Stinky Ears: A Look At Ear Odors In Dogs

27 July 2016
 Categories: , Blog

Do you detect a foul odor whenever you put your nose near your dog's ears? Stinky ears are pretty common in dogs, and while they're not indicative of an emergency situation, they are a marker of an outer or middle ear infection. If your dog has stinky ears, you'll want to take him to the vet for treatment. In the meantime, here's a closer look at what's going on and what to expect when your dog receives treatment.

What causes stinky ears?

Stinky ears are either caused by a bacterial infection or a fungal infection. If your dog has discharge coming from his ears or the ears feel warm to the touch, there's a good chance a bacterial infection is to blame. If the ears look dry and crusty and your dog wants to itch them a lot, then the infection is likely fungal.

Both bacteria and fungi thrive in warm, moist environments. So, dogs with floppy ears are more prone to these infections since their ears trap warmth and moisture inside of them. Dogs may contract an infection when they rub up against another dog with an infection, or they may introduce the bacteria or fungi to their ears when scratching with dirty paws.

How will your vet diagnose your dog's ear problem?

Since there are numerous bacteria and fungi that can cause ear infections, your vet will take a swab of your dog's ear and then examine the contents of the swab under a microscope to determine what organisms are responsible. He or she will also look deeper into your dog's ears to ensure the infection has not spread to the inner ear, where it can cause more serious issues with balance and hearing.

How are ear infections treated?

Your vet will probably flush your dog's ear with an antiseptic solution. If the infection has spread to the inner ear, your dog will be prescribed an oral antibiotic or antifungal medication to help cure it. You'll need to administer this once or twice per day, depending on your vet's instructions.

You'll also need to rinse your dog's ears out and apply either an antifungal or antibiotic cream to them. Your vet will show you how to do this. Make sure you use the prescribed rinse and cream for as long as is recommended, or the infection may come back even worse.

How can you prevent future ear infections?

Dogs who have suffered from one ear infection are more likely to develop subsequent ones. You can protect your dog by wiping the ears out after your dog spends time in a moist environment. Your vet, such as Covington Veterinary Hospital PC, may also recommend continuing to use an antiseptic rinse once a week or so as a preventative measure.