Ear infections can be painful

What is an ear infection?

If you notice your dog acting unusually – exhibiting ear sensitivity or head shaking ­– they may have an ear infection or ear inflammation, (also known as canine otitis externa). 

This inflammation, which affects the ear canal, can be painful for dogs and in most cases will not improve without medical treatment. Plus, dogs that have had it once may be prone to having recurring ear infections

Untreated or recurring ear infections can lead to permanent changes in the ear canal.

Watch this video to learn more about ear infections in dogs:

Symptoms of ear infections can include:

  • Reddened, inflamed ears
  • Ear scratching or rubbing of the face
  • Head shaking and tilting
  • Reluctance to have ears touched
  • Unpleasant odour coming from the ears
  • Discharge
Signs of an ear infection
Ear infections are a common cause of visits to the vet

What should you do if you think your dog has an ear infection?

If you think your pet is suffering from an ear infection, making an appointment with your vet is essential for your dog’s recovery. 

Your vet may:

  • Examine your dog´s ears using an otoscope (an instrument used to look inside the ears) to inspect your dog´s ear and understand what is causing the pain.
  • Take a sample from the ear to identify the type of infection in your dog's ear.
  • Discuss treatment options with you to ensure the most appropriate choice for you and your dog. 

Your vet will either prescribe drops for you to apply at home, or there are now vet-applied ear treatments that last longer and don't require drops to be used at home.  

Discuss with your vet which option would be best for you and your dog.

If you think your dog may have an ear infection:

  • If you think your dog has an ear infection - 1
    Visit your vet for a consultation


  • If you think your dog has an ear infection - 2
    Ask your vet about possible treatment options


  • If you think your dog has an ear infection - 3
    Follow up as recommended by your vet


Ask your vet about the best option for your dog:
drops at home or long acting ear treatments applied by the vet

*Angus J. C. Vet Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice. 2004 Mar 34(2):411-24.