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Healthy Dogs

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Dog Ear Swelling: Causes and Treatment

Common Causes and Treatments of Dog Ear Swelling continued...

Left untreated, an outer ear infection (otitis externa) can progress to an inner ear infection (otitis interna), which is painful enough to prevent a dog from willingly opening its mouth and may result in hearing loss or difficulties with balance. Treating ear infections may require oral or topical antibiotics or antifungals, flushing the ear, ear cleaning, or an ear-drying solution. If the problem is chronic, surgery could be necessary.

Avoid the temptation to diagnose your dog's ear swelling yourself. Because the symptoms of one ear problem can sometimes mimic another, it's important to bring your dog to the veterinarian to get the correct diagnosis -- and the right treatment.

Quick Tips for Applying Ear Medication

If treating your dog's ear swelling requires eardrops, you can make their application a little easier with these quick tips:

  1. With the drops close by, gently hold your dog's head still. Lift its ear and clean easy-to-reach wax with a cotton ball and ear solution or warm water. Be careful not to dig too deep or to pack wax into the eardrum.
  2. Maintain your grip and place the nozzle of the ear dropper at the opening of your dog's ear canal, angled toward the nose. Squirt in the correct number of drops.
  3. Keep hold of your dog's head to prevent him or her from shaking out the medication. To spread the drops, fold your dog's ear down and massage the cartilage at the base of the ear for 30 seconds.

Prevent Ear Problems: Taking Care of Your Dog's Ears

Any dog can get an ear infection, something stuck in their ear canal, or ear mites, but dogs with drooping ears (poodles, cocker spaniels, and basset hounds, for example) can be especially prone.

To prevent ear problems in your dog before they start, it helps if you get to know how your dog's ears look when they're healthy. The insides of a healthy ear should be pink and clean, and also odor free. If your dog's ears are swollen, red, smelly, or have any kind of discharge, something's wrong and it's time to talk to your vet.

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