Ear infections in dogs: facts not fiction

Ear infections in dogs are more common than pet owners may think. And, unfortunately, there are several myths around them that could exacerbate recurrent infections.

5 facts to fight the fiction

MYTH All ear infections are the same; I can use the same medicine I used the last time.

FACT Your vet needs to examine your dog every time you think he/she has an ear infection. Ear infections are caused by a variety of bacteria and yeast and the treatment recommendations and medication will be cause-specific. What worked last time may not be at all suitable this time around.

MYTH If I pluck the hairs out of my dog’s ears, he won’t get ear infections.

FACT Avoid this unless your vet tells you to do it because the hair is causing the infection. Routine plucking could in fact lead to additional problems, like inflammation.

MYTH My dog caught his ear infection from another animal.

FACT Ear infections often occur secondary to inflammation in the ear, which may be a symptom of an underlying condition such as allergies. When the environment in the air is altered, bacteria or yeast can cause infection. These infections aren’t caught from another pet.

MYTH My dog chews and licks himself repeatedly because he is bored or grooming himself.

FACT Repeated licking and chewing are often symptoms of an allergy. If you notice these symptoms, see your vet immediately. Allergies are one of the most common causes of ear inflammation and infection. And if a dog is showing signs of allergies, it should definitely have its ears checked too.

MYTH My dog’s ears will be cured with medication and he’ll never have another infection.

FACT This may be true if the ear infection didn’t occur due to an underlying problem. But if the infection occurred due to allergy, his ears will need to be managed along with the allergy for the rest of his life. Your vet will advise you on the best course of action, and will teach you how to clean his ears properly (and safely!) to keep infections at bay.