A Labradoodle ear infection is one of the health ailments that occurs most frequently in this poodle-mix breed. If you think your Labradoodle may have an ear infection, you aren’t alone. According to the AKC, 20% of all dogs will have some form of ear disease.
Dogs who tend to be more at risk for ear infections include those with hairy inner ears and those with floppy ears. Sounds an awful lot like Labradoodles, doesn’t it?
Luckily, if caught early and treated effectively, a Labradoodle ear infection tends to be fairly low-risk and low-cost to treat. On the other hand, if left unchecked, it can turn into a far more critical issue and potentially cause your dog to permanently lose their hearing. Additionally, if you don’t take proper preventative measures, ear infections tend to happen frequently.
Keep reading as we take a closer look into Labradoodle ear infections and what information you need to be aware of as an educated dog owner. We’ll discuss possible causes, show you how to identify common symptoms, and go over best practices for treatment and prevention.
Labradoodle Ear Infection Causes
The majority of ear infections in Labradoodles are a result of yeast or bacteria. The hairy and floppy ears of Labradoodles create ideal conditions for these organisms to live as airflow is blocked and moisture is trapped. Swimming or taking a bath can sometimes play a part in this buildup of moisture and, as a result, increase a dog’s odds of getting an ear infection.
Some other causes of Labradoodle ear infections other than bacteria and yeast include hormonal imbalances, wax buildup, allergies, foreign bodies, injury to the ear canal, and excessive plucking or cleaning.
Even if you follow the best practices for preventing a Labradoodle ear infection, your dog may still end up getting them due to the prevalence of the condition in this breed. Unfortunately, these costly, unexpected veterinary expenses can quickly add up and strain your finances. This is one reason why we recommend all responsible dog owners get a free, online pet insurance quote from Healthy Paws.
Related: Veterinarians Weigh In: Should You Get Pet Insurance?
Labradoodle Ear Infection Symptoms
Your Labradoodle can experience pain and discomfort from ear infections. As such, it’s critical that we can identify the symptoms as quickly as possible so that treatment can be given early on. Here are some of the more common symptoms to be aware of:
- Walking in Circles
- Redness and Swelling
- Excessive Head Shaking or Ear Scratching
- Crust or Scabs
- Ear Odor
- Discharge or Wax Buildup
- Hearing Loss
- Loss of Balance / Disorientation
If your pup is showing signs of a Labradoodle ear infection, it is now too late to try the preventative measures we’ll discuss below. Attempting to use preventative measures to treat an existing ear infection may make the situation worse rather than better.
If your Labradoodle is experiencing symptoms of an ear infection, you should give your veterinarian a call to schedule an appointment. Alternatively, you can click here to be connected 24/7 to a licensed, verified veterinarian who will be able to provide additional insight into how severe your pup’s ear infection is and talk with you about possible treatment options.
Labradoodle Ear Infection Treatment
A few factors can influence the proper treatment for a Labradoodle ear infection:
- The infection’s cause
- Where the infection is located (inner or outer ear canal)
- How severe the infection is
When performing your dog’s exam, your vet will do a handful of tests to answer those questions and suggest appropriate treatment options for your Labradoodle’s ear infection.
To begin with, your veterinarian will start with a simple visual exam of the ears. They’ll be looking for things like swelling, discharge, and redness while determining if your dog is in pain. They’ll also take the time to examine your Labradoodle’s ears with an otoscope. This helps them see the eardrum and ear canal better.
Additional tests your veterinarian may suggest include swabbing the ear for microscopic evaluation, performing a culture of samples from the ear, and taking biopsies or x-rays in more serious cases.
After the initial exam, your veterinarian will clean the ears of your pup and prescribe a topical medication or an ear cleanser for at-home use. Sometimes an oral medication will be prescribed for severe Labradoodle ear infections.
For chronic or severe cases of Labradoodle ear infections, a veterinarian may suggest surgery to stop the infection from reoccurring or worsening. This only occurs in rare cases.
Regardless of which treatment is decided upon, having pet insurance can help you save up to 90% off your veterinary bills. Thanks to pet insurance, you’ll never have to decide against getting the best treatment for your Labradoodle’s health because you can’t afford it. For this reason, we recommend all responsible dog owners get a free, online pet insurance quote from Healthy Paws.
Related: Is Pet Insurance a Waste of Money?
Labradoodle Ear Infection Prevention
Want to prevent the occurrence of a Labradoodle ear infection? Thankfully, there are a few simple steps we can take. These best-practices are meant to prevent against bacteria and yeast by reducing excess moisture in your Labradoodle’s ears.
Keep Your Labradoodle’s Ears Dry
If your Labradoodle bathes, swims, or gets wet for any other reason, make sure to dry their ears thoroughly.
Cleaning the Inner Ears of Your Labradoodle
Take the time to clean your Labradoodle’s ears on a weekly basis with a veterinarian-recommended ear cleansing solution or wipes like these available from Amazon:
Cleaning the ears of your Labradoodle on a regular basis will keep them free of wax buildup and bacteria. It’ll also provide the additional benefit of forcing you to monitor them regularly for any signs of an infection. With regular cleanings, if there is an issue, you’ll know about it within a few days and be able to get treatment quickly.
While regular ear cleanings are extremely important, they’re not always easy. They can be frightening and uncomfortable for your dog until they get used to the process. It’s also critical to make sure you are cleaning your Labradoodle’s ears correctly. Using improper methods can easily damage your pup’s ears or make them more prone to infection by pushing harmful debris further down into the ear canal.
Zak George, the celebrity YouTube dog trainer, has an educational video where he shows you how to clean your Labradoodle’s ears while using positive reinforcement to help them become familiarized and comfortable with this task.
While Zak gets paid to promote a particular brand of ear cleaning products, I choose to save money and use these cheaper, but just-as-effective options available on Amazon:
Trimming Your Labradoodle’s Inner Ear Hair
Trimming your Labradoodle’s ear hair can increase airflow and make them less of a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria. Additionally, with less hair, your dog’s ears become far easier to clean.
Many groomers will trim your Labradoodle’s ear hair by default, but it’s always a good idea to confirm this. If you groom your doodle at home, don’t forget this step!
Related: Short Labradoodle Haircut Ideas: 20 Before and After Photos!
One precaution to keep in mind is don’t confuse trimming your Labradoodle’s ear hair with plucking it. Plucking the hair can do more harm than good. It can cause your dog’s ear to become inflamed and, as a result, increase their risk of a Labradoodle ear infection. While in years past, plucking used to be a recommended preventative measure against Labradoodle ear infections, veterinarians now typically advise against it.