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Bleeding in Dog's Ears: Causes & Treatment

Many health issues can lead to bleeding in a dog's ears. While some are easy to resolve, others can be more serious. Find out more about the causes of this concerning symptom from our Leighton vets and learn how you can help stop a dog's ear from bleeding.

My Dog's Ear is Bleeding

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

Bleeding that originates in the ear's puffy tissues usually occurs due to pockets of fluid that form as a result of previous trauma. This is more common in long-eared dogs. 

Why are my dog's ears bleeding? 

While many different factors may be contributing to this symptom, some of the most common reasons your dog's ears may bleed include:

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

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

What are the symptoms of bleeding ears in dogs?

Along with bleeding, your dog may also experience other symptoms, such as:

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

How to Treat Bleeding in a Dog's Ears

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

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 calm, safe area. 

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

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

Step 3: Apply the styptic powder to your dog's wound and press the absorbent pads using firm pressure until the bleeding stops. If the bleeding does not stop after 10 minutes, 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 for emergency care 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 chronic ear infections cause the ear bleeding, 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 people or pets. If you are concerned about your pet's health, contact your veterinarian right away for diagnosis and treatment.

Are your dog's ears bleeding? Contact our Leighton vets right away to book an appointment. We can provide daytime emergency care during our business hours.

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Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Leighton animals. We currently only take pets by walk-in, so bring your pet to us today and let us help ensure their well-being.

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