Is your dog scratching ear and shaking head? Understanding why your dog has itchy ears is the first step to treating it. Generally, when your dog shakes their head, it is to remove some foreign body in their ear.
Dogs shake their heads so vigorously, and they generate a tremendous force – get too close, and you’ll discover just how much power if you get caught by a flailing ear.
Why Do Dogs Shake Their Heads?
Head shaking is automatic for dogs when they feel something in their ear that is causing discomfort or irritation. Their head shaking may well remove something that should not be in there, but the pain or irritation may remain, causing prolonged head shaking.
If your dog is shaking its head continuously, it could be a sign of something more severe, so you should consider consulting with your vet as soon as possible.
What Causes Ear Infections in Dogs?
Dogs are more likely to pick up ear infections and problems than humans are. This likelihood is because your dog’s ear canal sits in a more upright position than ours does. This vertical orientation forms a right angle in the ear, meaning that fluid gets retained, leading to increased infection levels from bacteria, yeast, and ear mites.
Factors that may predispose your dog to ear infections include:
- Excessive Moisture. A wet environment is ideal for infectious bacteria to grow.
- Allergic Reactions. If your dog eats something or comes into contact with something that it is allergic to, it can cause infection.
- Disorders. Autoimmune and endocrine disorders can lead to ear infections. Thyroid disease is a common endocrine disorder.
- Wax. A buildup of wax in your dog’s ears will leave it more prone to ear infections.
- Foreign Bodies. Anything in your dog’s ear that shouldn’t be there can lead to infection.
- Injury. An infection can follow if your dog has suffered or is recovering from an injury to its ear canal.
- Excessive Cleaning. Dogs love to clean their ears, but excessive cleaning will lead to excess moisture in the ear and subsequent risk of infection.
How to stop your dog’s itching his ears
The only way to get your dog to stop itching his ears is to deal with the cause of the irritation.
Finding out the cause could involve consulting your vet. Indeed, if your dog is in discomfort, or is itching their ears despite them being clean, call your vet as soon as possible.
Canine ear infections can worsen quickly, and in the worst cases can lead to loss of hearing. Your vet will give your dog’s ears a thorough cleaning, removing excess fur. They can prescribe antibiotics to help reduce the infection.
For ongoing treatment, they may give you an antibiotic wash for your dog’s ears. While the vet is dealing with your dog’s ear infection, it may be a good idea to ask them to conduct an allergy test on your dog.
Preventing itchy ears can stop dog ear infections
Like most conditions, prevention is usually better than cure. Try following these guidelines to reduce the risk of ear infection in your dog:
- Regularly clean your dog’s ears – a minimum of one time per month.
- Regularly inspect your dog’s ears for signs of infection, mites, and foreign bodies.
- Clean your dog’s ears with a moist cotton ball, going no deeper than your first
- Moisten a cotton ball using mineral oil and carefully wipe out the ears, going no deeper than the first knuckle on your finger.
- Keep your dog’s ears clean and dry. Allow them to dry naturally without using any drying agent.
Dog itchy ears shaking head home remedy
- Mix up some water with apple cider vinegar, and spray on the infected area. This mixture acts as a natural antiseptic, removing pain and inflammation. Witch hazel is a similar alternative.
- Applying a mixture of mullein and garlic oils will kill germs and reduce pain and swelling. You should maintain his treatment for ten days.
- Equal parts of pau d’arco and mineral oil massaged into your dog’s ears will kill bacteria. Maintain this for several days, three times per day.
- Applying a warm compress to the ear will reduce inflammation and ease the pain. Keep this up for several days.
- Keep your dog’s ears free from excessive hair, so that air can flow freely, keeping the ear canal dry.
- Regular doses of vitamin C will promote good health and help your dog fight off infections in the future, by boosting your dog’s immune system.