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


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.

Have pet health questions? For any medical concerns, we always recommend you consult your veterinarian. However, for non-emergency questions, you can contact Dr. Dym directly using our Ask the Vet form.

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108 Comments

  1. When I came home from work today I noticed my three year old white pitbull had a very red ear. I felt it and it’s crusty feeling like she’s been scratching it. Around the outside of her ear it is also inflamed and red. Her other ear is fine and she let’s me touch it without a problem. She has not been scratching since I got home. What do you think it is and what can I try?

    Thanks!

  2. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 18, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    Most likely secondary yeast and/or bacterial infection from underlying allergies in this breed. A vet exam and topical prescription meds are usually needed, however in future you can help prevent these with natural products like zymox otic HC from 1800petmeds.

  3. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 18, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Zymox otic HC sounds like perfect product for you and what you found on amazon.

  4. Hi I noticed my 6 month jack russel terrier has really red ears. Its been about 3 days know she isn’t scratching or complaining. What can it be?

  5. Hi I notice my dog is shaking her head and scratching her ear more and it just started today what do I do can I just buy some meds from 1800petsmeds instead of take her to the doctors???

  6. If in doubt, always best to take to vet for evaluation of ear canals for yeast and/or bacterial infections. If you would like to try something at home, try zymox otic from 1800petmeds, as well as oral benadryl at dose of 1 mg per pound twice daily,l which can help if allergies involved

  7. I took my dog to vet, she was shaking her head a lot and scratching her ears, he checked her and said her ears are fine just a little red inside. Put her on zertect, thinks maybe was allergy, but she still shakes her head and scratches. Could it be something else?

  8. Hi Rathie. Sorry your dog is having ear troubles! For any medical concerns, we always recommend you consult your veterinarian. However, for non-emergency questions, you can contact Dr. Dym directly using our Ask the Vet form.
    ~ Abby, PetMeds Pro

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