Recurring Dog Ear Infections

Jul 23, 2023

Is your dog scratching at their ears a lot? Are they sort of stinky? Recurring dog ear infections can be a pain, but there’s lots you can do to help your best friend. 

Recurring dog ear infections are common in dogs, especially those with ‘floppy’ ears and are often the result of yeast overgrowth in their microbiome and ears! Ear infections in dogs can be stressful and overwhelming for dog parents to deal with regularly. The good news is, there are holistic options that provide excellent results, and they start with helping ensure your dog’s gut health is the best it can be!

What Are Ear Infections In Dogs?

An ear infection in dogs is a common health issue that happens when the dog’s ear canal gets inflamed due to bacteria, yeast, or even mites. Think of it kind of like a minor cold, but in the dog’s ear instead of its nose. Just as a cold can cause their nose to become congested and uncomfortable, an ear infection causes similar discomfort in the dog’s ear. This is why you often see a dog who has an ear infection scratch, shake their head and sometimes even have a smelly discharge from their ears.

Like in humans, dogs’ ears are perfect environments for tiny microorganisms to thrive, especially because of their warm, moist nature. Dogs with floppy ears, like Basset Hounds, Cocker Spaniels, and Golden Retrievers, are more susceptible because their ear structure can trap moisture, and create an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. Breeds with hair in the ear canal, like Poodles and Shih Tzus, are also at an increased risk as the hair can trap debris and moisture. Dogs with allergies, which are common in breeds like French Bulldogs and Boxers, can also be prone to ear infections, as the inflammation caused by the allergic reaction can create a favorable environment for infections.

So, imagine these tiny microorganisms as unwanted guests who sneak into your dog’s ear and cause chaos. Usually, your dog’s immune system can and will tackle these micro-invaders. However, sometimes, their defenses might not be strong enough, especially if the dog has other health issues, allergies, or if there’s something stuck in their ear. This is when these unwanted invaders can overstay their welcome and cause an infection.


Reasons Dogs Have Ear Infections

Ear infections in dogs can stem from a variety of causes. Delving into these different factors can equip us with the knowledge needed to prevent and treat these infections more effectively.

Fungi, Bacteria, and Yeast

Fungi, bacteria, and especially yeast are frequently the culprits behind ear infections in dogs. The warm, moist environment of a dog’s ear canal is a conducive breeding ground for these microbes. Yeast, in particular, is often responsible for recurring ear infections under the right conditions it multiplies quickly. This leads to overgrowth and subsequent infection in various places.


Allergies can cause inflammation in a dog’s ear, making it more susceptible to infections. These allergies could be food-related or due to environmental factors like pollen or dust mites.


Trauma to the ear, often caused by excessive scratching or aggressive ear cleaning, can damage the ear’s delicate tissue, making it vulnerable to infections. It also allows the ear and ear canal to become perfect breeding grounds for dog ear infections.

Underactive Thyroid Gland

An underactive thyroid gland, or hypothyroidism, can lead to various health problems, including ear infections. Hypothyroidism can affect your dog’s immunity, leading to increased susceptibility to infections.


Seborrhea is a skin condition that results in flaky skin (dandruff) and greasiness, and can also affect a dog’s ears. The increased oiliness and wax can trap microbes, resulting in an infection as the microbes multiply.

Foreign Objects

Foreign objects in the ear, like plant seeds or grass awns, can cause irritation and lead to an infection, especially if not promptly and properly removed.

Signs and Symptoms of Recurring Dog Ear Infections

Understanding the signs and symptoms of recurring ear infections can help in early detection and treatment. Watch out for:

  • Excessive scratching or pawing at the ears
  • Redness and swelling of the ear canal
  • Unpleasant odor
  • Yellow, brown, or bloody discharge
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Hearing loss

The Connection Between Yeast Infections, the Microbiome, and Dog Ear Health

The connection between a dog’s gut health, their microbiome, and ear infections, particularly those caused by yeast, is significant. The gut microbiome is the community of microorganisms that live in the dog’s gastrointestinal tract. A balanced microbiome is crucial for overall health, including a strong immune system.

When the microbiome is imbalanced, opportunistic organisms like yeast can thrive. This imbalance can lead to yeast overgrowth in the gut, which can then impact other areas of the body, including the ears, and cause infections.

A healthy microbiome is critical for maintaining a balanced immune response. An imbalanced microbiome, or dog dysbiosis, can lead to an overactive immune response, causing inflammation, a common precursor to infections. This often happens in allergic reactions in dogs, and you see the results when histamine levels are far too high.

The first and best way to address the health of recurring dog ear infections is to address the health of your dog’s microbiome.

Maintaining a Healthy Microbiome May Help Prevent Dog Ear Infections

To maintain a healthy microbiome and, by extension, possibly help ward off recurring based ear infections in dogs, consider the following steps:

Balanced, High-Quality Diet

A diet rich in fiber and low in sugars can help maintain a healthy balance of gut microorganisms. Also, a diet with adequate protein can support a healthy immune system.

Probiotics and Prebiotics

Probiotics can add beneficial bacteria to the microbiome, improving balance, while prebiotics feed these helpful microbes. Both can be beneficial for overall gut health.

Regular Vet Cleanings and Vet Check-ups

Routine cleanings with a vet-approved cleaner can help keep your dog’s ear canals clean and not great for yeast takeover. Additionally, regular veterinary care can help identify and address potential health issues, including ear infections, before they become serious problems.

How May Bernie’s Perfect Poop Help With Recurring Ear Infections?

Bernie’s Perfect Poop was purposely designed to enhance your dog’s gut health. We formulated it with high-quality fibers like Miscanthus grass, dried pumpkin and flaxseed, and then added prebiotics, probiotics, and digestive enzymes for ultimate gut health. It helps digestion, optimizes nutrient absorption, and bolsters overall gut health. The fiber helps maintain a healthy digestive process, ensuring your dog’s system stays clean and functional. Prebiotics and probiotics work together to balance the gut microbiome, ensuring a healthy mix of bacteria that aid digestion and strengthen the immune system.

And all this may play a crucial role in preventing recurrent ear infections in dogs. The immune cells located in the gut are the first line of defense against potential invaders, including the bacteria and yeast that cause dog ear infections. By boosting gut health and, in turn, immunity, Perfect Poop may help keep these infections at bay. It helps keep the gut microbiome balanced, preventing the overgrowth of opportunistic organisms like yeast that can trigger recurring ear infections.

Additionally, Bernie’s Perfect Poop may also help manage food allergies, which are often linked to recurring ear infections in dogs. A balanced gut microbiome can help reduce inflammatory responses to certain foods, which minimizes one of the key triggers of ear inflammation and subsequent infections. Incorporating Bernie’s Perfect Poop into your dog’s routine could be a practical step toward improving gut health and preventing recurring ear infections, That’s what we call a win-win!

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