Dog ear infection can result when the natural flora (yeast and bacteria) in the ear canal gets out of balance.

SpokesPoodle LaceyPoodle Health Tip Yeast and bacteria in the ear canal are normal. But when one or the other multiply too much, infection can result.

Below we will discuss the kinds of irritants that can cause an overproduction of yeast or bacteria in your poodles’ ears.

Diagram of Dogs Ear

Diagram of Dogs Ear Canal - Dog Ear Infection

In this sketch of a dogs’ ear canal, please notice that dogs have a short vertical canal and a longer horizontal canal.

The eardrum separates the external ear from the middle ear.

Unlike people, a dog ear infection starts in the external ear, not the middle ear or inner ear.

There are a number of different things that can cause an inflammation of the lining of the ear.

Possible Causes of Dog Ear Infection
  • Allergy
  • Excess moisture in the ear due to frequent swimming
  • Ear mites or other parasites
  • Foreign bodies lodged in the ear canal
  • Wax buildup
  • A narrow ear canal (inhibiting adequate airflow)
  • Glandular disorder (thyroid)

Common Causes of Dog Ear Infection

Dog Allergy

One of the most common causes of dog ear infection is allergy (especially food allergy).

The lining of the ear canal becomes inflamed, which causes an increase of temperature and moisture in the ear. This creates an ideal atmosphere for overproduction of yeast or bacteria.

Signs that may indicate your dog has an allergy are

  1. Rubbing his nose with his paw
  2. Only getting an infection at certain times of year (and otherwise not having dog ear problems)

Poor Air-Flow

Poodle Ear - Air Flow and Dog Ear Infection The drop down ears of a Standard Poodle can block airflow to the ear canal and create a perfect breeding ground for a dog ear infection – it’s dark, warm and moist.

Excess hair in the ear canal can make it even worse because there is even less air flow.

Preventative At-home Ear Care

A weekly examination of your poodles’ ears will help alert you to problems before they become serious.

Cleaning your poodles’ ears with an ear cleaning solution to remove wax build up and dry out the ear canal will be a good defense against dog ear infection because yeast and bacteria grow best in a warm, moist environment.

Cleaning Dogs Ears

Recommended Ear Cleaning Products
SpokesPoodle LaceyPoodle Health Tip Be careful that you’re not being overly aggressive when plucking or cleaning your poodle’s ears. This could cause inflammation, possibly leading to infection in an otherwise healthy ear.
Symptoms of Dog Ear Infection
  • Shaking his head persistently
  • Scratching his ears repeatedly
  • Rubbing his ears on the ground
  • Excessive wax buildup
  • Odor in his ears
  • A brownish discharge
  • Redness and/or swelling

Treatment for Dog Ear Infection

This will NOT go away on its own. It could be serious if not treated promptly and properly. You should consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Left untreated, it could lead to a middle ear infection (which affects balance) and even deafness.

What to expect at a Vet exam

Your vet will be able to determine the underlying cause. He may choose to examine the ear canal through an Otoscope, looking for things like:

  • Foreign bodies (burrs, thistles, etc.)
  • Ear Mites
  • Other parasites such as fleas or ticks

He may want to run blood tests to determine if there is a glandular problem. Or he may want to do testing for food or other allergies that could be the underlying cause of the infection.

He will determine if it’s a yeast infection or a bacterial infection.

Dr Tim Klein of “All Pets Medicine, Surgery and Rehabilitation Clinic PA” in Mapleton, MN offers this great advice:

As you can see, there is a myriad of things to consider. There could even be multiple factors involved.

Something specific is irritating the sensitive tissue in your poodles’ ears and causing an imbalance of the natural flora. Your vet is trained to discover what the problem is and then prescribe appropriate treatment.

This is not something you should “self-diagnose”. Nor is it recommended that you buy an over-the-counter medication. They don’t work. Just remember –

Veterinarians are our “FRIENDS” – Help them help your dog.

Cleaning Dogs Ears Ear Mites

A man’s soul can be judged by the way he treats his dog.Charles Doran