Painful Ears

Did you wake up in the middle of the night to hear your pet scratching its ear, shaking its head, having restlessness, hyperirritability, and pain?

These are the usual signs that your dog or cat may be suffering from an ear problem.



Ear mites
Dog mange
Food or medicine allergy
Bacterial and/or fungal infection
Foreign body
Cancer in old dogs


Ear mites (microscopic insects that live inside the ears)
Cat mange (microscopic insects that live on the outside of the ears and face)
Excessive ear wax


Your vet will perform a physical exam and examine your pet’s ear swab under the microscope. The swab may help identify bacteria, fungus, or parasitic insects that damage your pet’s ears.

You may also need to declare if you recently fed your pet with a new diet or treat, to rule out food allergy.

If your pet has painful ears, it may need a prescription of pain-killer and ear drops.

cat, pet, animal
I'M SO HAPPY MEOW! A happy cat has healthy ears. Cleaning your cat's ears once weekly starting while it is young will help you to make ear cleaning a pleasant experience for the both of you. If you started cleaning your cat's ears at a later age, be patient. It may get pissed initially but with proper encouragement, it will allow you eventually.


Step 1

Identify if one or both ears are affected. Take photos for reference.

Step 2

Bring your pet to a quiet and well lighted room. Place on a level surface to help you see and touch the ears properly.

To clean the outside of the ears, apply Povidone-Iodine solution gently using cotton buds or balls. Cover all the wounds made by excessive scratching.

To clean the inside of the ears, dip a cotton bud in baby oil or mineral oil. Gently insert the tip only at a depth that your eyes can see. Bring the tip at the side to scoop out the discharge. Take a photo of the discharge for reference. Repeat until your tip is free from discharge.

If the above procedures cause severe pain and aggression to your pet, abort. Bring your pet to a veterinary professional.

Step 3

Attach an Elizabethan collar to prevent further trauma. Excessive scratching may lead to serious wounds that may prolong the disease and promote infection. This may take 7-14 days, depending on how fast the ears will heal.


  • Superficially insert big cotton balls on each ear of your pet before giving it a bath to prevent water from getting in.
  • Remind your pet groomer to disinfect the razor prior to using it to your pet to prevent acquisition of mange from contaminated objects. Also bring your own towel and brushes that the groomer can exclusively use for your pet.
  • Do not bring your pet near other pets that have itchy ears or skin, as they may pass the ear mites to your pet.
  • Wash hands before and after handling your pet
  • Do not self-medicate.


Look for an emergency service provider in advance by calling your nearby vets. It helps to know who is open at the middle of the night. Be sure you meet with the doctors and staff to make sure that this place is where you would want to take your pet if you had to. You may opt to transfer your pet to your primary care veterinarian the next day if you wish.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top