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March 16, 2021
What it Means When Your Dog Has Itchy Ears
When your dog’s ears are itchy, it could be from a variety of problems. The most common reason that they are scratching their ears so often is due to an ear infection . Ear infections in dogs range in severity, and the treatments vary based on the cause of the infection, like mites, parasites, yeast buildups , or foreign bodies.
Other reasons why they are scratching at their ears too much are ear drums ruptures or simple allergies. Usually, if one of these is causing your dog’s itchy ears, other signs will accompany them. Your vet can examine their ears to rule out anything serious and find the cause of the itchiness.
The Most Common Cause: Ear Infections
Ear infections often cause your dog to scratch their ears relentlessly, and these infections are the most common cause of their itchiness. Three types of ear infections commonly occur in dogs :
Otitis media and interna can be serious problems and may result in deafness, vestibular signs, and facial paralysis; that’s why it’s crucial to try to prevent infections and get them treated early when symptoms arise.
Symptoms of Ear Infections in Dogs
The symptoms that appear from ear infections depend on the dog; some will show no symptoms other than wax buildup and a discharge, while others can have more uncomfortable ones. Even if they aren’t showing symptoms, an ear infection could be causing your dog pain. The most common signs of ear infections in dogs are:
- Shaking their head
- Excessive scratching of the affected ear
- A dark discharge from their ear
- A bad odor emanating from their ear
- Swelling and redness of their ear canal
- General signs of pain and itchiness
- Scabs or crusting in their ears
Causes of Ear Infections in Dogs
Dog’s ears are different than ours; they are more vertical and form an L-shape that tends to keep fluid in, making dogs more prone to getting an ear infection. These infections are typically caused by yeast, bacteria, or a combination. They can also be from ear mites, but those are more common in puppies.
Some things that can predispose your dog to get ear infections are:
- Moisture, which creates an environment that is ideal for yeast and bacteria to grow in
- Allergies , which can lead to a dog becoming more prone to ear infections
- Thyroid disease and other endocrine disorders
- Autoimmune disorders
- A buildup of wax
- Foreign bodies
- Any injuries to the ear canal
- Excessive grooming and cleaning
Diagnosing Your Dog’s Itchy Ears
When your dog begins to show signs of an ear infection, it’s essential to visit your vet quickly. Immediate treatment is important for your dog’s comfort and to prevent the infection from spreading to their middle and inner ear. Your vet will probably want to know:
- The duration of symptoms like pain, discharge , swelling, and odor
- If your dog has any underlying conditions or allergies
- If they are taking any medication
- What you feed them
- How often you clean their ears, and which products you use to clean them
- If you’ve plucked or trimmed your dog’s ear hair
- Any recent activities, like swimming, bathing, or grooming
- If your dog has had an ear infection in the past, and when it occurred and how it was treated
After answering your vet’s questions, they will likely perform a physical examination of your dog. They will check both ears, and the exam typically includes:
- A visual assessment to detect swelling, redness, or discharge
- An otoscope examination, which allows them to check the eardrum and ear canal
- Palpitation of the ears to assess their level of pain
- A microscopic examination of an ear swab
- Cultures from ear swab samples
- In severe cases, your vet may perform a biopsy or x-ray of the ear
Treating Ear Infections in Dogs
The first thing that any vet will do after diagnosing an ear infection is clean your dog’s ears thoroughly with a medicated ear cleanser. They may also give you a cleanser or topical medication to use at home , and in severe cases, they may prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatories for your dog.
Uncomplicated ear infections in dogs typically get resolved in a week or two after beginning treatment. Tougher infections can take months to resolve and could become a chronic problem.
Preventing Itchy Ears in Dogs
Preventing ear infections and itchy ears in your dog is preferable to having to go to the vet to get treatment; here are some tips to prevent your dog from getting an ear infection:
- After swimming or bathing, make sure to dry your dog’s ears thoroughly
- If your dog gets recurrent ear infections or is prone to getting them, managing underlying causes like allergies can help prevent new infections from starting.
- Cleaning your dog’s ears at home. Note: only clean them at home when your dog’s ears are healthy — don’t try to clean them when an issue pops up; it’s best to consult your vet first.
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How to Safely Clean Your Dog’s Ears at Home
When you clean your dog’s ears, do not use anything that can push debris further into their ear canal, like Q-tips . You can use them to clean the external ear flaps, but do not insert them into your dog’s ear. When cleaning your dog’s ears, the first step is to fill their ear canal with a dog ear cleaning solution and gently massage their ear from the outside. You can wipe excess liquid out with absorbent gauze; don’t use cotton or paper towels — they can leave behind fibers that could cause irritation.
Ear infections in dogs are common and can be a recurring problem, but you and your vet can help prevent your dog from suffering from them and keep their ears clean and comfortable. Remember, if your dog begins showing signs of an ear infection, like excessive scratching, get them treated right away to make sure it doesn’t turn into a serious problem.
CBD Oil For Ear Infections in Dogs
CBD for ear infections may be beneficial to dogs. With ear infections being one of the most common reasons we take our dogs to the vet for, it’s important to understand how to prevent them, and how to treat them. That said, dog breeds with floppy ears are more prone to ear infections.
Untreated ear infections in dogs can result in deafness, eye issues, facial paralysis, and severe pain.
A CBD oil expert can follow up with the veterinary diagnosis from your veterinarian and recommend a reputable THC-free CBD hemp oil supplement for your dog.
Before choosing a CBD hemp oil supplement for your dog’s ear infection, consult with your veterinarian for a diagnosis.
You can then discuss which CBD hemp oil supplement would be best for your dog, with the appropriate dosage for his or her health condition.
CBD potency requirements will vary according to the specific health issue.
Yeast ear infections are more common than bacterial ear infections in dogs. Usually, you won’t notice the beginning of an ear infection, and it’s only when your dog is shaking his head and pawing his ear, that you’ll know that something is wrong.
Common Causes of Ear Infections in Dogs
- Ear mites
- Hormonal changes
- Immune system issue
This is a common problem affecting the ear canal in dogs. It takes place when the layer of cells that line the external ear canal becomes inflamed. Identifying the causes will help to control the ear infection, and
- Skin redness
- Increased discharge
- Scaling of the skin area
- Walking in circles
- Possible hearing loss
- Aggression due to pain
- Tilting head to one side or head shaking or pawing of the ear.
Common Causes of Otitis Exter
- Foreign objects
- Yeast and bacteria both will progress the condition
- The shape of the ear may also predispose dog breeds to ear infections
Your veterinarian will do a complete examination using an otoscope. Your dog may need to be sedated to allow for this, most especially if his ear is painful, or if there is the discharge or widespread inflammatory tissue. Most dogs with ear infections will be uncooperative with ear examinations.
A tissue sample may also be needed to check for infection-causing microbes. Initially, a smear may diagnose a problem right away like for small microorganisms living in the ear which may cause diseases.
Your veterinarian will check for the following during an ear exam:
- Low- grade infection
- Foreign objects in the ear
- Impacted debris
- Ruptured or abnormal eardrums
- Dark discharges usually mean yeast or a parasite infection, but a dark discharge may also be present with a bacterial infection.
- Aspergillus fungus
- Nausea and vomiting
- Foul odor coming from the infected ear
- Bulging eardrum that’s painful
- Sometimes there is nervous system damage with facial nerve damage
- Yellow or brown discharge
When there is ear discharge, your veterinarian will check for larvae, eggs, or adult ear mites that may be present. Allergy testing may also be necessary, and sometimes even biopsies, if the ear infections are long-term, or if there is inflammation of the external ear canal. X-rays are used for eardrums, or to check the middle ear when there are problems with balance.
Treatment for Severe Bacterial Ear Infections
This can only begin after your veterinarian has made a diagnosis. Sometimes the hair inside the ear canal is removed, so that air can move through easily. This also helps with cleaning, drying the ear canal, and applying medication. A good ear cleaning done under general anesthesia may also be needed.
Treatment will usually last for 2-4 weeks or until the infection has cleared. Cleaning your dog’s ears regularly, and making sure that you use drying agents in dogs that swim a lot helps to prevent ear infections.
Your veterinarian may prescribe the following for an ear infection
- Antibacterial drugs
- Ear mites would need a topical product that is both antibacterial and antiparasitic.
How to Spot a Yeast Ear Infection
With ear infections, there’s usually a yeasty smell coming from the infected ear that is easy to pick up. You can also use a soft tissue, and gently move your finger into the ear canal. If the tissue comes out brown, you’ll know that there’s a yeast infection present or too much Malassezia present in the ear.
Malassezia is a yeast that grows in a dog’s ears and skin and may be hard to get rid of. It takes a while to grow but is tenacious when it’s present, most especially in wet skin and hair. Your veterinarian may prescribe an ointment for the yeast infection. It’s important to keep up with follow-up veterinary visits for ear infections. Sometimes, there won’t be an immediate improvement, and your dog’s condition may get worse.
Some Dog Breeds That Are Most Prone to Ear Infection
Think long, droopy ears! Dog breeds with long droopy ears or non-erect ears may develop more ear infections than dogs with erect ears.
- Afghan Hound
- Basset Hound
- Bull Mastiff
- Bichon Frise
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Springer Spaniel
- Great Dane
- Golden Retriever
- Portuguese Water Dogs
Cannabidiol Oil(CBD) May Be Beneficial for Ear Infections in Dogs
For dogs with ear pain or ear infections, it’s always a priority to first visit your veterinarian for a diagnosis. Cannabidiol oil does not replace veterinary care, but can be combined with veterinary care.
With the CBD market taking off, and CBD THC-free hemp oil supplements for pets proving to be effective in pain relief, as well as for reducing inflammation, it’s not surprising that pet parents are opting for these products, instead of long-term pharmaceuticals that may have side- effects. Consult with an expert at Sit & Stay for facts about CBD dosing, and a product’s transparency.
What is CBD
Cannabidiol or CBD is one of the components of the cannabis plant that does not give your furry best friend a “high” CBD is derived from the hemp plant, and can also come from the marijuana plants.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, is what you don’t want in your CBD pet products. Legally, all CBD hemp oil supplements can only have 0.3% or less THC. THC is federally illegal in the US but is available for medical use in several states, and in Canada with a medical marijuana card.
This label embodies both the hemp and marijuana plant, with both plants being different and carrying varying amounts of THC and CBD. Marijuana plants may have up to 20% THC. Cannabis that contains more than 0,3% THC is considered marijuana with medical marijuana having from 5-20% THC. Hemp plants will produce more cannabinoids than THC, while marijuana plants will produce more THC than CBD.
CBD that is free of THC may be beneficial in the treatment of numerous health conditions in dogs and people, without the long-term side-effects of pharmaceuticals. CBD is a non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid and provides therapeutic and medicinal purposes for dogs, cats, and horses. To help you understand more about the benefits of CBD oil for dogs dealing with ear pain, let’s look at some research.
The Endocannabinoid System in Dogs
Dr. Lascelles from North Carolina State University adds “However, dogs do have the same natural cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system as humans,” (The endocannabinoid system involves physiological processes such as appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory.) These receptors are found in the dog’s brain and peripheral nervous system. In fact, scientific research has confirmed that cannabis receptors exist in many different species, including dogs,” via Animal Wellness.
A 2018 study from the University of McGill added that they had great news for chronic pain sufferers and that they were now able to pinpoint the effective dose of cannabidiol or CBD for safe pain relief, without the “high” from THC.
The researchers added that “We found in animal models of chronic pain that low doses of CBD administered for seven days alleviate both pain and anxiety, two symptoms often associated with neuropathic or chronic pain,” via Science Daily. The study goes on to add “Our findings elucidate the mechanism of action of CBD and show that it can be used as medicine without the dangerous side effects of the THC,” says Dr. Gobbi, who is also Professor of Psychiatry at the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University and staff psychiatrist at the MUHC. “This research is a new advancement for an evidence-based application of cannabis in medicine,” via Science Daily.
CBD Oil Benefits for Pain and Other Health Conditions in Dogs
- Pain reliever
- May help with canine depression resulting from pain
- May provide relief from cancer side effects like chemotherapy and radiation
- Promotes healthy skin and coat by preventing sebaceous gland cells from secreting too much sebum
- May provide benefits to dogs with neurological disorders
- Helps decrease inflammation in dogs
- May help prevent cognitive decline
- May be beneficial for cardiac health
- CBD may be beneficial in preventing tumor growth
- CBD helps with diabetes prevention by reducing diabetes up to 56%, and reducing associated inflammation in diabetic dogs.
- Digestive issues
- Blood disorders
- Fights off free radicals, and may prevent the development of cancer
What to Look for in a CBD Hemp Oil Supplement or Treats?
- Hemp CBD should be 100% food grade
- Should be made using CO2 extraction
- No solvents like butane
- Full-spectrum lab testing by a third party for purity and potency
- Lab certificates need to be available for all pet parents
- Pesticide and herbicide free
- Made with non-GMO hemp
- Grain-free functional chews if purchasing CBD treats. Numerous flavors in treats like pumpkin, turkey, sweet potato, blueberry with antioxidant properties.
- Ask for proper and accurate labeling and dosage instructions.
- Look at each CBD product and research what each CBD product does and does not contain.
- Find out where and how it was manufactured.
- Look at the research and find out more about the potential therapeutic effects
- Find out more about the risks with the specific CBD product by understanding the exact composition. Consult with your veterinarian for a diagnosis first.
- Look out for misleading labels. Opt for large reputable brands that have been around for a while.
- Look out for harmful contaminants that may be potentially deadly. No China-sourced or manufactured. If it’s cheaper, there’s a reason. Check out the pesticides and herbicides in the product. There should be none. Look out for glyphosate! Ask questions!
- Research the 3 rd party labs associated with your CBD product.
- Make sure that CBD dog products are used responsibly.
Another study published in the European Journal of Pain demonstrates how CBD gel is effective in reducing inflammation and hypersensitivity.
“Outcomes of this study indicate that topical application of CBD gel is an effective treatment for reduction in inflammation and hypersensitivity associated with the rodent adjuvant-induced monoarthritis model.” The results were in relation to the absence of psychoactive behaviors.
“CBD is a known non-psychoactive cannabinoid, and due to its low affinity for the CB1 receptor, it would be expected that exploratory behavioral activity would be similar among treatment groups compared to negative side-effects associated with THC. These studies demonstrate transdermal administration of CBD has long-lasting therapeutic effects without psychoactive side-effects. Thus, use of topical CBD has potential as an effective treatment of arthritic symptomatology,” via NCBI
According to the National Cancer Institute , “cannabinoids activate specific receptors found throughout the body to produce pharmacologic effects, particularly in the central nervous system and the immune system.” These natural chemicals may be helpful in treating cancer-related symptoms such as pain, via Animal Wellness.
CBD Oil For Dogs With Ear Infections
The bottom line on CBD oil for dogs with ear infections is that veterinary consultation needs to come first, with a follow- up recommendation for CBD hemp oil supplements for dogs. That said, always purchase a high-grade, US CBD hemp oil supplement .
Consult with your veterinarian for accurate dosage information. That said, you’ll have all the necessary information on how to purchase the right CBD oil for your dog.