Goldendoodle Chronic Ear Infections: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Cute goldendoodle outside

Goldendoodles are affectionate crossbreeds with a healthy lifespan of 10 to 15 years. As naturally healthy dogs, they also have tendencies of displaying the intuition of a Golden Retriever. Similar to other breeds, Goldendoodles are also at risk of developing certain health conditions like an ear infection.

How do dogs get ear infections? What’s the next step to take when you observe or suspect a chronic ear infection in your Golden Doodle? Keep reading to find out.

Goldendoodle Chronic Ear Infections Explained

Dog owners may observe a chronic ear infection on their Golden Doodle due to ear mites, bacteria, yeast, fungus, and allergies. Ear infections typically follow when there’s a significant build-up of sebum, hair, debris, moisture, and wax.  

Goldendoodle ear infections are significantly common medical concerns for the breed. According to the American Kennel Club, 20 percent of dogs have a specific kind of ear condition. Since dogs with hairy inner ears and floppy ears are at a high risk of ear infections, consider checking on your Golden Doodle.

Once you detect an ear infection in your Golden Doodle early and consult a veterinarian, it averts the tendency of severity. However, the infection also has a high chance of developing again without proper prevention techniques. If your Goldendoodle’s ear infection doesn’t get proper treatment, there’s a risk of permanent hearing loss.

When your Golden Doodle has chronic ear infections, some common signs include scratching and swelling of the region. After the dog ear infection, if symptoms are visible in your Goldendoodle’s ear, subscribe for early treatment.

Do you perceive your Golden Doodle is free from chronic ear infections? If yes, there are steps to prevent the chances of the breed developing the condition. One of the most common steps is using an ear cleanser containing antibacterial and antifungal ingredients.

Before taking steps for treating a Goldendoodle ear infection, it’s crucial to speak to the vet first. Most vets help treat mild ear infections over the counter, but chronic conditions may require more attention.

There are various types of ear infections common in Goldendoodles and other dog breeds, including the interna, media, and otitis externa. Most Groodles are at risk of otitis externa, which affects the outer cell layers of the ear canal. Without attending to the conditions, your dog may experience vestibular signs and possible facial paralysis.

Cute goldendoodle on bed

Causes of Goldendoodle Chronic Ear Infections

Your Golden Doodle has really floppy and hairy ears, making it a prime habitat for yeast and bacterial infections. The organisms can thrive on your dogs because their ear structure traps moisture and blocks free airflow. When you bathe your dogs or leave them to swim, it increases the risk of ear infections due to moisture. 

Inserting fingers, cotton swabs, and many other objects in the ear canal increase the risk of your Golden Doodle getting infections. Their ear canal structure holds fluid, increasing the tendency for infections. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of ear infection causes:


Why is moisture a potential cause of ear infections in Goldendoodles? Bacteria tends to thrive better in moist environments, and in this case, it’s the dog’s ear. Note that small amounts of microscopic bacteria in a dog’s ear are normal but become a problem when debris builds up.


Allergies are another major potential cause of Golden Doodle chronic ear infections. It causes the skin barrier to break down, and the wax production rate rises in the ear canal. Hence, severe strains of bacteria in the ear begin to thrive, and normal yeast starts to overproduce.

Some substances your Golden Doodle may develop food allergies to include food dyes, beef, wheat, soy, and artificial ingredients. Your dog may also react to environmental allergens like pollen, mold, and certain chemicals. If you observe an allergy, visit your vet for an immediate checkup. 

Ear Mites

If your Golden Doodle has ear mites, it increases the risk of infection in the ear. Infection typically occurs due to irritation in the Goldendoodle’s inner ear from itching. In most cases, ear mites are only present in puppies and less prevalent adult Goldendoodles.

Ear Injuries

Your Goldendoodles are at risk of a dog ear infection if it has ear injuries. For this reason, avoid putting foreign objects in your dog’s ear canal and regularly check for tears to the ear flap. There are unique scenarios where injuries may be due to self-harm from excessive stretching.

Endocrine Disorders

In rare cases, ear infections occur due to endocrine disorders, including thyroid disease. Hypothyroidism is common in dogs, including Goldendoodles. However, they are more prevalent among middle-aged dogs between 4 to 10 years old. Hypothyroidism describes a condition where there’s low thyroid hormone production for metabolism, which affects a dog’s ear.


Autoimmune Disorders

Autoimmune disorders in Goldendoodles may also cause ear infections. Even though the cause of these disorders is not certain, genetics and certain environmental pollutants may play a role. Pemphigus foliaceus is an autoimmune disorder with tendencies to cause ulcers around your dog’s ear and eyes.


Excessive Cleaning

Excessive cleaning is another major cause of ear infections in Goldendoodles, especially with unrecommended cleaning agents. Too much cleaning will make your dog’s ear lose its natural oils and waxes, which may result in inflammation.

Cute goldendoodle outside

How Chronic Ear Infections Can Affect Your Goldendoodle

Without prompt treatment, chronic ear infections can cause severe complications to your Goldendoodle’s ear health. The severity increases when the infection spreads from your dog’s external ear canal to the middle or inner ear.

Here are some of the possible ways chronic ear infections may affect your Golden Doodle:

Hearing Loss

Hearing loss occurs when you don’t give your Golden Doodle proper attention and treatment in highly severe cases. Another name for this hearing loss is acquired deafness, and it’s due to long-term blockage of the external ear. Note that the blockage may result from excessive wax or otitis externa.

After the proper treatment, your dog may begin to hear properly again. Permanent hearing loss only happens in a few scenarios and may be due to other contributing factors. An example of those factors is the damage of myelin, which is a fatty material surrounding nerve cells. 

How do you know when your Golden Doodle is experiencing hearing loss? Some of the primary signs include unusual behavior and hyperactivity. When you observe your Golden Doodle suffers from hearing loss, reach out to a vet immediately.

Vestibular Dysfunction

Noticeable signs of vestibular dysfunction include loss of balance, head tilts, disorientation, and irregular jerking eye movements in your Goldendoodle. The condition describes a state where your dog experiences a sudden disturbance of balance. Note that it’s more prominent in older dogs.

Depending on the severity of vestibular dysfunction, most Golden Doodles may hesitate to stand and walk. When they stand, they may struggle to walk and retain balance, which can be distressing. Your vet may diagnose the condition by suggesting an MRI or CT.

Facial Nerve Paralysis

Facial nerve paralysis is a fairly common condition among dogs, including Goldendoodles in their middle to old age. When there’s a deep-seated infection in the ear, facial nerve paralysis may occur as a major complication. In addition to facial paralysis, you may also observe a decreased pupil size and third eyelid across the eye.

Before making any conclusions, your vet may start by performing a thorough ear examination to detect signs of chronic ear infections. After examining the visible ear parts, the vet may also examine deeper areas of the ear and brain.

Ocular Issues

When chronic ear infections in your Golden Doodle don’t get proper treatment, they may spread from the outer parts of the ear to the inner. When the infection reaches your dog’s middle ear, it becomes “otitis media.” Some of the dog ear infection symptoms of otitis media include ocular issues like keratoconjunctivitis sicca and Horner’s syndrome.

Keratoconjunctivitis sicca is simply the dryness of the conjunctiva in your Golden Doodle. You may observe a thick and adherent mucopurulent discharge in your dog if the condition is present. Other significant signs include a dry, lusterless appearance of the corneal.

Horner’s syndrome is another ocular issue that may occur in Goldendoodles with untreated ear infections. Signs of the condition include drooping of the upper eyelid, pupil constriction, and sunken eyes on your Golden Doodle. Consult a vet if there are any signs of ocular issues on your pet.

Cute goldendoodle

Life Expectancy of a Goldendoodle With Chronic Ear Infections

Chronic ear infections may significantly affect your Goldendoodle’s wellbeing if treatment doesn’t begin early. The normal lifespan for a Golden Doodle is between 10 to 15 years. When the dog doesn’t get the best ear infections, life expectancy may reduce by one or two years.

Ear infections reducing life expectancy in Goldendoodles isn’t very common. However, some other conditions like cancer and trauma prove to be more prevalent. Consider making regular visits to the vet to maintain or improve your Goldendoodle’s life expectancy.

Signs that your Goldendoodle Might Have Chronic Ear Infections

Visiting the vet is imperative, but there are signs you can observe without professional help. Here are some of the significant signs that will help you accurately determine your dog has chronic ear infections:


When Goldendoodles have chronic ear infections, they tend to feel very uncomfortable. Since they feel significant pain from their ears, your Goldendoodles will often scratch the region and shake their head to feel better. Without proper attention, constant head shaking and scratching may result in aural hematoma, where blood vessels in the ear break.

Ear infections aren’t the only significant causes of head shaking in Goldendoodles. Your dog may shake its head constantly due to allergies, water in ears, foreign objects, and tumors. However, most of the other causes follow with other dog ear infection symptoms. For example, tumors in the ear canal also cause strong-smelling ear discharge and a painful ear.

Dark Discharge

If you observe a waxy, reddish-brown discharge from your Goldendoodle’s ear, it may be a good sign of a dog ear infection. Note that in some cases, the discharge may also appear yellowish. The first step to take when you observe a dark discharge is consulting your vet for proper diagnosis. Apart from an ear infection, it could also result from ear wax overproduction, mites, and allergies.

For treatment of this symptom, the vet may prescribe an antibiotic or an antifungal lotion. Other common treatment options include ear cleaning and ear drying solution, medication, and surgery in severe cases.


You’ll know your Golden Doodle is in pain when you observe pawing at its ears, head shaking, and whining. All of those actions are notable signs of pain in dogs. Apart from the pain, you may notice other dog ear infection symptoms, including a discharge, odor, and redness of the ear.

Goldendoodles’ other common signs of pain include flinching, elevated heart rate, decreased appetite, and trembling. All Golden Doodle owners should know that pain comes from a vast number of sources. In some cases, it may be due to fractures and mild injuries. For this reason, it’s imperative to consult a vet for assistance.


Itchiness is fairly common among Goldendoodles, but it becomes a problem when it occurs frequently. Some observable dog ear infection symptoms alongside itching include swelling, redness, spots, hearing loss, dark discharge, and fruity odors. If any of those signs are noticeable, your Golden Doodle may be suffering from a chronic dog ear infection.

Apart from ear infections, Goldendoodles may often experience itchiness due to mites. Other rare causes of itchiness include allergies, trauma, and tumors in the ear canal. If the itchiness isn’t frequent, it may just be dirt. For the safest treatment outcome, try speaking to a vet.

Crusting or Scabs in the Ears

Scabs in your Goldendoodle’s ear may signify a sign of a chronic ear infection. However, in many cases, they only signify the presence of ear mites, allergies, trauma, or an autoimmune disorder. If it’s a dog ear infection, the crusting or scabs in your dog’s ear follows other signs like a discharge and constant itching.

Another name describing the formation of crusts and scabs in a dog’s ear is “ear dermatitis.” Chronic ear infections (otitis externa) aren’t the only cause of the condition. If your Golden Doodle suffers from allergies or injuries, they could also result in ear dermatitis.

Redness and Swelling of the Ear Canal

Otitis externa causes severe redness in Goldendoodles’ ears. Swelling typically follows the redness in the ear canal and causes scratching and headshaking. Note that the redness in your dog’s ear due to the ear wax or small bugs differs from those due to chronic infections.

When the redness is due to a dog ear infection, severe pain, itchiness, and a discharge occur. Other potential causes of redness in your Goldendoodle’s ear includes the presence of ear mites, foreign bodies, and allergies. In most cases, you can easily solve the redness in your dog’s ear by cleaning and some medication from the vet.

If there’s no immediate or early treatment, chronic ear infections may result in various complications. Examples include loss of balance and significant disorientation. 

How to Care for and Treat your Goldendoodle for Chronic Ear Infections

Is your Golden Doodle experiencing a chronic dog ear infection? If so, there’s no cause for alarm as there are simple steps you can take to treat and prevent the condition.


Preventive Measures

Each preventive measure is for fighting off bacteria and yeast by creating an inhabitable environment for them. Start by keeping your dog’s ear completely dry. After taking your Golden Doodle for a bath, thoroughly dry your dog’s ear using a clean fabric.

Note that cleaning your dog’s ear after a bath is important and keeps moisture out of its inner ear canal. However, overcleaning may also irritate and result in an infection. For this reason, consider cleaning your Goldendoodle’s ears weekly with a proper cleansing solution from the vet.

Regular cleaning of your Goldendoodle’s ear will keep them free from wax buildup and bacteria. Constant cleaning will also keep you aware of your dog’s health condition and help in quick or immediate treatment.

Apart from cleaning, trimming your Goldendoodle’s inner ear may help increase airflow and reduce the chances of an infection. Proper trimming helps you clean your Groodles ears better and gives the dog overall healthy ear health.


Treatment Options

When you observe a dog ear infection in your Golden Doodle, it’s imperative to consult a vet. After proper diagnosis, the expert may suggest using a medicated cleanser to clean your dog’s ears. Topical medications may also be imperative for home use. In severe cases of chronic ear infections, the vet may prescribe oral antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications.

Most infections, including a dog ear infection in Goldendoodles, may improve within one or two weeks. When it becomes very severe, your vet may recommend surgeries to remove your Goldendoodle’s ear canal. Removing the ear canal will help remove the diseased tissue and avoid recurrence of the infections.

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How to Help your Goldendoodle Live a Fulfilling Life with Chronic Ear Infections

Your Goldendoodle having a dog ear infection doesn’t mean you can’t provide the best life for the dog. It’s never too late to give your Golden Doodle its best life today. Start by maintaining a regular schedule with your vet to keep its overall health in check. 

Make sure you feed your Goldendoodle a healthy diet every day and take out time for exercising. Most importantly, keep your dog’s mind sharp by engaging them in daily routines and activities.

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