While your dog smells much the same most of the time, you'll sometimes notice a bad smell hanging around your pet. You know your pet is clean and hasn't been rolling around in something noxious, but a rank smell seems to be coming from one or both of its ears.
Why are your dog's ears so smelly and what can you do about it?
Common Causes of Smelly Ears in Dogs
There are various reasons why your dog's ears don't smell so good. Although your pet's ears are supposed to look after themselves, dirt and gunk can build up in the ears sometimes. This build-up can make the ears smell bad.
Sometimes, bad smells come from an ear infection. These infections can be fungal or bacterial. A fungal infection, such as a yeast infection, may smell a little like mouldy bread. Or, if your dog scratched the inside of its ear and the scratch got infected, then this may have given your pet a bacterial infection. This kind of infection often smells rotten; the ear or ears may look red and sore, and there may be some discharge.
Ear mites can also be an indirect cause of smelly ears. If these parasites make a home in your dog's ears, then your pet may have an allergic reaction. Mites also make your dog's ears itchy, so it may scratch them a lot. And, as previously mentioned, if a scratch can develop a bacterial infection.
How to Deal With Your Dog's Smelly Ears
If your dog's ears look healthy and it doesn't seem ill, then its ears may simply need a clean. If you've cleaned your pet's ears before, then do this now to see if the smell clears up. If you haven't cleaned your dog's ears before, then it may be a good idea to have your vet do this for the first time. He or she will be able to tell you how and when to clean your dog's ears in the future at home.
If your dog's ears look infected or sore, or if your dog isn't quite itself, then make an appointment with your vet. If your pet has an ear infection, it may need antibiotics or antifungal medications; if it has ear mites, then these need to be treated to get rid of them.
Your vet can also check that the smell isn't caused by something more sinister. While smelly ears in dogs are usually caused by grime, infection or parasites, they can sometimes be an indication of a more serious issue such as a growth. It's best to have this checked out.
For more information, contact a vet services professional.