Help!  My Dog’s Ears Are Itchy!

There can be a number of reasons why your dog may be suffering with their ears.  We’ve compiled some of the more common ones.

The Link Between Sensitivities and Itchy Ears

Itchy ears often go hand in hand with sensitivities – so you may notice digestive issues alongside itchy ears, paws and more.

In order to optimise gut health, check out our blog here:

7 Steps to Optimal Gut Health For Pets

We can often look to bacterial overgrowth in fuelling those itchy ears, and yeast is often the culprit.

What is Yeast?

Candida is an opportunistic fungal pathogen. It is a normal part of the gastrointestinal flora and genital tracts. Healthy systems are more than capable of keeping it in check with their beneficial bacteria, but issues arise when there aren’t enough good guys to keep the bad guys in check, this is what we know as dysbiosis and it can occur in the microbiome of the gut, but also the skin and more!

Is Your Dog A Yeasty Beast?

Factors that can contribute to dysbiosis:

  • Chronic or excessive antibiotic use
  • Stress
  • Environmental toxins; bisphenol, phthalates, heavy metals, pesticides
  • Poor gut integrity
  • Nutrition
  • Weakened immune function

But there are a few other factors to consider when we are addressing our dog’s itchy ears…

Why Is My Dog’s Ear Itchy?

Anatomy or Breed

Certain breeds with those long ears; the ones who end up dragging them in their food or water bowl can be more likely to suffer with bacterial overgrowth.  We’re thinking spaniel or setters here.  Those long ears provide a warm and moist environment for certain bacteria to thrive.

It’s also a consideration for those breeds with greater amounts of hair inside their ear, those who your groomer recommends plucking out!  We’re thinking poodles and alike.  Whilst it may be a haven for certain bacteria having the hair there, if there is trauma through the act of plucking, we could inadvertently be opening the skin up to infection. In this scenario, it can often feel like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Type of Food Fed

Yeasts seem to like sugar as fuel, so diets high in grains, starches and other carbohydrates seem to contribute to an overgrowth. Generally, certain beneficial bacteria will metabolise these sugars, keeping candida in check by disrupting its food supply, but in the absence of good bacteria, candida is partying it down at the all-you-can-eat buffet! Whilst we advocate a fresh food diet, in cases of bacterial overgrowth it can be sensible to avoid certain fruits whilst getting a handle on the situation – fruit contains sugar too!

Water Babies!

Those dogs who love to swim or spend time at hydro can be more prone to ear issues. Again, it creates a perfect environment for certain bacteria to thrive when they are warm and damp.  It’s always best to dry your dog’s ears after spending time in water.  Especially with those warmer temperatures in hydro pools.

Location of walks

Where your dog walks or runs can mean exposure to certain grass seeds which can find their way into our dog’s ears.  Not only are they initially painful and irritating, if not removed they can cause a whole host of further issues.


Our dogs can be exposed to fleas, ticks or mites which can cause itching.  If you would like to learn more about parasites and natural approaches to managing them, check out our blogs below:

Parasites and What You Really Need To Know
Natural Flea and Worming Treatments

Ear Issues as a Report Card

Ear issues, or rather itchy ears, can often seem like a never-ending battle, and this is largely because they’re seen as a symptomology to treat.  Perhaps we need to see them as a report card.

Of course, they could be telling us that our dog has been swimming and we forgot to dry their ears, or they could be telling us there’s a lodged grass seed which needs attention. There could also be a parasite burden.

But they could also tell us that our dog’s immune system is a little out of whack; perhaps our dog never managed to rebalance that Th response.

They could be telling us our companion’s microbial community isn’t harmonious.

Our dog’s ears could be the sign our dog’s food isn’t suiting them and we need to find alternatives.

Those ears could also be showing us that there is an excessive burden on detoxification pathways in the body.

The reason ear issues often become chronic is because the root cause is rarely explored.

We’d be looking to address immune balance and function:
Do We Need To Boost Our Pet’s Immune System?

We’d be supporting digestive health:
Optimal Gut Health For Pets

We’d be considering toxin burden:
Does my Pet Need To Detox?

And we may be considering an elimination diet:
Elimination Diets For Dogs

But these are only some pieces of the puzzle, we have decades of experience exploring the root cause of symptoms, so head on over to our services page to see how we can help your dog.

Thanks for reading,

MPN Team

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