Dear VetBabble: Why is My Dog’s Ear Suddenly Swollen?
Question: What could be the cause behind my dog’s sudden ear swelling? I left for work about six hours ago, and his outer ear looked normal then, but I’ve noticed it’s swollen upon my return. Could this be as a result of a bee sting, perhaps? What should I do to help my canine companion?
Fear not! Sudden ear swelling in dogs can be alarming, I know, but it can be due to a number of reasons, some of them quite common and not always a cause for serious concern. However, understanding the underlying issues and knowing when professional help is necessary is vital for every responsible pet parent. Let’s break it down into three primary culprits for such swelling: insect stings, ear infections, and allergic reactions.
Section 1: Insect Stings and Ear Swelling
It’s entirely possible that a bee, wasp, or another type of insect might have stung your pup’s ear, causing the swelling you’re seeing. These insects leave behind a stinger with a small sac attached, and this can cause a localized reaction. You can attempt to gently scrape off this stinger with your fingernails. If you spot a tiny, sharp object with a small bottom sac, then it’s likely you’ve just pulled out a bee stinger! Do remember, not all insect stings are easily visible, so if you can’t find this ‘stinger,’ do not stress. Here is an article that can help provide more information on how to protect your dog from annoying insects.
Section 2: Ear Infections
Another common cause of abrupt ear swelling in dogs is ear infections. While these are more common in dogs with floppy ears, any dog can develop an infection. Signs of infection may include redness, discharge, constant scratching, shaking of the head, and, of course, swelling. Check out our article on Ear Infections in Dogs and remember to clean your dog’s ear regularly. You can find a step-by-step guide in the article on How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears: A Pet Parents Guide.
Section 3: Allergic Reactions
Finally, allergies can cause ear swelling in our four-legged friends. Just like humans, dogs can have allergic reactions to a variety of substances, and these reactions often manifest on the skin or in the ears. If the swelling is accompanied by other symptoms such as itching or redness, it might be an allergic reaction. For more information about allergies in dogs, have a look at our article titled Is My Dog Having An Allergic Reaction?
In sum, any sudden swelling should be monitored closely. If the swelling persists beyond 24 hours, or if your dog appears in pain or is excessively scratching or shaking his head, it’s time to bring him to the vet. It’s always vital to be on the safe side when it comes to the health of our beloved pets.