Ear infections are very common in dogs and those cute floppy eared pets are much more susceptible than those with upright ears.
Unlike humans, the ear canal of a dog is almost vertical, making it easy to retain moisture and debris. Ear infections can be caused by bacteria or yeast, however, excessive hair or wax, ear mites, moisture (after having gone for a swim), foreign bodies (such as grass seeds) and allergies can be contributing factors.
We often see ear issues in the spring and summer months after dogs have been swimming, there are more grass seeds around and allergies are likely to be flaring up.
If your dog has a sore ear they will likely be shaking their head, holding the head to the side, scratching the ear or rubbing their head on the carpet or furniture.
You may notice an unpleasant odour from the ear or see some discharge or crusting in their ear. Sometimes, the ear can be swollen or look red and it may be sore to touch.
It is good to get into the habit of regularly checking your dog's ears for any abnormalities such as discharge, redness and odour, so that an infection can be picked up quickly.
You can clean the external ear with a soft cloth.
However, it is not recommended that you poke anything at all into the dog's ears in an attempt to clean it, as this may cause further trauma.
If you suspect that an ear infection, or that something is caught in your dog's ear, it's best to see your veterinarian as soon as possible.
They will be able to determine the cause of the infection and take appropriate steps for treatment - either as ear drops or sometimes a sedation is needed to clean the ears and remove any foreign material.