There are various issues that can cause extreme irritation or pain in your dog's ears. Some problems, such as ear trauma or parasitic infestations, are more visible than others, but all issues should be diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian to assure that the problem doesn't persist or worsen over time.
What are the causes of ear problems in dogs?
Ear trauma can be caused by a bite from another animal or even from extensive scratching by a dog in need of a pedicure. This is one good reason among many to keep your dog's nails at a manageable length.
An ear that experiences trauma may be swollen and discolored at the trauma area. A hematoma, which is a collection of blood and fluid under the surface of the skin, may develop. Hematomas should be drained and treated at an animal hospital to avoid a possible permanent ear damage.
Fleas or mites may become infested in your dog's ears, causing intense itching, hair loss, and skin problems. Ticks may embed themselves in the ear, causing similar issues.
When removing a tick, grasp it with tweezers as close to the dog's ear as possible, without actually grabbing the skin. You must pull slowly and steadily to remove the parts of the tick that are embedded in the ear. Pulling too forcefully may tear the tick apart, leaving parts of the tick inside the ear which can cause a possible infection.
Consult a veterinarian for effective and safe parasite control.
Although it may seem unlikely, allergies to lower quality foods may cause itching in a dog's paws and ears. Switching to a higher quality food, with a lower amount of fillers such as grains, will often solve the problem.
Pollen and other environmental allergens may also cause the same reaction in your dog, so if changing its food doesn't help, you should consult a vet to have allergy testing performed.
Dog breeds with ears that don't remain erect are at greater risk for bacterial infections, as bacteria collect and multiply in the warm moist area between ears and head. Infections generally occur in one ear, so your dog may pay more attention to one ear, or tilt its head to relieve pressure on the affected ear.
A trip to the vet is needed for antibiotics for a bacterial infection.
As dogs run and play outside around vegetation, they may pick up hitchhikers inside their ears as they brush against plants that release seeds,thistles, or other objects. You should not attempt to remove a deeply embedded object, because it may be forced further into the ear canal. A trip to the vet is necessary to remove the offending object safely. Contact a clinic, such as the Beaver Lake Animal Hospital, for more information.