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Healthy Vs Unhealthy Ears in canines

Just like humans, dogs rely heavily on their sense of hearing to navigate the world around them. Healthy ears are essential for their overall well-being and communication. As a responsible dog owner, it is important to understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy ears. By being aware of the signs of potential ear issues, you can take prompt action to ensure your furry companion's optimal ear health. In this blog post, we will explore the characteristics of healthy ears and the red flags indicating unhealthy ears in canines.

Healthy ears:

  1. Clean appearance: Healthy dog ears are generally free from visible dirt, debris, or excessive wax build-up. They appear clean and well-maintained.

  2. Pale pink colour: The inside of a dog's healthy ear is usually pale pink in colour. It indicates good blood circulation and a lack of inflammation or irritation.

  3. No swelling or redness: Healthy ears do not show any signs of swelling or redness on the inside or outside. The skin appears smooth and without any abnormalities.

  4. No discharge: There should be no visible discharge, whether it's yellow, brown, or bloody. The absence of abnormal discharge suggests that there is no infection or underlying ear problem.

  5. Mild, pleasant odour: Healthy dog ears may have a faint, mild odour that is not unpleasant or foul-smelling. Normal ear odour is typically mild and not overly noticeable.

  6. No excessive scratching or head shaking: A dog with healthy ears will not display excessive scratching, rubbing, or head shaking. These behaviours can indicate discomfort or irritation in the ears.




Unhealthy ears:

  1. Redness and inflammation: Unhealthy ears often display noticeable redness or inflammation on the inside or outside the ear. The skin may appear irritated, swollen, or sensitive to the touch.

  2. Discharge: Abnormal discharge from the ears is a common indicator of an ear problem. It can range in colour and consistency, such as yellow, brown, black, or bloody discharge. The discharge may have an unpleasant odour.

  3. Excessive wax build-up: While some wax in a dog's ears is normal, an unhealthy ear may have an excessive accumulation of wax. This can create a blockage or provide a breeding ground for bacteria or yeast.

  4. Foul odour: Unhealthy ears often emit a foul or strong odour. It can be an indication of an infection, trapped moisture, or the presence of bacteria or yeast.

  5. Scratching and head shaking: Dogs with unhealthy ears frequently exhibit excessive scratching of the ears, rubbing their heads against furniture or the ground, or shaking their heads repeatedly. These behaviours are attempts to alleviate discomfort or irritation.

  6. Sensitivity and pain: Unhealthy ears may be sensitive to touch, causing the dog to flinch, yelp, or display signs of pain when the ears are touched or manipulated. Dogs may also resist having their ears examined or touched due to discomfort.

  7. Visible sores or lesions: In severe cases of ear infections or chronic ear problems, visible sores, open wounds, or lesions may be present on the ear flap or within the ear canal. These indicate a more advanced or severe condition that requires veterinary attention.


Remember that each dog is unique, and some variations in ear appearance or characteristics may be normal for certain breeds. It's important to become familiar with what is normal for your specific dog by regularly inspecting their ears and noting any changes. If you notice any abnormalities or concerns, consulting with a veterinarian is always recommended for a thorough examination and appropriate guidance.

Regularly cleaning your dog's ears is an essential part of their grooming routine and contributes to their overall health and well-being. By adopting proper cleaning techniques, being vigilant for signs of potential issues, and seeking professional advice when needed, you can help keep your furry friend's ears clean, comfortable, and free from infections. Remember, a little effort in maintaining their ear hygiene goes a long way towards ensuring your dog's happy and healthy life. And don't forget! Ears are cleaned each time your dog comes for a groom.


Bonus tip!


🐾 Dogs with long, floppy ears are particularly susceptible to ear infections. How can shaving the inside of the ear flap of your dog help? It helps to... ✅ Keep ears cleaner - less hair for dirt and debris to stick to. They dry quicker when the ears get wet too. ✅ Keeps ears cooler ✅ Helps air flow to the ear canal. A lack of ventilation can create a dark, warm, moist habitat, which is the ideal environment for infections, yeast & bacteria ✅ At home, cleaning and administering drops is much easier.


This is a really simple tip which can have a big impact on the ear health of your dog. As a bonus, when the ears are in their natural position, you can't see the shorter hair!

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