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What Causes Ear Infection in Standard Poodles? Infection Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

poodle ear infection

Last updated on August 19th, 2021 at 04:23 am

This article was medically reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Sara Ochoa, a renowned veterinary doctor.

Do you think that your Standard Poodle may have an ear infection? There are many common signs that you can look for to help you determine if your Standard Poodle has an ear infection.  There are many things that you can do at home to help treat and prevent these infections in your Standard Poodle.  Ear infections are very commonly seen by vets every day and can be a struggle to manage sometimes.  These are some things that you can do to help keep your Standard Poodle’s ears healthy and happy. 

Cleaning your Poodle’s ears regularly between your regular visits with the veterinarian will help you keep your Poodle’s ears healthy and pain-free. It is recommended that Poodles have their ears cleaned at least once a week. If you see signs of trouble, more frequent ear care may be called for to get ahead of problems before they require a trip to the vet.

Furthermore, I have prevented ear infections in my poodle by applying the Dechra Aqueous Ear Flush to my poodle’s ear two to three times every week. This product was recommended to me by my vet. It has helped prevent ear infections in my poodle. Get it for your poodle too. Check out this poodle ear cleaning product on amazon.

Preventing Ear Infections in Poodles with the Dechra Ear Flush

How Does My Standard Poodle Get An Ear Infection?

a poodle
Preventing Ear Infections in Poodles

Otitis Externa is the medical term for an ear infection. These are very commonly seen on Standard Poodles. Your dog`s ear is shaped like an L with a horizontal canal going down then a vertical canal going in towards your dog`s head. Standard Poodles commonly have hair growing along their ear canal. This hair causes bacteria and yeast to build up causing your Standard Poodle to develop an ear infection. Furthermore, the standard poodle is a “drop-eared” dog. This means the ear of a standard poodle is long and it points down. Drop-eared dogs like the standard poodle are more susceptible to ear infections. The bacteria, yeast, and mites that cause ear infections love the warm and moist environment in the drop-eared standard poodle.

ear anatomy
Model ear of a dog. You can see the L-shaped ear canal.

Causes of Ear Infections in Standard Poodles

There are many different things that can cause an ear infection in your Standard Poodle.  These are just a few of the most common causes of ear infections in standard poodles:


Allergies are very commonly seen in early spring to late fall.  When new plants are blooming, and pollen is in the air, most dogs will show signs of seasonal allergies.  A typical presentation for allergies in Standard Poodle is an ear infection.

Your Standard Poodle may develop allergies due to a number of reasons that are common causes of allergies seen in most dogs. These are:

  • Environmental allergies: There are many things that are in your Standard Poodle’s environment that can cause them to have allergies.  They may be allergic to the grass, trees, or dust mites. Just like with people most environmental allergies are seasonal and are seen in the spring and summer.
  • Food Allergies: Standard poodles can be allergic to the food that they are eating. The most common thing that Standard Poodles may be allergic to is the proteins found in their diets. Usually chicken or beef is the most common protein that can cause your dog to have allergies. If your Standard Poodle does have allergies to food this will commonly show up as an ear infection. YOu can try to switch your Standard Poodle`s diet to a novel protein. This means a protein source that they have never eaten before such as duck, rabbit, or venison.
  • Flea Allergies: If your Standard Poodle has fleas, your dog may be itching and scratching. Most dogs are allergic to the saliva produced by a flea. If you notice your standard poodle scratching their ears a lot, it may be due to flea allergies.

Bacterial or Fungal Infection

Bacteria and yeast are always looking for a place to live.  Inside your Standard Poodle’s ears is an excellent place for bacteria and fungi to set up residence.  Standard Poodles have long floppy ears that help trap moisture and dirt.  This sets up the perfect environment for bacteria and yeast to grow. It is more common for a Standard Poodle to have a yeast infection in their ears due to the extra hair growing in their ears and the dark moist environment.

Ear Mites

While ear mites are not as common in dogs as in cats. However, your standard poodle can still get mites in their ears. If you just got a new kitten that has ear mites, they can pass these mites along to your Standard Poodle.  

If your poodle scratches its ears a lot, it may be a sign of ear mites. Ear mites are tiny pests that live in your dog`s ears, causing them to become inflamed, sore, and itchy. Your dog may shake its head a lot and scratch. Ear mites can be transmitted from one dog to another. Luckily, ear mites can be easily cleared up with insecticide ear drops.

Ear mites can be found by wiping the ear with a Q-tip and then wiping the Q-Tip on a piece of black paper. The mites will show up as little white moving specks. If you do find mites in your poodle`s ear, you can get ear mite drops from the pet supply store or online.

how big will this standard poodle get

Symptoms of an Ear Infection in Standard Poodles 

If your Standard Poodle has an ear infection, they will show a few definite signs. One of the most apparent signs that pet owners will notice is a bad smell and black waxy debris in your Standard Poodle’s ears.  

If you ever see or smell anything wrong with your Standard Poodle’s ear, it would be best to check your Standard Poodle’s ears.  These are some of the main signs that you see that would indicate that your Standard Poodle has an ear infection:

  • Shaking their head
  • Scratching their ears
  • Bad odor in their ears
  • Excess discharge from their ears
  • Red, irritated or painful ears
  • Scabs or hair loss around their ears 
  • A head tilt 
  • excessive wax in the ear
  • foul odor from the ear
  • redness in the ear
  • excessive matting of hair in the external ear
  • rubbing their ears against other objects
  • disorientation.

If you see any of these signs in your Standard Poodle, it would be best to schedule an appointment with your vet.  If your Standard Poodle’s ear ever is inflamed, swollen, or has a horrible smell, then your standard poodle might have a very severe ear infection. 

Treatment for Ear Infections in Standard Poodles

Common things for Standard Poodle’s to have in their ears are yeast and bacteria.  An overgrowth of either one of these will cause your Standard Poodle to develop an ear infection.  These are a few things that you may have to do to help treat your dog`s ear infection.

Home Remedy

A popular home remedy for ear care is a combination of equal parts of vinegar and rubbing alcohol. Don’t use this if your dog has open sores in its ears, as it will cause burning. Also, never use hydrogen peroxide to clean your poodle`ss ears. The foaming action of hydrogen peroxide can cause ear damage to your poodle.

If your dog often gets ear infections, you might use a pet ear care product that dries up excess moisture in the ear canal of your poodle. A dog earwash with Tea Tree Oil ingredient is an excellent choice. Tea Tree Oil has natural properties that can keep your dog’s ears problem-free.

See Your Vet

If your Standard Poodle does have an ear infection, it would be best for them to see a vet.  Your vet will take a small sample of the debris in your Standard Poodle’s ear and look under the microscope for a sign of any infection.  

Once your vet has diagnosed an ear infection in your Standard Poodle, your vet will send you home with some medication to put in the ear of your standard poodle a few times a day.  Recently there are newer medications that your vet can put in your dog’s ear once a week for fewer treatments.  

Your vet can discuss these different options with you.  Many people like the once a week medication because they do not have to treat their Standard Poodle’s ears every day.  

Give Oral Antibiotics

Depending on the severity of your dog’s ear infection, your dog may also have to take oral antibiotics to help clear up their ear infection.  It is essential that you follow your vet’s recommendations and not miss any treatments. This can lead to a resistant ear infection that would be very hard to clear up. 

It is never recommended to treat your Standard Poodle’s ear infection with any home remedies. This can cause damage to their eardrum and can also cause them to become deaf. 

Begin a Weekly Maintenance Routine

If your Standard Poodle has many ear infections, they will need to be on a lifelong maintenance routine to help keep their ears clear of hair and infection.  While sometimes there is no cure for what is causing these ear infections, there are many preventative measures that you can take to help keep your Standard Poodle’s ears healthy. 

How To Preventing Ear Infection in Standard Poodles

Cleaning your Poodle’s ears regularly between your regular visits with the veterinarian will help you keep your Poodle’s ears healthy and pain-free.

However, note that a dog’s ear canal is different than ours. A dog`s ear canal is L-shaped, while ours is straight. a dog`s ear canal is also much deeper than ours, which means it will take more effort to clean than ours. You should be very careful when cleaning your poodle`s ear canal, especially using cotton-tipped swabs. These cotton-tipped swabs can actually push the dirt and wax deeper into your poodle`s ear canal.

Use your eyes and nose to perform regularly perform a routine inspection of your standard poodle`s ear. This will help you detect any problems and prevent these problems from getting worse. You may want to invest in a pet ear scope to aid you in seeing inside your dog’s ears. Look for any redness, wax build-up, or anything foreign in the ear canal of your dog.

Smell your dog`s ears. Healthy dog ears shouldn’t have a foul smell. Also, be aware of any discharges. A dark waxy discharge may be a sign of ear mites. A foul-smelling pus-like discharge may mean a bacterial infection. Dogs with allergies sometimes have smelly ears.

If your Standard Poodle keeps having ear infections, it would be best to try to clean your standard poodle`s ears at least once a week. By cleaning their ear very frequently, you will help prevent any buildup of infection and possibly even prevent them from ever having an ear infection.  Ear wipes are great at helping keep your dog’s ears clean. You can use ear wipes to wipe out any dirt or debris from your Standard Poodle’s ears.  

Sometimes Standard Poodles have ear infections due to allergies.  You can try to give your Standard Poodle Benadryl to help with allergies that lead to ear infections.  A typical dosage that most vets use is 1mg per pound. So, a 50-pound Standard Poodle would need two adult Benadryl tablets twice a day.   

Keeping your standard poodle`s hair short helps prevent hair infection in your standard poodle. When you take your Standard Poodle to the groomer, try to keep your dog’s hair free of extra hair and keep the hair around the ear short.  This will help keep their ears dry and free of any infection.

Keep your poodle`s ears dry when bathing if possible to prevent ear infection. As mentioned, germs grow easily on wet dog ears. However, If your poodle`s ears do get wet, you can use a pet ear-drying product after bathing or swimming to dry the ears out. There are also many products for ear care that will dissolve wax and remove debris.

How to Clean a Standard Poodle`s Ear

  1. Pluck out the hair from the ear canal of your poodle. This is important if your poodle has a lot of ear hair. This handled with the aid of “ear powder.” This makes the ear hair easier to hold on to and is less painful for the dog.
  2. Use a good pair of straight hemostats to pull the hair out, grabbing only a few hairs at a time. Once you have the hair removed, you can use a mild ear cleaner to clean the ears. Use one that has very little or no alcohol in it, as alcohol can burn the ear that has just had the hair removed.
  3. Pour ear cleaner into the outer part of the ear canal, allowing the cleaner to seep into the ear canal. Massage the ear to spread the cleaner around in the ear. Be careful not to shoot the ear cleaner directly into the ear canal. Then gently wipe out the outer canal with a cotton ball. You may want to give your dog lots of praise and a few treats while doing this.
  4. If you are uncomfortable or unsure how to perform ear care, have your vet or groomer show you how. Here`s an excellent video on how to clean your dog`s ears:

Final Thoughts

If your Standard Poodle does have an ear infection, your vet can prescribe your dog some medication to help treat these infections.  

By cleaning your Standard Poodle’s ears very often and removing any extra hair that may be building up in your Standard Poodle’s ears, you can easily prevent ear infection in your Standard Poodle.  

Remember to make checking your Standard Poodle`s ears a regular part of your home dog ear care routine. It only takes a few minutes and can help ward off any potential ear problems. An untreated ear infection is very painful to your dog and could even damage your dog`s hearing.