German Shepherd Ear Infection


Ear Infection (Canker or Otitis Externa)

Ear Infections usually affect the outer ear (Otitis Externa), which is painful. If untreated, they quickly grow to affect the inner ear too, which is not only painful but highly disturbing for your dog. Since a dog's ears are so crucial to its wellbeing (dogs listen more and better than they watch, we watch more and we listen hardly), you must ensure the best care for the ears of your German Shepherd.

Who Gets Ear Infections

Ear Infections are most common in dogs with floppy ears that do not get enough air to absorb moisture. Therefore German Shepherds are somewhat lucky here since their ears are generally upright anyway. However, moisture and dirt particles can get trapped in the ear and an infection can quickly form if you are not watchful. German Shepherd puppies with their floppy ears need extra care.

Both fungus and yeast are common factors in Ear Infections, in particular while the ears are floppy. Also common are Ear Infections as a result of ear mites, bacteria, food allergies in general, bad hygiene, or an environmental object or substance that got into the ear and now causes problems.

Particularly high risks are swimming in standing (and therefore often infested) water, prowling through the woods or high bushes, fights with other dogs, a draft at your dog's crate (or wherever you have your German Shepherd sleep or doze), and dust.

Warning Signs

The warning signs of an Ear Infection are excess ear wax, red inflammation, bad odor from the ears, constant scratching, shaking the head frequently, or general discomfort in your dog’s behaviour.

Avoiding and Treating Ear Infections

To avoid Ear Infections, inspect your dog’s ears and ear canal daily or at least every other day and look out for the warning signs mentioned above. Clean your dog’s ears very carefully and remove the wax buildup, but don’t use anything with a sharp end. You can use this top ear cleanser and these cotton buds. Carefully roll the cotton buds inside the ear, but do not get deep into the ear! You must always be able to still see the cotton-covered end clearly, or else you would affect the delicate inner ear! The same applies when you use cotton buds for your own ears.

To treat an existing Ear Infection, you should initially visit the vet, so that they can diagnose the cause of the infection and make sure that the inner ear has not yet been affected. Note that an Ear Infection poses a severe threat to your dog’s overall health and wellbeing, and it is crucial to prevent that the infection affects the ear drum and inner ear too. Inner Ear Infections can easily spread to other parts of the body or create damaging high fevers that could kill your German Shepherd.

Again, typically many vets will then prescribe antibiotics - which are unnecessary here and often ineffective too. Instead, antibiotics will most likely make the Ear Infection chronic.

Therefore, once you have the diagnosis of the vet as described above, actual treatment in this case can be left to yourself (home treatment). In this case, to treat an existing Ear Infection (and to prevent a chronic Ear Infection to reoccur), use the top pet ear treatment without hydrocortisone first. This best remedy works well in almost every case, so that the sister product with hydrocortisone is not needed. Hydrocortisone is a corticosteroid, a hormone, and therefore it can have dramatic side effects with impact on seemingly unrelated body functions.

Remember, our aim should always be to get the correct diagnosis, and then to use the most appropriate treatment with the least side effects (especially long-term side effects). The Zymox Otic Pet Ear Treatment without Hydrocortisone is the most appropriate (and effective) remedy to treat Ear Infections. You can also use this on a weekly maintenance schedule to avoid future infections. Likewise, you can even try this on other Skin Infections too (see 16), and many dog owners have done this with great success.

However, for the same reason (side effects), you should not use the sister product, Zymox Otic Pet Ear Treatment with Hydrocortisone on a maintenance schedule or on other Skin Infections. I hope you see, with every chapter better, why generally our advice makes so much sense. It simply is educated common sense.

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  23 Site Comments, ZERO SPAM Add one


    I have a rescued GSD whose name is Apollo. We have had him for about 2 almost three years. You should have seen him when we first got him he looked like he was gonna flop dead the next day. Apollo is on the bigger side of German Shepards. He is believed to be full blooded but no proof. He weighs 95 pounds now. When we first got him he only weight 60 pounds, nails curled under is feet, fleas the sized of small flies, ended up being allergic to flea dirt so lost a great deal of hair on his back near his tail, same area had bacterial infection, double ear infection (bacterial and yeast), tape warms, and had a yeast infection in his groin area. I actually rescued him from a co workers father her dumped him in our works parking lot. Co worker swore up and down that her family took the best care they could for Apollo and even had another GSD. I told her she was crazy that dog didn't even look like they tried. (we had the same amount of money coming into our households) anyways to get to the point to this day we are fighting off ear infections.He is well and healthy with everything else. When we treated them at first it seemed to linger away but shortly after he was shaking his head again. Every time we think the infection is gone it flips on us and goes from bacterial to yeast and vise versa. We have been using what the vet has given us for ear cleanser and meds. I was just wondering if you could give me any advise on how to stop this. I'm one week away from having a baby and would like to get this solved or least get the wheels in motion. Just tonight I had to get up at 12 to clean our a bunch of black gunk out of his ears.=[ it saddens me that they ever got that way. Please help us =[


      So, you say you've been using what the vet (one vet) has given you. But you don't give an inch of a clue WHAT that was? What did you try from the vet that didn't work?
      And why don't you simply try what WE here suggest? So far, our tips have always worked! So basically, proceed as per the MYGERMANSHEPHERD Health Manual.


    HI we found our GSD about a year and three months ago. Her name is Sheva, she was a rescue dog and in a very bad shape. Our start off problem was a bad skin condition which with our vets help and the right food it was sorted out quickly. The existing problem is her one ear. Sheva would continuously scratch her ear until it is bleeding and than the ear would get infected. We clean her ears on a regular basis. Once the ear has started to heal and form scabs she starts all over again. It is just this one specific ear. I do not like putting a funnel around her neck to prevent her from getting to her ear but without it she does not stop scratching. What do we do?


      Hi Judy, Interesting case. Did a vet see the ear, what did he say, diagnosis?
      Without seeing it, I can't say much. Is anything visible? Outside or inside ear?
      Theoretical reasons till I know more:
      - allergy, normally food, unless you gives medicines? Often result from antibiotics use.
      - yeast infection
      - mites

      unlikely: tumor (normally don't itch)
      send photo?



    We have a 5 months black gsd who has a chronic head tilt. He has been seen by two vets who do not seem overly concerned. His siblings display the same symptoms (on and off) and we think that this could be a bacterial infection. He has responded to the antibiotics the vet has perscribed and his head will get straight, but only for a few weeks and then the tilt comes back. Any advice?


    I hv gsd female her outer ear hair was remove what should I do what was the reason about it


    hello,i have a GSD ..of smwhat 8 years....his ears has bloody discharge all the time...its like he is always crying...what to do please help...antibiotics are not working.2 days gap in antibiotics did this to him..please tell what should be done....his ear problems are since 1 year...all d tym puss and really bad smell...but this bloody discharge is since 3 days..and it has no much odour...and its really bad... please help..i dont know if this can effect his life..:'(..


      You have RUINED his health with all those antibiotics. Now no one can help the poor dog.
      I'd strongly suggest you IMMEDIATELY READ through all our health pages (for free) to avoid further health issues.


    Hii I have 4 month female gsd. Her both year was eract but for 3 to 4 days her left ear had not eracted properly.its looks like flopy ear I dont understand it can.b natural or something dangerous.still My dog is active . Mo other wrong sign onlt this problem is seen.
    Please I request advice me


      Sudhir, Do not worry! As shown AND explained in detail in My New Puppy Diary, GSD ears may not permanently stay UP before age 9 months. Unless you or someone else has damaged the ear cartilage when showing affection (??), both ears will ultimately be up nicely. Do not worry! ;-)

      All clear now?


      Tim , I read on internet that at the age of 5 month gsd ears stay up properly and their ear cartilage going hard. And as I told in My above msg that at the completion of third month my gsd both ear get stay up but from the last sunday her left ear get down and on 24th she is complete her 5 month.
      So that's why I worried . I already give her calcium syrup and in food drools focus puppy.
      If some tonic or medicine is available so please suggest or please give your precious advice to me.


        "I read on internet" all sorts of rubbish too, eg that antibiotics are the first call, yearly vaccine boosters mandatory, premium kibble the best dog food, etc etc.

        Do I give that any attention?


        You may believe those "sources" (copies!) or me, it's your choice Sudhir, but it would be great if you come back here in a few months to confirm that your dog's ears are up, like I said they will be. ;-)


    Thankyou Tim for ur precious advice hopefully her ear stay up soon.
    Please could you u avail me height chart for gsd.


      Sudhir, all charts are in the earlier linked New Puppy Diary only (yet), and sadly because of my difficult situation I do not foresee to be able to send you anything anytime soon, so sorry. Am at a shop now where I get 6 min internet.


    my german sherpard wont lets us put the drops in her ear, She get very aggressuve when we try to and she usually is not a aggressive dog. Any idea on how to get the medicine in her ear. Or is it and pill form of this ear drop we can give to her ? she has been to countless of vets and all the vets do is clean her ear out and put her on antibotics. We did the first week of the antibotics but we do not want to keep her on it for too long ?


      Never allow antibiotics, fire those "vets", I've said it a million times here?
      And topical antibiotics are foolish SQUARED!


        we stopped using the antibotics. Do you have any other suggestions for her?! we will take anything


        Nini, you didn't say what her ear problem is? Do you know? What do you see?

        Also be aware: AFTER antibiotics treatment you have a hard time to solve the infection (likely it is). Because now you may not identify the CAUSE of it. Hence why I always say: stupid antibiotics! (use of it)

        @everyone: Going forward, when a "vet" wants to "treat" with antibiotics (or steroids!), RUN!


    I have a 11 month GSD mail tonight i heard him making strange noises when i went to check I found he has a head tilt towards left side his left ear suddenly dropped and he is shaking his head and scratching his left ears and making sounds as if he is in pain. Please advice


      If you have the puppy for longer than last night(?) now check his ears with bright sunlight directed inside. What do you see?


    Hi my German shepherd named Thor is 1 1/2. He's always had a thing for scratching his ears. It's most intense first thing in the morning. He goes to the vets every month for a check up on weight etc. They continually look in his ears but never find any concerns. I have however been informed that some dogs do it because it lets of the happy hormone. I'm looking at breaking the habit if you have any advice? Thank you


      Please can you fill in all here so that I know a bit more about the dog?
      Add also a note how it looks (visible symptoms), not only behavior symptoms, thank you.

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