You might not think about your dog shaking their head every once in a while, but like any good pet owner, you will notice something isn’t right when they start pawing at their ears. A quick check of their swollen and mucky ears confirms what you were dreading: they have an ear infection.

Now what? Keep scrolling to find out. Below, here’s everything you need to know about ear infections in dogs. 

What Are the Symptoms of Ear Infections?

Ear infections hurt — whether you have two legs or four. As a result, your dog will exhibit all the typical signs of discomfort. They may also have some (or all) of these tell-tale signs.

  • Balance issues
  • Dark discharge
  • Odor 
  • Redness
  • Scratching or pawing
  • Swelling
  • Tilting head

Take Your Pup to the Vet for a Diagnosis

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, take your dog to the vet. They can determine if your dog is suffering from a true ear infection or something else. 

Once your vet confirms your four-legged friend’s issues, they will clean your dog’s ears carefully. They may also prescribe medication, including antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, cleansers, and topical lotions. 

If these unexpected medications cost more than you can afford, let your vet know. They may be able to bump their prescription down to a generic form of these drugs, saving you some money. This conversation may eventually lead you to their billing department, where you can discuss a payment plan.

If you still can’t afford this expense, you might consider taking out an online installment loan. They’re easy to research and compare with just the phone in your hand. 

If approved, you may borrow for short time periods to cover unexpected emergencies, like your dog’s ear infection. You’ll be able to pay back your installment loan over multiple, spaced-out payments, so you don’t have to worry about coming up with the cash all at once. 

How to Prevent Another Ear Infection

Prevention is always better than the cure when it comes to your dog’s health. It goes for your wallet, too — especially if you have to borrow an online installment loan for help. 

Cleaning your dog’s ear regularly is the single best way to prevent these infections from recurring. Vets recommend massaging cleaning solution into your dog’s ear and gently wiping it out with clean cotton swabs. 

Unfortunately, some dogs deal with chronic ear infections. A new study shows that cocker spaniels, labradoodles, and shar-peis are at the highest risk of ear infections, although any breed with long, floppy ears may deal with ear issues. A waterdog who loves to swim may also get infections more often. 

When your dog is frequently sick with an infection, it’s time to ask your vet if there are any underlying causes, including allergies, habits, or chronic diseases. Identifying the source of these recurring infections can help you avoid your dog’s triggers. Keep this in mind if you have to make several returns to the clinic about your dog’s ears. Together, you and your vet can create a plan that puts your dog’s health first and your budget in a close second.