If you’re a Frenchie parent or planning to become one, you should be prepared that the cute bat ears require regular care from your side. Otherwise, your puppy could be at risk of developing an ear infection, just like any other dog breed! In this guide, you’ll learn how to recognize and treat French Bulldog Ear Infection effectively.
What is ear infection and what causes it?
Let’s start with a definition: an ear infection is the inflammation of the external ear canal, also known as otitis externa. There are two other, more serious types of ear infections affecting the middle or inner ear. These usually develop when the otitis externa spreads further into the ear, and may lead to long-term issues if not treated properly, such as deafness or loss of balance. So, as you can imagine it’s essential that you’re familiar with the early signs and take your Frenchie to a vet as soon as possible.
Before we talk about the symptoms, let’s have a look at some of the most common causes of French Bulldog ear infection. Similarly to other kinds of infections, bacteria and yeast are usually the ones to blame. Because of its L shape, a dog’s ear canal is more prone to holding earwax and fluid, creating a warm, moist environment which makes bacteria grow. Frenchies tend to have an even narrower ear canal due to their small skull, putting them at more risk.
Foreign objects may also cause an ear infection if they get into a dog’s ear. Because of their big bat ears, Frenchies are more likely to collect dirt, dust or any small object that certainly doesn’t belong in there. Ear mites, allergies and the scratching caused by them are also frequent factors in an ear infection. In rarer cases, an underlying endocrine disorder may be suspected, such as thyroid disease. To make sure the treatment is as successful as possible, it’s important that your vet determines the exact reason of your Frenchie’s ear problem.
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The symptoms of Frenchie ear infection
A French Bulldog ear infection is usually easy to spot. As it comes with some significant discomfort or even pain, your Frenchie will show signs that you just can’t miss. Firstly, they will most likely shake their head as they’ll feel like something is lodged inside their ear. Frequent scratching to relieve the discomfort is another obvious symptom. That may result in some secondary issues like scabs inside the ear and visible hair loss around it if your Frenchie scratches it excessively.
An increased yellowish or black discharge is another frequent symptom of Frenchie ear infection, along with an unpleasant odor. You may also notice some redness or swelling in the ear canal. In more chronic cases, your Frenchie’s may develop a crusty and thicker ear canal as well. If the inner ear is affected, they will experience some difficulty balancing and head tilting to the side to help with their balance. If you notice one or more of these symptoms, you should visit your vet clinic right away!
The treating of the ear infection
So what exactly happens at the vet clinic? First of all, your vet will examine your Frenchie’s ear with an otoscope to see if there’s any foreign object in there and whether the eardrum is intact. If they find something lodged inside, they will remove that and clean the ear properly with a medicated ear cleanser. If your Frenchie is in considerable pain, your vet might need to sedate them for this.
Next, they will take a sample from the material in the ear canal and examine it under a microscope. That way, they can determine what organism causes the infection and will be able to apply the appropriate medicine. Sometimes more than one kind of organism may be present like a fungus and a bacterium, in which case multiple medications will be necessary. With recurrent ear infections, your vet will check your Frenchie for an underlying condition like hypothyroidism.
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Depending on the severity of your Frenchie’s ear infection, the vet will either prescribe a topical medicine to put in your puppy’s ear at home, or additional oral antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications to reduce the swelling. Needless to say, you should always follow your vet’s instructions to ensure a quick recovery! Scheduling a follow-up vet check is also highly recommended. Most ear infections usually resolve in about 1-2 weeks, while more severe infections with an underlying condition will obviously take months.
Prevention is always the best option
Just like with any health issue, prevention is always the best option! To avoid excessive earwax buildup and moisture in your Frenchie’s ear, it goes without saying how important regular cleaning is. Every two weeks should be enough to keep your puppy’s bat ear nice and clean, but if you see signs of dirt in it then you shouldn’t wait as long. Unlike humans, dogs have brown colored earwax. So, if you see that there’s no need to worry at all, just get prepared for a cleaning session.
Now you might be asking, how exactly should you clean your Frenchie’s ears? It’s actually nothing complicated, you can easily do it using a plain cotton swab. Consult your French Bulldog breeder or check out Tom’s how-to video in which he shows all the steps! What’s important is to never go too deep in the ear as you may accidentally damage the eardrum: it’s enough to clean the parts that you can still see! You can finish wiping the ear clean with an unscented wet wipe to remove all the remaining earwax and dirt. When you’re done, don’t forget to praise your Frenchie to make sure they associate the ear cleaning with something positive!
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A final thing to consider is to be careful when bathing your Frenchie. Try not to get any water in their ears, and make sure to dry them thoroughly afterwards to avoid moist and the growing of bacteria. If you’d rather leave the ear cleaning and bathing to a professional, you can definitely ask a dog groomer to do the job for you. The important thing is that you always take your Frenchie’s care seriously, and if you see any signs mentioned above despite your best efforts, seek treatment right away!
If you’d like to learn more about Frenchies, join our Facebook group called TomKings Frenchie Family to read our Frenchie parents’ experiences!
The best way to prevent ear infection in your Frenchie is by regularly cleaning their ears, about every two weeks.
The most common signs of a French Bulldog ear infection are head shaking, scratching, yellowish or black discharge, redness and odor.
If your Frenchie has an ear infection, it’s essential that you take them to a vet who will determine the exact cause and treat it with the right medication.
The article is based on the expert knowledge of the TomKings Puppies team who have been breeding French Bulldogs for 10 years on their farm. All the pictures in the post belong to them and their customers, and show puppies from their breed. Check their available French Bulldog puppies, or if you have any questions or comments let us know below the article.