As much as we love them, dogs do tend to be a smelly bunch. Most often, it's wet or dirty hair or some unkempt teeth that's got your dog smelling a certain way. Sometimes, unpleasant smells can emanate from a dog's ears, too. This odor can be caused by an overdue ear cleaning or an infection. If the latter is the case, you will need to seek treatment to eliminate the infection and the smell. This can be remedied via traditional medicine from a veterinarian, or through home remedies that are just as easy and effective at treating an odorous infection.
Why do dog’s ears smell?
A smell coming from your dog's ears can be a sign that something is wrong. According to PetMD, a big reason that you may be noticing a bad smell coming from your dog's ears is that of an infection. Most dogs may suffer from an ear infection at some point in their lives, many of which are the result of too much bacteria or yeast buildup in their ears. Many people swear they can identify a yeast or bacterial infection by the smell alone, which tends to be moldy or, well, yeasty. Other indicators like redness or swelling around the ears, or constant head scratching or shaking are usually dead giveaways, as well.
Sometimes, ears can smell for harmless reasons, like earwax buildup. In these cases, outside factors like dead skin cells, debris, or water can contribute to build-up inside the ear. This odor will be less offensive than one associated with an infection, so if you don't notice additional symptoms combined with this smell, your dog is likely just overdue for a good ear cleaning.
Common dog ear problems
Ear issues can come in many forms for dogs and are among the most frequent health issues dogs experience. Common irritations include ear mites, hair or fur growing too deep into your dog's ear canal, and allergies, says WebMD. Floppy-eared dogs may contend with infections as the result of water becoming trapped inside their ear, which is why drying your dog's ear with a towel after water-based activities like bathing or swimming is always a good idea. Finally, ear infections aren't hard to come by in dogs. All dogs have a certain amount of bacteria and yeast in their ears, but when either starts to overgrow it can turn into an irritating infection, often resulting in an odor. All of these issues are common and easily treatable with the proper diagnosis and guidance.
Treating a dog ear infection
If you have any dog ear problems on your hands, the good news is that there's usually a pretty easy fix. A visit to a veterinarian will help you determine the specific infection you're working with, which will then lead you to the right solution. In the case of ear infections caused by an overgrowth of yeast, a doctor can prescribe antibiotics, or you can take matters into your own hands with any of the various home remedies for cleaning smelly dog ears. If your dog has a yeast infection in his ears, you can look to the same over-the-counter remedies women rely on to treat theirs: Monistat. An antifungal, Monistat can be used to treat a dog yeast infection by mixing equal parts with Cortizone (to ease any itching associated with the infection) and a bit of water, then inserting it into the ear canal with a medical syringe, according to The Pet Helpful.
If you don't have access to Monistat, you can look to the healing powers of apple cider vinegar to knock out any excessive amounts of yeast or bacteria. A natural antiseptic, ACV is also known for its antibacterial properties and can make a great home remedy solution for anyone looking to take the holistic route. To use apple cider vinegar to treat an ear infection, Dogs Naturally Magazine recommends mixing equal parts ACV and distilled water in a glass. Then, you can either draw the solution up in a medical syringe and squirt it into your dog's ear, or soak some onto a cotton ball and gently wipe the ear down.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.