There are multiple reasons why dogs may experience bleeding in their ears. Some of these issues are straightforward and can be addressed with simple measures, while others may require more serious interventions. In this blog, the vets in O’Fallon discuss the causes of bloody ears in dogs and provide guidance on how you can help prevent and manage this condition.

My Dog's Ear is Bleeding

Several different causes can cause dog ear bleeding. These include discharge from within the dog's ear, puffy tissues, or internal bleeding.

With bleeding that originates in the puffy tissues, pockets of fluid occur, usually due to previous trauma and more commonly in long-eared dogs.

Why are my dog's ears bleeding?

There can be many causes for bleeding in a dog's ears, but some common ones 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 from an ear infection that leads to a systemic concern can cause 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

If you discover blood in your dog's ear, the first and most important step is to contact your vet to schedule an examination. Ear bleeding can be caused by a variety of factors, some of which may be severe.

The only way to correctly treat your dog is by receiving a diagnosis and recommended treatment options from a qualified veterinarian. 

However, if your dog's ear bleeding is due to a minor external cut, there are a few things you can do 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
  • Bandages

Step 3: Apply the styptic powder to the wound and hold the absorbent pads with firm pressure until the bleeding stops. If it does not stop after 10 minutes, contact your vet.

Step 4: Apply the antiseptic ointment to the wound's surrounding area, 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 veterinarian will conduct a comprehensive examination and diagnostics to identify the issue. Once the cause of your dog's condition has been determined, they will offer a treatment plan.

The options for treatment 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?

Just like with human illnesses and injuries, your dog's recovery could be faster if you begin treatment as soon as possible. If your furry friend is suffering from chronic ear bleeding, your veterinarian will establish an ongoing treatment plan to manage the symptoms. If chronic ear infections cause bleeding, it is crucial to treat each infection 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.

Have you spotted blood in your dog's ears or other concerning signs? Please contact our vets in O’Fallon right away to schedule an examination.