When a dog's ears are irritated, it often scratches them incessantly with its paw or rubs the side of its head on furniture. To relieve the itching, there are numerous topical remedies available. However, by identifying the underlying cause of the irritation, you and your veterinarian can stop the problem permanently.
Ear Cleaning Solution
Routine ear cleaning removes debris, wax or superficial irritants that induce a dog to scratch. Ear cleaning solution is available from the veterinarian and pet supply stores. The bottle has a nozzle to direct fluid into a dog's ear. Use the nozzle to aim the fluid, but do not place it directly inside the ear. Squeeze the bottle to release the liquid. Allow the dog to shake, and then absorb excess fluid with a cotton ball.
Antibiotics and Anti-Fungal Cream
Veterinarians prescribe anti-fungal creams or antibiotics to dogs with diagnosed ear infections. Symptoms include discharge and a yeast-like smell inside the ears. Scratching may persist initially, but as the treatment begins to work, scratching will reduce.
Mullein oil is a home remedy for ear infections. It is often available in a combination of mullein and garlic oil. The oil acts as a natural soother and antibiotic if the infection is very mild and caught early. While a natural remedy may be attractive, do not use if the infection appears to be severe.
Parasite Preventative and Shampoo
Parasites can cause irritation to the ear. Ticks appear as small white dots accompanied by brown discharge. Fleas are small and brown. If fleas are the culprit, bathe the dog in a shampoo specified for flea relief. If you are not using a monthly flea preventive on your dog, start a monthly regimen. Mite infestation requires prescribed medication.
If a dog has recently suffered a wound to the ears, it may be enticed to scratch the area. If your veterinarian has treated the area with antibiotics, apply a small amount of hydrocortisone cream to the area. While this solution is not a permanent fix, the cream temporarily alleviates irritation to deter the dog from digging at it.
If your vet has eliminated other root causes of itchy ears, conduct allergy screening. Ear sensitivity is sometimes a secondary symptom of allergies triggered by food or tactile contact. When you can eliminate or control the allergen, the ear sensitivity or infection may disappear.