All Things Dog Blog
Understanding dog ear infections: Prevent & Cure

dog ear infections

Who among us hasn’t been woken in the middle of the night by a dog’s wild ear shaking? Ear infections happen. All too often I’d venture to say. Today we’ve got a guest post from Lyndall Pinchen of Canine Vitality to give us some help. If your furry mate suffers from chronic ear infections as so many dogs do, hopefully this article can steer you in the right direction to sort this out once and for all. Your dog will definitely thank you for reading!

EAR INFECTIONS…… a common problem for many dogs. I had a lady at a shopping centre promotion I was doing recently ask me whether these may be linked in with skin problems and general immunity. And the answer is a resounding YES, they can indeed all be linked. You have to remember that we are talking about the ‘whole dog’ and everything is connected.

Let’s talk more specifically about ears…….
Ear infections are one of the main reasons dog owners visit the vet and they are becoming increasingly more common. Some breeds are of course more prone to problems due to their ‘floppy’ or ‘droopy’ ears. 
Dogs have an L-shaped ear canal and this is where most of the problems start. This L-shape makes it easy for debris, moisture and microbes to become trapped.

Essentially there are 3 causes of ear problems.:

  • Ear mites
  • Foreign object causing an irritation/build up of wax
  • Bacterial (often Staph related)/yeast infection- these can be acute or chronic (recurring or long term). These are often linked in with allergies, typically to foods or something in their environment (grasses, pollens, etc)

Typical symptoms include:

  • Rubbing the ear with paw and shaking head
  • Ear can be tilted or lowered
  • Redness, bleeding, inflammation
  • Brown or blackish discharge (discharge usually means infection is present)
  • Foul smell

Aside from an acute irritation, both ear mites and bacterial/yeast infections, especially when they become chronic, are linked in with your dog’s overall immunity. A one-off infection can be relatively easily treated. Once the condition becomes chronic however, it’s important to look at what is going on internally with gut immunity and overall health.

How are ear infections linked in with gut immunity???
 You know that I always talk about the importance of gut immunity. Remember that 70% of your dog’s immune system is found within the digestive system (known as GALT- gut-associated lymphoid tissue). When this becomes compromised by poor diet, stress (of any kind), chemical parasite treatments, vaccinations etc, it can lead to chronic inflammation both in the bowel and throughout the body. Both skin and ear inflammation and infections can be linked back to this, as can allergies. 
If you have a dog that is experiencing ongoing or recurrent ear problems, whether it be mites, or a bacterial or yeast infection, it will be important to look at feeding a natural and raw diet, and eliminate grains. Also, look at addressing the gut immunity as this builds overall immunity.

Use herbs to treat the specific infection whether it is ear mites, bacteria or yeast. These herbs would include Echinacea, Thuja, Garlic, Fenugreek, Violet leaves etc – typical blood cleansing herbs.
 Antioxidants and B vitamins to build up overall immunity as well as address any stress issues. Topically, colloidal sliver, apple cider vinegar, iodine, as well as certain herbs can all be used in drop form to place into the ear.
  Remember that if your dog has recently been on antibiotics or has a history or antibiotic use for this problem, probiotics will be necessary longer term to help rebalance the gut bacteria.

I hope this gives you a general overview of ear problems and how to go about treating them. If your dog is experiencing chronic ear problems, it is first a good idea to have your vet diagnose the specific cause and then consider looking at a natural approach to help overcome and manage the issue.

Tips to keep your dog’s ears healthy:

  1. Clean ears regularly (your vet can show you how to do this safely)- certain breeds are more prone to wax build up so you may need to do this daily.
If your dog has been in contact with water (swimming etc), always make sure the ears are dried properly (moisture can lead to yeast infections)
  3. Keep your dog’s immune system strong by feeding a raw natural diet which includes plenty of antioxidants (fruit and veggies)

This article was contributed by Lyndall Pinchen of Canine Vitality a naturopathic health clinic for our furry mates in Cedar Grove QLD. If you’re out of the local area no worries! Canine Vitality offers online and phone consultations to help sort out your canine health issues. T: 0417 710 882   E: lyndall    Facebook:

2 Responses to Understanding dog ear infections: Prevent & Cure

  1. Noella says:

    Love Waggle and wish you were still coming to Sutherland Shire Dog Training Club. Regards, Noella (Vice Pres.)

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