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Dogs' ears are prone to various conditions and injuries that can result in bloody ears, and it's no different for the pups from across Bedford, Dartmouth, and beyond. Our emergency veterinarians in Halifax share how to stop your dog's ear from bleeding, along with why it happens and the signs to watch for.

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My dog's ear is bleeding - why?

Your dog's ears have a large number of blood vessels that sit quite close to the surface. This means that even a tiny cut can cause a great deal of blood. What's important is to know how to stop the bleeding and what signs point to an emergency.

There can be several different causes behind your dog's bloody ears, from minor injuries and trauma to more serious conditions affecting more than just the ears.

Here are some of the most common causes behind the bleeding from your dog's ear:

  • Trauma: Either from an external source (like an animal bite) or self-inflicted from excessive shaking or scratching.
  • Cancer: This includes warts, polyps, and sebaceous adenomas, often forming inside the ear or on the pinna (ear flap).
  • Parasites: Commonly seen pests like fleas, ticks and mites can infect your dog and cause bleeding both from biting and from your dog trying to scratch the areas they infest.
  • Infections: Both bacterial and fungal infections can cause your dog to scratch and shake their head excessively.

Symptoms You May See if Your Dog Has a Bloody Ear

Bleeding ears in dogs have one obvious symptom - blood. If you notice blood in or around your dog's ear, the first step will be to locate the source. Once you find the source of the bleeding, you should stop the bleeding and contact your primary care veterinarian for an examination and treatment. 

Some of the different types of bleeding you may see include:

Dried, Spotty Blood & No Irregular Behaviour

This usually stems from a cut or scratch. You can use a damp paper towel and warm water to clean dried blood from your dog's skin and fur.

Small Amount of Dried Blood & Excessive Scratching

If your dog's ear is bleeding and they continue scratching at their ear, then they may have an external parasite like a flea. Your dog will need to see your veterinarian for medical treatment and parasite control.

Steady Stream of Blood & Abnormal Behaviour

If your dog is experiencing persistent bleeding that won't stop, it indicates a serious medical issue. You need to bring your dog to your primary veterinarian or our emergency veterinarians at Coastal Care Veterinary Emergency & Referral Hospital.

How to Treat Bleeding from Your Dog's Ear

The treatment for your dog's ear bleeding will depend on the cause and severity. Some of the most common methods of treatment include the following:

  • Topical and/or oral antibiotics to treat infections
  • Pain medications to relieve discomfort
  • Steroidal medications to help reduce inflammation
  • Surgical drainage and repair for hematomas (blood blisters)

What can I put on my dog's ear to stop the bleeding?

If your dog's ear is bleeding from the canal, you will need to bring them in for veterinary care right away, as this could indicate an emergency.

However, if the bleeding is occurring externally, such as from the tip, you can follow these steps to control the bleeding:

Step 1: Remain calm and bring your dog to a quiet area.

Step 2: Gather your kit. You will need:

  • Styptic powder, cornstarch, or flour
  • Antiseptic ointment
  • Absorbent pads, such as cotton balls, paper towels, clean towels, or gauze
  • Bandages

Step 3: Apply cornstarch or styptic powder to the wound to encourage clotting. Then apply pressure to both sides of the ear using the absorbent pads. Contact our team at Coastal Care Veterinary Emergency & Referral Hospital if the bleeding doesn't stop after 10 minutes.

Step 4: Gently apply antiseptic ointment to the wound and apply a bandage.

How long is the recovery time?

The prognosis for most cases of bleeding ears in dogs is good. While recovery timeframes depend on the cause of the bleeding, quick and efficient treatment will help your dog feel better sooner.

In certain cases, bleeding may occur again. One example would be chronic ear infections. If this happens, the recovery time may be impacted, and your primary veterinarian may recommend changes to your dog's lifestyle and environment.

When should you seek emergency veterinary care?

While ear bleeding in dogs is often caused by a simple injury, there may be other instances where your dog will require emergency veterinary care to address the situation.

If your dog's ear is still bleeding after 10 minutes or if they are showing signs of infection (such as lethargy, fever, swelling, or vomiting), you should bring them in for emergency care right away.

If there are any uncertainties or signs of a serious issue, urgent medical care can help achieve the best possible outcome.

At Coastal Care Veterinary Emergency & Referral Hospital, our veterinarians are trained to provide quick and efficient diagnosis and treatment in emergencies for dogs from Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford, and across Atlantic Canada.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Please contact our experienced emergency veterinary team in Halifax right away if your dog is experiencing severe trauma or uncontrollable bleeding from their ears. We are here to help 24/7.

Bleeding Ears in Dogs: Causes & Treatment

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