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Are Golden Retrievers Prone To Ear Infections?

Are Golden Retrievers Prone To Ear Infections?

Golden Retrievers, just like any other dog breed, are prone to horrible ear infections. Knowing how to spot, treat, and work on preventing ear infections can save your doggo a lot of pain (and save you from unnecessary expenses).

So, are Goldies prone to ear infections? They certainly are. Ear problems are among the top five health conditions a Golden Retriever can suffer from. This is mainly due to the breed’s characteristics, like their inclination to water and big floppy ears.

In this guide, we will tell you how to pick up on the symptoms of an ear infection, the common causes, and how to treat and eventually prevent them. You want to ensure you have a happy fur baby, and this can only be done by keeping those nasty Golden Retriever ear infections away.

We also have several other helpful guides like are Golden Retrievers good in cold weather, how to potty train them, and more. We are here to help you get clued up on this happy and beautiful breed!


Golden Retrievers And Ear Problems

Dog ear infections are very common in doggos with drooping or hanging ears. When it comes to your Golden Retriever, the extra hair on their ears and the shape of their ears make them very susceptible to infections.

Dogs have long ear canals, and there is a sudden turn in their ear canal just before their eardrum. This turn in the canal protects the eardrum. However, it also creates another angle that can obstruct the air circulation vital for drying out their inner ear.

When it comes to floppy-eared doggos, like your Goldie, those cute dangling ears are another factor that blocks the airflow to their ear canal. Your dog’s ears create a warm and moist environment which is perfect for the growth of yeast and bacteria.

Golden Retriever ear infections can become chronic conditions if not treated properly. An ear infection can even lead to deafness. An aural hematoma is a common condition arising from untreated ear infections. If this occurs, you’ll notice that the ear flap becomes very swollen.

Aural hematomas occur due to the accumulation of a lot of blood caused by ruptured blood vessels. This can easily happen if your doggo shakes or constantly scratches their ears due to the infection. You must contact your vet immediately if your Golden Retriever shows signs of this.


How To Spot An Ear Infection

You can spot a Golden Retriever ear infection by picking up on any of the following:

  • Redness around the ears
  • Discharge
  • Your pooch scratching or itching their ears
  • Sensitive or painful ears
  • A bad odor
  • Your dog tilting or shaking its head a lot
  • Loss of appetite (not very common)
  • Balance problems (very rare)
  • Deafness (rare)

If you believe your doggo has chronic ear problems or signs of an ear infection, immediately book an appointment with the vet.


Inspect Your Golden Retriever’s Ears Regularly

Since your Golden is prone to ear infections, it’s best to inspect its ears on a regular basis. You can look at their ears while you pet them and gently turn over their ear flaps and look inside. You must keep your dog’s ears healthy. Healthy ears look pinkish, and the skin on the inside feels smooth.

You can also do a sniff test. If you pick up any foul odors, it is a sure sign that something is wrong. If your doggo shows any signs of a possible ear infection, it is best to take a better look at their ears. Some signs include shaking their head, scratching their ears, or tilting their head.

You might notice a dark build-up. This indicates ear mites. If your doggos ears are very sensitive, look swollen, or feel warm, then you know something is wrong.


Common Causes Of Ear Infections

Your dog’s ears are very prone to infections due to the following features:

  • Luscious locks: Your Golden’s long hair tends to keep extra moisture and heat in around their ears. This creates the perfect environment for yeast and bacteria.
  • Predisposed to allergies and thyroid disease: Golden Retrievers are prone to allergies and thyroid disease. These underlying conditions can lead to your Golden’s ears getting infected.
  • They love the water: Golden Retrievers love swimming and being in the water. If a lot of water gets into the canals of their ears, it can quickly lead to infection if not cleaned immediately.
  • Floppy ears: Floppy ears make certain breeds much more prone to infections as they hold in warmth and moisture.

All of these causes are breed-specific, but doggos can also get an ear infection from the following:

  • Cancer
  • Mites
  • Things getting into their ears
  • Growths in their ear canal
  • Physical trauma to the ear

Most of the time, doggo’s ear infections are not contagious. So you don’t usually need to worry about your fur baby picking up any infections at doggie daycare or the park. Let’s take a look at some more common reasons your Golden might have an ear infection.

Endocrine disease

Endocrine diseases like Cushing’s disease and hypothyroidism can predispose your Golden Retriever to ear infections. If your doggo suffers from recurring ear or skin infections, you should take them to the vet and get them tested for an endocrine disease.

If your Golden Retriever’s ear infection is due to a disease, you must take them to the vet for regular check-ups and ear cleaning.


Golden Retrievers tend to suffer from quite a few allergies. These include food allergies, environmental allergies, and flea allergies. Allergies affect your doggo’s skin barrier and the skin inside their ears.

These allergies can cause itchiness. This means your dog might start to irritate its ears by shaking and scratching its head. This then causes yeast and bacteria to grow, which can cause more pain and itchiness. You want to treat this early to avoid tissue damage and inflammation.


How To Treat Ear Infections

You must treat your dog’s ears as soon as possible if they are infected. You don’t want their condition to worsen. You will need to take your doggo to the vet if the infection has reached a very advanced stage, but most infections can easily be treated at home.

Golden Retrievers generally suffer from ear infections due to bacteria, ear mites, yeast fungus, or a mix of the above. You can find ear cleaner, but it may not work for every type of infection, so you may need to mix various products to treat the ear properly.

Along with products for their ear, your doggo may need to take some medication to kill the yeast, bacteria, or mites. If you have taken your fur baby to the vet and they have confirmed that there is an infection, you can expect the following treatment:

  • The vet will take a few samples to help them see what type of yeast or bacteria has caused the infection. This will help them give you the appropriate treatment plan.
  • The vet will then thoroughly clean your pup’s ears to ensure that the infection has not caused any damage to the eardrum.
  • They will then recommend combining topical treatments, ear cleaning, and oral medication to properly treat the Golden Retriever ear infection.

Your vet will show you how to properly clean your dog’s ears and apply the treatment. If the ear infection is due to an underlying problem, your vet may also recommend a treatment plan to address that problem. The vet may recommend a change of diet or medication if it is due to allergies.

You will also need a few follow-up visits to confirm that you have beat the nasty ear infection.


How To Prevent Ear Infections

There are various things you can do to prevent a classic Golden Retriever ear infection, such as:

  • Drying your dog’s ears: Dry your dog’s ears very soon after it has had a bath, gone swimming, or gone on a rainy stroll. This will prevent infections and various other skin problems.
  • Treating their underlying allergies and conditions: Get a treatment plan from your vet for any of your dog’s health problems as soon as you pick up on them.
  • Keeping an eye on their ears: Check your dog’s ears regularly and know what a normal and healthy ear looks like so that you can pick up on any abnormalities.
  • Cleaning your dog’s ear canal: Your dog’s ear health is vital, and you can keep them healthy by cleaning its ears regularly. You should clean the ears if you notice a wax build-up and if your dog starts scratching.

Knowing how to look after your pup’s ears and prevent an ear infection will save your pup a lot of pain. Plus, it will save you money on vet bills. If you pick up on any problems, your first step of action should be to see the vet and get a proper diagnosis and effective treatment plan.

BarksInThePark is here to advise you on everything Golden Retriever. So if you are worried about underlying health conditions or want to learn more about better care for your doggo, we are your go-to doggy guru!



How often should you clean a Golden Retriever’s ears?

You should clean their ears at least once a month to avoid infection or as often as the vet advises.

What can I give my Golden Retriever for an ear infection?

The vet will likely prescribe some ear drops so you can treat them at home. If the infection is very bad, they will prescribe your doggo some antibiotics and pain medication.


Final Thoughts

Golden Retrievers can easily get an ear infection, and this is why knowing how to prevent it in the first place is key. It is common, but there are many ways to care for and treat their ears if an infection occurs. Always try to spot infections early on and follow the right treatment plan to prevent the infection from worsening.