Why Does My Dog Scratch His Ears

Owning a dog is a truly rewarding experience, as the saying goes they are certainly “man’s best friend”. Like all living things, dogs sometimes get sick, and because they can’t speak to you it can be difficult to interpret what the problem is.

However, just because they can’t speak to you doesn’t mean they can’t communicate with you. Much like a human, a dog’s body can communicate with you at least partially what the problem is such as an upset stomach, an injured paw, or a skin issue. So if you see your dog scratching his ear you know that something is going on but is it serious and what could it be? Read on for some common conditions.

Ear Infection
Ear infections are the most common reason that your dog is scratching his ears. Several different things can cause ear infections in dogs such as ear mites, foreign objects, parasites, and yeast. Luckily, ear infections are easy to diagnose and treat at a simple vet visit. Your veterinarian will be able to determine what is causing the ear infection and give you antibiotics to treat it. Some dogs such as those with long, floppy ears are more prone to ear infections than others so if this describes your dog’s ears you may consider asking your vet for advice on cleaning their ears to prevent future ear infections.

Another possible reason your dog is scratching his ears is environmental allergies. Dogs with environmental allergies typically exhibit the same symptoms as humans with environmental allergies such as sniffling, sneezing, runny nose, and itching. If you have noticed any of these other symptoms in your dog then it is likely that allergies are the cause. In particularly severe cases you may consider having your veterinarian test your dog to find out specifically what he is allergic to. This allergy test will also help determine how severe the allergy is and your vet will be able to help you come up with a treatment plan such as medication or immunity shots. If your dog’s allergies are not severe you may consider limiting his time outdoors during the high pollen season.

Ear Drum Rupture
This is probably the least likely reason that your dog is scratching his ears as this isn’t very common however, it does happen. Other symptoms of a ruptured eardrum include sudden hearing loss, discharge, shaking/tilting head, and incoordination. There are many causes for eardrum rupture such as; middle ear infection, trauma, loud noises, foreign objects in-ear, or extreme atmospheric pressure change. If you suspect that your dog is suffering from a ruptured eardrum it is imperative that you seek immediate veterinary treatment. The vet will be able to clean your dog’s ears and prescribe oral medication to help him heal.

While noticing your dog scratching his ear can certainly be cause for alarm, with proper advice and treatment your pup will be back to his normal self in no time.