German Shepherd Ear Infection

photo by glamorousdogs

German shepherd ear infection is a common problem in German shepherd dogs. The ear canal is the tube leading from the outside of the ear to the eardrum. The solid material can plug up this tiny tunnel and cause infection, inflammation, and pain. Usually, your dog’s ears smell bad or they look red and inflamed inside. Sometimes you might see some brownish-yellow to black waxy material, called cerumen.

Ear infections are common in dogs because the vertical ear canal makes them vulnerable to problems that can lead to infection. Dogs with long or hanging ears might seem more prone to problems than those with upright ears. German shepherds have droopy fur around their ears which can encourage moisture and dirt buildup, making ear infections more likely.

Many dogs suffer from chronic ear problems, which means they have repeated ear infections.

To prevent German shepherd ear infection you should inspect your dog’s ears weekly for signs of redness or discharge. When you can’t see into the ear, look at how he reacts when you touch his head around the base of the ear. If he seems to be in pain when you touch this area, there is probably an infection in the ear that is causing him discomfort.

German Shepherd Itchy Ears

Most German shepherd itchy ears usually occur in the summertime when the humidity levels rise. This occurs due to your dog spending more time outside in their kennel or even swimming in a pond, lake, or other body of water.

If your German Shepherd has itchy ears, you might notice them frequently scratching their head or shaking their head. You might also notice that they are sensitive about having you touch behind their ear. Another thing to look for is if there’s an accumulation of dark waxy brown gunk in the canal. That can be an indication that your dog has an ear infection.

Other symptoms you might notice include closed eyes, head tilted, and signs of pain when their ears are touched.

If you suspect your German Shepherd is suffering from German Shepherd Itchy Ears it’s important to take them to the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment. Treatment can vary depending on the degree of infection.

What Causes German Shepherd Ear Bleeding?

German Shepherd itchy ears are not in and of themselves a major problem, but leaving them unchecked may lead to expensive issues later on. German Shepherd ear-bleeding (also known as ear hematoma), happens when your GSD excessively scratches its ears. When this happens, blood from the broken capillaries and vessels in the ear will tend to pool and leave a bulge in the affected area. If left untreated, your GSD may be at an increased risk of contracting German Shepherd chronic ear infections.

GSD ear hematomas are different from bloody ear discharge. More on this in the next section.

What Are the Risk Factors for Ear Hematomas?

A hematoma forming from a German Shepherd scratching ears excessively is usually caused by an underlying problem. Bacterial or viral ear infections, allergic skin disease, or even ear mites may be the reason. In addition, German Shepherd floppy ears may increase your GSD’s risk of contracting German Shepherd ear allergies (causing hematomas); in this sense, changes in anatomy make German Shepherds prone to ear infections.

When you find your German Shepherd scratching ears and shaking head incessantly, you will want to treat this as soon as possible; these are common German Shepherd ear infection symptoms.

How Can I Treat My German Shepherd Ear Bleeding?

German Shepherd ear surgery is typically what will need to happen to properly cure and get rid of GSD ear hematomas. To drain out the fluid, your vet will need to make an incision in your GSD’s ears, then tack them down afterward to ensure they heal properly. This type of German Shepherd ear surgery is typically done with your GSD under anesthesia.

See also  The Best Diet for German Shepherds: Counting Calories

If the underlying cause of the hematoma is German Shepherd ear allergies, your vet may need to prescribe a certain diet regimen and have your GSD undergo allergy tests to accurately pinpoint the cause of the hematoma.

On the other hand, your vet may need to start cleaning your German Shepherd ears if the ear hematoma is caused by ear mites. A German Shepherd ear cleaning solution will need to be used to fully rid your GSD’s ears of the mites and will typically need a follow-up treatment of topical ointments for a short time afterward.

What Are Some Good Ways to Prevent German Shepherd Ear Bleeding?

Because German Shepherd ear bleeding is a multi-factored problem, there may not be a single “good” solution or prevention for this ailment. It certainly will help if you regularly check to see if your German Shepherd’s ears are red inside, have bulges, or your GSD’s skin for any rashes or abnormalities. Above all, be mindful and take note of your GSD whether it scratches its ears often or not. Clean ears are healthy ears!

What Are Some German Shepherd Ear Infection Symptoms?

The question, “Are German Shepherds prone to ear infections?” redirects here. And the answer is “NO” because of how normal GSD ears are constructed. German Shepherd ears that are red inside, give off a dark, waxy discharge, or smell bad are warning signs you should take note of. 

Bad Odor

Healthy GSD ears should not smell bad. If you notice a pungent smell emanating from your GSD’s ears, it may simply be a case of German Shepherd dirty ears and can be solved by washing their ears gently using a German Shepherd ear cleaning solution. Most of these ear cleansers contain small amounts of hydrocortisone, salicylic acid, and/or aloe vera. Usually, this happens because too much dirt or dead skin cells get trapped in your GSD’s ears (never try to use a sharp or thin instrument to dislodge earwax or dirt in your GSD’s ears).

Alternatively, the most probable cause of bad-smelling GSD ears is a bacterial or yeast infection. A yeast infection in German Shepherd ears usually happens because your GSD gets exposed to a lot of moisture in its environment; this paired with the natural design of your GSD’s ears provides very favorable conditions for yeast to grow in.

Foul Discharge

Yellow, brown, or even bloody discharge (which may also accompany a pungent smell) from your GSD’s ears are signs of ear mites or serious outer and inner ear infections. 

Yellow discharge is most commonly associated with a yeast infection in German Shepherd ears. 

As mentioned previously regarding ear hematomas, ear mites are typically the cause of waxy or crusty, blackish-brown ear discharge. 

A more serious symptom is bloody discharge. Yeast and bacterial infections may be secondary in causing this, but the more likely cause is either parasites, growth masses, or a torn eardrum. Parasites like ticks, fleas, and mites propagate in your GSD’s ear areas because of the warm, moist environment and the blood-rich vessels that inhabit them. Masses (benign or malignant) are believed to happen because of constant inflammation in your GSD’s ears. Torn eardrums are usually a severe problem and will require immediate German Shepherd ear surgery if your vet deems this to be the cause of bloody ear discharge.

How do I Cure German Shepherd Ear Problems?

Unless your vet deems the problem severe enough to warrant surgery, German Shepherd itchy ears may require simple, non-invasive treatments that can be performed or even made at home. Take note of the following when figuring out what to do about your German Shepherd ear infection.

See also  Overweight German Shepherd - (6 Reasons Why)

German Shepherd Yeast Infection

Your vet will need to prescribe antifungal medication or ointment if a yeast infection in German Shepherd ears is diagnosed. Tablets and vaccinations will be prescribed if necessary. If the vet deems that your GSD’s middle or inner ear has been compromised, a deep clean of its ears may need to happen and the prospect of German Shepherd ear surgery may need to be considered.

Prevent this by cleaning your German Shepherd’s dirty ears and keeping them dry afterward.


Your vet will begin treatment by cleaning your GSD’s ears, but will also most likely require you to continue German Shepherd ear infection treatment at home by prescribing medication, special cleansers, or shampoos and even showing you how to clean your GSD’s ears. Not following your vet’s orders may result in damage to your GSD’s inner and outer ears and even permanent hearing loss.

You will also want to inquire about how contagious the ear mites are and if your other pets (if any at all) will need to be checked as well.

How to Treat a German Shepherd Ear Infection

A German shepherd ear infection can be very uncomfortable for your faithful companion. Fortunately, it’s also relatively easy to diagnose and cure with a little good old-fashioned TLC of you, some antibiotics from your vet, and regular cleanings at home.

Here are some tips on how to identify the symptoms of a German Shepherd ear infection as well as the best ways to treat it.

What are the Symptoms of a German Shepherd Ear Infection?

Although ear infections in dogs are often thought of simply being a problem for pets with floppy ears, such as Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels, any dog can get an ear infection — and some breeds, like Shepherds, are more prone to them. Even if your Shepherd’s ears aren’t particularly floppy, they can still get an ear infection when bacteria or yeast causes the existing wax and waxy secretions in the ear to become too abundant.

Because these ear infections often result from there being too much moisture in the dog’s ears, some of the symptoms you’ll want to look for are:

  • A bad smell coming from his ear(s)
  • Excessively dirty ears, with a brown or black waxy buildup that may resemble coffee grounds
  • Scratching or pawing at the affected ear(s)
  • Head shaking, which can be very painful

When you see any of these signs, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. Even if there isn’t a bad smell or brown buildup in your dog’s ear, he can still have an ear infection if his ears are red and/or tender to the touch. If ignored for too long, your dog could develop a more serious infection in his middle or inner ear, which can cause deafness and balance problems.

If your Shepherd’s ears are very red and inflamed but there aren’t any other symptoms present, then he may have what’s called otitis media with effusion (OME), also known as a “jammed up” ear infection. This type of ear infection occurs when the middle part of the ear becomes filled with fluid, which means that even if there’s an infection present it can’t be properly treated with antibiotics. OME is easily diagnosed with a simple swab test and generally goes away on its own within seven to 14 days without treatment, although your veterinarian may try to speed up the process by inserting a small needle into your pet’s eardrum.

See also  Why You Shouldn't Give Your Dog Human Glucosamine - 5 Side Effects

The best way to prevent German Shepherd ear infections is, of course, to prevent moisture from accumulating in your dog’s ears. This can be done either by keeping his ears dry or making sure that they get adequate ventilation. If you live in an area that’s hot and humid during the summer months, then your dog will probably need more than just a bath on Saturday to keep his ears dry — he may also appreciate it if you can find a way to make his ear canals larger so moisture can easily escape.

Some breeds of dogs, such as the German Shepherd shown here, are prone to ear infections.

For this reason, many veterinarians will recommend surgical ear canaloplasty for Shepherds and other breeds with narrow pinnae.

If your dog does get an ear infection, be sure to regularly clean his ears when they’re free of any gunk or wax so he doesn’t get another one in the same canal. However, if you notice an odor coming from his ear after they’ve been cleaned, then the infection might have moved into his middle or inner ear. To prevent this, contact your vet for additional treatment options.

If they do get stuck together again, then some of the ways you can try to separate them at home include:

  • Applying a warm compress to the affected ear
  • Using mineral oil, glycerine, or olive oil to soften the wax
  • Using a water-filled bulb syringe to gently flush out the wax

If your Shepherd has multiple ear infections in a short period or if he seems to be getting them regularly, then you’ll want to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian so they can figure out what’s causing them and prescribe a treatment plan.

What are some German Shepherd ear infection home remedies?

The following list of German Shepherd ear infection home remedies are options to consider when looking for more natural and inexpensive methods to clean German Shepherd dirty ears.

Boric Acid

A solution of 4% boric acid in distilled water is a good German Shepherd ear infection home remedy. Mix these two ingredients and apply topically to your GSD’s ears or as an additive for their next bath. This should keep you from spending an arm and a leg on costly antibiotics for German Shepherd chronic ear infections.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil may be used as a treatment for parasites, but it is recommended to consult with your vet first. Coconut oil has been proven over the years to contain both antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Apply a small amount of this to your GSD’s ear canal and it may help prevent ear mites and yeast infection in German Shepherd ears.

Less starchy diets

A deductive and preventive approach to German Shepherd ear infection home remedies, you may want to consider feeding your GSD less starchy meats and food. Starch is known to slow down GSD’s metabolism, which in turn may affect its inflammatory response. Cut chicken and whole-grain foods from your GSD’s diet and substitute them with more turkey or beef.

Wrapping It All Up

German shepherds are prone to ear infections because of their floppy ears. 

  • The most common symptoms of an ear infection in a German shepherd are shaking their head and scratching at their ears. 
  • A veterinarian will use an otoscope to look inside the dog’s ear canal and determine the cause of the infection. 
  • Treatment for a German shepherd ear infection may include antibiotics, antihistamines, or steroids.
Previous Article
photo by telegraph

German Shepherd Aggression Control and Attack Training

Next Article
photo by cesarsway

Best German Shepherd Training Books

Related Posts