Article 108 20190125083448

Help! My dog’s ear is bleeding

There are several reasons why your dog’s ear may be bleeding - some will require urgent vet care while others can be easily managed at home. Sore ears can be very painful, so be careful as even the most gentle dog can turn grumpy in this situation. Read on to learn what to do with a bleeding ear and when to contact your vet.

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Possible causes of ear bleeding

Cuts or scratches

Ear flaps have a rich blood supply, so if your dog gets a cut in their skin, the bleeding can be substantial and downright scary. They also tend to shake their heads when this happens, which can make it look much worse. Dogs love exploring outdoors and playing with other dogs, so injuries and bleeding on their ears are quite common, especially in young dogs with floppy ears.

What should you do if your dog has cut its ear?

  • Put moderate pressure on the wound for 5-10 minutes, on both sides of the ear, ideally using a clean cloth or gauze pad, but if you’re out on a walk with nothing handy, use your fingers

  • Keeping the pad or cloth in place, flatten the ear flap gently to the dog’s head with the inside up and bandage it for 24 hours, wrapping the bandage all around the head and under the chin - it should sit snugly without being too tight the rule is to be able to fit 2 fingers between your dog's throat and the bandage

  • Keep your dog calm, movement may dislodge the formed clot and restart the bleeding

  • Use a collar to prevent the dog from scratching at it or rubbing in against something

  • Contact your vet to have the wound checked - very big or deep wounds will need glueing or stitching while the smaller ones may only need cleaning or medication to prevent infection

Lumps in the ear

Tumours, warts and other growths in the ear canal often have a good blood supply themselves and can easily bleed when damaged.

What should you do?

  • Apply pressure to the bleeding for 5-10 minutes using a clean cotton wool pad or gauze

  • Keep the lump clean to prevent it becoming infected, use 1:10 diluted Hibiscrub (chlorhexidine) or a saline solution; be careful not to dislodge the clot or scab over the lump or let cleaning fluid trickle down into the ear canal

  • Have your vet examine and sample the lump to work out what it is, then they can then discuss with you the best way to deal with it

Ear infection

An ear infection will cause, besides the dark and smelly discharge, swelling and redness of the skin of the ear canal and ear flap. This irritated skin is more fragile, so if your dog scratches vigorously at it, this may cause it to bleed. In such cases the bleedings tend to be more superficial, but diffuse over a larger area.

What should you do?

  • If the bleeding is significant, apply pressure to it as described above

  • Book a visit with your vet to examine and swab the ear canal, then they can then discuss with you the best way to deal with it

When to see your vet

  • Any significant wound on ear flap

  • Bleeding lump(s) in the ear canal or on the ear flap

  • Hot, red, itchy or sore ears

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