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Preventing Ear Infections in Beagles

Any dog can develop an ear infection, but some breeds are more prone than others. There are several factors which increase the Beagle’s risk for ear infections, but there are still things you can do to prevent them. Keep reading to learn the signs and symptoms of ear infections in dogs and to receive some simple tips for preventing them.

Signs and Symptoms of Ear Infections

There are two types of inflammation that are commonly caused by ear infections – otitis media and otitis interna. Otitis media affects the middle ear while otitis interna affects the inner ear. All dogs have the potential to develop ear infections, but they tend to be more common in dogs with long, floppy ears and dogs that have a lot of hair in or around the ear. Bacteria tend to breed rapidly in warm, moist conditions so, if your dog’s ears get wet, it increases his risk for infection. Dogs with long, floppy ears and hairy ears don’t get as much airflow to keep the ears dry which is why their risk for developing ear infections is higher.

Ear infections in dogs can range in severity, largely depending on how long they go untreated. In the early stages of an ear infection, your dog might only have mild symptoms such as a brown or yellow discharge in the ear and scratching the ear. As the infection gets worse, your dog’s ears might develop an unpleasant odor and the skin in and around the ear may become swollen and inflamed. As the infection causes more itching and irritation, your dog might develop scabs or crusts inside or around the ear and he may sustain some hair loss as well. You may also notice your dog shaking his head or rubbing it on things. With severe ear infections, some dogs have a loss of balance, unusual eye movements, or may even develop hearing loss.

Tips for Preventing Ear Infections

The best thing you can do to keep your dog’s ears from getting infected is to keep them clean and dry. If you use your Beagle for hunting, check his ears after you get home to make sure they are dry and to check for burrs or other things that might get caught in his fur and cause irritation around the ear. When you bathe your Beagle, make sure to keep his face dry – if you need to wash it, use a damp washcloth and don’t get any water in his ears. If recurring ear infections become a problem, talk to your veterinarian because it could be an issue of allergies – Beagles can develop seasonal allergies as well as environmental allergies and food allergies.

An ear infection might not sound like a big deal to you but, left untreated, it can progress into a fairly serious problem that causes your dog a lot of pain or discomfort. Check your dog’s ears at least once a week to make sure they are clean and dry. If your dog seems to be highly prone to infections, consider cleaning them once a week or so with a dog-friendly ear cleaning solution.

Photo credit: Ermolaev Alexander/Shutterstock

Should you have a concern regarding the health of your Beagle(s), you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is presented solely for educational and informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving veterinary care for your Beagle(s).