Allergies and Itchy Ears in Dogs

by Keri K. on June 8, 2011

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Mo, surrounded by allergens

Mo, surrounded by allergens

It took awhile, but nice weather finally arrived in Northern Wisconsin! Our two Chinese Crested dogs are ecstatic to have the run of a snow-free yard again. However, for our dog Mojito, fresh grass is as itchy as it is fun.

We’ve managed to mostly conquer Mo’s seasonal allergies with over-the-counter Benadryl and limiting his exposure to allergens. (Read about that journey here and here.) But, the first real thaw of the year exposed the usual molds and pollens, and shortly thereafter we noticed something was up with Mo’s ears.

This time his most obvious symptom was the careful application of a rear foot to the inside of an ear, squinting uncomfortably as he dug around. It’s pretty easy to visually check the interior of Mo’s huge bat ears, but I couldn’t see anything odd besides a little redness from him trying to jam a paw in there. Something was definitely bothering him, though, because he was trying to scratch at it several times a day.

We already had a vet visit lined up to get this year’s heartworm prescription renewed, so at the clinic I was sure to ask about Mo’s new itching behavior, and wasn’t really surprised when he was diagnosed with otitis externa: an infection of the outer ear.

Allergies — usually from pollen or food — can predispose a dog to ear infections, especially chronic infections. Symptoms can include redness and swelling, itching, offensive odor, brown or yellow discharge, or the dog shaking or repeatedly pawing at his ears. Left untreated, infections can cause physical trauma to the ear from all the scratching, as well as progress past the eardrum to become otitis media (infection of the middle ear), a more serious condition that can lead to deafness, loss of balance, and even facial paralysis.

earclens

If your dog is suffering from ear trouble on a regular basis, it’s time to check with the vet for the underlying cause of his misery. A change in diet or avoiding other allergens could be what he needs. Luckily, we’d caught Mo’s problem early, and it cleared up with a week’s worth of prescription Tresaderm drops and more frequent, thorough ear cleanings. I already had some Ear Clens Pads at home, but I went ahead and picked up the entire Ear Clens Kit for this job, as the liquid Solution allows for deeper cleaning of the ear canal. Now that his ears are healthy again, I add a puff of Powder after weekly baths, too.

Check out our How-To video for easy instructions on cleaning your dog’s ears. It’s a great start at preventing common ear infections!

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Keri is a lead catalog designer for Drs. Foster and Smith and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from UW-Stout. She shares a small home with her husband, two Chinese Crested dogs, two cats, two ferrets, several reptiles and amphibians, and 30-some gallons of freshwater planted aquariums. See more articles by Keri K.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank June 10, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Hello,
We at Hypoallergenic Dog Food Home are pleased to have a feed from your site to our blog. The information is great. The ear cleaning You Tube is great too. Thanks.

Tina Christensen December 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm

I started Pumpkin Paw Bakery because my dog Pumpkin suffers from food allergies. I wanted to create a tasty fresh wholesome treat for my dog that was gluten free.
We use in season fruits and veggies so that each little treat is flavor packed and nutritious.
Only the best ingredient go into our treats because the health of your pet is important to us.

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