Golden Retriever Ear Infection – How To Treat And Prevent It 

Any dog can get an ear infection, but some breeds tend to experience them more often than others.

For example, dog breeds who:

  1. Love to swim or play in the water. (Golden Retriever, CHECK)
  2. Those who have big floppy ears are more prone to ear infections. (Golden Retriever, CHECK)

Hmmm…sounds like Goldens are at high risk for ear infections.

A golden retriever ear infection is a common complaint encountered in veterinarian offices.

If you notice your golden retriever is scratching their ears more than usual or you notice any discharge, it’s a good idea to visit your vet for a check-up.

Itchiness and discharge often indicate that your dog is suffering an ear infection or otitis, a type of inflammation.  

Recognizing ear infection symptoms, knowing what causes them in the first place, and giving your dog the right treatment is key to keeping your four-legged friend healthy.

Preventing ear infections in your golden retriever will save your pet from unnecessary pain, too! 

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about golden retrievers and ear infections.

I’ll cover how to prevent and treat ear infections as well as how to identify when your dog may be suffering from one. 

Golden Retriever ear infection

How To Recognize An Ear Infection In Your Golden Retriever

Recognizing the symptoms of an ear infection in your golden retriever, ideally sooner rather than later, will prevent your dog from suffering from severe pain or infection.

Looking out for the following behavior will alert you if your dog has developed an ear infection:

  • Itching, scratching, or rubbing the ear or surrounding area
  • Smelly discharge or odor from the ear
  • Redness in or around the ear
  • Flinching when touching the ear
  • Rapid shaking of their head
  • Tilting or holding their head at an angle

These are common signs that your dog is battling an infection of the ear.

It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out for appetite loss as well as issues with balance or hearing, as these less common symptoms can also indicate something is wrong with your dog’s ears.

If any of these signs are present, it’s recommended you schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.

Don’t be tempted to put anything into your golden retriever’s ear before consulting with your vet!

What Causes Ear Infections In Golden Retrievers?

Golden retrievers are uniquely prone to ear infections.

This is because certain characteristics of this dog breed make it easier for your golden retriever to get an ear infection or experience inflammation. 

Floppy Ears

What Causes Ear Infections In Golden Retrievers?

Dogs with long, floppy, or heavy, drooping ears are more likely to develop an ear infection.

This is because this type of ear structure allows for moisture and warmth to be trapped inside the appendage. Long, floppy ears are also more difficult to clean due to their unique structure.

This encourages bacteria and yeast growth which, if left untreated, results in painful infections of the ear.

Thick Fur/Double Coat

All types of golden retrievers have a double coat and are known for their thick and luscious fur that is designed to keep them warm in the cold or wet seasons.

Your golden’s uniquely dense and fluffy coat makes them incredibly hardy in harsh weather conditions.

However, too much fur around the ears traps moisture and warmth in this area, increasing the risk of bacteria and yeast infections. 

Hair Growth In The Ears

Similar to other dog breeds, golden retrievers have quite a bit of hair inside their ear canals.

It is crucial to keep the hair growth in their ears clean, trimmed, and properly managed to prevent infections from developing.

Without proper, consistent management, debris and wax build up in the ears, increasing the risk of infections.

Pay close attention to the hair in your golden’s ears and check them often–ideally daily–for any debris.

Allergies And Thyroid Disease

Underlying conditions such as allergies and thyroid disease can also give rise to unpleasant ear infections.

Golden retrievers are especially prone to a type of thyroid disease known as autoimmune thyroiditis.

If you notice your dog scratching their ears, they could be suffering from this condition as well. 

Lovers Of Water

Golden retrievers are excellent swimmers, and they love to play in the water! It’s not unusual to find your dog swimming at every opportunity.

However, if water gets into the ear canal and becomes trapped, your dog could develop a painful ear infection if you don’t clean their ears out thoroughly and as soon as possible. 

It’s a good idea to get in the habit of cleaning and drying your dog’s ears after every swim to prevent debris from building up and causing infection.

Lucky for us our Golden Retriever doesn’t love the water. However, she does like to sit on the step in our pool and get her little bum wet. 🙂

Other Causes

Golden retrievers can get an ear infection because of any of the following causes shared by other breeds:

  • Growths or polyps in the ear canal
  • Ear mites
  • Certain cancers
  • Foreign objects such as grass, dirt, rocks, etc.
  • Physical injury to the ear

Most ear infections aren’t contagious, so you don’t have to stress about your golden retriever socializing with other dogs in the local doggie park during the healing and treatment process!

Golden Retriever Ear Infection Treatment

Golden Retriever Ear Infection Treatment

For your vet to make a diagnosis, they’ll have to first do an inspection of your dog’s ears as well as run some tests.

Your vet will take samples to determine the type of infection before recommending a treatment plan. 

They’ll inspect your dog’s ears to ensure there’s no damage to the eardrum and check if your dog is battling an allergy.

Based on the outcome of the test results and physical examination, your vet will put together a treatment plan.

The treatment plan could include all or any of the following:

  • Ear cleaning
  • Topical treatment
  • Oral medication
  • Dietary changes (especially if your pet has a food allergy)

Following your golden retriever’s ear infection treatment plan as recommended by your vet is vital to restore your dog’s overall wellbeing.

Scheduling a follow-up appointment ensures your dog is responding well to the treatment and that the ear infection clears up completely and doesn’t return.

How To Prevent An Ear Infection

Preventing an ear infection in the first place will save both you and your dog a lot of pain and frustration.

Knowing that golden retrievers have a high chance of getting an ear infection means you can implement some prevention strategies from the start. 

Keeping your dog’s ears clean regularly with something like Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner for Dogs & Cats will help to prevent microbial activity as well as debris and wax build-up.

It works well for both sensitive ears and dogs battling chronic otitis. 

Cleaning and drying your golden retriever’s ears after swimming in water or being out in the rain will also help prevent the onset of unpleasant ear infections.

Using a product such as Pet MD Aloe Vera and Eucalyptus Dog Ear Wipes helps keep ears clean and dry. 

Carefully trimming excess fur in and around the ears can prevent bacteria and yeast infections from starting.

Monitoring your dog’s ears regularly will help catch an infection in its early stages before it turns into something more serious and painful. 

Treating and keeping allergies under control with Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Hydrolyzed Protein HP Dry Dog Food can also prevent ear infections from getting out of control.

If your golden retriever has a thyroid disease, managing it properly will stop ear complications. 

Last but certainly not least, giving your golden retriever one of the best dog foods for yeast infections is highly recommended for keeping ear inflammations at bay. 

Preventing ear infections from the start will save you on vet bills as well as keep your dog healthy and happy.

Regular inspections and grooming at home can stop most health problems from turning into bigger issues, and the same can be said for managing ear inflammations and infections. 

FAQs About Golden Retrievers And Ear Infections

Is it common for golden retrievers to get ear infections?

With ear infections ranking high in medical conditions most commonly seen in dogs, golden retrievers are one breed that suffers most often from this issue.

This is attributed to the breed’s characteristics such as large, droopy ears and their love of swimming or playing in water. 

How do I know if my golden retriever has an ear infection?

Typical symptoms of an ear infection in golden retrievers include scratching of their ears, shaking their head vigorously, or a smelly discharge from the ear.

Ear pain, redness, or tilting of the head are other signs your golden retriever has an ear infection.

How do you treat an infected golden retriever’s ear?

Before treating your dog’s ears at home, schedule an appointment with your vet who will do a physical examination and run some tests for a proper diagnosis.

Based on the result of the examination and sample tests, your vet will recommend ear cleaning and medication. 

Final Thoughts

While golden retrievers are prone to ear infections, they can be treated.

You can also prevent your dog from succumbing to this unpleasant condition by ensuring your puppy’s ears are kept clean and dry.

Trimming their thick and luscious fur around the ears also prevents the risk of inflammation.

Golden retriever ear problems should be seen by your vet who can diagnose the condition before implementing a treatment plan.

The key to getting your dog treated is simply knowing what to look out for. 

Symptoms such as the following should prompt you to take your golden retriever to the vet:

  • Scratching or rubbing their ears
  • Shaking or tilting their head
  • Unpleasant odor or discharge from their ear

With the right treatment plan, you can rest assured your golden retriever will recover fully from an ear infection.

Has your Golden Retriever had an ear infection?

Tell us about your dog in the comment section below.

Written By

Wendy is a self-employed beauty therapist, mother of two, life-long pet parent and lover of dogs who somehow manages to squeeze in the time to satisfy another of her loves - writing. Wendy is the founder, main contributor to and editor of TotallyGoldens.

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