Skip to content

Healthy Dogs

Font Size

Dog Ear Swelling: Causes and 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. 

Routine care to keep your dog's ears healthy includes: 

  • Regular exams by your vet, especially if your dog's ears are very hairy inside or prone to wax buildup
  • Cleaning with a cotton ball dampened with hydrogen peroxide or mineral oil if the ears are dirty inside; don't use too much, because excess liquid left in the ear is a source of problems. Since dogs' ears are delicate, ask your vet for tips on cleaning, and never insert anything into your dog's ear canal beyond where you can see.
  • If your dog is in the water a lot (or gets bathed often), water can collect inside the ears, leading to a painful infection. When bathing, put cotton balls in your dog's ears (remember to take out the same number of cotton balls that you put in), and after water activities dry your dog's ears out carefully. If your pooch is prone to ear infections, ask your vet if an ear drying solution might help.


WebMD Veterinary Reference

Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on March 25, 2013

Today on WebMD

bulldog in party hat
Breeds with longevity
Doberman Pinscher Clipped Ears
The facts about ear cropping and tail docking.
dog with duck in mouth
Which are considered smartest?
boxer dog
What are their health issues?
Pit bull looking up
Pets: Is My Dog Normal
Dog scratching behind ear
dog catching frisbee

Love your pets, hate your allergies?

Get tips for relief.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Dog Breed RMQ
Lady owner feeding dog
bulldog in party hat