Winter weather is in full swing! Many states have been getting pummeled with snow storms. Some dogs are absolutely loving the fluffy white stuff falling from the sky, while others are reluctant to go out in it. Dog lovers may be noticing that their dogs are getting more ear infections at this time of year. Can cold weather cause ear infection in dogs? Let’s take a look at what causes ear infections in dogs and explore this possibility.
What is an ear infection in dogs?
Ear infections are common in dogs – even in the winter. Which may lead you to ask, can cold weather cause ear infection in dogs? According to the American Kennel Club, an estimated 20% of dogs have some kind of ear disease (source). These ear diseases can be in one or both ears.
In dogs, ear infections can affect the outer, middle, or inner ear. These three types of ear infections are known as Otitis Externa (outer ear), Otitis Media (middle ear), and Otitis Interna (inner ear). The most common is Otitis Externa which involves the inflammation of the layer of cells lining the ear canal.
How do you know if your dog has an ear infection? Ear infections may be very painful or may have very few symptoms. Your dog’s symptoms may include:
- Dark discharge
- Swelling and redness at the ear canal
- Scratching the affected ear
- Crusting or scabs in the ears
If you suspect that your dog may have an ear infection, please contact your veterinarian. It is important that ear infections are handled promptly. If an ear infection is left unchecked, it may lead to hearing loss.
Wait…So, how does cold weather cause ear infection in dogs?
Now for the big question – how does cold weather cause ear infection in dogs? The answer is that cold weather itself can not cause ear infections. However, snow can cause ear infections in dogs if it makes it into the dog’s ear canals.
Snow can be sneaky. It gets into the dog’s ears when they play in it, roll around in it, or when they fall into large drifts of snow. As the snow melts, in and around the dog’s ears, it becomes water.
Dogs have L-shaped ear canals that make it difficult for water to escape once it has entered. When water enters the dog’s ear canal, the ear canal becomes a warm, moist environment that can foster the growth of yeast and bacteria. Yeast and bacteria, which are a natural part of the dog’s body’s flora, can grow out of control, leading to inflammation and ear infection in dogs.
Ways to keep dog ears healthy in winter weather
Since you’ve asked, can cold weather cause ear infection in dogs, we’ve also come up with three ways that you can help keep your dog’s ears healthy in winter weather.
- Dry your dog
When your dog comes in after a frolic in the snow, pat your dog dry with a towel. This is especially important around your dog’s head and ears.
- Feed your dog a high-quality diet
Allergies, including food allergies, can be a big cause of ear infections in dogs. Allergic reactions can cause inflammation in the dog’s ears and body. Feeding a healthy, high-quality diet can help curb those allergies.
- Use CrittEar Calm dog earplugs
When properly inserted, CrittEar Calm dog earplugs expand to fill the dog’s entire ear canal. This helps to prevent water (and snow) from getting into the dog’s ear canal in the first place.
You can enjoy the snow with your dog!
Snow does not have to be a bad thing. You don’t have to worry about whether winter weather cause ear infections in dogs. CrittEar Calm dog earplugs can help you to get out and enjoy the winter weather with your pup! Our 3-pack of CrittEar Calm dog earplugs allows you to have one pair at home, one pair in your car, and one pair for your pocket or purse for those ear protection needs on the go. You never know when it is going to snow! Your dog can enjoy it when and where you find it.