There are a range of issues that can lead to bleeding dog ears. While some are simple and require basic management, others can be more serious. Here, our Grass Valley vets talk about the causes of bloody ears in dogs and how you can help stop a dog's ear from bleeding.
My Dog's Ear is Bleeding
There can be several different causes behind the occurrence of dog ear bleeding. This can include discharge from within the dog's ear, puffy tissues, or internal bleeding.
With bleeding that originates in the puffy tissues, there are pockets of fluid that occur, usually due to previous trauma and more commonly in long-eared dogs.
Why are my dog's ears bleeding?
While there can be many different causes, some of the most common reasons why your dog's ears might be bleeding include:
- Trauma: either self-inflicted or caused by an external source.
- Cancer: either benign or malignant.
- Parasitic infestation: such as ticks, fleas, mites, or others.
- Infections: bacterial or fungal infections.
Some cases of dog ear bleeding can have systematic symptoms and conditions, including:
- Bleeding caused by ear infections resulting in a systemic concern may result in a perforated eardrum.
- Your dog will likely scratch and shake their head, which may potentially result in hematomas.
What are the symptoms of bleeding ears in dogs?
Along with bleeding, your dog may also experience other symptoms, like:
- Visible blood on the rim or just inside the ear
- Excessive head shaking or ear scratching
- Pain in the area
- Discharge of any color
- Foul odor
- Swelling of the ear and ear canal
- Issues with balance
- Avoiding opening their mouth
How to Treat Bleeding Dog Ears
The first thing you should do if you notice blood in your dog's ear is to call your vet to schedule an examination. There are a variety of causes behind ear bleeding, some of which can be serious. The only way to properly treat your dog is with a diagnosis and recommended treatment options from the vet.
If your dog's ear bleeding is only a small external cut, there are a few steps you can take to stop the bleeding:
Step 1: Make sure you have your dog in a safe and calm area.
Step 2: Grab your dog's first aid kit, including:
- Styptic powder (cornstarch or flour will also work)
- Antiseptic ointment
- Absorbent pads, gauze, or cotton balls
Step 3: Apply the styptic powder to the wound and hold the absorbent pads with firm pressure until the bleeding stops. If the bleeding does not stop after 10 minutes, you should contact your vet.
Step 4: Apply the antiseptic ointment to the area surrounding the wound, but not directly on it, otherwise, the bleeding may begin again.
If your dog was in a fight with another dog or animal, or if the wound is quite deep, you should contact your primary vet or visit your nearest emergency animal hospital.
What will the vet do for bloody dog ears?
Your vet will perform a complete examination and diagnostics to determine the issue. Once your dog's condition has been diagnosed, they will offer a treatment plan for the concern. Treatment options could include:
- Topical and/or oral antibiotic medications for treating infections
- Pain medications
- Steroidal medications for any inflammation
- Surgical drainage of hematomas
- Clean and flush the ear canal for buildup or foreign body removal.
- Treatments specific to certain diseases
How long will it take for my dog's ears to heal?
Like many illnesses, injuries, and conditions, the faster you begin treatment, the faster your dog will get better.
If your dog has a condition that will cause chronic ear bleeding, your vet will determine an ongoing treatment plan to help manage their symptoms. If the ear bleeding is caused by chronic ear infections, then you will need to ensure you treat each one promptly to avoid complications.
Are bloody dog ears considered an emergency?
No matter what the assumed cause is behind your dog's ear bleeding, you should always bring them to the vet for an examination. Certain situations may require emergency veterinary care, such as:
- Bleeding that does not stop after 10 minutes
- Other signs that your dog may need emergency care (signs of infection or other ongoing or worsening symptoms)
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.