What Should I Do If My Dog’s Ear Is Swollen?

What Should I Do If My Dog's Ear Is Swollen?

Here we can see, “What Should I Do If My Dog’s Ear Is Swollen?”

An ear hematoma is a collection of leaking blood beneath the skin that causes painful swelling and redness. Hematomas in the flaps of a dog’s ears are very common. The outer section of the ear, also known as the pinna, is connected to the sides or top of your dog’s head. Excessive head shaking or scratching owing to an ear infection, mites, allergies, or other discomfort inside the ear canal causes ear hematomas, also known as aural hematomas. A blood vessel inside the ear flap might break due to strong head shaking, resulting in edoema.

Although any dog can get an ear hematoma, it is more common in dogs with floppy ears, such as Basset hounds, Cocker spaniels, and dachshunds, because head shaking causes the ears to slap against the side of the head, causing stress.

An ear hematoma causes the ear flap to partially or completely fill with blood, causing the ear to seem inflated. The swelling might cover the aperture of the ear canal if it is large enough. The added weight of the ear flap can be uncomfortable, and it can also create a permanent shift in the way the ears are carried. Ear hematomas normally affect only one ear, but they can sometimes affect both.

What Is an Ear Hematoma?

If a blood vessel breaks beneath the skin, there isn’t much place for pooled blood since the ear flaps are so thin. As a result, the blood tends to form a swollen pocket that can grow large enough to harm the entire outer ear. Your dog’s ear will appear bloated, like a balloon, and the affected ear may droop more than the normal ear. Depending on the level of swelling, ear hematomas might feel mushy or hard. They’re excruciatingly unpleasant, and your dog will almost certainly object if you touch the bulging ear.

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Symptoms of a Dog’s Ear Hematoma

An ear hematoma’s most noticeable symptom is swelling, which can be extremely large. Because the hematoma is often caused by an ear infection, your dog is likely to show a number of symptoms, both from the pain and irritation of the hematoma and from the infection.


  • Swelling that can resemble a balloon underneath the skin
  • Redness
  • Head shaking
  • Scratching at the ear
  • Crusts or excessive debris inside the ear canal
  • Tilting the head to the side of the hematoma
  • Ear drooping lower than usual
  • Ear odor

Ear hematomas can be tiny, affecting only a section of the ear flap, or large enough to swell the entire ear flap. The swelling may cause the affected ear to droop lower than usual, and the pain may cause your dog to scratch it or shake its head to reduce the discomfort. Because the damaged ear feels heavier than the good one, the dog will frequently sit with its head slanted to that side. If the ear is infected, which it often is with ear hematomas, you’ll notice signs of infection inside the ear, like a lot of ear wax, black or yellowish crusts or debris, and a bad smell.

Causes of Ear Hematomas

A damaged blood vessel inside the ear flap causes ear hematomas. This causes bleeding beneath the surface. Because the ear flap tissue is thin, blood has little room to spread out and tends to collect, resulting in a swollen, balloon-like appearance.

Excessive head shaking caused by an ear infection, allergies, or a foreign object in the ear is the most prevalent cause of ear hematomas. However, after trauma to the ear, such as a bite from another dog or an unusually energetic play session, your dog may develop a hematoma. Dogs with problems with how their blood clots are more likely to get hematomas, even if they haven’t been hurt or infected before.

Diagnosing Ear Hematomas in Dogs

The diagnosis of an ear hematoma is usually uncomplicated due to its unusual appearance. Your veterinarian will most likely diagnose the hematoma simply by looking at it, but the underlying reason will be more important. As a result, the veterinarian will inspect the inside of your dog’s ears for symptoms of infection, allergies, or a foreign object lodged in the ear canal. The vet may take a sample from the inside of the ear and look at it under a microscope to see if there are any germs or yeast.

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Your veterinarian may offer additional diagnostic treatments, such as needle aspiration of the fluid inside the hematoma to ensure it’s only blood. Blood tests are frequently done to examine your dog’s overall health.


An ear hematoma may not need to be corrected if it is tiny enough. Blood inside a tiny hematoma will ultimately reabsorb if left alone. However, even a minor hematoma has the potential to leave your dog’s ear permanently damaged or misshapen if left untreated. All hematomas should be evaluated by a veterinarian, who will also administer pain medication and treat any underlying infection. Your vet will give the dog antibiotic drops to put in its ears and may also give it an antibiotic shot to help it get better faster.

Your veterinarian will most likely need to heal the hematoma. This is especially true if the hematoma is big enough to block the dog’s ear canal, cause a lot of pain, or leave a scar that will make the ear canal smaller over time.

An ear hematoma can be repaired in a variety of ways. The best strategy for your dog will be determined by your veterinarian. Some of the more common procedures are listed here.


The fluid from the hematoma is removed with a needle linked to a syringe in this technique. However, the fluid will return eventually, perhaps within days, making this only a temporary fix. It might also result in an infection of the ear flap. Nonetheless, some owners may prefer this procedure because it provides immediate relief and does not involve surgery, making it the more affordable choice. This approach can be improved by injecting a steroid into the dead region. Oral steroids at a modest dose may also be beneficial.

Pie-Crusting Sutures

A surgical incision is created in the ear flap here. Fluid and blood clots are evacuated from the hematoma. To prevent the hematoma from refilling, several sutures are put in a quilt-like pattern in the hematoma area. A tiny tube is usually left in place to drain fluids as the area heals, and tight bandages are frequently worn over the ear to help decrease swelling. Most of the time, the stitches are left in place for up to three weeks to stop the hematoma from coming back.

Teat Cannula Placement

A teat cannula is a tiny device that helps cattle with udder irritation. If the ear flap is large enough, these cannulas can also be surgically implanted in a dog’s ear hematoma. The hematoma is drained of fluids and given several weeks to recover. This approach works well in most cases, but the dog must put up with the discomfort of the cannula in the ear flap draining fluid.

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Prognosis for Dogs With Ear Hematomas

Most dogs recover without complications from an ear hematoma if the underlying infection is addressed and surgical procedures, if necessary, are performed promptly. Hematomas in the ear, on the other hand, could leave the ear permanently scarred or disfigured if they are not treated.

Ear Hematomas: How to Avoid Them

Because ear hematomas are most commonly caused by head shaking as a result of an ear infection, the greatest preventative is to avoid severe ear infections. Regularly inspecting your dog’s ears for indicators of trouble, such as excessive wax, crusty debris, redness, or odour, is beneficial. After a wash or swim, completely dry your dog’s ears, especially if your dog has floppy ears, as moisture remaining in the ear canal can contribute to yeast growth. If a dog is prone to ear infections, it may need to be groomed and have its ears cleaned more often.

User Questions

Are ear infections painful for dogs?

Ear infections are excruciatingly painful. To reduce the discomfort, many dogs shake their heads and scratch their ears. The ears become hot and irritated, and an unpleasant odour develops.

Is a dog’s ear hematoma an emergency?

While a hematoma in your dog’s ear isn’t always an emergency, you should seek treatment right away. Hematomas in dogs’ ears that go untreated might harm the blood vessels in the ear flap and result in dead tissue.

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How can I relieve my dog’s ear pain?

They may apply a topical medicine or use a medicated ear cleaning. Anti-inflammatory drugs or oral antibiotics may be prescribed by your veterinarian in more serious situations. Your dog will most likely be prescribed a topical medicine by your veterinarian.

Can I drain my dog’s ear hematoma at home?

Don’t force it if your dog is in too much discomfort and won’t let you clean the area. If your dog permits it, gently massage the spot to help it drain completely. To protect the pocket from filling up again, tie a soft bandage over your dog’s head (keeping the ear flap flat on the head).

Can I give my dog ibuprofen?

Under no circumstances should you give Ibuprofen to your dog or cat. Ibuprofen and naproxen are widespread and effective anti-inflammatory and anti-pain drugs in humans, but they should not be administered to dogs. Dogs and cats can be poisoned by these medications.


I hope you found this helpful guide. If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to use the form below.


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