My Dog’s Ear is Swollen: Why Is This?

Discovering that your dog’s ear is swollen can be alarming. This common issue might arise from various causes, each needing careful evaluation by a veterinary professional. At Rutherford Veterinary Hospital in Dallas, TX, we often see pets with this condition and understand how distressing it can be for both the pet and their owner. This blog explores the possible reasons behind swollen ears in dogs and emphasizes why professional diagnosis and treatment are essential. If your dog is experiencing this issue, please call us at (214) 826-4166 for expert advice and care.


Common Causes of Swollen Ears in Dogs

Allergic Reactions

Allergies are a frequent cause of ear swelling in dogs. These can be triggered by food, environmental allergens like pollen, or reactions to flea bites. An allergic reaction can make your dog’s ears red, swollen, and itchy. Monitoring your pet for other signs of allergies, such as scratching, sneezing, or skin issues, can provide helpful clues and should be reported to your vet.


Bacterial Infections

A bacterial infection is often at the forefront when a dog presents with a swollen ear. This condition, known as bacterial otitis, can cause significant discomfort and swelling. Bacterial infections typically require antibiotic treatment, emphasizing the importance of a veterinary consultation to obtain the correct diagnosis and treatment plan.

Fungal Infections

Another type of infection leading to swelling is fungal, commonly caused by yeasts. Dogs with floppy ears are particularly prone to such infections due to the ideal warm and moist environment that their ear structure creates. Symptoms often include a foul odor, dark discharge, and severe itchiness.


Ear mites are tiny parasites that can invade the ear canal, leading to intense itching, redness, and swelling. They are highly contagious among animals and can spread rapidly in multi-pet households. A vet can easily diagnose ear mites through microscopic examination of ear discharge.

Diagnostic Process

When you bring your dog to Rutherford Veterinary Hospital for a swollen ear, our veterinary team will perform a thorough examination to determine the underlying cause. This process might include:

  • Physical Examination: Our vets start with a physical exam of your dog’s ear, assessing the extent of swelling and checking for any signs of injury or foreign bodies that might be causing irritation.
  • Diagnostic Tests: Depending on the initial findings, various diagnostic tests such as skin scrapings, swabs, and possibly allergy tests may be recommended. These tests are crucial in pinpointing the exact cause of the swelling and formulating an effective treatment strategy.

Treatment Options

Treatment will vary depending on the diagnosed cause but typically includes:


Prescription medications such as antibiotics or antifungals are commonly used to treat infections. In cases of allergic reactions, corticosteroids or other anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed to reduce swelling and discomfort.

Ongoing Care

Managing ear health in dogs with recurrent issues might include regular cleanings and preventive care measures. Your vet will guide you on the best practices for maintaining your dog’s ear health and preventing future problems.

Prevention Tips

Maintaining good ear health is vital in preventing ear swelling. There are a few different ways  to minimize the risk of ear problems such as: 

  • Regular ear cleanings
  • Prompt attention to any signs of discomfort 
  • Managing your pet’s allergies
  • Keeping up with flea prevention 

The Importance of Quick Response to Swollen Ears

If you notice your dog’s ear is swollen, it’s important to act quickly. Contacting Rutherford Veterinary Hospital at (214) 826-4166 allows our team to provide the necessary care to address this uncomfortable issue promptly. Early veterinary intervention not only ensures your dog’s comfort but also helps in preventing more serious health complications. Our experienced professionals are dedicated to the well-being of your pet and are equipped to offer the best care possible. Ensuring your dog receives timely treatment can lead to a faster recovery and a happier, healthier pet.