Why Do Dogs Get Slobbery Ears?

One of your primary responsibilities as a dog owner is to look out for your pet’s physical and mental well-being. The ears of your dog are something many pet owners do in addition to checking the lips and sensing when their dog isn’t feeling well. Regular dirt and earwax, mites, and inner or outer ear infections are only few of the causes of filthy ears in dogs. The decision of whether to take your dog to the doctor for dirty ears might be aided by understanding the factors that contribute to the problem. This article will explain why and how your dog’s ears become unclean, as well as when you should take him to the clinic.

What Can Make Dogs’ Ears Look Soiled?

Brown or muddy-looking debris in a dog’s ear canal might be a sign of an ear infection or just accumulated earwax that needs to be removed. Since a dog’s ear canal is longer than a human’s, it’s much simpler for them to acquire earwax, dirt, and other debris caught in there. The easiest method for a dog to get the brown muck in its ear out without your assistance is for it to shake its head or scratch at it. If your dog is scratching at its ears excessively, you should probably stop it and take a look since this behavior may irritate the skin and even break it.

Are you curious as to what color the earwax in your dog’s ears should be in order to know whether you should take him to the vet? Here is a handy color guide for dog earwax.

Ear issues are more common in dogs with floppy ears and ears that are lying flat on the head.

This may keep foreign objects out of the ear, but it also blocks the ear canal, which may lead to excess moisture and the growth of germs.

In addition, the inflammation brought on by an allergy attack is a common cause of dog ear infections. A veterinarian visit might be helpful if your dog suffers from allergies and has recurring ear infections. Your veterinarian might suggest a special diet for your dog if he or she suffers from food allergies, and medicines for seasonal allergies.

Age-related skin thickening in canines contributes to their increased susceptibility to ear infections, but other health problems may increase this risk as well. A few of the most frequent reasons why dogs’ ears become filthy are as follows:

Earwax buildup that is too much to bear

Earwax is a common problem for everyone, including your dog. Earwax is a natural defense mechanism to prevent foreign objects, such as dirt and germs, from entering your dog’s ears and causing permanent harm. Earwax may also act as a water barrier, keeping the eardrum dry and protecting it from damage or infection.


The inside part of your dog’s ear may get crusty if he or she has an ear infection, which is a typical cause of filthy ears.

Yeast infections

Yeast infections are quite frequent in canine ears and are caused by fungi. Pain and swelling are common symptoms of a yeast infection, and you may also notice earwax that is a strange color (red or brown). An ear affected by yeast might be warm to the touch and have a musty odor when your dog has one. Symptoms of a fungal infection in a dog include head shaking and scratching around the affected ear, which is the first thing most owners notice. Either ear may become infected with fungus.

Inner and outer ear infections

It’s important to note that not only outer ear infections (otitis externa) but also inner ear infections (otitis media) may lead to the classic “dirty dog ear” appearance. Untreated outer ear infections may spread to the middle ear and cause permanent hearing loss or rupture of the eardrum if they are not treated promptly. Head shaking, ear irritation, pawing at the ear, or an inability to chew are all symptoms of an inner ear infection. Antibiotics, ear flushing, and surgery may be necessary to treat your dog’s middle or inner ear infection if the eardrum has burst.

When it comes to canine ears, the most prevalent issue is an infection of the outer ear.

Inflammation of the external ear’s cells is what causes outer ear infections, which manifest with a variety of unpleasant symptoms including a twitching head, a foul odor, redness, swelling, itching, and even scaly skin.

It’s possible for your dog to be OK one day and howl in agony if you touch their ears the next due to a rapid onset of an outer ear infection. Different reasons, such as parasites, foreign objects, and allergies, may cause this sort of ear infection.

Due to the design of their ear canals, many dogs are prone to outer ear infections that come back despite therapy. Your veterinarian will determine the cause of your dog’s ear infection and prescribe a topical medicine for you to use at home. They could also give you antibiotics to take home with you if you’ve been experiencing irritation or itching.


Previously, we mentioned that otitis externa, which manifests as filthy dog ears and brown discharge, is more common in dogs who suffer from allergies. Constant itching and skin irritation in the dog’s ears might be the result of a variety of allergens, including those to food and the surroundings. Itching is another common symptom of yeast infections in dogs. Because allergies create inflammation, allergens like pollen, dust mites, mold, and other irritants may easily get into your dog’s ears and cause an infection.

Otitis externa

Dogs of all ages, but particularly puppies, are susceptible to getting a parasitic bug called an ear mite. It isn’t always simple to identify the difference between earwax and dog ear mites. Discharge from infected ears may be dark or black and appear like coffee grounds if your dog has ear mites. There will be constant head shaking and scratching from your dog. Having a dog with an ear infection due to ear mites is quite unlikely.

Your dog needs prompt treatment for ear mites in order to get rid of the adult mites and their eggs. Since ear mites may live for a long time away from their host, it is essential that you wash your dog’s bedding and any pet supplies he uses.

Cleaning Your Dog’s Filthy Ears

Dog owners who have never attempted to clean their pet’s ear wax before may find it challenging. Ear cleaning is not necessary for all dogs, however it is highly recommended for those with allergies or recurrent ear infections. Dogs often get unpleasant ear infections, but these may be avoided by keeping their ears clean.

It’s important to avoid irritating your pet’s ears by cleaning them too often, since this might lead to an infection. A clean and healthy dog’s ear will be a pale pink color and will not have any lingering odor. On the other hand, a filthy dog’s ear may have a musty odor or be covered in brown or black earwax. If you notice your dog is shaking its head or clawing at its ears, it’s important to clean them right once to avoid an infection. If, however, you inspect your dog’s ear canal and see a yeasty odor or signs of inflammation and irritation, you should schedule an appointment with your vet. Dog ear infections can be prevented using cleansers, but they can’t be treated without prescription medicine.

How to Clean Dog Ears in 3 Easy Steps

Cleaning your dog’s ears might require some training, especially if you’ve never done it on your own. Some dogs don’t like their ears touched, so it’s always best to make ear cleanings a pleasant experience. Here are steps for how to clean dog ears.

  1. Get your cleaning supplies and your pooch: Only attempt to clean your dog’s ears while they are completely relaxed. They’re more inclined to put up more of a fight if they’re in a fun mood. If you want to make ear cleaning a pleasant experience for your pet, try rewarding them with goodies. After you’ve finished with one ear, reward them with a snack before moving on to the other. A cleaning solution for the ears that has been recommended by a vet is all you’ll need. Not all ear cleaning solutions are made equal, so be sure to ask your doctor for advice based on your pet’s specific requirements.
  2. Squeeze the ear cleaning solution into your dog’s ear canal and massage the base of the ear: As the solution works to loosen earwax and other particles, you should be able to hear it moving around within your ear. Cotton swabs and Q-tips are not safe for use for cleaning your dog’s ears and may cause permanent harm. To avoid having to manually remove buildup from your dog’s ear canal, an ear cleaning solution may be used in conjunction with a cotton swab.
  3. Let your dog shake their head: Their ears will clear faster if they shake their heads to expel the gunk the disinfectant just loosed. To prevent earwax and other particles from damaging your furniture or yourself, use a towel as a shield. When your dog has finished shaking, you may clean the muck out of his ears using a cotton ball.

It’s normal for a dog to show initial resistance to having its ears cleaned since the process is foreign to them. You should get your dog acclimated to having their ears cleaned as soon as possible. The process of ear cleaning should be stopped immediately if any discomfort is felt, and a veterinarian should be consulted.

Exactly what are the Advantages of Keeping My Dog’s Ears Clean?

Ear infections in dogs are unpleasant and may cause permanent hearing loss if dirt and germs are allowed to build up in the ear canal. Keeping your dog healthy includes regular ear cleanings. On the other hand, some dogs may never need an ear cleaning. No cleaning is necessary if your dog’s ears are a pale pink without any evidence of brown discharge.

When Your Dog Has Dirty Ears, It’s Time to See the Vet

If your dog has filthy ears, you may take him to the vet for assistance with cleaning them, but you should never delay going to the doctor if your dog is displaying indications of infection, like increased scratching and even discomfort. It is crucial to get your dog checked out by the doctor if they have filthy ears, since this might be an indication of ear mites or allergies.

Questions About “Dirty Dog Ears”

To what end does a dog’s ear get soiled?

Ear infections, debris, and allergies are only a few of the causes of ear filth in dogs; other dogs may have clean ears their whole lives.

Are a dog’s unclean ears typical?

Dogs naturally produce earwax; the wax should be yellow. The color of your dog’s earwax may be an indicator of a more severe problem, such as an infection, allergies, or ear mites if it is brown or black.

Exactly what should I do to remove the brown muck from my dog’s ears?

When your dog’s ears start to grow filthy, you should clean them right away using an ear cleaning solution that is safe for pets. In order to clean your dog’s ears, you’ll need to insert the cleaning solution into the canal and massage the ear’s base. The next step is to let your dog shake his or her head to get rid of the loose particles. Visit your vet if you notice a musty odor coming from your dog’s ears, or if you notice any discomfort or irritation.

In conclusion

If your dog’s ears are dirty, it’s a symptom that they’re not healthy. Of course there will be some dirt and debris in there, and earwax is normal. Nonetheless, if your dog’s earwax suddenly becomes dark brown, it may be a sign that they have an ear infection or ear mites. Your doctor can help you determine whether your dog has an infection and what to do about it if he or she yelps in agony when you touch their ear or if they no longer allow you to pet them.