Torn Ears in a Dog

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Dogs can receive torn ears through energetic activity.

While dogs with long, floppy ears or dogs that spend time outdoors are more prone to getting torn ears, it's a common injury that can affect any dog. If left untreated, torn ears can lead to serious infections and pain for the dog. But unless the wounds are severe, torn ears can be easily treated with a little bit of information.


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Fighting with other dogs can lead to torn ears, and dogs can get their ears torn or caught on brambles or fences. In some cases, very small tears can even be caused by plant seeds, debris or even ticks getting caught in the dog's ears.


A dog with a torn ear will likely be bleeding, and the bleeding may be profuse. Remember that even small cuts can bleed heavily when they are fresh, and you may not have to take your dog to the veterinarian.



With mild tears in the ear, bleeding will often cease within a few minutes if cotton wool soaked in cold water is held firmly to the wounded ear. This will help numb the pain and wash away some of the blood so you can examine the wound. If the wound is more than two inches long, the dog should be taken to the veterinarian immediately; otherwise, it can be treated at home.


If your dog needs to go to the veterinarian, bandaging can secure the wound. A bandage can be wound around the ear and the dog's neck, which will hold the ear steady. A conical Elizbathan collar can also keep the dog from further aggravating the wound.


Home Treatment

If the tear in the dog's ear is minor, the wound should first be cleaned with cold water and an antiseptic. Then the ear can be bandaged with a pad of gauze on either side of the flap. The bandage can be removed in a day, and if the wound looks clean, the bandages can be removed and the wound allowed to heal normally. If the wound looks hot, crusted, or infected, take your dog to the veterinarian.

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.