Tell-tale signs your Cocker Spaniel has developed an ear infection

Tell-tale signs your Cocker Spaniel has developed an ear infection

Health & Safety

When dogs suffer from any sort of ear infection, it causes them a tremendous amount of pain and discomfort. Several breeds are more susceptible to ear issues and it's typically because they have long, droopy, pendulous ears which don't allow enough air to circulate in a dog’s ear canals that causes all the problems. One such dog is the Cocker Spaniel, a breed that's notorious for suffering from ear issues which often prove hard to clear up.

Things to watch out for when an ear infection is brewing

It's always a good idea to regularly check a dog's ears, not only to see if there's a problem flaring up but also to see if they have picked up ear mites which dogs do when they come into contact with a dog that has them. Making it part of a weekly grooming routine reduces the risk of this happening so it's important to know just what to look out for. Typical signs of there being a problem with a Cocker's ears are when they start shaking their heads and scratching incessantly at them. Other signs that indicate there is a problem include the following:

  • Your Cocker does not like having their ears touched
  • There's a nasty smell about your Cocker's ears
  • There's a dark, waxy discharge coming from your dog's ears
  • There's a large build-up of wax in your dog's ear canals
  • Cockers often tilt their heads to one side when there's an ear infection flaring up
  • Your dog rubs the side of his head on anything they can find which includes along the floor and walls
  • The hair at the entrance to your dog's ear canal looks thinner than usual and is greasy
  • There's an amount of flaky skin just inside your dog's ear
  • Dogs with bad ear infections often lose their balance and have problems with their hearing
  • A Cocker that's suffering from an ear infection tends to be irritable and lethargic

When a Cocker Spaniel has developed any of the above symptoms, it's time to get them to the vet and the sooner the better because their ear infection has or is turning nasty. Waiting too long can make life uncomfortable for a dog and their condition may take that much longer to treat and clear up. Diagnosing an ear infection in dogs can prove challenging at the best of times, so it's important for a Cocker Spaniel with an ear infection to be seen by the vet at the earliest convenience.

Knowing what causes ear infections

Dogs develop ear infections for all sorts of reasons with one of the main ones being they pick up ear mites from other affected dogs they meet in a park, out on a walk or anywhere else where people take their canine companions for a walk. When a Cocker Spaniel picks up ear mites, the problem can turn nasty very quickly because of the shape and length of their ears. If a Cocker has a large amount of wax in their ear canals, it creates the perfect environment for mites to thrive in and if not treated, the infection can make life extremely uncomfortable for an affected dog. Other reasons why a Cocker may develop an ear infection include the following:

  • Yeast infection
  • Bacterial infection

Apart from yeast and bacterial infections, another common cause more especially in Cocker Spaniels is when they get water in their ears after they've been swimming. It can also happen when they are being bathed and water gets trapped in their ears which creates a nice warm environment, perfect for bacteria to take hold and thrive.

Illness, disease & allergies

Dogs that develop certain diseases can also suffer from ear infections and if they have allergies, this too can trigger an ear infection. Cockers run along with their noses to the ground with their ears dragging along it too which is why they pick up lots of debris on and in them. Grass seeds and other foreign bodies get lodged in their ears which can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. An allergy can also be triggered by other things and this includes certain foods which can then lead to a Cocker developing an ear infection. If a Cocker picks up a grass seed and it gets stuck in their ear causing an ear infection, a trip to the vet may be necessary to have the offending object removed if it has gone too deep rather than attempt to do it yourself.

Fleas & ticks

Cockers can easily pick up a tick or a flea more especially when they are being walked in an area that's often grazed by deer. These parasites can lead to a dog having an ear infection which is why it's so important to regularly treat a Cocker Spaniel with a well-known and effective flea and tick product.

Prevention is much easier than cure

Although it would be virtually impossible to prevent a Cocker from picking up a grass seed or from developing an allergy to something, there are things that can be done to reduce the risk of it happening. Management and regular cleaning goes a long way in picking up on an ear problem. Checking a Cocker Spaniel’s ears should be part of a daily grooming routine which is the best way of preventing a flare up. If the infection has already taken hold, a trip to the vet would establish if it is being caused by some underlying health issue or whether the ear infection is allergy related. The vet would thoroughly examine an affected ear and then treat the problem accordingly.


Once a Cocker has suffered an ear infection, all too often the problem can easily flare up again, so keeping a dog's ears clean using specific dog ear cleaning solution either from the vet or from a reputable pet shop is essential. It is also crucial to keep a Cocker Spaniels ears as dry as possible paying special attention to their inner ear canals after they have been swimming or when they’ve been bathed.

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