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Ear Pain in Dogs & Cats

Just For Pets

2 min read

Ear Pain in Dogs & Cats

If you’ve ever had an earache, you know how painful it can be. Our pets also experience ear pain that can be caused by everything from infections to blockages. In fact, dogs and cats can be predisposed to ear problems because of their J and L-shaped ear canals. Particular ‘floppy-eared’ breeds such as hounds, spaniels, and poodles, are also more likely to experience ear problems. But, with a little extra attention, astute owners can work to prevent ear pain in their pets, recognise symptoms early and seek appropriate treatment.

As with any health problem, prevention is always better than treatment. You can help prevent ear issues in your pets by being aware of the potential causes. Common culprits leading to ear pain include:

  • Excessive moisture (prevention includes thoroughly drying your pets’ ears after a swim or bathing)
  • Excessive cleaning
  • Injuries to the ears and ear canal
  • Parasites
  • Foreign objects
  • Build-up of wax and grime
  • Allergies (particularly skin-related allergies)
  • Diseases/disorders such as autoimmune conditions

It’s also important to regularly check your pets’ ears to monitor for any changes. Be on the lookout for changes in skin temperature, colour (particularly redness), and swelling or general inflammation. More obvious signs include discharge, crusting, scabs, and unpleasant odours emanating from the ear canal.

Your pets’ behaviour can also be an indicator of ear pain. Common signs of ear problems are scratching, tilting of the head, shaking of the head, loss of balance, crying, and cowering (particularly when you touch the area surrounding the ear). If you notice any changes, you should seek veterinary advice immediately.

Your vet will examine your pet’s ears and recommend appropriate treatment that may include a professional clean, medication, topical ointments or surgery. You should also ask your vet to show you the correct way to clean your pet’s ears. It’s important to never put anything inside your pet’s ears without first seeking advice from a vet. Foreign objects such as cotton buds can harm ear drums and contribute to blockages by pushing debris further into the ear canal.

In most cases, ear infections in our pets do not subside without intervention, so it’s vital to be alert and seek treatment from your vet as early as possible.

A visit to your local Just For Pets Independent pet store can be a great idea to discuss with the pet experts the symptoms your pet is experiencing, in many cases an over the counter ear cleaner or solution is a great start before the vet visit.

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Small pet image
Small pet image