Ear Care for Pets

The Village Vet
Aug 29, 2022

Image Source: MSD Animal Health

Ears can be difficult to check, particularly if your pet is reluctant for you to take a close look inside.  

As a quick guide, clean, odour-free, pale pink colour and a minimal accumulation of wax are indications of healthy ears. 

Try to check your pet’s ears regularly and if you see any of the following signs, make an appointment to see us at The Village Vet.

Signs of Ear Infections / Disease Include:

  • Unpleasant odour
  • Excessive scratching and pawing of the ear/ head
  • Sensitive to touch
  • Constant tilting/shaking of the head
  • Redness or swelling of the ear flap or canal
  • Changes in behaviour like listlessness, depression or irritability
  • Accumulation of dark brown wax or other discharge
  • Loss of balance or hearing

Cause of Ear Infections

  • Bacterial or yeast infection, often secondary to allergies (food or environmental)
  • Excessive accumulation of wax
  • Matted hair blocking the ear canal
  • Foreign object lodged in the ear canal
  • Ear mites 

Seasonal warning

Spring brings the onset of warm, humid weather.  Warm moist ear canals are an optimum environment for infection. Dogs with pendulous ears and dogs with hairy ear canals do not aerate well and remain moist for longer. In addition, those dogs that swim a lot may well have warm moist ears exacerbating this issue.  Dogs with allergies are also more at risk of ear infections.

Treatment of Ear Infections

Ear infections are painful to your pet so make sure you bring your pet in to see us at The Village Vet if you see the above symptoms.  Specific ear ointments may be used for bacterial and fungal infections. Your vet will collect a swab from the ear and examine it under the microscope to determine the best treatment.

Prevention of Ear Infections

Maintenance of ear hygiene and regular, effective grooming is the best method of preventing ear diseases in your pets.

Clean your pet’s ears by wrapping a cotton ball or cotton pad around your index finger and gently wiping the visible part of your dog’s ear canal and outer ear.  Do not use a cotton bud in your pet’s ear.  Leave this to your vet they know the anatomy well. Also do not fill the whole ear canal with cleaning solution. This macerates the ear and makes it too moist.

How to Clean your Dog’s Ears Safely by Dr Giné Torre, The Village Vet

How to Administer Medication to your Dog’s Ears

When administering ear drops to your pet be sure to stay calm, always praise and reward your pet with a treat or their favourite toy/game.

How to Administer Drops / Ointment / Medication to your Dog’s Ears by Giné Torre, The Village Vet

If you have any doubt about your pet’s ear health, book online at The Village Vet or call us directly at the Pymble Clinic on 9499 4010 or Killara Hospital on 8350 5678.


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