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Why is My Dog's Ear Bleeding?

Noticing that your pup's ear is bleeding can be alarming. Below, our Orange County vets discuss the causes of bleeding ears in dogs, other symptoms that may occur, and when to visit your vet.

Dog Ear Bleeding

Bleeding in dogs' ears can have a number of different causes. This can include discharge from within the dog's ear, puffy tissues, or internal bleeding.

If your dog's bloody ear originates from the puffy tissues, there are pockets of fluid that occur usually due to previous trauma and more commonly in long-eared dogs.

Causes of Ear Bleeding in Dogs

As mentioned above, there are a number of possible causes of ear bleeding in dogs. Some of the most common reasons are:

  • Trauma: Either self-inflicted or caused by an exterior source.
  • Cancer: Either benign or malignant.
  • Parasitic infestation: Such as ticks, fleas, mites, or others.
  • Infections: Bacterial or fungal infections.
Your dog may also experience systemic issues in certain cases 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.

Symptoms Related to Bleeding Ears in Dogs

If your dog has bleeding in the ear you may notice these other symptoms as well:

  • 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 Stop Dog Ear Bleeding

The first thing you should do if you notice blood in your dog's ear is to call your vet to schedule an appointment. 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.

Here are some tips on how to treat a bleeding dog ear if your dog's ear bleeding is only the result of a small external cut:

Step 1. Make sure you have your dog in a safe and calm area.

Step 2: Grab your dog's first aid kit:

  • Styptic powder (cornstarch or flour will also work)
  • Antiseptic ointment
  • Absorbent pads, gauze, or cotton balls
  • Bandages

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.

How Vets Treat Bleeding Dog Ear

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 flushing of the ear canal for build-up or foreign body removal.
  • Treatments specific to certain diseases

Recovery Time For Bleeding Ears in Dogs

The recovery time and prognosis for treating bleeding ears in dogs are relatively quick if managed quickly.

If your dog's condition is caused by an ongoing condition then your vet will determine a long-term treatment plan. If the ear bleeding is caused by chronic ear infections then you will need to ensure you treat each one in a timely manner to avoid complications.

When is it an Emergency?

While all instances of ear bleeding in dogs should be seen by a vet, 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 include the symptoms 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.

Our Orange County emergency veterinarians can determine the cause and treat your dog's bloody ear. Contact us right away.

New Patients Welcome

Veterinary Medical And Surgical Group–OC (VMSG-OC) accepts new clients to our specialty services and 24/7 emergency services.

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Contact (949) 201-4100