Goldendoodle Ear Infections Causes, Treatment & Prevention

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Goldendoodles are among several breeds of dogs with long floppy ears.

As most Goldendoodle owner knows, our furry doodles are prone to all sorts of ailments – and goldendoodle ear infections are no exception.

In fact, according to some estimates, as many as 20% of all dogs suffer from some form of ear infection at one point in their lives.

Ear infections are more common in Goldendoodles (and dogs in general) than in humans because of the shape of their ear canal. And while they can occur at any time of year, they’re more likely to occur during the warm months.

Let’s break down and understand what an ear infection is, how to treat it, and how you can prevent them in the future.

goldendoodle ear infections

The Anatomy of a Dog Ears & Goldendoodle Ear Infection

Your Goldendoodles’ ears are made up of three parts – the outer ear, the middle ear, and the inner ear. All three of these parts play an important role in the treatment & prevention of Goldendoodle Ear Infections. Let’s take a look:

  • Outer Ear – Most visible part of your Goldendoodle’s ear. Made up of the ear flap (pinna) and the ear canal. The outer ear is responsible for collecting sound waves and transmitting them to the middle ear.
  • Middle Ear – A Goldendoodle’s middle ear is designed to protect the inner ear. It’s made up of three small bones (the hammer, anvil, and stirrup) that help to amplify sound waves and transmit them to the inner ear. The middle ear is also connected to the throat via the Eustachian tube.
  • Inner Ear – Your Goldendoodles inner ear is responsible for balance and hearing. The cochlea makes up an important part of the inner ear and is filled with fluid.

Your Goldendoodles’ ear is a very complicated and intricate system that, if any sort of infection or blockage occurs, can cause a lot of pain and irritation.

Causes of ear infections in Goldendoodles

There are a wide variety of things that can cause an ear infection in your Goldendoodle. In general, most ear infections in doodles are caused by three primary reasons allergies, bacteria, and yeasts.

Ear Infections in Goldendoodles can either be:

  • Otitis Externa: Most common in Goldendoodles, the Otitis Externa is an infection of the outer ear canal. Symptoms in Goldendoodles are typically pretty mild and include itchy ears, redness, and swelling.
  • Otitis Medina: When ear infections flare up in your Goldendoodles middle ear, this is known as Otitis Media. Fever, loss of appetite, head shaking, and even vomiting are all potential signs of inflammation of the middle ear.
  • Otitis Interna: Typically, the least common inner ear infection (otitis interna) is caused by some sort of bacterial infection. It is important to note that inner ear infections can be caused by issues in the middle ear, such as pesky ear mites or even a benign polyp growing.

Now that we know Goldendoodles are prone to ear infections and understand the differences in types. Let’s take a more in-depth look into the different potential causes:

  • Bacteria and Yeast – Goldendoodles suffering from an ear infection that is discharging a waxy red or brown substance likely have a yeast infection. Yeast infections can be caused by trapped moisture or even feeding your dog snacks that are too high in sugar.
  • Parasites – Parasites such as the pesky ear mite feeding off your Goldendoodles ear wax can lead to an ear infection. These parasites cause ear infections due to the irritation they cause while feeding.
  • Food Allergies – Caused by an abnormal immunologic response, food allergies can cause your Goldendoodles skin to be itchy and dry. Allergies are one of the most common reasons for chronic ear infections in dogs.
  • Environmental Allergies – Molds, pollens, and dander in the environment can wreak havoc on your Goldendoodles skin and cause allergic otitis.
  • Excessive cleaning – Although cleaning your Goldendoodle’s floppy ears is the best way to prevent ear infections, it can also lead to them. Excess cleaning sessions with your pup can create an imbalance in pH levels which allows for yeast to flourish.
  • Autoimmune disorders – A highly complex system in your Goldendoodle’s body is the immune system. When it isn’t working correctly, it can lead to all sorts of problems, such as ear infections.
  • Wax Build Ups – Some ear wax is normal and healthy for Goldendoodles. Unfortunately, in some cases, the wax can become impacted leading to an ear infection. This tends to lead to a build-up and, unfortunately, an ear infection for your canine friend.

Symptoms of an ear infection in Goldendoodles

Identifying symptoms in the early stages of a Goldendoodle ear infection is important. By doing so, you can limit the discomfort that comes with these annoying ear infections.

Some common symptoms to keep an eye out for are:

  • Odor – Usually, the first symptom is noticed when snuggling with your furry friend. The smell is very distinct and doesn’t usually go unnoticed. The smell is generally described as a sweet or musty smell.
  • Pain – Dogs tend to hide pain due to an instinct developed in the wild, but there are few symptoms we can watch for. If your dog is in pain, your might notice them rubbing or scratching their ears more frequently than usual. You might also notice them tilting their head to one side or even holding it at an abnormal angle.
  • Itchiness – Usually focused around the inside of the ear or even just on the earflap.
  • Scratching or pawing at the ear – Increase in scratching or pawing near the ear, especially located on the inside of the ear or just the earflap
  • Redness inside the Ear – Commonly caused by allergies or wax build-up, redness occurs due to inflammation.
  • Head-Shaking or tilting – Usually one of the most visibly noticeable symptoms. Your dog will likely be shaking their head or tilting it to one side due to the pain associated with an ear infection.

In more severe cases:

  • Loss of Balance or Coordination
  • Walking in circles
  • Hearing loss
  • Unusual eye movement

Treatments for ear infections in Goldendoodles

We can’t stress the importance of catching and treating a Goldendoodle ear infection early enough. Limiting the exposure of the infection to your dog’s ear canal is key to a speedy recovery.

Once the Goldendoodle ear infection is noticed, we recommend a visit to the vet for an official diagnosis.

Once at the vet, your veterinarian will likely:

  • Clean your dog’s ears – Usually done first, this step will allow your vet to get a better look at the inside of your dog’s ear and determine the severity of the infection.
  • Assess the condition of your dog’s ear – To gain a better understanding of the underlying cause, your vet will likely assess the condition of your dog’s ear.
  • Conduct cytology – A sample of the cells inside your dog’s ear will be taken and examined under a microscope.
  • Medication – Once your veterinarian has cleaned and assessed your dog’s ear, the vet will prescribe the appropriate course of treatment. This usually involves a medicated cleaner, antibiotics, or anti-inflammatory medication. Topical mediation can also be used in some cases.
  • Total Ear Canal Ablation (TECA) – In more severe cases of irritated ears, a veterinarian might suggest a surgical procedure known as TECA. This involves the removal of the entire ear canal.

When treating your Goldendoodles ear infection, never use a human ear cleaner or q-tips inside your dog’s ear. This can lead to further irritation and even damage.

How to prevent ear infections in Goldendoodles

Learning to prevent these ear infections will go a long way in keeping your Goldendoodle healthy and pain-free.

Here are some tips to follow:

  • Regular ear cleanings – We recommend once-a-month ear cleanings for your Goldendoodle. We also recommend having a vet demonstrate how to properly clean your dog’s ear the first time.
  • Keep ears dry – The quickest way to an ear infection in your Goldendoodles’ ear is a damp, warm environment. After baths or swimming, be sure to completely dry your dog’s ears.
  • Plucking hairs – Goldendoodles may tend to shy away from plucking their doodles ear hairs for fear of the pain. However, we recommend regular plucking to keep their hair from trapping moisture inside their ears.
  • Healthy Diet – A healthy diet plays a major role in the prevention of infections. Be sure your dog is getting all the nutrients they need for a strong immune system.
  • Avoid allergies – Be aware of any allergies your dog might have. Common allergies in dogs include dust, pollen, and mold.

How to clean your Goldendoodle’s ears to prevent infection

Tiffany Tapp, DVM, DACVD, a board-certified veterinary dermatologist, recommends a simple 50/50 water/white vinegar solution to keep ears clean. The vinegar in the solution will help to break-down wax build up and the water will help to flush any debris out of the ear.

Regardless if your solution is homemade or OTC, you will start by squeezing the solution into your dog’s ear canal until it is full, then massage the base of the ear for 30-60 seconds. During the massage, you should hear a squishing sound, indicating that the solution is getting down into the ear canal and breaking down the wax.

After massaging, allow your dog to shake their head to remove any loose wax and solution, then use a cotton ball to remove any solution and wax that might be dripping out of the ear.

Repeat this process for the other ear.

Conclusion

Excess moisture, foreign bodies, and excessive ear wax in your dog’s ear canal can all lead to an ear infection. Your Goldendoodle’s ear hair can also play a role in the development of infection by trapping moisture and debris in the ear.

Learning to identify infections and regular ear cleaning with a high-quality cleaning solution designed to provide relief can help prevent future issues. Be sure to consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your dog’s ear health.

Sean Green

Owner & PetCareAdvice.com

PetCareAdvice.com was founded by Sean Green, a leading developer of several pet-related websites and devoted pet owner. Sean is supported by a knowledgeable team of pet-loving writers who work together to provide you with a wealth of information about training and caring for your dog.

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