Why does my dog keep getting ear infections?

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Learn more about chronic otitis in dogs.

When your dog is suffering from an ear infection or inflammation, also called canine otitis externa, they may feel uncomfortable and unwell. The dog’s ears are swollen, red, itchy and painful — and you want to do everything you can to make your pet feel better. If your dog is prone to repeated ear infections or repeated cases of otitis externa, you may be seeking answers to help treat and prevent the condition and provide your dog with much-needed relief. It’s important to know that once a dog has suffered from an ear infection, they are more likely to develop one again. 

Causes of repeated (chronic) ear infections in dogs

Dogs may experience chronic ear infections for a few reasons:

  • The dog’s ear structure: Some dogs are more likely to develop ear infections due to having a certain ear structure, such as a small ear canal or floppy ears.
  • Environmental factors: Some dogs are more susceptible than others to environmental factors and allergens that may cause ear swelling, soreness and infection.

In many cases, however, the infection is caused by bacterial and yeast overgrowth. Other causes of canine otitis include parasites such as ear mites or even plant material like grass awns which can become trapped in the ear canal. 

How to reduce or prevent recurring ear infections in dogs

If your dog suffers from repeated episodes of ear infections, visit your vet first to develop a personalized management plan to better prevent future infections. You can also take several steps to prevent future infections:

  • After baths and swimming, gently wipe away any excess water to help prevent it running down inside the ear.
  • After playing outside, gently remove visible dirt and debris from your dog’s ears.
  • If your dog suffers from certain allergies, dietary changes may help prevent ear inflammation. Your vet can advise on any dietary measures that may be required.
  • Only clean your dog’s ears when your dog is healthy. Cleaning an infected ear could be painful for your dog and make the infection worse, so only do so if directed by your vet.

Treating chronic ear infections in dogs

If you think your dog may be suffering from an ear infection, seek veterinary advice - consult your vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan to help increase the likelihood of treatment success.

Want to know more?

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