Golden Retriever Ear Infection: How to Spot It (And What to Do)

Did you know that golden retrievers are the third most popular breed? It’s no surprise when you see their beautiful coats, happy faces, and lovable attitudes.

When you’re the owner of an adorable goldie, you must know how to recognize the signs of a golden retriever ear infection. When an infection goes unnoticed, it leads to long-lasting problems.

We’re here to help you learn everything you need to know to keep your pup happy and healthy throughout their entire life. Check out our thorough guide down below!

Why Do Golden Retrievers Get Ear Infections?

The best place to start is to understand the cause behind a golden’s ear infection. Unlike other breeds, golden retrievers have several characteristics that often aid in the spread of infection.

Floppy Ears

Although floppy ears are cute, they’re also part of the problem when it comes to an ear infection. The longer ears tend to trap moisture, dirt, and debris inside the ear canal. Even when the dog shakes their head, the ears prevent everything from escaping.

Thick Hair

Another reason grime stays trapped in ears is because of that thick coat of golden fur. It’s fun to pet but that fur is detrimental to your dog’s ear health. Instead of being easily cleaned, the thick fur acts like a sponge and forces you to work harder to keep your dog’s ears healthy.


Due to this thicker fur and floppy ears, it’s difficult for goldens to get rid of moisture from their ears. Even a small amount can have a big effect on their ear’s health.


Golden retrievers are more prone to allergies than other types of dog breeds. These symptoms show themselves through excessive scratching, sneezing, flaky skin, and ear infections.

Other Diseases

Certain diseases lead to frequent ear infections. Autoimmune diseases make it difficult for the ear to fight off infections. Thyroid disease also affects a dog’s ear health. If your dog has trouble with certain diseases, there’s a good chance that you’ll need to fend off a lot of ear infections.

Golden Retriever Ear Infection Signs and Symptoms (Look for These)

When it comes to ear infection symptoms, there are several things to keep an eye on. These signs include:

  • Excessive head shaking
  • Head scratching
  • Rubbing head against floor or furniture
  • Ear discharge, often dark in color
  • Ear sensitivity or pain
  • Scabbing
  • Foul ear odor

If you recognize any of these signs, it’s time to get your pup to a vet. Sometimes these symptoms are due to something else, but it’s always good to get a professional opinion. It’s the best way to keep your golden retriever healthy!

Ear Infection Diagnosis for Golden Retrievers

When you do take your dog to see a vet, you’ll want to ready yourself with some extra information. This kind of information will make it easier for the vet to determine if it is an ear infection or some other problem.

You’ll want to be able to answer questions such as:

  • Which symptoms have you noticed?
  • What is the duration of these symptoms?
  • Has your dog had ear infections before?
  • What kind of medication (if any) does your dog take?
  • Have there been any big changes in your dog’s routine or diet?
  • Has there been recent exposure to moisture in your dog’s ears, such as in a bath or rain shower?
  • How often do you clean your dog’s ears and what method do you use?

Running through these questions gives both you and the vet a better understanding of your dog’s situation. These kinds of questions are also helpful when you want to make a diagnosis on your own once you have experience with ear infections. 

As the owner of a golden, you’ll want to feel as comfortable with ear infections as possible. Puppies should bring happiness and stress reduction, so keep this list handy to make things easier for yourself.

Ear Infection Treatment for Golden Retrievers

Although ear infections are a bothersome thing for your dog, the infection isn’t too hard to treat. Your local vet will take the time to clean your dog’s ears with a specialized cleaning solution. This alone does wonders for a dog’s infection.

Most vets will give you a prescription for eardrops and an at-home cleaning regimen. If the infection is severe or causes your dog a lot of pain, they’ll also prescribe some pain medication and antibiotics.

Follow the vet’s instructions and be as thorough as possible. Keep going with the treatment even if your dog appears to be back to his lovable antics again. You don’t want to make the infection worse by giving your dog only half the treatment.

Within a week or two, your goldie’s ears should be as good as new!

Golden Retriever Ear Infection Prevention

Golden retrievers have several factors working against their overall ear health. That’s why it’s up to you to prevent those ear infection causes from happening in the first place.

Although treatment isn’t too difficult, it’s always better to work on preventing infection from happening. The good news is that there are many easy things you can do to protect your dog’s ears.

Keep Ears Clean

It’s vital to put together an ear-cleaning schedule for your pup. Once you have the schedule put together, you need to stick to it.

It’s also important to learn the right way to clean your dog’s ears. Doing it the wrong way can lead to excess pressure and damage to the ear canal.

One of the best things you can do for your dog’s ears is to keep them clean!

Keep Ears Dry

Extra moisture in your dog’s ears makes it easier for bacteria to grow in those delicate passageways. Golden retrievers need your help to dry off their ears whenever they get them wet. A simple shake of the head isn’t enough to give those soft ears the kind of drying they need.

Use a soft cloth to dry both the outside and the inside of each ear. Don’t press too hard or too far into the ear since this could lead to damage.

When in doubt, give those ears an extra swipe of a towel for good measure. Even if you think you were careful during bathtime, it doesn’t hurt to be thorough.

Check Their Ears

How often do you inspect your golden’s ears? If you’ve noticed that your pup has trouble with ear infections, you’ll want to start checking their ears more often.

A quick inspection inside of the ear can show you a lot of symptoms that those floppy ears hide.

Even if you don’t notice anything wrong with your dog’s behavior, it’s good to get into the habit of checking. This makes it easier to prevent problems in the future. It also lets you catch the beginning symptoms early so that you can start treatment before the infection settles.

Treat Their Diseases and Allergies

This is a good preventative measure to take, even if your dog doesn’t suffer from frequent ear infections. Knowing the kind of diseases and illnesses that your golden retriever has makes it easier to give them the best life possible.

By treating those problems, your goldie’s ears are more likely to remain clean and safe from infection. Stronger overall health leads to a stronger immune system to fight off anything that tries to harm your dog’s ears.

Make sure to talk to your vet about the connection between your pup’s medical history and ear infections. Knowing how everything works together gives you the insight to prevent future infections.

Frequently Asked Questions About Golden Retriever Health Problems

Sometimes a quick answer is all you need to alleviate your worries. The most common questions are listed down below to help you.

Is it common for golden retrievers to get ear infections?

Yes, it’s common for goldies to get ear infections due to their floppy ears, thick coats, and general health issues.

Why does my golden always get ear infections?

It may be that you’re not being careful enough about the moisture that gets inside of your dog’s ears. Always pay extra attention during bathtime or a rainy walk to prevent water from getting in there.

How do I treat my dog’s ear infection at home?

The best thing to do is to regularly clean your dog’s ears and keep them dry. It’s not a great idea to use home remedies for ear infections because those things could make the symptoms much worse. Prevention is your best tool!

A Happy Goldie Makes Every Day Feel Magical

By understanding everything about a golden retriever ear infection, you’ll always know that your pup is in good health. You’ll recognize the symptoms before they cause any lasting problems.

Your reward for this careful diligence is a happy golden retriever who will brighten even the worst days!

Check out our golden retriever puppies for sale that are bred healthy by great breeders. They’re ready to take home after 8 weeks with all their shots and documentation. Each one is an adorable pup waiting for a forever home!

Galen has been connecting quality Golden Retriever breeders with loving families since 2012 and is the founder of My Golden Retriever Puppies. He and his wife have four children and love spending time together, traveling (lived oversees for 4 years), enjoying the outdoors and connecting Golden families.