Ear issues are often identified by constant ear scratching, a weird smell, and even discharge or wax build up. Ear problems are one of the most common health problems for dogs. Read more about what causes ear issues and how your dog’s diet could be a contributing factor.
If your dog has ear problems, he is not alone. In fact, ear problems rank as the number one health problem for dogs.
What Causes Ear Problems in Dogs?
Ear problems in dogs are most often caused by yeast or bacteria entering their ear canal as well as ear mites, excessive hair, moisture, or wax buildup in their ears.
Structurally, a dog’s ear canal forms a vertical L shape, which increases the chance of unwanted moisture or dirt getting stuck in it and causing infection.
My dog’s ear infections resolved after switching to Darwin’s. His coat became thick and lustrous and his irritable bowel healed completely. – Deborah C., Wash
Common Ear Problems for Dogs
Yeast Infections in Dogs
Yeast infections occur in dogs for a number of different reasons, but the most common cause is your dog’s immune system being out of balance.
- Has your dog taken antibiotics for something just recently or long-term?
- Has he been eating a food with lots of carbohydrates for a while?
- Does your dog suffer from leaky-gut syndrome (pathogens seeping through intestinal walls causing yeast blooms)?
If the answer to either of these questions is yes, your dog’s digestive and immune systems may be out of balance because he is trying to metabolize more carbohydrates than his body can handle. When this happens, bad bacteria (pathogens) can take over his digestive system, which can allow yeast to proliferate.
Yeast Infection Symptoms in Dogs
A telltale sign that your dog is suffering from a yeast infection is itching. Yeast is incredibly itchy, leaving your poor dog with an itch that he simply cannot find relief from. If you notice your dog is rubbing his body or face on the ground or the couch, scratching incessantly or chewing fur, he may be suffering from a yeast infection.
Treating Your Dog’s Yeast Infection
Dogs need a low carbohydrate diet with no indigestible grains and the right vegetables to provide nutrition without the carb load.
Commercial foods often contain 65% carbohydrate and can be a source of yeast problems.
A raw diet is recommended by holistic veterinarians to balance your dogs’ digestion and aid his immune system in fighting off bad bacteria and yeast. The diet also keeps the flora in balance, which can mean relieving the symptom – your dog’s insatiable need to keep scratching his ears – as well as addressing the problem – leaky gut.
Ear Infections in Dogs
Ear infections occur when bacteria, dirt, or other debris becomes trapped in your dog’s ear canal. Since a dog’s ear canal is a vertical L shape, it is much easier for the ears to hold on to extra moisture, creating the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Ear infections can be caused by a number of different things including:
- Swimming in a river, ocean, or other open bodies of water
- Excessive hair in their ears
- Ear mites or other animals like fleas
- Foreign objects entering the ear
- Excessive wax buildup
Ear Infection Symptoms in Dogs
There are a few telltale symptoms that may indicate your dog is suffering from an ear infection:
- Increased scratching of their ears or the area around their ears
- Discharge coming from the ear (normally brown or yellow)
- Odor coming from their ear
- Redness or swelling
- Crusts, scabs or hair loss around the ear
- Loss of balance and changes in hearing
- A change in behavior such as walking in circles, unusual eye movements, or head shaking and tilting
How to Treat Your Dog’s Ear Infection
Ear infections are common in dogs and can be a one-time event or a recurring event, depending on what caused the infection. There are hundreds of different pathogens that can cause ears infections, and it can take a lot of testing to isolate the particular bacteria so it can be treated properly.
Holistic vets and traditional vets typically approach ear infections differently, especially chronic infections.
- A traditional vet may want to use antibiotics and steroids to kill the infection and to soothe painful inflammation.
- A holistic vet is going to turn to those kinds of drugs as a very last resort. Taking antibiotics and steroids radically change and challenge your dog’s digestion and immune system.
Only your vet will be able to really figure out the right treatment. But no matter what the strain is, you need to consider your options: treat the symptom only or treat the symptom and look for ways to boost your dog’s immune system so that the main problem is addressed, and systemic balance can be restored.
Preventing Ear Infections in Dogs
Since the immune system is responsible for fighting off infection, the best way to prevent an ear infection is ensuring that your dog has a healthy and strong immune system. A raw diet full of quality meat and vegetables provides your dog with the complete nutrition they need to fight off not only ear infections but decrease their chance of contracting other diseases, suffering from allergies, or developing any skin issues.
Darwin’s meals are wheat free, gluten free, GMO-free and made with a variety of different proteins and organ meats to provide the maximum range of nutrition and to keep your dog from developing dietary sensitivities.