PetMeds® My Dog Has Red Ears – Is It An Ear Infection?

 
Filed under Dr. Dym's Vet Blog
Allergies are one of the most common causes for red itchy ears in pets Ear disease is one of the most common presentations in the veterinary clinic. The rest of the skin and coat may or may not be involved in the ear condition. Pets with ear disease can often present with red itchy ears with varying amounts of discharge, odor and sensitivity, with one or both ears involved. The most common cause of red ears is underlying allergies, either to inhalant/contact allergies and/or food allergies.

Ear mites, while common in young pets, are rarely involved in red itchy ears of older pets. Many times red ears are often accompanied by secondary yeast or bacterial infections of the ear which can be uncomfortable and frustrating to cure. There are great products such as Zymox Otic and Zymox Otic with Hydrocortisone, which can not only treat active yeast or bacterial infections but also excellent as preventatives for ear disease.  If there is an accompanying odor and discharge, the ear cleaners Epi-Otic and Zinc Otic are often my favorites to reach for in cleaning waxy ears. However, it’s important to note that if an ear is only transiently red for a brief period of time,  that means a pet is usually only warm or excited, and an ear infection is less likely.

Read Related Posts on PetMeds® Blog:

  1. PetMeds® Zymox Otic Ear Medication
  2. PetMeds® Helping Pets with Chronic Ear Infections
  3. PetMeds® Topical Antibiotic Pet meds for Chronic Ear Problems
  4. Does Your Dog Have Ear Mites?
  5. PetMeds® Diagnosing Pets with Chronic Ear Infections

26 Comments

  1. Posted April 2, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    allergies dog 24 pounds shnerzer 8 years old

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    You can try benadryl 25 mg twice daily. Also add fatty acid to meals such as nordic naturals omega 3 from 1800petmeds. Also proanthozone is excellent antioxidant in addition to all natural yucca intensive. If symptoms persist, see your vet.

    [Reply]

  2. Joan Arney
    Posted July 18, 2011 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    My dog has frequent ear infections. The cleanser I use doesn’t seem to work to avoid this and I get an antibiotic from the vet, which is about out and would like to know what the price is and shipping for the antibiotic

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    I would need to know name of antibiotic to give you price estimate. Best to ask 1800petmeds pharmacist operator. also consider OTC product from 1800petmeds called zymox otic HC which may be antibiotic alternative for you.

    [Reply]

  3. Emily
    Posted December 11, 2011 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    My dog’s ear is red on the inside on one ear. The other ear is equally as dirty, but she keeps shaking her head and scratching. I can imagine something is bothering her. The redness only began in the past couple of days. Over the past month, I’ve noticed her scratching her head quite a bit; chin, cheeks, eyebrows. She gets a bath every few months with puppy shampoo. She is 6 and I’ve never seen her scratch this much. What should I do?

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Try oralantihistamine such as benadryl at dose of 1 mg per pound twice daily. You can try topical zymox otic HC from 1800petmeds. If problem persists, then see vet for exam and evaluation.

    [Reply]

  4. Carina
    Posted July 21, 2012 at 3:40 am | Permalink

    My dog started shaking his head really bad. He walks around with his head tilted like he is in mid shake. I examined his ears and found nothing at first. However, later the same day his ears are reddened. It irritates him so much he can’t sleep. Also, when he shakes it almost sounds like there is water shaking around.

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Sounds like possible external and/or middle ear infection. I would take to vet for exam and evaluation to see if prescription topical ear medications needed.

    [Reply]

  5. Natalie
    Posted August 27, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    My dog is 7months old and got a bumpy nose and red swollen eye two days ago. We took him the vets and they gave him a steriod shot for allergies.
    Since then he’s been throwing up anything he eats or drinks, and has very red tender ears. However his nose and eyes have gone back to normal.
    Could this still be from the allery or is it something more? And when will he be better?
    Many thanks :-)

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Could be ongoing allergy or different digestive problem such as virus or parasite. Could try pepcid AC at dose of one half mg per pound once to twice daily and bland hamburger and rice diet. If vomit persists or worsens, see vet for GI workup.

    [Reply]

  6. Samantha Calvert
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 2:31 am | Permalink

    My dog (shih tzu) has had ear mites off and on since i first got him at 8 weeks old.he is one year old now. i get him groomed once a month so he stays pretty clean. ive noticed him scraching at his ears and shaking them constantly. ive tried cleaning his ears and putting drops in but he hates and i know he is in pain. the inside of one ear is really red and visiably infected. what can i do? do i take him to the vet?

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    A vet exam may be helpful to assess for yeast or bacterial infection in ears. You could try zymox otic HC from 1800petmeds which is excellent product.

    [Reply]

  7. Alison
    Posted November 6, 2012 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    My dog Vinny has a red ear and there are some red splotches on it–it’s both on the inside and the outside of the ear…I just noticed this yesterday. He has been scratching it and shaking his head a lot–it’s clear something is bothering him just not sure what it is. He is 5 years old now–he had ear mites when he was a pup but don’t think that’s it. Any help would be appreciated!

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Most likely secondary yeast or bacterial infection from underlying allergy. You could try Zymox otic HC from 1800petmeds. SEe vet if signs persist for prescription topical ear medicine if needed.

    [Reply]

  8. Jeff Denefrio
    Posted January 6, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    I have a chihuahua dog that is 2 years old. She developed a red eye that caused her to squint and it appeared puffy. Today I have noticed that she seems to guard her ear on the same side. I picked her up to lover on her and when I placed my hand near her ear she squeaked. She weighs just under 5 pounds. I checked her ear and it is not inflammed, red or producing a fowl oder or discharge. She will drink, but not eat.

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    If a red eye then best to have vet exam to make sure not scratch on cornea. Not much can suggest at home.

    [Reply]

  9. Alyssa
    Posted January 8, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    My 12 week old boxer puppy has one ear thats red on the inside and kind of hangs back. She doesn’t bother her and it doesn’t hurt her when I touch it. A few days ago she went to pop her head in my three year olds room right as he was shutting the door so the door hit her head. And that day is when I started noticing the problems. It may be a coincidence but should I take her in to the vet?

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Probably best to have vet check to make sure no problems.

    [Reply]

  10. sandra
    Posted January 27, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    I have a 4 month shit zu, one of her ears is red and it has a bad smell, i took her to the vet the same day i notice, but he told me that i could be an infection but she does not need medication yet, she does not have other symptoms but i am still a little concern, this is my first dog, i dont know what to do, please help me

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    I would try good ear cleaner used regularly such as epiotic from 1800petmeds. Also consider zymox otic HC if yeast and/or bacterial infection develop.

    [Reply]

  11. Posted February 14, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    I have, mixed/breed , Jack Russel-Beagle, age 15 yrs., female dog. I have taken her to her regular vet, plus another, for second opinion. It has been several months ago Oct, 2012 and still having the same on-going problems everyday. It does not matter if she is asleep or awake, she starts coughing and/or (heaves)several times and sometimes will vomit. She was x-rayed by the vet, that I usely take her to. Per vet,everything was ok, her heart was good, everything checked out. The other vet stated the only thing wrong was several fatty tumors (in fact was told nothing to worry about. She also licks her feet, she sheds alot of her hair and , the second vet .put her on Temaril-P for allergies, and she has taken a prednisone (give 2 tablets twice daily for 4 days then decrease to 2 tablets once daily until all is gone.
    isI it possible that her chocking could be hair in her throat? What do you think could be wrong with her? She is such a good dog, behavior is just great., housebroken, patient, everything, plus a good watch dog. I dearly love her. I hope to get another opinion, from another doctor/vet . And, I won’t hold it against you. Thank you every much and have a good year (2013).

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    She could have an allergic/inflammatory problem of her airways which is why vets prescribed temaril P and pred. A trial with a good antibiotic like doxycycline also may help. Make sure x rays and other blood work has been done as well as stool sample to rule out parasites, etc

    [Reply]

  12. Posted February 14, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    I have, mixed/breed , Jack Russel-Beagle, age 15 yrs., female dog. I have taken her to her regular vet, plus another, for second opinion. It has been several months ago Oct, 2012 and still having the same on-going problems everyday. It does not matter if she is asleep or awake, she starts coughing and/or (heaves)several times and sometimes will vomit. She was x-rayed by the vet, that I usely take her to. Per vet,everything was ok.,her heart was good, everything checked out. The other vet stated the only thing wrong was several fatty tumors (in fact was told nothing to worry about. She also licks her feet, she sheds alot of her hair and , the second vet .put her on Temaril-P for allergies, and she has taken a prednisone (give 2 tablets twice daily for 4 days then decrease to 2 tablets once daily until all is gone.
    Is it possible that her chocking could be hair in her throat? What do you think could be wrong with her? She is such a good dog, behavior is just great., housebroken, patient, everything, plus a good watch dog. I dearly love her. I hope to get another opinion, from another doctor/vet . And, I won’t hold it against you. Thank you every much and have a good year (2013).

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Answered below

    [Reply]

  13. Julissa
    Posted April 14, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    I have a 7 week old miniature chihuahua and he has red little bumps in his ears on the flap part on the skin and around his “man junk”. I just noticed it today and was wondering what i should do.

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    I would have vet check to see if antibiotics are needed.

    [Reply]

    Julissa Reply:

    Is there any home remedies i can do? Vet bills are often expensive and thats money i don’t have at the moment.

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    You can try zymox otic HC from 1800petmeds. If signs persist or worsen, see vet.

  14. sue
    Posted April 21, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    my dog has been acting like when i try to pick him up or pet him he growls and screams in pain and bites me he raises his rear in the air and the front end down

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Need to have vet exam and evaluation for proper diagnosis of condition and treatment plan.

    [Reply]

  15. Alex
    Posted May 6, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    I have a 2 year old chi. She has really red ears that seemed to drop but does not seem to be itchy since she won’t scratch or flap them. She is lethargic and does not seem her normal self. She wont’t eat just drink.

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Given loss of appetite, best to have vet exam and evaluation to make sure nothing more than simple ear infection.

    [Reply]

  16. susie
    Posted June 23, 2013 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    I have a jack Russel that is shaking her head and her left ear is red and she keeps licking her paws all vets in my area is closed and dont have the money to take her to er vet what can i do for her at home till vet opens monday??

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Try oral benadryl at dose of 1 mg per pound twice dajly until vet exam.

    [Reply]

    susie Reply:

    I d id that i seen previous comments ty so much for replying back i took her today for vet exam they said it was a yeast infection in both ears and that her left ear was the worst gave me prescription for antibiotic ointment . should i still give her Benadryl till the meds start working ???

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    No problem using oral benadryl at same time, as most of these ear issues are secondary to underlying allergies.

  17. Didi
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I have a maltese/toy poodle 7 months old. A day ago he started scratching one of his ears,I checked today and its red to where I can see, I tried cleaning it to see if there is any wax, but nothing came out. He has hair inside the ear, is it possible the hair to cause problem? He had it cleaned 2 months ago and I clean his ears every month. It’s my first dog so I am not sure what to do. Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Hair may or may not be contributing to the issue. Could have yeast or bacterial ear infection. Best to have vet check to help sort out.

    [Reply]

  18. Rocio
    Posted September 3, 2013 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    I have a 4yo Maltese that has always been healthy. About 2wks ago he was scratching his ears and body, I figured it was time for a bath and after I bathe him, the scratching stopped. Today his ear was flapped and I noticed a dry looking patch on the anterior side of his flap with some black waxy lookalike in the inside. It does not have bad odor and he hasnt been scratching or acting sick. Should I be concerned and/or how do I treat this?

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Try zymox otic HC from 1800petmeds. If signs persist or worsen, see vet for evaluation.

    [Reply]

  19. Julissa
    Posted September 9, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    My dog is very old, sensitive, fragile, and has a couple bald spots. He has short hair so they’re obvious. He also has a problem with his teeth they have a lot of plaque because when we first took him he would never eat dog food so we gave him human food because of this (i think so) some of his teeth have fallen out. My sister thinks the bacteria in his mouth is being swallowed and getting into his blood stream causing his hair to fall out, but i think its cause he scratches himself to the point where he bleeds. He also will have seizure like episodes (every once in a while) we will fix this problem for the time being by giving him a little bit of milk. It works each time. We have been planning on taking him to the vet but have not yet for three reasons 1: we’re saving up the money still 2: we are afraid if we take him to the vet (and the veterinarian sees how poor his condition is) they will take him from us do to “neglect” or whatever they say because how he looks. 3: we are also afraid they might put him to “sleep”. So what do i do???

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Not much you can do at home Best to wait and have that vet visit and assessment on all of these issues.

    [Reply]

  20. Carmela
    Posted September 30, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Dakota is a 5yr old female German shepherd. Continuously gets ear infections due to allergies. Has been taken to vet to get medicine…oti biotic. It seems once infection is cleared up, it just makes space for one to move in again. This is quite exhausting and costly. What are some suggestions? Home remedies? Vitamin c pill, and unsweetened plain yogurt in diet along with a vinegar/water solution rinse followed by garlic oil drops are what I found online. Trustworthy?

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    I would try zymox otic HC from 1800petmeds, which can help with long term ear infection control. Also work with vet on treating underlying likely inhalent/contact allergies and/or food allergies as potential underlying causes.

    [Reply]

  21. Posted October 14, 2013 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    I have a 4 year old bulldog. One of here ears is pretty red and full brown gunk. The other ear has some brown gunk but no redness. I noticed the gunk build up in her ears about two weeks ago and started cleaning them with ear wipes. The redness started in the one ear a few days ago. She shakes her head every once in a while but not bad. Is there anything I could do home to help with this without having to take her to the vet?

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    I would STRONGLY recommend the natural product zymox otic HC from 1800petmeds, which has work wonders for dogs like this with chronic yeast or bacterial ear issues from allergies.

    [Reply]

  22. Kim
    Posted February 23, 2014 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    I have a 1 1/2 year old chihauaua who has a red ear and he keeps shaking his head. It’s not red when he wakes up. Only after he scratches it. It has no Oder and not real dirty. He has been like this since I took him to get his bath at the vets.

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Could still be mild ear infection perhaps from water getting in ear or underlying allergy. Best to take back to vet for exam and recheck.

    [Reply]

  23. Liz
    Posted April 10, 2014 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Hi
    I have a 4 year old golden retriever. Every spring his right eat (inner) gets red, warm to hot and the ear wax/discharge is brown and smells? Any home/over the counter suggestions?

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Try zymox otic HC from 1800petmeds.

    [Reply]

  24. Posted July 2, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    My small female terrier constantly licks my cocker spaniels eyes and ears. The cocker’s ears are red and sore from the habit. Help, please. How do I stop this behavior? I have to treat the cocker with some cortizone cream because they are so red.

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    I dont think the terrier licking the cocker spaniel is a cause of the ear infection. Many dogs will lick their housemates place of weakness. Cocker spaniels are very prone to chronic skin/eye/ear allergies as well as secondary infections. I would recommend seeing vet for evaluation of these underlying causes to best treat the problem.

    [Reply]

  25. Katie
    Posted August 6, 2014 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    I have a 1 1/2 year old German Shepherd/Lab Mix. I noticed he was shaking his head to one side, acting more tired and eating a lot more than usual. His ear was really red so I took him to the vet and he had a mild ear infection in his right ear, and I got medicine for him. A day later at night, his left eye became swollen, smaller and super red with a light color discharge. His other eye has a little discharge but not very red and looks normal in size. I flushed his eye and tried cleaning it up, and it improved but it is still pretty bad. It almost looks like pink eye? Are these related? How should I help his eye?

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    I dont think eyes and ears connected, although allergies can sometimes cause eye and/or ear inflammation. Nothing I can recommend for at home use for eyes, so best to have vet recheck for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

    [Reply]

  26. Mariah
    Posted August 11, 2014 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    My 4 year old corgi/beagle mix has one ear that is red and very dry only on the inner part. The other ear is fine. She isn’t scratching it that I have seen and there is no discharge or smell. Her ears are pretty clean on both sides, and she has no other symptoms. I only noticed the redness today. What should I do for her?

    [Reply]

    Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarian Reply:

    Sounds like simple allergy. Try benadryl orally at dose of 1 mg per pound twice daily. If no help within a few days, or symptoms worsen, see vet for assessment

    [Reply]

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