Floppy-eared dogs like Copper are more likely to get ear infections.
Ear infections may be caused by yeast and bacteria
by Carlotta Cooper
Dogs can have ear problems for several reasons, but one of the most common reasons is due to bacterial and yeast infections. That’s when you’ll see the following results:
- dog shaking his head
- scratching at his ears
- a bad smell coming from his ears
- ears that are hot and painful when touched
Do your ears hang low?
As the owner of a long-haired, floppy-eared breed of dog, I always have to be concerned about my dogs’ ears. (English Setters already have to be on guard against deafness — like we don’t have enough problems with ears!) Any dog with floppy ears is more likely to have ear infections because the long ears cut off some of the circulating air that would otherwise keep the ears dried out. The hair keeps moisture trapped in the ear. Prick-eared dogs, with their ears exposed to the air, have fewer ear infections.
You’re growing what in your ears?
Yeast and bacteria love to grow in the ears of flop-eared breeds. They also like to grow in the ears of dogs that have very hairy ear canals, like long-haired dogs. Poodles are said to be particularly prone to ear infections because they have a great deal of hair in their ear canals.
Not immune to infections
If your dog has allergies, such as dog food allergies, he is also more likely to express that allergy by having ear infections. According to one source, some 25 percent of dogs with food allergies have ear infections as their only symptom. Those ear infections are likely to be yeast infections. If your dog has allergies then his immune system will likely be affected, making him unable to fight off yeast when it takes up residence in h is ears.
Yeast and bacteria are typically present in your dog’s ears all the time. When they grow out of control it means that your dog’s immune system was not able to fight them off. Your veterinarian will be able to provide you with medication for your dog’s ear infection — most likely drops to be used and a good ear cleaner .
The primary difference between a bacterial infection and a yeast infection (to laymen) is that a yeast infection can spread to other parts of your dog’s body. A yeast infection can also develop a secondary bacterial infection. If your dog scratches at his ears relentlessly he could make them raw and they could become infected with a bacterial infection of their own. This infection would have to be treated separately from the yeast infection.
You will also need to do something to build up your dog’s immune system like giving him a supplement with vitamins and herbs designed specifically to strengthen the immune system. Your vet should also make sure that your dog is not suffering from any kind of allergies that could have triggered the ear infection, especially if your dog has recurring ear infections.
‘Ear’s some tips
There are some things you can do to try to prevent ear infections from yeast and bacteria:
- Clean your dog’s ears regularly with a good ear cleaner .
- Keep the hair inside the ear and around the opening of the ear trimmed to allow air to circulate.
- Feed a good quality food without corn, wheat or other carbohydrates that have been linked to food allergies. Look for foods high in meat protein.
- If your dog swims you should use cotton balls to gently dry out the inside of your dog’s ears afterward. Clean your dog’s ears following a swimming session.
For most dogs ear infections are preventable with regular ear cleaning . If your dog does develop an ear infection it’s best to see your veterinarian. Left untreated, or not treated properly, ear infections can become very hard to clear up and may even require surgery. Keep those ears clean!