Does Your Dog Have an Ear Infection How CBD Can Help

Does Your Dog Have an Ear Infection How CBD Can Help

Has your dog been scratching their ears more than usual lately, or shaking their head excessively?  If the answer is, “yes”, then it’s possible that your beloved canine is suffering from an ear infection.  Actually, it is somewhat common for dogs to get ear infections, since the shape of their ear canals, which is very different from the ear canals of humans, makes it easier for infections to thrive.

Now, if left untreated, a canine ear infection can lead to a variety of complications.  But, the good news is that this condition is also highly treatable.  Let’s talk about the signs you should be on the lookout for, when it’s time to take your dog to the vet, and what treatment options are available – including natural products that may help with some of the discomfort that your furry friend is dealing with.

Ear Infections in Canines 

Like we said, ear infections are quite common in canines, affecting up to 20% of all dogs at one point or another.  And, they’re more common in dogs with floppy ears, like Cocker Spaniels and Bassett Hounds, since the shape of their ears allows for more places for bacteria to flourish.  

There are, in fact, a few types of ear infections that can affect a dog:

  • Otitis Externa: In dogs with Otitis Externa, the layer of cells lining the outside of the ear canal becomes infected. 
  • Otitis Media: In Otitis Media, the middle of the ear canal is infected.
  • Otitis Interna: In Otitis Interna, the interior of the ear canal is infected.

To an extent, you may be able to identify which of the above ear infections your dog has by appearance.  However, it’s always important to have the ear infection properly diagnosed by a veterinarian.

Usually, an ear infection begins in the outside of the ear canal (Otitis Externa), and may or may not work its way inside (Otitis Media and Interna).  Once the infection enters the inner part of the ear canal, serious complications may arise if the infection is treated in a prompt manner.  These complications include deafness in that ear, vestibular problems, and facial paralysis.  This is why it’s important to take an ear infection seriously.

Signs Your Dog Has an Ear Infection

One thing that’s important to note is that in some cases, an ear infection may appear asymptomatic.  While it’s extremely likely that your dog is experiencing discomfort, you may not notice any outward signs other than some excess buildup of ear wax.  

Still, the most common symptoms of an ear infection include:

  • Head Shaking: A dog with an ear infection often shakes their head more frequently in an attempt to alleviate discomfort.
  • Scratching/Pawing at the Infected Area: Scratching and pawing the affected ear are common signs of an ear infection, due to the itching and pain a dog may be experiencing.
  • Crusting/Scabbing: If you take a look at the ear, you may notice crusting of the skin, or scabbing.
  • Odor: There may be an unpleasant odor coming from the infection site.
  • Redness: Redness is a sign that the area is inflamed.
  • Swelling: Another sign of local inflammation is swelling of the tissue where the infection is present.
  • Discharge: You may notice dark discharge coming from the infection.
  • Pain: Your dog may show signs of pain, such as whining and disinterest in interacting.

Keep in mind that many of these symptoms are consistent with other relatively common issues as well.  The most common are fleas and ear mites, both of which are parasites that feed on a dog’s blood.  Also, keep in mind that ear mites can cause an ear infection.

What Causes a Canine Ear Infection?

Dogs are more prone to ear infections than humans, because the ear canal is more vertical, and makes an L-shape.  The result of this unique shape is that the ear canal is able to hold in fluid, which creates a consistently moist environment where microbes are able to thrive.  An ear infection may be caused by bacteria or yeast (fungus), and in some cases, both can be present and cause the infection to occur.

More specifically, an ear infection can be caused by:

  • An excess buildup of ear wax
  • Ear mites
  • Foreign bodies entering the ear canal
  • Excessive moisture in the ear area
  • Belonging to a breed that has floppy ears
  • Allergies
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Endocrine disorders, such as disorders of the thyroid
  • Excessive grooming
  • Ear canal injury

Do I Need to Make My Dog to the Vet if They Have an Ear Infection?

In the event that your dog is displaying any symptoms associated with an ear infection, it’s critical that you take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible.  For one thing, any loving dog owner wants to see the problem treated right away so that their dog is no longer in discomfort.  But, more importantly, it’s crucial that the infection is treated immediately to prevent it from spreading into the inner ear canal, which, again, can cause problems like deafness, vestibular issues, and facial paralysis.

When you first visit the vet, you’re going to have to provide them with as much information as possible.  Questions you will likely have to answer include:

  • When did symptoms first occur?
  • Has your dog had ear infections before?
  • What symptoms have you noticed?
  • How do you clean your dog’s ears?
  • Does your dog have any allergies?
  • Is your dog on any medications?
  • Does your dog have a history of endocrine issues?
  • Have you changed your dog’s diet lately?
  • Has your dog engaged in any new activities lately, like swimming in a lake or playing with another dog?

From there, your veterinarian will examine the infection site, and they may need to explore the inner canal of your dog in the event that they suspect a case of Otitis Interna.  This may, in rare cases, require sedation.  Your vet may also take a culture sample to identify the bacteria or yeast causing the infection.

How a Canine Ear Infection is Treated

How an ear infection is treated really depends on the severity and type of infection – and in some cases, the cause as well.  For instance, if it’s an allergy-related infection, you’ll need to prevent allergen exposure, and if it’s linked to a thyroid malfunction, that will need to be treated as well.

In terms of treating the infection itself, there are a few options that your vet will consider based on the exact nature of the state of the infection.  For a mild, external infection, it may be a matter of your vet cleaning your dog’s ear with special medicated cleaner or wipes.  And, in all likelihood, you’ll be prescribed a topical medication to apply to the dog for a specific period time.

For more moderate to severe infections, it’s likely that you’ll be prescribed antibiotics and anti-inflammatories.  We urge you to follow your vet’s instructions completely, as again, failing to treat an ear infection in a timely manner can have major consequences in terms of your dog’s health.

In the event that the infection is very severe, chronic, or untreatable using the methods above, then surgery may be required.  The most common type of surgery for a canine ear infection is a Total Ear Canal Ablation, where the ear canal is removed entirely.  This, again, is only for extreme cases, where your dog’s quality of life or health is severely impacted.

Otherwise, most ear infections do clear up within 1-2 weeks, if the appropriate measures are taken in terms of treatment.  

What if My Dog Has Repeat Ear Infections?

Some dogs are more prone to chronic ear infections.  In most cases, this is caused by allergies, thyroid disorders, or autoimmunity.  It’s important that if your dog has reoccurring ear infections, you inform your veternaian, and let them know about any other potential symptoms your dog is exhibiting.  That’s because chronic ear infections often have underlying causes which need to be treated independently of the infection itself.  If your dog’s ear infection returns shortly after clearing up with treatment, take them to the vet.  

Are There Natural Remedies for My Dog’s Ear Infection?

At the end of the day, we don’t recommend addressing your dog’s ear infection at home.  The bottom line is that ear infections can quickly become serious, and potentially lead to permanent damage.  Because of that, treatment should be left to a vet.

Still, you can do things to alleviate any discomfort, and of course, you can follow some simple for prevention tips.

Tip #1: A Healthier, Allergen-Free Diet

One thing you might want to consider, if ear infections are reoccurring in your dog, is to consider switching up their diet.  Identifying what they’re allergic to is important, and that may require the help of a dog nutritionist, veterinarian, or allergist.  If your dog shows signs of autoimmunity, you may want to really reevaluate their diet altogether.  Many dog owners find success switching their dog to raw food, which seems to be easier on their system to digest due to being more in line with what a dog’s body is designed to eat.   

Tip #2: Keeping Your Dog’s Ears Clean

Of course, keeping your dog’s ears clean regularly can play a big role in preventing ear infections.  You can find antimicrobial ear wipes and topical cleaners that can be used daily, to gently yet effectively kill any potential bacteria or yeast.  This may be the most critical step to preventing ear infections, especially in dogs with floppy ears, who are a lot more prone to chronic infections. 

Tip #3: Monitoring Their Ears and Behavior Regularly

Another important step to take is regularly checking their ears, and their behavior, for the earlier signs of an infection, such as pawing at the ears, shaking their head, and redness around the ear canal.

Tip #4: Using Natural Anti-Inflammatories

If you suspect that your dog has an inflammatory condition, then you may be able to incorporate natural anti-inflammatories into their routine.  First of all, you should avoid inflammatory foods, like grains, dairy, and sugar, which can cause flare-ups that may manifest as ear infections and other chronic symptoms.  You can also find dog supplements that contain anti-inflammatory, natural ingredients which are considered safe for dogs.  Of course, you should never, ever give your dog any anti-inflammatory product that’s intended for humans, as even some anti-inflammatory herbs that our bodies can tolerate are toxic to canines.

Could CBD Help My Dog?

So, what about cannabidiol (CBD), which so many dog owners are swearing by these days?  Cannabidiol is the dominant chemical compound found in the hemp plant.  It’s nontoxic to all mammals, and it’s nonintoxicating, which means that it’s one of the cannabis compounds that cannot get you high, no matter how much you consume.

The reason why so many dog owners have started giving their dogs CBD is because of its role as a cannabinoid.  Cannabinoids are compounds that directly work with the endocannabinoid system – the system that keeps the body in homeostasis, by regulating each individual physiological process to create a state of equilibrium.  The endocannabinoid system consists of cannabinoid receptors, located in each system of the body, and each in charge of regulating a specific process, whether it be inflammation, sleep, pain tolerance, body temperature, mood, cognitive function, etc.

To allow these cannabinoid receptors to regulate processes of the body, they need cannabinoids, like cannabidiol.  CBD attaches to these receptors, which produces a chemical reaction that activates the cannabinoid receptors so that they can do their job. 

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) in a dog looks a lot like that in a human.  What this means is that in all likelihood, cannabidiol offers the same potential benefits to dogs that it does to us.  And, researchers have explored the effects that CBD has on dogs, with extremely promising results.  A study from Cornell University determined that CBD is generally safe for canines, and thus, may offer anti-inflammatory effects as well as other promising potential benefits.

What Then, Can CBD Exactly Do for an Ear Infection?  

Well, cannabidiol does offer both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.  While no studies have been conducted specifically on using cannabidiol for an ear infection, the properties undoubtedly demonstrate that there’s a potential for impressive efficacy.  The anti-inflammatory properties come from the cannabinoid’s ability to actually regulate the body’s inflammation response.  Meanwhile, numerous studies have found that CBD, and other cannabis compounds, may offer profound antimicrobial activity which could be useful against bacteria and yeast.

CBD may be useful to dogs who suffer from ear infections in two ways:

Method #1: Oral applications of CBD could address underlying factors that contribute to the condition, like autoimmunity issues and other forms of inflammation that manifest in the form of ear infections.  

Method #2: Topical applications, as applying CBD topically could address localized inflammation, while helping control microbial activity that could lead to an infection in the first place.

Do They Make CBD Products Just For Dogs?

You’ve likely noticed by now that CBD is everywhere.  Besides the countless online companies for which you may come across, CBD-based products are emerging in all kinds of local businesses, ranging from gas station stores to vitamin retailers.  But, which products are actually right for your dog?

First off, we strongly urge you to choose a CBD product from a company that specializes in formulas for canines.  There are a lot of CBD-infused products out there for humans, but many of them contain ingredients that aren’t healthy for your dog – or worse, toxic, like certain essential oils found in tinctures, etc.  CBD products made specially for dogs are made specifically with a dog’s needs and preferences in mind, to appeal to their senses, offer species-based efficacy, and be completely safe to consume regularly.

Where Can You Find CBD Products For Dogs?

Your best bet is an online retailer, where you can look through a wide variety of dog-friendly products to find exactly what is right for your beloved canine.  Online retailers typically offer a wider selection of formulations, which is ideal because each dog has their own unique needs and preferences.

What Kinds of CBD Products are Available for an Ear Infection?

There are a few different kinds of CBD products on the market that can be given to your dog.  The two main types of products that you will encounter are:

  • CBD Oils: These are bottled oils consisting of cannabidiol extract and a carrier oil, like MCT oil.  Some of these products are flavored, to appeal to a dog’s tastes.  They come in various milligram strengths, plus are extremely versatile.  You can add drops of CBD oil to your dog’s food, administer it sublingually, or even apply it topically, which can be surprisingly effective.
  • CBD Treats: Just like any other traditional dog treats that come in a nice selection of flavors.  This is an effective delivery method, and also, is an easy way to get your dog started on a routine, since few dogs can resist tasty treats. 
  • How Should I Give My Dog CBD for Their Ear Infection?

    If you’re interested in using CBD specifically for your dog’s ear infection, then we strongly recommend that you consider a two-fold routine.  One is giving your dog oral servings of CBD, such as a treat, or a tincture added to their food.  As a secondary option, we recommend applying a couple drops of CBD oil to whatever it is that you use to clean your dog’s ears, for a more targeted, localized approach to using cannabidiol.

    What About Dosing?  

    Well, the good news is, CBD products that’re made for dogs almost always have dosing directions on the product’s label.  The recommended dosages are usually broken down according to your dog’s weight, so you know exactly what the appropriate amount is for your canine.  Again, CBD is nontoxic to dogs, but at the same time, you don’t want to give them more than they need.  Nor do you want to give them too low of a dose, as that would decrease the potential for successful results.

    Might CBD Give My Dog Side Effects?

    There is no known danger when it comes to giving your dog CBD, but at the same time, just about anything can come with side effects, especially if the product isn’t administered properly, or the dosage is too high.  The potential side effects your dog may experience, especially if they consume an excessive amount of a CBD product, include:

    • Drowsiness
    • Excessive sleeping
    • Dizziness
    • Sluggishness
    • Lowered blood pressure
    • Appetite changes
    • Upset stomach

    What if My Dog is Taking Medication?

    If your dog is taking medication for their ear infection, then you’ll want to talk to your vet prior to giving them CBD.  No studies have been done on interactions between commonly prescribed canine medications and cannabidiol.  However, we know that CBD may suppress CYP3A4 in humans, which is an enzyme that metabolizes common medications that humans take.  If this enzyme cannot break down medications properly, the medications may accumulate in the bloodstream.

    Chill Paws CBD Products May Be Able to Offer Your Furry Friend Relief!

    If your dog is struggling with ear infection problems, we encourage you to explore the products at Chill Paws, which are formulated just for our furry companions.  Our products are third-party-tested for quality and safety, and contain all-natural, canine-friendly ingredients that they can’t resist.  We offer CBD oils and treats that can provide your pup’s body with support while they are treated for their ear infection, and may play a role in helping your dog maintain homeostasis through the cannabinoid’s effects related to the endocannabinoid system.  Our products are approved by dog owners around the country, and many precious canines have found relief thanks to our top-notch formulas.

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