Ear Emergencies in Pets

September 15th, 2015

Dealing with a pet emergency can be frightening. Knowing the signs of common pet emergencies and what you can do to alleviate your pet’s pain is an important safety precaution to take.


Common clinical signs of an ear emergency include scratching at ears, shaking head, whining, head tilting, swollen/puffy ear flap, strange odor or discharge from ear(s).


Muzzle your pet or have someone hold the mouth closed while you examine the ears. Look for signs of redness, swelling of the ear flap, discharge or unusual odor. Look for any obvious foreign body (plant material, etc.) and pull it out if possible. If the signs of ear problems persist, call a veterinarian and have your pet seen as soon as possible.

If the ear needs flushing, it is advisable to have your veterinarian do this. Regardless, it should only be done with sterile saline solution. Try to prevent your pet from scratching at the ears or shaking the head excessively as this can make the problem worse. Always avoid getting water in your dog’s ears. Ask your family veterinarian for an ear ‘drying’ agent if your pet loves playing in water and/or frequently experiences ear infections.

Of course, whenever your pet is showing serious signs of a health issue your first step is to contact your primary care veterinarian or an emergency veterinary hospital. If it is indicated that your pet may suffer from a serious condition, a veterinary specialist or emergency clinician is available at an ExpertVet certified hospital.