulu is playing with the water, let’s make sure she’s playing it safe!

The way to avoid an unwanted Yeast Factory is to apply an ear cleaning solution in the ear, twice weekly and after each time the ear gets wet. The ear cleaning solution will replace the water in the ear, or flush it out and unlike water it inhibits the growth of yeast.

Foxtails are another common problem; Foxtails are thorny seeds of a plant. They are by far the most common and the most dangerous type of foreign objects we find in dogs ears as well as other places. Good grooming and removing the hair close to and inside the ear are VITAL in reducing the incidence of Foxtails getting inside the ear. Also, try to purge your yard of foxtails if you know they are there.

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