Although dogs can't tell you what's wrong, when they have an ear problem it's usually not hard to guess. Habitual scratching or head shaking are two of the most common signs that your dog is experiencing aural discomfort. If his ear flap is swollen, it's important to determine the cause to know whether a dog swollen ear flap home treatment is in order.
Those pesky insects
Mosquitoes aren't just a nuisance for humans, they'll happily feast on a dog as well. Your dog's ear flaps or other areas with exposed skin often roll out the dinner buffet for these blood-sucking insects. It's not unusual for dogs to get stung on the nose, face, or ears by bees, wasps, spiders, or other insects. If you see your dog jump suddenly, look around for the source of the bite.
Ants, bees, mosquitoes and other pests usually cause minor swelling with minimal irritation to your pet. However, some dogs can have localized allergic reactions with more swelling, and a poisonous spider bite could be dangerous. If your dog is scratching repeatedly at the site of the bite or sting, you can relieve the itch with 1% hydrocortisone cream, according to Drugs.com.
Other topicals can be dangerous. Calamine lotion, for example, can cause stomach upset if your dog paws it off her ear and then licks the substance off her paw. More home remedies for insect stings include making a paste of baking soda and water, or placing a bag of frozen veggies wrapped in a towel over your pet's ear to take out the swelling, says VCA Hospitals.
Ear mites and ear infections
Repeated scratching or head shaking from the discomfort of an ear infection or ear mites can also cause swelling in your dog's ear flap. In this instance, the swelling is a secondary symptom of a greater problem that requires veterinary attention. However, wiping your dog's ears with a dilute antimicrobial wash can help reduce the itching and inflammation while you're waiting for your vet appointment.
Dog Health Remedies recommends several home remedies for ear infections and dog swollen ear flap home treatment. Moisten a cotton ball in any of the following concoctions and wipe your dog's ear flaps and inside of the ear to help relieve irritation, mites, and itchy gunk.
- Green tea — Steep two tea bags in a mug of water and let cool.
- Calendula — Add one teaspoon of calendula extract to 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt in a cup of warm water.
- Oil of oregano — It's essential to dilute this oil in a carrier oil or aloe vera gel to prevent a burning sensation from this "hot" oil. Two drops in 30 millimeters of aloe vera gel are recommended by Dog Health Remedies.
Dog ear hematoma home treatment
Occasionally, violent head shaking and scratching can cause a blood vessel in your dog's ear to rupture and cause a fluid-filled sack known as a hematoma. Although most hematomas resolve by themselves eventually, according to Mar Vista Animal Medical Center, they can leave severe scarring that results in permanent hearing loss or an unsightly "cauliflower ear."
Just "letting it be" can result in several weeks of discomfort for your dog. Your vet can aspirate or perform a minor surgical procedure on the hematoma to relieve the pressure. Pain-relieving ointments or medications will help keep your dog comfortable during the healing process and prevent complications such as infection.