Why Does the Dog Keep Scratching its Ears?


Ear itching in animals is an unpleasant symptom of the disease, which should not be ignored. It not only brings the pet severe discomfort, but can also lead to complications. This article is to explain what are the causes of itching and what to do if the dog is scratching his ears.


There could be the following reasons:

  1. dog scratches its earsOtodectes. This disease is caused by an ear parasite (a tick) and is extremely contagious, as it is transmitted by contact with a sick animal and through objects with which it came into contact.
  2. Infection. Fungi and bacteria provoke inflammation of the hearing organ.
  3. Otitis. The inflammatory process can develop in the outer, middle or inner ear. The cause is infection, hypothermia, trauma, allergies, parasites, low immunity. Untreated otitis media can progress and result in meningitis and death of the animal.
  4. Allergy. The cause of itching is often a reaction to a certain allergen (food, household chemicals, medicine, dust, plant).
  5. Foreign object. A spike, stick, grass and even an insect can easily get into the ear shell of the dog. If the hair around the ears is long, it can tickle the ear canal, causing the animal to itch.
  6. The structure of the ears. If they are long and hanging, this prevents normal air circulation and drying of moisture trapped there. Such dogs are more prone to irritation and inflammation of the hearing organs.
  7. Vermin. Frequent scratching of flea and louse bites leads to infection and suppuration.


Depending on the disease that caused the itching, there will be different accompanying symptoms. If your dog is scratching its ear and whimpers, this is an indication of pain. This can even lead to attacks of aggression, especially dog scratching its ears and shaking headwhen someone touches the sore spot. Pain in the ears and jaws when chewing often accompanies otitis media. Also, the animal tilts its head on its side, thereby reducing the pressure inside the ear.

Infectious otitis media passes with fever, weakness, decreased appetite. The auricle turns red and becomes hot, a putrid smell emanates from it. The auditory canal is covered with purulent crusts. If your pet has middle or inner ear infection, he will begin to deteriorate hearing, which could result in its complete loss. The allergic reaction is indicated by constant combing of the ears and eyelids after contact with the allergen. With allergic eczema, small bubbles with liquid content are formed in the ears.

If the dog is scratching ear and shaking head, bends it to the ground, this indicates severe itching caused by a mite. In this case there are dark discharges from the ear, which quickly dry and form crusts. On the outer side of the ear the coat thins and there are wounds from scratching.

How to Help Your Pet?

Allergic itching can be eliminated with antihistamines and anti-inflammatory drugs. It is also important to identify the allergen and protect the pet from contact with it.

If a dog’s ear is infected, the medications should be applied only after a vet has performed testing. Advanced forms of the disease are treated with a combination of oral antibiotics and topical application agents.

The treatment of otitis media will depend on its nature: bacterial is amenable to antibiotic therapy, fungal is treated with drops and ointments such as Miconazole, Nystatin, Ketoconazole, Clotrimazole, Nitrofungin. If the inflammation dog scratches its ears and shakes headis purulent in nature, the first step of treatment is cleaning the ears of the dried crusts. In case of accumulation of pus behind the tympanic membrane, surgery is required.

You should start anti-otodektozis treatment with the removal of dried ear secretions. For these purposes, use hydrogen peroxide and cotton swab. You can use specialized cleaning agents such as droplet Advokat, Otovedin, Deternol. To kill the tick use drop: Bars, Demos, Orizin, sprays: Acrosol, Ivermec, emulsions:  Apacid-alpha. For a quicker treatment injections are carried (Otodectin, Ivermek 1%). Drop the drug in the ear and give it some time to start acting, as specified in the instructions. The procedure should be repeated after 3-7 days to destroy hatched larvae. If an irritating object gets stuck in the ear, you should carefully take it out with your fingers or tweezers. But if there is a risk to push it deeper, you should better ask for the vet’s assistance.

If the dog is itching ear and shaking head due to the accumulation of dirt or moisture, it should be cleaned. To do this, a cotton swab is moistened in a special solution and the ear is cleaned without penetrating deep into the auditory canal. If the animal’s eardrum is injured, cleaning with liquids is contraindicated. This is fraught with complications, up to hearing loss.

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