Goldendoodles are cute, fluffy and friendly - but their long ears can also make them more vulnerable to ear infections.
Unfortunately, these infections can cause severe discomfort for your dog and even lead to deafness if left untreated.
If you own a Goldendoodle, it's important to be aware of the signs of an ear infection so that you can act quickly and get them the help they need.
In this article, we'll explore why Goldendoodles are especially prone to ear infections, what symptoms to look out for and how best to treat them.
The Anatomy of Your Goldendoodle’s Ear: Why is it the perfect place for bacteria?
Goldendoodles have long, floppy ears - which can make them more susceptible to infections.
The outer part of the ear is called the pinna and is made up of cartilage and skin covered in fur.
Inside the pinna is the ear canal which leads all the way down to the eardrum.
This canal contains wax glands that produce wax to protect against dirt and bacteria, but if too much wax builds up it will lead to an infection.
This is because the shape of their ear canal creates an environment in which bacteria and yeast thrive, leading to conditions such as otitis externa (outer ear infection) and otitis media (middle ear infection).
Most Common Dog Ear Infection Symptoms
There are a few signs to look out for, when it comes to ear infections in your goldendoodle. Common symptoms of goldendoodle ear infections include:
Head Shaking and Scratching
A common sign of ear infection is when your Goldendoodle shakes their head, or scratches at their ears.
This could be a sign that your dog is trying to alleviate the discomfort and itchiness caused by ear mites or an infection. However, this could also be a sign of anal gland problems or allergies so keep an eye out for any other symptoms. Trust me, if it's an anal gland problem, you will know from the smell!
Redness and Swelling in the Ear Canal
When your Goldendoodle's ear canal is swollen and red, it could be a sign that they have an infection. Because their ears are so long and floppy, air cannot circulate in the way it would with other dogs, making them more likely to get an infection.
Dark Discharge in the Ear Canal
If your Goldendoodle's ear canal has a dark or yellow discharge, it is likely they have an ear infection. The discharge will be thick and even smell bad.
A foul or musty odor coming from your Goldendoodle's ear is a sure sign that they have an infection. It will be difficult to miss, so if you detect such an odor coming from your dog's ears, it is best to take them for a checkup as soon as possible.
Pain and Itchiness
If your Goldendoodle is experiencing pain, itchiness or tenderness in their ears, they could have an infection. If you notice that they are wincing when you touch the area around their ear, this could be a sign of an infection and it's best to seek medical advice as soon as possible.
Narrowed Ear Cannal
In chronic cases, the ear canal becomes narrowed (stenotic) and your goldendoodles ears will appear crusty. This is because the inflamation has been there for a long time.
Causes of Ear Infections in Goldendoodles
There are a few things that can contribute to an ear infection in your Goldendoodle.
Many of the store -bought dog foods contain ingredients that can cause irritation and inflammation in the ear canal. This is why it's important to feed your goldendoodle a high quality food that doesn't contain any artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.
Common Food Allergens are:
- Additives and Food Coloring
Environmental allergies, such as pollen and dust, can also cause inflammation in your Goldendoodle’s ear canal. Pollen is very hard to figure out as there are so many different types that can cause your Goldendoodle’s ear to become irritated, however there are a few common ones such as, grass and tree pollens.
Moisture trapped in the ears from swimming or bathing
One of the most common reasons for ear infections in Goldendoodles is due to moisture trapped in their ears after swimming or bathing. It is important that you dry your Goldendoodle’s ears thoroughly and regularly, especially after water play.
Many owners make the mistake of letting water in their goldendoodles ears while bathing, which can be a big mistake.
After bathing your Goldendoodle, use a clean towel to dry their ears. Be sure to get into the crevices and folds of their ear canal and make sure they are completely dry.
Hormonal imbalances (such as hypothyroidism)
Goldendoodles suffering from hypothyroidism are more prone to ear infections due to the lowered immunity and inability to fight off infection. The condition itself is caused by the thyroid gland not producing sufficient hormones, resulting in a variety of symptoms including skin and ear issues.
Yeast or bacterial overgrowth
Yeast or bacterial overgrowth can cause a dog ear infection, also known as otitis externa.
This type of infection is caused by an imbalance in the natural bacteria and yeast found in the ear canal of your Goldendoodle. When the environment becomes too moist, it creates an ideal condition for yeast to grow and multiply, leading to an infection. And we know that Goldendoodles have floppy ears that can trap moisture and bacteria, making them more prone to ear infections.
Foreign bodies in the ear canal (such as grass seeds)
Foreign bodies in the ear canal, such as grass seeds, can cause goldendoodle ear infections if left untreated. Grass seeds are a common cause of ear infections in goldendoodles because they can easily become lodged in the ear canal and create an environment for bacteria to grow. The presence of a foreign body can also cause inflammation and irritation, which can lead to infection.
Trauma to the ear
Trauma to the ear can cause a dog ear infection in a variety of ways.
The most common cause is an external injury, such as a fight between dogs or deep scratches from excessive scratching or head shaking. Other causes include abscesses formed after a fight, mites, allergies, parasites, foreign bodies, hormone imbalances, tumors or polyps.
Ear mites are tiny parasites that can live in the ear canal of your Goldendoodle. They feed on the wax, dirt, and other debris inside your goldendoodles ears.
They most commonly appear in young puppies and can cause a great deal of irritation, inflammation, and infection if left untreated.
As said before, dogs like goldendoodles who are genetically predisposed to floppy ears are more likely to suffer from ear infections due to the environment that these types of dogs’ ears create.
Floppy ears trap moisture, debris, and bacteria which creates an ideal environment for infection growth.
How to Diagnose Goldendoodle Ear Infections?
If you believe that your Goldendoodle is suffering from an ear infection, it's important not to self diagnose and to take your pup to the vet instead. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose, treat and provide you with tips on how to prevent future infections from happening.
At the appointment, your vet will likely perform an otoscopic examination of your Goldendoodle’s ear canal and tympanic membrane (eardrum) to determine the type and severity of infection present.
They may also take a swab or culture sample to check for bacteria, yeast and other organisms that could be causing the issue.
Once your vet has determined the cause of the infection and its severity, they will then be able to provide you with treatment options that will best suit your pup.
Treatments for Ear Infections In Goldendoodles
The type of treatment your vet prescribes will depend on the cause and severity of the infection, but it may include:
- Antibiotics - to kill bacteria causing the infection
- Corticosteroids - to reduce inflammation in the ear canal
- Anti-yeast medication - to eliminate yeast overgrowth
- Cleaning solutions - to remove any dirt, debris or wax
- Ear drops - to help reduce inflammation and irritation
- Surgery - in cases where the infection has caused damage to the ear canal.
It's important that you follow your vet’s instructions carefully when it comes to administering medications and treatments.
Most likely, if your Goldendoodles ear infection isn't too bad, your vet will prescribe a topical treatment, such as a medicated ear drop or ointment.
It's important to not slack or forget on these treatments, as they are key to ensuring that your pup's infection is properly treated and doesn't return.
If you slack on it, your pups ear will take longer to hear and they will also suffer for longer.
Home Remedies for Goldendoodle Ear Infections
Don't try and treat an ear infection with home remedies, as it can be dangerous and could cause more harm than good.
The only thing you should do is clean your Goldendoodle's ears regularly and visit a vet if you think they have an ear infection.
How to Prevent Ear Infections In Goldendoodles?
A goldendoodle ear infection is easier to avoid then to treat, which is why preventive measures are key.
To keep your pup's ears healthy and infection-free, make sure to regularly clean them using a vet approved or natural cleaning solution. Set up a schedule, so you don't forget! Doing this will help remove any dirt or debris that could be stuck inside the ear canal and create an environment where bacteria can thrive.
Ask your groomer to trim the hair around the ears of your Goldendoodle and pluck any hairs that may be growing inside the ear canal. Doing this will help keep the ears dry and free of debris.
Some other things that you can do to help prevent ear infections in Goldendoodles include:
- Clean your Goldendoodle's ears regularly using a vet-approved cleaner.
- Avoid water getting into your Goldendoodle’s ears while bathing or swimming.
- Monitor your dog for signs of an infection and take them to the vet for treatment immediately if needed.
- If allergies are contributing to the risk of infection, keep them under control with proper nutrition and veterinary-recommended supplements.
- Inspect your Goldendoodle's ears regularly and contact your vet if you notice any inflammation, redness, discharge or irritation in the ear canal.
- Be aware of genetic predispositions - certain breeds have a higher risk of ear infections due to their floppy ears or wax production levels, so it may be necessary to take extra precautions when caring for these dogs.
How to Clean Your Goldendoodles Ear
Goldendoodle ear cleaning can seem to be a tricky process, especially if you do it for the first time. Here is how I usually clean Baileys' (my goldendoodle) ears:
- Get a vet-approved cleaning solution or use a DIY option like apple cider vinegar and water.
- Gently massage the base of your Goldendoodle's ears after adding the liquid to loosen any debris or wax buildup in the ear canal.
- Wipe away the debris with a cotton ball or pad, being careful not to insert anything into the ear canal as this can cause damage.
- Apply talc or an approved ear powder after cleaning to soothe itchy skin and keep your Goldendoodle's ears dry and healthy.
- Contact your vet immediately if you notice any signs of infection such as redness, swelling, odor or discharge from your dog's ears.
When Should I Take My Goldendoodle to the Vet for an Ear Infection?
If you suspect your dog has an ear infection, it is important to take them to the vet as soon as possible. Ear infections can be painful and left untreated, can lead to chronic problems. So don't hesitate, take your pup to the vet as soon as you see any visible signs.
Signs that your Goldendoodle Might Have Chronic Ear Infection
If your Goldendoodle is exhibiting had ear infections more than 4 times a year and is showing any of the following symptoms, it may be a sign that they have a chronic ear infection:
- Excessive scratching or head shaking
- Dark discharge from the ears
- A strong odor coming from the ears
- Redness and swelling of the ear canal
- Pain, itchiness, or crusting in the ears
How to Care for and Treat your Goldendoodle for Chronic Ear Infections
Unfortunately, Chronic Ear Infections don't go away, but with the proper treatment, you can help to keep them in check and reduce the amount of flare ups. Your Vet may prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications.
The Treatment options are the same, like for a regular ear infection, but it is important to ensure that your Goldendoodle’s ears are kept clean and dry in order to prevent the recurrence of an infection.
Be sure to clean their ears regularly with a vet-approved or natural cleaning solution.
What Happens to a Goldendoodle With an Untreated Ear Infection?
Leaving an ear infection untreated can lead to serious health problems in your Goldendoodle, such as deafness and balance issues.
Untreated ear infections can also spread to the inner parts of the ear and even travel to other areas of your pup's body, leading to more severe complications.
It is very important that you seek professional veterinary care if you think your Goldendoodle may have an ear infection.
Goldendoodles are prone to ear infections due to their floppy ears and wax production levels.
To prevent your pup from developing an infection, it’s important to inspect the ears regularly, keep them clean and dry, and contact your vet immediately if you spot any signs of infection.
With the proper care, you can help keep your Goldendoodle healthy and happy!
Can Goldendoodles be prone to ear infections?
Yes, due to their floppy ears and wax production levels, Goldendoodles can be prone to ear infections. It is important to inspect the ears regularly, keep them clean and dry, and contact your vet immediately if you spot any signs of infection.
How can I keep my Goldendoodle’s ears clean to prevent infections?
You can keep your Goldendoodle's ears clean by using a vet-approved cleaning solution or a DIY option like apple cider vinegar and water.
Are there any home remedies for treating ear infections in Goldendoodles?
No, it is important to get professional veterinary care if your Goldendoodle has an ear infection in order to prevent more serious complications. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications for treating the infection.
How often should I check my Goldendoodle’s ears for infections?
It is recommended to check your Goldendoodle's ears at least every other week to make sure they are clean and free of any debris. If you notice signs of infection, contact your vet right away.
Can ear infections in Goldendoodles lead to more serious health issues?
Yes, if left untreated, ear infections in Goldendoodles can lead to more serious health problems such as deafness and balance issues. It is important to seek professional veterinary care for any signs of infection.