It’s that time of year again — for those annoying seasonal allergies. Just like humans, our pets can suffer from allergies, too. Dogs with environmental allergies suffer a lot from the discomfort of constant itching and irritated skin. But did you know dogs with allergies are also prone to getting ear infections? Ear infections are often a secondary symptom of underlying allergies, especially allergies to dust mites, molds, pollens and animal proteins in dog foods.
Allergies and Ear Infections
Ninety-five percent of ear infections in pets are caused by allergies. They can be yeast infections, bacterial infections or a combination of both. Dog breeds with floppy or folded ears and those who swim a lot are more prone to ear infections because they often have more moisture trapped in their ears, leading to the formation and growth of bacteria. Any breed or dog with a history of allergies is more likely to get ear infections as well.
How to Spot an Ear Infection
Pets mainly manifest their allergies in their skin, unlike humans, who get more respiratory issues. Inflamed ears and ear infections are a sign of allergies in pets. Here are some signs of ear infections to watch for:
- Scratching of the ear or area around the ear
- Odor in the ear
- Head shaking or head tilt
- Rubbing ear on the floor or furniture
- Redness on the inner ear flap or in the ear canal
- Brown or yellowish discharge
Prevention and Treatment
To prevent ear infections due to allergies, you should aim to clean your pet’s ears weekly — a great time is right after you give your pet a bath. Start with an ear cleaner recommended by your veterinarian, and then follow these steps:
- Squeeze a small amount of cleaner into the dog’s ear canal.
- Gently massage the base of your dog’s ear until you hear the solution make a squishing noise.
- Let your dog shake his or her head.
- Wipe away any remaining cleanser from the outer opening of the ear canal with soft, dry gauze or tissue.
- Praise your dog and provide treats.
Cleaning ears too often can cause excessive irritation. If your pet appears to be in pain or has additional allergy symptoms, such as body-wide itching or excessive biting or licking, check with your local veterinarian, who can prescribe medication to help alleviate and manage symptoms.