Swollen Ear in a Dog – Is it a Sign of Disease?


Ear diseases are one of the most common problems in dogs. Most often than not, the swelling on those organs can observed in breeds that by nature have long and drooping ears. Therefore, owners of German badger-dogs, basset hounds and Afghan hound puppies should carefully look out for the pets to make sure the problem is eliminated at an early stage. The tissue of the inner, outer, or middle ear is prone o swellings. The underlying cause of this phenomenon can often be identified by a specialist only, so do not neglect a visit to the veterinary. The major causes for a swollen ear in dogs:

  • otitis;
  • hematoma;
  • allergic response;
  • abscess;
  • morbid growths;
  • water ingestion;
  • debride in the ear canal.

The primary hazard in case of a dog’s ear swelling is the risk of development of a complicating disease that may endanger the animal’s life. There are cases of an advanced ear disease stages lead to the inflammation of the membranes in the animal’s brain. Also, tissue swelling may cause pet’s eardrums rupture and thus lead to the permanent deafness.

Symptoms and Signs

Regardless of the cause of the ear tissue swelling, the problem can be identified by respective symptoms and signs. An attentive guardian will notice the swelling domiciliary. But the course of actions in every particular case should be determined by the veterinary. The main symptoms of the existing problem:

  • pet mood swings easily;
  • the head of the dog is constantly tilted to the side;
  • the animal presses the ear to its head;
  • the pet’s neck muscles are overstrained on the side of the hurting ear,;
  • the animal turns its head sharply from side to side;
  • increased anxiety in the dog;
  • the pet is avoiding sleep and food;
  • possible purulent secretions with a heavy odor.

If you perceive some of the above mentioned symptoms, you should carefully examine the ears of your pet.

Causes of the Swelling and Possible Response


The mucous membranes of the ear canal are prone to swelling due to otitis media, which happens as a result of the ear mite infecting the organ. This occurs when there is an obvious lack of adequate care. In otitis, the mucous membranes of the dog’s ear become inflammatory, and dirt appears inside the external ear. Liquids with an unpleasant odor may also leak from the hurting ear. There are three types of the disease:

  1. otitis media;
  2. external otitis.

In each case, the treatment of otitis is prescribed by a veterinarian after an accurate diagnosis of the disease is performed. As a rule, in the therapy, antibiotics are administered in drops as well as flushing of the ear with a special solution.


An ear hematoma may occur due to mechanical tissue damage or when exposed to an infectious disease. This means amassment of blood and lymphatic fluid under the skin. As a rule, for  resolution of a blood swelling, tight dressings with cold compresses will be enough. In more dangerous cases, it may necessary to tap the abscess surgically and drainage it of accumulated fluids. After this, the wound should be disinfected and bandaged.


If the dog’s ear tissue is swollen due to an allergic response, you need to eliminate from the animal’s environment the allergy-causing agent and the anti-allergy agent. In addition to swellings, the animal may experience severe itching in the ears with possible pyorrhoea. In this case, it is essential to use prescribed solutions and ointments. Sometimes an insect bite may cause such a severe reaction.


An abscess in the ear is a purulent swelling in the setting of an injury or a bite subjected to a bacterial infection. The swollen ear in such cases should be processed with special attention. The incision and drainage of an abscess may be necessary. After this, the disinfection of the wound should be performed regularly until it is completely healed. It is better to entrust the procedure to a specialist, otherwise you can bring unwanted harm the animal.

Photo of Swollen Ear in a Dog

ear swelling in a dog in a dog swollen ear strong swollen ear in a dog swelling ear in a dog swollen ear in a puppy


A very widespread phenomenon that leads to the formation of abscesses in the ears mucous membranes, These are morbid growths in the ear canal and may come in forms of papillomas or warts. These lumps may occur due to a viral infection and appear in any animal, regardless of age or breed. The major hazard of this disease is that the pet can suffer severe itching and thus begin scratching the ear. To avoid this, consult a veterinarian on the possibility of a surgical measure.


Swellings on the dog’s ears may appear as a result of small beads, pebbles or insects getting into the canal of the organ. In this case, inflammation can be swiftly eliminated by 5 drops of any sterilized oil applied to the animal’s ear.

Water ingress may also result in inflammations of the middle ear, therefore, it is necessary to bathe pets very carefully. Some dog owners, before letting their animal in the water, insert small tampons smeared with petroleum jelly or powder into its ear canals.


Most often, for diagnostic purposes in such cases veterinarians use a special tool – the otoscope. It helps to examine the internal ear canal and for the presence of polyps, swellings, foreign objects, etc. To avoid problems in your pet’s ears, it is of utmost importance to take the following prophylactic measures:

  • timely routine examinations with the veterinary;
  • thoroughly performed hygiene procedures, especially when it comes to cleaning the ears and ear canals of the dog;
  • trimming of the excess hair in the ear;

Preventing Hypothermia

It is important to remember that a pet needs all the possible attention from its guardian. Upon noticing of a swollen ear on the dog, a visit the veterinarian should be made as soon as possible. Otherwise, severe morbidities may develop, leading to pain and hearing loss.

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