Why Dogs Ear Smell And How To Treat It

Why Dogs Ear Smell And How To Treat It

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If you have recently noticed that the ears of your pup started to have a specific not so pleasing odor, something must be going on with them. There are a few reasons why dogs ear smell and here we’re going to tell you all of them, along with treatment and prevention tips, of course. 

dog ear cleaner

6 reasons why dogs ear smell

Yeast infections

    Yeast infections on dog’s ears are caused by an overproduction of Candida. This may result in: 

    • Musty smell
    • Pain
    • Itching
    • Swelling
    • Redness
    • Oozing discharge

    If you identify these symptoms on your pup’s ears, you should take them to the vet as soon as you can. They may perform a cytology (taking a swab of the discharge and staining it, to look at it under the microscope) to diagnose this problem. Once diagnosed, your vet may give your dog medication to get rid of the infection, such as pills, ointment, cream or ear drops. 

    Don’t clean your pup’s ears before taking them to the vet if you believe they have a yeast infection, as this may make diagnosis more difficult. 

    Bacterial infections

      Unfortunately, this type of ear infection is much more severe and painful than the yeast one. In this case, you will find redness, swelling, and discharge that will be pus and/or a blood-tinged fluid. Your dog may be experiencing a lot of pain, which can result in aggressive or fearful behavior. 

      There are three types of bacterial infections: 

      • Otitis externa: this type of bacterial ear infection is localized on the outer portion of the ear and it’s usually agitated by the environment. It’s the most treatable kind of ear infection in dogs.
      • Otitis media: this type occurs in the dog’s middle ear, inflaming the eardrum, causing ear odor, and leading to greater sensitivity and discomfort.
      • Otitis interna: this is the most severe kind of ear infection, it affects the innermost part of the ear, linking the ear to the brain. Otitis interna can also compromise your dog’s sense of balance and ambulation, and result in serious, long-term damage.

      Your vet will most likely perform a cytology to confirm the diagnosis. Then, they can provide oral antibiotics or antibiotic ear drops. Your dog may also be given steroids to help reduce inflammation.

      To learn more about dog’s ear infections, read this blog. 

      Ear wax buildup

        Ear wax is the way our dogs’ bodies keep their ears clean and bacteria and pathogens free. However, an ear wax buildup can lead to the development of an unpleasant odor. This smell will not be as strong as the one caused by infections and your dog may not seem bothered by this at all.

        The way to treat it and prevent it is very simple: make ear cleaning part of your dog’s regular wellness and grooming routine. You can do that by using an alcohol-free dog ear cleaner.

        Click here to learn how to use a dog ear cleaner, so you can keep your pup’s ears safe and sound. 

        dog ear cleaner

        Ear mites

          These are a kind of parasite frequently found in dogs and they usually are invisible to the human eye. Check for these signs to know if your dog has ear mites:

          • Foul ear odor
          • Ear discharge that’s thick, dark, and waxy, or resembles sand or ground coffee
          • Excessive scratching or shaking of your dog’s ears, head, and neck

          If, guided by these symptoms, you feel like your dog may have some unwelcome mites on their ears, implement a daily cleaning of your dog’s cleaning with Mokai's alcohol-free dog ear cleaner, you should see improvements with 1-2 weeks of use.  If your dog’s ears are not improving, it’s time to take them to the vet so they can confirm the diagnosis and determine the best course of action. 


            If your dog has recently gone swimming or taken a bath, water may have become trapped on their ears. This can cause a foul odor for a short time or even develop a bacterial infection. You can clean your pup’s ears with an alcohol-free dog ear cleaner to get rid of the smell. 

            Foreign objects

              When our dogs roll around on the grass, have an intense play date with a friend, enjoy the sand at the beach or just take a walk around the park, some foreign objects can get stuck on their ears, such as grass, sand, dirt, leaves or small sticks. They can lead to a depressed airflow and a humid environment that yeast and bacteria can thrive in.

              If you believe your dog as a foreig object stuck on their ear, take them to the vet so they can flush it out. 

              How to prevent dog ear smell

              In order to prevent your dogs’ ears from having an unpleasant odor, and what is more, from developing yeast or bacterial infections, you should clean them regularly, whenever they have a grooming session. 

              How to do it? Easy, use an alcohol-free dog ear cleaner.
              And to do it thoroughly and correctly, follow this easy guide on how to use a liquid ear cleaner.

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