Understanding Symptoms of Dog Ear Infections

Dog ear infections can be uncomfortable for your furry companion and may require prompt attention to prevent further complications. Recognizing the symptoms of ear infections in dogs is crucial for early intervention and appropriate treatment. In this guide, we’ll explore common symptoms of dog ear infections to help you identify when your pet may be experiencing ear trouble.

Types of Dog Ear Infections

Bacterial Infections

Bacterial ear infections in dogs are often caused by the overgrowth of bacteria such as Staphylococcus. These infections can result from factors like excessive moisture in the ear canal or underlying skin conditions.

Yeast Infections

Yeast ear infections, typically caused by the fungus Malassezia, thrive in warm, moist environments. Dogs with allergies or immune system disorders are more susceptible to yeast infections in their ears.

Ear Mites

Ear mites are tiny parasites that infest the ear canal of dogs, causing irritation, inflammation, and secondary infections. Ear mite infestations are highly contagious and often result in intense itching and discomfort for the affected pet.

Common Symptoms of Dog Ear Infections

1. Head Shaking

Frequent head shaking is a common sign of ear discomfort in dogs. If your dog is shaking their head excessively or vigorously, it may indicate irritation or pain in the ears.

2. Ear Scratching or Rubbing

Dogs with ear infections often exhibit increased scratching or rubbing of the ears. They may use their paws or rub their ears against furniture or the floor in an attempt to alleviate itching or discomfort.

3. Redness and Swelling

Inflamed or infected ears may appear red, swollen, or inflamed. Visible redness and swelling around the ear canal are common symptoms of both bacterial and yeast infections in dogs.

4. Odor and Discharge

Ear infections can cause a foul odor emanating from your dog’s ears, often accompanied by discharge. The discharge may vary in color and consistency, ranging from yellowish-brown to dark and waxy.

5. Ear Sensitivity

Dogs with ear infections may exhibit signs of discomfort or pain when their ears are touched or manipulated. They may yelp, whimper, or pull away when you attempt to examine their ears.

6. Tilting of the Head

A tilted or tilted head posture is a common symptom of inner ear infections or vestibular disorders in dogs. If your dog is tilting their head to one side consistently, it may indicate an underlying ear problem.

7. Balance Issues

Severe ear infections can affect a dog’s balance and coordination, leading to symptoms such as stumbling, falling, or difficulty walking straight. These symptoms may indicate involvement of the inner ear or vestibular system.


Recognizing the symptoms of dog ear infections is essential for early detection and prompt treatment. If you notice any signs of ear discomfort or abnormal behavior in your dog, it’s crucial to consult your veterinarian for a thorough examination and appropriate treatment plan. With proper care and attention, you can help alleviate your furry friend’s discomfort and prevent recurrent ear infections in the future.