Pet Health
min read

How To Treat a Dog's Ear Infection Without Going to the Vet

If your dog has an ear infection, here's what you need to know in order to spot the signs and give them the proper treatment at home.

There’s nothing more bothersome or uncomfortable for your furry friend than an ear infection. This itchy and irritating condition is very common in dogs and as a pet parent, it’s best to know how you can bring them some relief.

In certain cases, an ear infection may be severe which would require a visit to the veterinarian. But, in minor instances, there are ways for you to treat the ear infection at home.

A quick reminder — home remedies can be incredibly helpful, but if your dog’s ear begins to show a more serious infection, do not hesitate and bring them to the veterinarian immediately.

In this article, we’re discussing the signs that your dog has an ear infection and how you can treat it at home.

Let’s dig in!

Signs of an Ear Infection In Your Dog

There are several signs and behaviors that your dog will exhibit in order to signal that they have an ear infection. These include:

  • Shaking of the head
  • Excessive scratching and itching at the ear
  • Redness around the ear, swelling may also occur
  • Discharge from the ear, potential odor
  • Scabs or crusted over skin within the ear canal

According to Pets Web MD, there are several causes of ear infections in dogs such as the presence of bacteria, yeast and ear mites. And, there are three main types of infections:

  • Otitis externa — most common and affects the outer portion of the ear
  • Otis media — affects the middle part of the ear
  • Otis interna — inner ear infection that could potentially lead to neurological damage

For many cases affecting the outer portion of the ear, simple home remedies can clear up the infection and give your dog relief.

But, if the infection progresses into the inner ear, you’ll need to seek medical attention immediately to ensure that it doesn’t result in further infection and damage. Ear infections that are severe can lead to hearing loss and other complications.

Will The Infection Go Away on Its Own?

In most cases, an ear infection will need treatment as it will not clear up on its own. Especially if the infection has progressed further into the ear, professional medical care will be needed in order to resolve the infection.

Can You Use Hydrogen Peroxide in Your Dog’s Ear?

Many pet owners may reach for the hydrogen peroxide in their medicine cabinet to treat their dog’s infection, this is not a wise choice.

Veterinarians advise against the use of peroxide as it can make the infection worse and potentially inflame the ear canal.

How To Treat an Ear Infection at Home

There are two methods that can be used to help eradicate your dog’s ear infection at home — using apple cider vinegar or coconut oil.

Apple cider vinegar has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. And, coconut oil has natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Before you apply an topicals, you’ll want to gently clean your dog’s ear out to remove any debris or buildup, this can be done with a soft tissue or cotton ball. Be careful when cleaning your dog’s ear in order to not cause injury or further discomfort.

If using apple cider vinegar, here are the steps:

  • Apply once a day
  • Mix 1 part water with 1 part apples cider vinegar.
  • Wet a cotton ball and gently swap in around your pet’s ear.
  • Allow your pet to shake their head and wipe away any excess liquid

If using coconut oil:

  • Apply 3-4 times per day for 7 days
  • Melt the coconut oil down into liquid and let it cool off
  • Dip a cotton ball in oil
  • Gently apply the oil throughout your dog’s inner ear

For both methods, you should apply and then monitor your pet’s ear every few hours. Ideally, you should repeat these steps until the infection has cleared up. And, if it shows signs of worsening — see a vet immediately.

Over the Counter Solutions For Your Dog’s Ear Infection

If you prefer to go the medicated route, there are several over the counter options to treat your dog’s ear infection.

One option is Zymox Otic . This treats acute and chronic outer ear infections that is applied just once daily to the affected area.

It is highly rated by pet parents, here’s a sample review of its effectiveness:

“This product seems to keep the ear issues manageable. The minute I see scratching and head shaking I start using this and it seems to quickly arrest the problem. It’s easy to use and you don’t have to have a prescription which saves vet visits and also I can quickly react before it becomes a true health issue.”

For more over the counter medications, you can see a list of potential products available at Chewy.

Keep Your Dog’s Ears Clean To Avoid Infection

While not all ear infections are preventable, there are steps you can take to potentially reduce their frequency. One major step is to clean your dog’s ears at least once per week. A simple solution of water will suffice or you can buy a soap specifically formulated for your dog’s ears. Additionally, if your pet swims or is outside often, cleaning their ears more frequently is important to avoid an infection.

As you can see, there are several types of ear infections that your dog can develop ranging from mild infections that you can treat at home to more severe infections that require professional care.

At home, you can use natural remedies or over the counter medications to treat the infection and bring your pup relief. Again, if the ear infection is progressively getting worse, see a vet immediately. It’s important for us as pet parents to keep our dog’s ears clean, healthy and infection free.

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