What Causes Dry Skin on Dog Ears and How To Help?

Dry skin on dog ears is a symptom of another ailment — minor and straightforward to treat or serious with more care. Sometimes dry ears indicate an underlying internal condition that needs medical treatment.

When you notice dry skin on your dog’s ears, the first step is to see your vet, who will rule out underlying causes, such as a skin infection, allergies, hormonal problems, and dietary issues.

Causes of dog ear infections
Causes of dog ear infections

Dry skin on dog ears: digging into the causes

Most changes in the appearance of a dog’s skin and ears are due to underlying allergies, either environmental (pollen, dust mites, etc.) or food (chicken, beef, etc.), says Dr. Dori Calloway with VCA Animal Hospitals. Other reasons include the following:

  • a dog’s breed-specific genetics make him more susceptible to skin disorders. Some of these breeds include BoxersBulldogsCocker Spaniels, and Poodles.
  • allergies to medicines and skin products
  • a nutritional imbalance
  • more serious causes, such as parasites, infections, injuries, internal disorders, diseases, and cancer

What does dry skin look like?

Dry skin doesn’t look the same in every dog and should be taken seriously if your dog develops it. If your dog has dry ears, the skin will appear noticeably dry. The ears may have flaky or crusty skin or be red, swollen, and irritated. They may show signs of hair loss or have bumps, lumps, and scabs. Depending on what’s causing the dry skin, you may see culprits like fleas or mites moving about or notice an odor or oiliness.

Healthy dog ears are cool to the touch, feel soft and smooth, and are free from bumps. The ear canal will be a healthy shade of pale pink with little to no wax and not feel oily.

Treatment of Dry Skin On Dog Ears

The cause of dermatitis needs to be determined before a treatment plan can be made since there are different treatments for each type.


Allergies can be treated with an antihistamine injection, but it may be the most complex to treat because you have to determine what your pet is allergic to, which may be difficult. The veterinarian may also send you to see a veterinary dermatologist for further allergy tests.


Since this is caused by infection, the veterinarian will usually give your pet an injection of antibiotics.


An injury is treated depending on what caused the injury. A burn can be treated with burn cream, frostbite may need amputation, bug bites are treated with antiseptic and insect-repellent cream, and animal bites are usually treated with corticosteroids and antiseptic. All of these injuries will also need antibiotics to prevent or clear up the infection.


There are two types of mange, which are sarcoptic and demodectic, and they are both extremely contagious so you have to keep your pet away from other pets. Afoxolaner, permethrin, ivermectin, selamectin, and sulfurated lime rinse are all effective treatments is the treatment, usually done a few times over several months.


This disorder can be treated with mild soap and water and moisturizer, but it is a lifetime disorder so once you find a good treatment, stick with it.