A dog’s ears have super abilities. For one thing, they are designed to amplify sounds and detect sound frequencies about three times higher than those of humans. It’s no wonder why we often catch our dogs barking in a certain direction before we get to hear or see what they are barking about. Because of how a dog’s ears function, they are important in a dog’s everyday life.
Due to many factors, however, a dog’s ears may be susceptible to several health issues. Many of which may cause the irritating symptom of constantly itchy ears. Yes, most dogs occasionally scratch their ears, which is completely normal. But if you notice your dog scratching their ear constantly, along with other signs such as crying in frustration, tilting their head sideways, or hair loss and inflammation in their ear, it is important to determine why.
Note that there is no need to panic, as most causes of itchy ears are treatable. Having said this, let us get to know more about dog ear scratching and what we can do to relieve itchy ears in our dogs.
Stop Googling – Ask a Real Vet
- What Makes Dogs Ears Itch
- Why Is My Dog Scratching His Ear And Shaking His Head
- Why Is My Dog Scratching His Ear And Licking His Paw
- How To Help Your Dog Stop Scratching
What Makes Dogs Ears Itch
If your dog is currently suffering from itchy ears, you may be wondering, “Why does my dog keep scratching his ear?”
Here are some of the common causes of itchy ears in dogs:
If your dog keeps scratching their ear, it may be due to a bacterial, fungal, or yeast infection. Accompanying symptoms may include swelling, redness, moistness, discharge, odor, and loss of hair in the ear.
Note that addressing ear infections is important because they can cause severe damage if not treated and, in some cases, may even lead to hearing loss. Once you notice the signs of an ear infection, it’s best to have your dog checked by their veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.
In some cases, emergency veterinary care may be needed if the infection is severe and goes deep into the middle ear. Among the symptoms of severe ear infections are tilting of the head to one side, walking as if they’re drunk, constant vocalization, and intense scratching that results in secondary injuries to the face.
Some dog breeds that have floppy ears, such as Dachshunds and Beagles, as well as those that have lots of hair in their ears, may be more susceptible to ear infections.
Allergies & Skin Issues
According to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine studies, allergies may also cause itchy ears in some dogs. Those with food allergies, for example, may experience constant to intense ear itchiness when flare-ups occur. Aside from food, other allergens such as dust, pollen, or mold may cause your dog’s ears to itch upon being exposed.
On the other hand, skin issues may also cause itchy ears in dogs. Among these skin conditions are Dermatitis and Hot Spots.
Ear Mites or Fleas
“Why is my puppy scratching his ears?” you might ask. Ear mites, a common cause of itchy ears in puppies, are parasites that cause redness, irritation, itchiness, odor, head shaking, and a discharge akin to coffee grounds in the ear. Note that ear mites are rare in adult dogs but common in puppies.
Another possible cause of itchy ears is fleas. If your dog has fleas, it’s best to consult with your vet regarding what you can do to help eliminate the fleas and keep them away from your dog.
A foreign object in your dog’s ear may cause them to constantly scratch it in an attempt to remove it from their ear. Before trying to remove a foreign object, you should consult with your vet first to determine if it is possible to remove the object on your own without harming your dog. If not, you should bring your dog to the vet so that they can remove the object safely.
Tumors or Polyps
If you cannot determine the reason why your dog is scratching their ear constantly, it could be a tumor or polyp. If this is suspected, your veterinarian may need to perform a more thorough examination of your dog’s ear to find out.
Why Is My Dog Scratching His Ear And Shaking His Head
If your dog is scratching his ear and shaking his head constantly, it is essential to bring him to the vet for an examination. Head shaking is one of the symptoms that may accompany dog scratching due to the causes mentioned above.
Common reasons for dog scratching and head shaking can be treated once they are diagnosed. If they are not treated, however, ear issues may lead to severe problems.
A diagnosis is important to be able to address what is causing your dog to scratch and shake his head constantly. At the same time, it is detrimental to bring them to the vet because vigorous and prolonged head shaking may lead to a rupture in the blood vessels of your dog’s ear. Excessive head shaking may lead to aural hematomas, so we must determine the cause and take measures to prevent it from occurring.
As dog owners, we need to look out for symptoms such as vigorous ear scratching and head shaking, as they can lead to serious problems. With this, it would help to find ways to monitor our dog to detect any symptoms early on. A good-quality pet camera, such as the Petcube Camera, is a great option to be able to monitor our dog 24/7. Apart from the pet camera’s innovative features, you also get access to their Online Vet service for consultations with certified vets, anytime or anywhere you may be
Why Is My Dog Scratching His Ear And Licking His Paw
If your dog keeps scratching his ear and licking his paw, it may be due to an allergy or skin condition.
Among the early signs of allergic skin conditions are constant scratching, paw licking, head shaking, and redness around the ear, armpits, and stomach.
Apart from allergies or skin conditions, there are other possible reasons why your dog may be scratching his ear and licking his paw. If your dog exhibits these symptoms, it is vital to have them checked by their veterinarian to diagnose and address the problem.
How To Help Your Dog Stop Scratching
If your dog is constantly scratching their ear, it is advised that you call your veterinarian as soon as you notice the symptoms. Doing so will help you get a proper diagnosis and provide the appropriate treatment to resolve the issue. Not to mention, your dog will thank you for it.
Treating itchy ears would depend on the cause. If, for example, it is due to an infection, a prescription may include oral and/or topical medications. Meanwhile, if it is caused by a food allergy, a change in diet may be necessary.
Apart from the prescribed medications, practicing good hygiene with your dog may help relieve the symptoms of itchy ears. Regular cleaning of your dog’s ears may help prevent infections and parasites from invading their ears.
It is also important to be mindful of your dog’s environment. For example, after your dog takes a swim or is exposed to all kinds of dirt outdoors, it is best to clean them up (including their ears) to prevent risks. If you can, try to keep your dog away from allergens that may trigger the symptoms.
In some cases, An Elizabethan collar may help prevent your dog from further scratching and trauma in the affected area.
While we wish it wouldn’t happen, pet emergencies are possible, especially in severe cases of itchy ears and shaking heads. Because we never know when a pet emergency may occur, having a pet Emergency Fund is a good investment. That way, we are prepared and assured that our pets will receive the care that they need during critical situations.
As dog owners, we don’t want our dogs to be in pain or constant irritation due to an ear health issue, or any other health issue at all. Because of this, we need to bring our dogs to the vet if they are showing signs of constant itching ears, among other symptoms. That way, we will be able to get a proper diagnosis and be able to address the situation, hopefully before serious problems arise.
With appropriate treatment, loving care, and prevention, we can help our dogs keep their ears in tip-top shape.