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Bleeding in Dog's Ears: Causes & Treatment

Many health problems can lead to bleeding in a dog's ears. While some are simple and require basic care, others can be more serious. Learn about the causes of this concerning symptom from our Turlock vets and find out how you can help stop a dog's ear from bleeding.

My Dog's Ear is Bleeding 

Your dog's ear may bleed for several reasons, which can include puffy tissues, internal bleeding, infection, or discharge from within a dog's ear.

Bleeding that starts in the ear's puffy tissues typically happens due to pockets of fluid that develop due to previous trauma. This is more common in long-eared dogs. 

Why are my dog's ears bleeding? 

While many different factors might be to blame, some of the most common reasons your dog's ears may be bleeding include: 

  • Parasitic infection - such as mites, fleas, ticks, or others
  • Trauma - either self-inflicted or due to an external source 
  • Bacterial, ear or fungal infection

Some cases of bleeding in a dog's ears may be caused by or lead to systemic conditions. For example, bleeding caused by ear infections can result in a systemic issue, which may lead to a perforated eardrum. In other circumstances, your dog may scratch or shake their head, which can potentially cause a hematoma (a localized mass of blood that's confined within an organ or tissue). 

What are the symptoms of bleeding ears in dogs?

In addition to bleeding, your dog may also experience other symptoms, like: 

  • Pain in the area
  • Excessive scratching of the ears or shaking of the head 
  • Visible blood on the rim or just inside the ear 
  • Swelling of the ear and ear canal 
  • Yellow-brown colored ear wax, or black or brown-colored discharge 
  • Foul odor 
  • Avoiding opening their mouth 
  • Balance issues 

How to Treat Bleeding in a Dog's Ears

If you notice blood in your dog's ear, call your veterinarian as soon as possible to schedule an examination. A variety of potential causes may be causing the bleeding, some of which may be serious. The only way to have your dog properly treated is with a diagnosis and treatment as recommended by your vet. 

If your dog's ear is bleeding due to a small external cut, there are a few steps you can take to stop the bleeding: 

Step 1: Bring your dog to a safe, calm area. 

Step 2: Have your dog's first aid kit handy, including these items:

  • Styptic powder (flour or cornstarch will also work) 
  • Antiseptic ointment
  • Bandages 
  • Cotton balls, gauze, or absorbent pads 

Step 3: Apply the styptic powder to the wound and hold the absorbent pads with firm pressure until the bleeding stops. If the bleeding does not stop after 10 minutes, you should contact your vet.

Step 4: Apply the antiseptic ointment to the area surrounding the wound, but not directly on it, otherwise, the bleeding may begin again.

If your dog was in a fight with another dog or animal, or if the wound is quite deep, you should contact your primary vet or visit your nearest emergency animal hospital. What will the vet do for bloody dog ears?

Your vet will perform a complete examination and diagnostics to determine the issue. Once your dog's condition has been diagnosed, they will offer a treatment plan for the concern. Treatment options could include:

    • Topical and/or oral antibiotic medications for treating infections
    • Pain medications
    • Steroidal medications for any inflammation
    • Surgical drainage of hematomas
    • Clean and flush the ear canal for buildup or foreign body removal
    • Treatments specific to certain diseases

How long will it take for my dog's ears to heal?

Like many illnesses, injuries, and conditions, the faster a dog’s bloody ears are treated, the faster your dog will get better.

If your dog has a condition that will cause chronic ear bleeding, your vet will develop an ongoing treatment plan to help manage their symptoms. If the ear bleeding is caused by chronic ear infections, then you will need to ensure you treat each promptly to avoid complications.

Are bloody dog ears considered an emergency?

No matter what the assumed cause is behind your dog's ear bleeding, you should always bring them to the vet for an examination. Certain situations may require emergency veterinary care, such as:

  • Bleeding that does not stop after 10 minutes
  • Other signs that your dog may need emergency care (including symptoms signs of infection or other ongoing or worsening symptoms)

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.

Are your dog's ears bleeding? Contact our vets in Turlock right away. We can provide 24/7 emergency care. 

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