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Does Your Dog Get Ear Infections After Swimming? - Swimmer's Ear in Dogs

Does Your Dog Get Ear Infections After Swimming? - Swimmer's Ear in Dogs

Many people refer to the hottest days of the summer as the “dog days” of summer. Many people, and their dogs too, like to cool off during these hot summer days by taking a refreshing swim. A frustrating problem for many pet owners is realizing that their dog has an ear infection after swimming—sometimes referred to as swimmer’s ear in dogs. Ear infections can be painful and annoying, so preventing them is important!

What Is Swimmer’s Ear?

Swimmer’s ear in dogs is an infection of the external ear canal. It usually develops in ears that are exposed to moisture, often caused by water that remains in your dog’s ear canals after swimming. This creates a moist environment that aids bacterial growth.

Why Do Dogs Get Swimmer’s Ear?

Dog’s have a uniquely shaped ear canal that is dark and deep, which makes it difficult for water to drop out of the ear. Moisture in the ear creates a perfect environment for the growth of bacteria, which predisposes the ears to inflammation, bacterial infections, and yeast infections.

Symptoms of Swimmer’s Ear

There can be many symptoms of swimmer’s ear. Clinical signs may include:

  • Redness
  • Pain when touching the ears
  • Pawing at the ears
  • Shaking of the head
  • Dark discharge
  • Foul-smelling odor from the ear
  • Bleeding and scabs caused by scratching
  • Rubbing of the ear on the floor

Some dogs will also have symptoms of an allergic skin disease, so you may notice generalized itching, paw licking, and hot spots.

Swimmer’s Ear Treatment

Unfortunately, ear problems in dogs are common. But there are a few steps you can take to help prevent ear issues and swimmer’s ear in dogs!

If the infection is caught early, home treatment for dog ear infections is usually successful. A mild infection can usually be treated with an advanced ear cleaner or topical medication. Using an ear formula will help promote healthy ears and combat the growth of bacteria.

If you think your dog has a severe ear infection, it is best to visit the veterinarian. Your vet can rule out any underlying causes, professionally clean the ears, and give an antibiotic or antifungal if necessary.

Preventing Swimmer’s Ear in Dogs

Unfortunately, ear problems in dogs are common. But there are a few steps you can take to help prevent ear issues and swimmer’s ear in dogs!

Regularly cleaning your dog’s ears after swimming can help prevent swimmer’s ear in dogs. Using a general ear cleaner and a cotton ball to dry will help prevent bacteria and yeast from growing. Be sure to dry your dog’s ears after swimming and bathing, and check your dog’s ears on a regular basis for any abnormalities.

The Merck Veterinary Manual also points out that using drying agents in the ears of dogs that swim frequently can help minimize softening of the ear canal, which will decrease the frequency of bacterial or fungal infections in moist ear canals.

Ear Remedy for Dogs

Thomas Labs® understands the frustration of ear issues in dogs. That’s why we developed Ear Remedy in two different formulations to help promote healthy ears in dogs.

  • Ear Remedy is an herbal supplement that promotes healthy ears and stimulates the body’s natural ability to defend against pathogens. Plus, it helps minimize ear discharge and soothe occasional ear discomfort.
  • Ear Remedy Solution is a gentle ear wash that helps remove dirt, wax, and discharge in dogs. It helps provide relief from itching while cleaning, deodorizing, and soothing the ears.

Untreated ear infections can lead to ear tissue damage and ruptured eardrums, so prevention and prompt treatment are important. Regular cleaning and keeping the ears dry will go a long way in preventing the development of ear infections and swimmer’s ear in dogs!


The materials and information provided on this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your veterinarian or other pet healthcare professional. Consult your own veterinarian if you have medical questions concerning diagnosis, treatment, therapy, or medical attention.

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