Your dog’s ears are one of the most sensitive parts of his body. So, as a pet parent, you are responsible for taking utmost care of your canine’s ears. If you own a spaniel or any breed with long and hanging ears, cleaning its ears once a week or every two weeks is needed. For other breeds, weekly cleaning of their ears would suffice.
Ear infections are common in dogs mainly in the floppy-eared breeds than those with straight and erect ears. As per estimations, 20% of canines have ear disease in one or both ears.
That’s why caring for your dog’s ears routinely is needed. Now, what if you hear squishy sounds coming from your dog’s ears? It could leave you worried, right? Does it indicate an ear infection, or is there any other reason? Let’s read on to know more.
5 Common Causes of Squishy Sounds in Dog’s Ears
When we talk about a squishy sound coming from a dog’s ears, we refer to a soft, gurgling noise you will likely hear after an ear-cleaning session. There might be other reasons as well. Let us look at the common causes of squishy sounds in a dog’s ears.
1. During an Ear Cleaning Session
It’s one of the simplest explanations for your dog’s ears to make a squishy sound. When cleaning his ears with a solution, you may hear a squishy sound as the liquid travels across the dog’s ear canal. It also indicates that you are properly cleaning your dog’s ears.
So, in this case, the squishy sound indicates something positive and isn’t a sign of any problem. However, if the sound is because of ear cleaning, it will last until the solution gets inside the ears and then stops. If it prolongs, then there might be other underlying issues.
2. Accumulation of Fluid in the Ear Canal
Your dog may have a fluid build-up inside his ears due to allergies or bacterial or fungal infections. Another reason may be that foreign objects could get lodged inside your dog’s ears. The outcome is wax or fluid build-up inside the ears, which results in a squishy sound. When your dog has an ear hematoma, the blood vessels in the ear rupture. This leads to swollen, warm, and inflamed ears. You could even hear a squishy sound coming from his ears.
Dogs develop allergies for a whole lot of reasons. The trigger could be an allergen in his food. It could even be out of a reaction to anything in his environment that your dog’s immune system finds difficult to tolerate. These include pollen, mites, mold spores, etc.
When your dog has allergies, he could develop respiratory distress and even engage in wheezing and coughing. An allergic reaction also affects the dog’s ears, making it red, inflamed, and itchy. Because of allergies, the wax production in your dog’s ears could increase, leading to inflammation and discharge. So, noisy ears aren’t uncommon when there is wax and discharge.
Ear mites are infectious; dogs could contract it from other canines or felines. Your dog may even be infected with ear mites when playing in the yard or garden. Pups are more susceptible to ear mites than their adult counterparts.
If you have multiple dogs living in your home, one dog getting infected means ear mites would spread among others soon through the bedding and toys. When your dog is affected by ear mites, he will shake his head violently and even scratch his ears excessively.
You will even spot waxy debris, smelly discharge, and a foul smell from his ears. You can also hear a squishing sound coming from your dog’s ears. The reason is that the mites thrive by feeding on the wax and debris inside the ear. This leads to the formation of a sticky substance inside the ear, and the air bubbles getting trapped. The bubble begins popping when the dog moves his ear, leading to the squishy noise.
5. Increased Moisture Accumulation
If you bathe your dog a lot, or if he swims too often, moisture may have accumulated in his ears. This happens even more if your dog’s ears aren’t cleaned after swimming or bathing.
When there’s too much water in your dog’s ears, they may appear noisy. Increased water accumulation could even trigger bacterial infections in the long run.
Symptoms of Ear Infections in Dogs
Dogs may suffer from three kinds of ear infections. One is otitis externa, affecting his outer ears. Then comes otitis media and otitis interna, affecting the middle and inner ear, respectively.
The middle and inner ear problems mainly occur when the infection spreads from the outer ear, resulting in facial paralysis and deafness in severe cases.
Let’s check out some common ear infection symptoms in dogs. These include:
- Shaking head vigorously
- Scratching the ear, which has been affected
- Swelling and redness in the ear canal
- Formation of scabs or crusts in the ear
- Yellowish or blackish discharge
- Thickened scabs and crusts in the ears
- Losing balance and stumbling quite often
You must contact the vet immediately when you find any of these signs in your dog.
Seek Treatment When Your Dog’s Ear is Making Squishy Sounds
If you occasionally find a squishy sound in your dog’s ears, there isn’t much to worry about. But, if it is recurrent, even when you aren’t cleaning his ears, and is accompanied by other symptoms mentioned above, you would have to consult the vet.
Getting your dog’s ear infections checked as soon as possible is always advisable. Delayed treatment may lead to severe complications in the future.
When to Consult a Veterinarian?
You should consult a vet as soon as possible when your dog’s ears are red and inflamed alongside the squishy sound. These are warning signs of an ear infection. Besides red ears, there might even be a smelly or bloody discharge.
Your dog could be shaking his head vigorously to ease himself of the inflammation and pain.
In severe cases, your canine might even be making a stumbling gait, which shows that the ear infection is causing him to lose his balance. These indicate that you should seek a vet’s consultation soon.
Home Remedies and Preventive Measures
If your dog has recurrent infections, you should take measures at home to ensure it doesn’t happen frequently. Here are initiatives to take from your end:
- You should pay special attention to cleaning your dog’s ears. It should be at least once a month for dogs with straight and erect ears and once every two weeks for breeds with long, hanging ears. Always follow the proper procedure when cleaning your dog’s ears. While cleaning your canine’s ears, always use a vet-approved solution.
- A squishy sound will be heard when the product dissolves and dislodges the debris. Your dog will shake his head as the solution gets in. Allow him to do the same. Then, wipe his ear canal gently using a cotton ball.
- You should consult a vet if food allergies cause a squishy sound in your dog’s ears. It is essential to find out the triggers causing the allergy. The vet might put your dog on an elimination diet trial to find the cause of the allergy.
- If mites or injury is the reason for the squishy sound, you should keep a close watch on your dog, especially when playing in the yard or interacting with other canines.
- When you have a breed that swims too often, ensure to dry his ears well after he gets out of the water. You should also maintain the same when you have bathed your dog.
No, you cannot conduct any medical test to check for your dog’s ear infections at home. But you could get an idea that something is wrong by checking his symptoms.
He might shake his head a lot and frequently rub it against furniture. You could even get a foul smell from his ears and smelly discharge.
Your dog’s ears may have fluid due to ear mites, allergic reactions, polyps, too much ear wax, or increased swimming or bathing.
Sometimes, a reddish-brown or yellowish discharge may be seen from your dog’s ears. This indicates an ear infection.
Whenever you hear a squishy sound in your dog’s ears, it is essential to analyze the reason behind it. If your dog has noisy ears occasionally, that shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
However, if it is a regular affair, and you see other symptoms as well, then you need to address it at the earliest.
Dr. Lillian is a D.V.M. passionate about promoting awareness of dogs. She shares her expertise through her blogs on canineweekly.com and provides animal care services, including internal medicine, dermatology, and emergency care. Dr. Lillian is committed to contributing to animal welfare.