Shih Tzu Ear Infection

Shih Tzu ear infection getting treated by a vet

A Shih Tzu ear infection is a common health problem that needs to be addressed immediately. Thankfully, there are ways that owners can prevent recurring infections. There are two common types, which are middle ear infection and external ear canal infection. A Shih Tzu with hairy inner ears tends to be more susceptible to an ear infection.

Shih Tzu on vet table getting ears cleaned by a q-tip

Shih Tzu ear infection symptoms include soreness, ear scratching, and head shaking. Your dog may also rub their ears against objects such as sofas, chairs, and tables. A Shih Tzu with a middle ear infection will occasionally tilt its head. This occasional tilting is a sign that one or both ears are inflamed. You may also notice redness, a strong, pungent, offensive odor, and sometimes a black or yellowish discharge.

These symptoms can be a result of food allergies or environmental issues. Also, be careful when bathing or swimming with your Shih Tzu because if water gets in the ear, it can cause a Shih Tzu ear infection. This breed is highly susceptible to ear infections because of poor circulation that can cause the dog’s ear canals to trap moisture, allowing bacteria and yeast to propagate inside the ears.

A closer look at the inside of a dog's ear that's suffering from an ear infection

The first thing you should do if you suspect a Shih Tzu ear infection is to get your puppy to the vet for a proper diagnosis immediately. Your veterinarian can recommend Shih Tzu ear infection medication and a Shih Tzu ear cleaning solution. The vet will also examine the dog’s ear canal to ensure no foreign object is present and that the eardrum is not damaged.

Also, your vet will proceed to take a sample of the discharge to determine the cause of the infection. If for some reason, there are multiple organisms responsible, then an all-comprehensive medication will be administered. If a foreign substance such as a tick, Shih Tzu ear wax, buildup of debris, or Shih Tzu ear mites are found, it will require intensive and thorough cleaning and removal of the foreign objects under sedation if at all necessary.

However, middle ear infections are a little more difficult to deal with and may require X-rays, lab tests, and sometimes surgery to fully diagnose and treat. Always take immediate action if your Shih Tzu puppy show any of the symptoms mentioned earlier because the longer you leave a Shih Tzu ear infection to fester, the more difficult it will be to treat. And the more pain your little canine companion will have to endure.

Please consult your veterinarian if you suspect a Shih Tzu ear infection. As an owner of this remarkable breed, it is up to you to learn how to clean Shih Tzu ears at home. Also, grooming Shih Tzu ears is another important way to prevent ear infections.

Shih Tzu Ear Infection Treatment

Treatment of a Shih Tzu ear infection will mostly include a thorough cleaning at the vet and followed up with good home remedies for Shih Tzu ear infections. The treatment methods will consist of continuous cleanings and the administration of the medications prescribed by the vet. These medications include:

  • Anti-fungal which is used to kill yeast infections
  • Steroids which aid in reducing the swelling caused by the infection
  • Antibiotics which is helpful to treat infections caused by bacteria
  • If the condition is a result of a hormonal imbalance, then replacement therapy will be administered
  • If the problem is a result of allergies, then the problematic allergen must be identified and remedied.

Antibiotics can be administered in pills, liquids, injections, topical creams, or drops placed in the ear. If your dog is experiencing swelling and inflammation, your vet may suggest steroids be given orally or by injection. In some situations, steroids can also be given topically. However, depending on the vet, antihistamines can be provided in the place of steroids.

Medications are also available to kill ear mites if they are the cause of the problem. On the other hand, if allergies are the culprit, a gradual change in the dog’s diet will have to be implemented. Depending on the dog, this process can be slow, difficult, and long. The goal is to be as patient with your pet as possible. After all, isn’t your little canine family member worth the hassle? Some professionals can aid you in the process.

Vet combing away the hair from a Shih Tzu's ears

Environmental sources of the Shih Tzu ear infection are the easiest to treat. Simply eliminating the source will have your puppy feeling better in no time. For instance, if your dog suffers from ear infections during certain times of the year, you can rest assured that an environmental allergy is the cause of your dog’s problems.

Flea and tick removal is also essential, especially if your dog is super sensitive to them. As mentioned earlier, most vets treat ear infections with ear flushes, topical and cleaning ear medications, injections, or oral medications. Also, surgery is an option, but only in severe cases. The best way to protect against a Shih Tzu ear infection is to treat it early and address any secondary issue before it gets worse.

Tips on How to administer Shih Tzu Ear Infection Medication

Hopefully, your little Shih Tzu is cooperative, which will enable you to administer the medication without any help from someone else in the home.

  1. You will have to assemble everything you will need for the job, such as the actual Shih Tzu ear medication, tissue, and a towel to prevent the
    Medicine from going all over you and her.
  2. Put the towel around her head if you feel like your dog’s squirming will cause a mess.
  3. Place the ear flap between your index finger and thumb.
  4. Then use your other hand to administer the necessary drops per the directions on the container.
  5. Locate the base of the ear and gently massage it with your index fingers and thumb.
  6. Then use the tissue to remove any excess liquid that did not enter the ear canal. Your Shih Tzu will most likely shake its head, which will also help push the medication further into the ear, where it will start to do its magic.


Many breeds suffer from ear infections, but it is more prevalent in dogs that have floppy ears. Often, ear infections result from other problems, including an allergic reaction to something in the environment or the dog’s diet.

The best way to prevent a painful and itchy Shih Tzu ear infection is to keep your puppy’s ears clean. It is important to keep your dog’s ears properly groomed. When grooming, remember to remove some of the hear that grows within the canal, allowing extra air to circulate. Use a good cleaning solution about once every week to keep your Shih Tzu’s ears clean and healthy.

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