Dog’s Itchy And Swollen Reddish Ears Cause & Remedies

Dogs Itchy And Swollen Red Ears / Causes And Remedies For My Dogs Ear Is Red And Swollen

Of the numerous pets in human history, dogs can be said to be the ones that connect to humans on various levels. No wonder dogs remain the most common pet in the world and aren't just said to be man's best friend for no reason.

From the adorable selfies, exciting barks they make to acknowledge their loved ones, their incredible athletics skills, a superb sense of smell, which makes them a good choice for detections in various scenarios, to the mental relief, and emotional bliss they bring to their owners, dogs bring so much comfort, that they are the go-to pet for almost everybody.

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The bliss and happiness, dogs bring to their owners have thus made humans go the extra mile in having their furry partners close by. Clear evidence of this was seen in 1944, when four-time US president, Franklin D. Roosevelt left behind his Fala, his Scottish Terrier, in the Aleutian Islands, which led to Roosevelt sending back ships to get his beloved mutt.

That just about one classic instance of humans going to lengths to have their furry mutts close by.

A good companion, dogs have become so much a part of humans, that various families including prominent ones, have adopted them as the furry members of the family. From the Obamas, Bidens, the British Royal family, the Putins, to the Trudeaus, dogs have always been a constant in the lives of prominent world leaders, reinforcing how much mutts are humans' best friend.

However, the connection that dogs boast of that inevitably makes them man's best friend can be said to be their sense organs, particularly the ear. Hence, when dogs begin to have itchy ears, which may get swollen and red, it greatly affects how they connect with their owners.

This thus makes the welfare of pets, a priority to every pet owner. We'll thus review the various causes of itchy and swollen red ears in dogs, remedies, and treatments, as well as how to detect early if your dog is dealing with itchy and swollen ears.

Why Is My Dog's Ear Swollen And Itchy?

If you're reading through this article, you most likely have asked the above-stated question, which you definitely hate to ask. However, circumstances demand that you do.

A dog can have swollen and itchy ears for various reasons, ranging from an ear infection, allergies to injuries, and wax build-up in the ear. We carefully explain the various causes of the swollen and itchy ears in dogs below.

Causes Of Dog Swollen, Red & Itchy Ears

Ear Mites:

Like most pathogenic microorganisms, mites cause great discomfort to your dog, and when that discomfort gets severe it advanced to an itchy and swollen ear. Mites as indicated above are microorganisms that thrive in a dog's ear and feeds mainly on the wax and oil in the dog's ear. In younger dogs and puppies, ear mites are mainly the cause of ear infection, but this is not to say older dogs' ear infections cannot be caused by mites.

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Causes Of Dog Swollen, Red & Itchy Ears
Dog Ear Mite


Often, serious mites infestation in your dog's ear, often caused by ear wax build-up may lead to ear blockage, which graduates in an ear infection. While ear wax build-up often is the culprit behind ear mite infestation, it remains not the only cause. Ear mites are contagious, hence your dog may contract ear mites while interacting with other dogs.  Often, dogs aren't the only pets your dog can contract ear mites from, other pets such as cats are also included.

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Ear hematomas:

A medical term that refers to swollen masses on a dog's ear flap, ear hematomas occur when there is a ruptured blood vessel in the ear flaps, which leads to bleeding between the tissue layer. The ruptured blood vessel is often caused by a foreign object stuck in a dog's ear, severe ear scratching, which is often triggered by ear mites.

Ear hematomas
Ear hematoma

It is best immediate medical attention is given to your dog once you notice ear hematomas as in most cases, it is an indication of a minor case turn severe.


Depending on the biological make-up of your dog, allergies can trigger an itchy and swollen ear, especially during seasonal change. Aside from seasonal change, when a dog inhales or ingests a substance it is allergic to, swollen and itchy ear most likely occurs. The swollen and itchy ear that occurs due to allergy follows three cycles.

(I) The allergic substance inhaled or ingested by the dog will cause the dog's ear flaps to become swollen and inflamed, which leads to overworking of the ear, as well as production of extra wax and secretions. (II) The extra moisture and wax in the ear provide just the right environment for pathogenic microorganisms, such as bacteria and yeast, which begin to grow in the dog's ear. (III) As the microorganisms in the ears, increase, the dog's ears become red and swollen.

Ear Infection:

A common cause of swollen and itchy ears in dogs has to do with infection of the inner (otitis interna) or external ear (otitis externa). An ear infection may be caused by bacteria or yeast build-up in the ear, but as it becomes severe, the infected dog's ear would become swollen and itchy.

Canine Ear Infection signs
Infected Dog Ear With Discharges

The bacteria and yeast which in most cases causes ear infection thrive on the fur of dogs, and due to the protective barrier of the dog's furs, outgrowth is prevented.

However, once these bacteria and test find their way into the inner or outer ear of dogs, ear infection occurs. Other causes of ear infection include foreign objects in the ear, allergies, and ear mites.


Aside from ear mites, little bugs, such as fleas and ticks, that find their way into a dog's ear would lead to swollen and itchy way. These parasites would lead to a build-up of ear wax, and over-secretion which would lead to microorganisms present in the ears, which would lead to swollen and itchy ears.

Foreign Objects:

As your dog plays happily outdoor, it is possible that a foreign object gets stuck in its inner or outer ears, which when left for an extended period, would lead to an ear infection.

At this point, you most likely may be able to detect the reason why your dog's ear is swollen and itchy. You thus may be wondering how you can treat your swollen and itchy dog ear.

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How Can I Treat My Dog Ear Infection At Home?

Treating your dog's ear infection at home would have to do with the nature of the ear infection. The fact that you are considering this most likely means that your dog's swollen and itchy ear was caused by an ear infection.

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As indicated earlier, an ear infection can be caused either by bacteria or yeast build up in the inner or outer ear, hence treatment largely depends on the cause. Treatment should primarily be rendered by a veterinarian, but over time, long-term care would have to be rendered by the caregiver, that's you.

Before treatment is rendered on the dog's ear, the severity of the infection has to be assessed. In most cases, the dog likely suffers from otitis externa or otitis interna, but in more severe cases, otitis media, which affects the middle ear, and is said to be the chronic phase of the otitis externa infection.

Once diagnosis and assessment of the infected ear are complete, the veterinarian would remove the excess ear wax, discharge, debris, or foreign object, which is the root cause of the infection. This is done by applying a topical medication or using a medicated ear cleaner. Afterward, the veterinarian would recommend an anti-inflammatory or antibiotics medication.

After that trip to the veterinarian, care and recovery of your dog's affected ear, rests on you, as you will have to ensure your dog follows the recommended topical medication.

As you apply the medication in your dog's ear, as your dog's caregiver, you will have to ensure that the applicator is safely positioned outside of the dog's ear as you apply the medication. Over time as your dog's ear becomes less inflamed, you should offer massage on the affected area.

Also ensure no mistakes are made as you give your dog its medication, as this may prolong your dog's treatment and recovery.

As your dog recovers from its swollen and itchy ear, periodically clean its ear to prevent ear wax build-up, and also ensure the ear canal is clean for periodic topical medication.

However, it is important to note that chronic ear infection cases have to be completely handled by a veterinarian, as a Total Ear Canal Ablation (TECA) surgery, which involved removing the diseased tissues in the ear canal would be carried out.

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Treating My Dog Itchy Ear?

In most cases, when a dog has an itchy ear, it is mostly an indication that the dog's ear is battling issues, which could degenerate to swollen red ears. Hence, at this point, it is important the dog's itchy ear is treated.

Before treatment is administered on a dog's itchy ear, it is important that the cause of the itchy ear is identified as it will help in ensuring the dog recovers quickly. Hence examine your dog's ear to see the cause of its itchy ear.

If it happens that there is a foreign object stick in your dog's ear canal, the first step to treating your dog's itchy ear will be to remove the foreign object. Depending on how deep the foreign object is in the ear canal, you can remove it or leave it to the experienced hands of a veterinarian.

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However, if you choose to remove the foreign object yourself, do well to remember that ears are sensitive, so do not try to keep a sharp object in the ear canal, as this may further complicate a sensitive condition.

However, if you notice that your dog's ear is filled with fluid or excess wax, you should clean your dog's ear. You can clean your dog's ear by

  • Making use of a gentle cleanser or an absorbent gauze, not a paper towel or washcloths.
  • To remove excess wax or debris in the ear canal, do not make use of a cotton swab as the wax will be pushed deep in the ear canal.
  • Fill the ear with clean fluid. (Do not make use of alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or Q-tip to clean the ear)
  • Massage the ear, the base of the ear, so as to remove debris.
  • After draining the cleaning fluid, ensure your dog's ear is dry, before applying any recommended medication by the veterinarian.

If the recommended medication for your dog's itchy or swollen ear is an eardrop, apply these tips to ensure effective application.

  • Begin by cleaning the ear canal and ear flaps for easy-to-reach wax, with a cotton swab and ear solution. Do this with caution so as not to dig deep into the ear canal.
  • Grip the eardrop tightly, and position the nozzle at the opening of the ear canal. Keep the eardrop angled towards the nose, and squirt the required number of drops into the ear canal.
  • Hold your dog still after application of the eardrop to both ears. This is to ensure the dog does not shake out the medication. To ensure effective application, hold your dog's ear flaps down and massage the cartilage of the ear for 30 seconds.

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How Do You Treat An Irritated Dog's Ear?

An irritated dog's ear mainly has to do with an ear infection which leads to itchiness, swelling, and redness of the ear. Hence to treat this, the attention and care of a veterinarian would be needed, to identify the cause of the infection, which would go a long way in helping your dog recover.

After the diagnosis by the veterinarian, as well as cleaning of the affected ear, medication would be recommended.

It then becomes your responsibility as the primary caregiver of your dog to ensure your dog gets its medication at the right time.

Periodic ear cleaning should also be done, as it will help prevent the recurrence of the ear infection.

How To Detect Dog's Itchy, Reddish, And Swollen Ear Early

Extensively discussed above are the various steps to treat itchy and swollen dog ears, but prevention is always better than cure. Hence, it is best if itchy and swollen ears are treated at the early stage before the affected ears begin to show signs of itchy and swollen ears. Listed below are few signs to look out for in your mutts, that indicated itchy and swollen ear infection.

  • Awkward and extensive head shaking
  • Excessive itching and scratching of the ear flaps
  • Presence of scabs on skins in the ears.
  • Odor and unusual discharge from the ear.
  • Obvious swelling and redness of the ear canal

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