Flat-coated Retriever Ear Problems

Flat-coated Retriever Ear Problems

The Flat-Coated Retriever is quite the looker with its flat, smooth coat of a shinyOpens in a new tab. black or liver shade.

They also have long floppy ears like their cousin the Golden retriever Opens in a new tab.and both have excellent hearing.


The Flat-Coat relies on all five senses, just as other dogs and as we humans do. As far as the eyes go with dogs, sight is not their best sense.

Dogs are pretty nearsighted and can’t see as well as humans, although they can pick up movement pretty quickly.

   When it comes to smell, dogs can smell from one thousand to ten thousand times better than people.

Your Flat-Coated retriever’s nose is made up differently than yours and is able to break down different scents with an ability forty times greater than humans. That’s why dogs are so important in drug-sniffing and search and rescue jobs.


Some of us have excellent hearing and others rely on hearing aids for help due to aging or working around very loud machinery for years. Your Flat-Coated retriever’s hearing is so good, they can hear two times better than you.

That’s why when things “go bump in the night,” and your retriever barks, you may not have a clue what all of that racket is about, because, you didn’t hear a thing, but they did!

Safeguarding your retriever’s ears fall into the same category as protecting their health. We may not think much about our dog’s ears, but we should.

This article will contain information about Flat-Coated retriever Opens in a new tab.ear problems and Flat-Coated retriever ears infections. Added will be Flat-Coated retriever ears infections, prevention, and treatment.

To check your Flat-Coated Retrievers’ health status or their DNA checks, please visit the Embark vet Opens in a new tab.website for all the help you may need.

 Flat-coated Retriever Ear Problems
Image by karisjoOpens in a new tab. from PixabayOpens in a new tab.

A Parasite as an Ear Problem

Ear mites are a possibility if your retriever is having ear problems.Opens in a new tab. These are so much more common in cats, but dogs can also be affected by them. These are highly contagious parasites.


There are many types of mites, but the ear mite is most often the Otodectes Cynotis mite, which feeds off of the oil and wax in your dog’s ears. Your Flat-Coat can be the only animal in your home, but can still develop ear mites.

All it takes is a little sniffing of another dog or cat, in close proximity at the park and they can easily be passed from one to the other.

If you do have other animals besides your retriever when one has ear mites, they will surely be passed around, so treating all pets is necessary.

Even though you are probably scratching from reading this, don’t be afraid! Ear mites are not contagious to people. Phew!

Symptoms of ear mites are:

  • Constant ear scratching
  • Coffee ground like particles in the ear
  • Head shaking
  • The red inner and outer ear
  • The ear may bleed from scratching
  • Bad odor


Treating ear mites at home can be accomplished if you catch the problem early on. There are a vast array of ear mite drops at pet stores.

You will need to clean your pup’s ears either before treatment, after, or both. make sure you buy ear mite treatment especially for dogsOpens in a new tab. as some are for cats only.

These will contain an anti-parasitic medication and may have to be administered for several days.

Use care in handling the drops and wash your hands thoroughly before and after using because most contain some form of pesticide.


If the ear mite problem is too intense or treatment doesn’t work, take your pup to the veterinarian. you don’t want to risk damage to the ear canal or have your pup develop an ear infection.

Flat-Coated Ear infections

If you’ve ever had an ear infection, complete with an earache, then you know just how painful it can be. Our ears are mostly wide open, allowing air to circulate.

Some dogs that have ears that stand up are the same and this allows for any moisture in the ear to dry.

Long, floppy-eared dogs, on the other hand, have ears that are covered all day long. Moisture can build up and it can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Add in love for swimming, and this intensifies the moisture.

A few dogs more likely to develop ear infections are the basset hound, bloodhound, golden, and yes, the Flat-Coated retrievers.Opens in a new tab.

Ear infections will normally develop in the outer ear including the ear canal and are known as otitis externa. A middle ear infection, or otitis media, means that the eardrum is affected. An infection in the very inner ear is called otitis interna.

Outer ear infections are much more common in dogs, but if left untreated, they can spread to the middle and even inner ear causing it to become quite severe and even risk hearing.

That’s why it’s very important to seek early intervention and treatment if you suspect an ear infection.

There are two types of ear infections that your Flat-Coated retriever can develop.

  • Yeast Infection

yeast infection – Your Flat-Coated retriever’s ears always have yeast inside, but when there is an overgrowth of yeast this is when problems begin. Anti-fungal ear drops are needed to treat a yeast infection. Again, dogs with floppy ears are more prone. Keeping your dog’s ears clean and dry can help to avoid infections.

  • Bacterial infection

bacterial infection – Usually it’s the staphylococcus strain of bacteria that causes a bacterial ear infection.

These are not the same type of staph strains that humans develop, so this will not be contagious to you.

Treatment generally is antibiotic ear ointment or drops. Sometimes oral antibiotics are needed as well.

Flat-Coated Ear infections
Image from PixabayOpens in a new tab.

Symptoms of an ear infection in dog are

  • Itchy ears
  • Scratching ears
  • Shaking head
  • Red ears and ear flaps
  • Ear discharge
  • Foul odor
  • Seeming off-balance and dizzy
  • Loss of hearing from fluid

Causes of ear infections in dogs

Causes of ear infections can be one or more of the following:

  • Ear mites, ticks, or fleas
  • Excessive ear wax
  • Allergies

AllergiesOpens in a new tab. are a very common cause of ear infections in dogs. Because your retriever’s immune system will attack the body when allergies are present, this can cause horribly itchy ears, need to be scratched, and can lead to an ear infection. Airborne and environmental allergens along with allergies to food Opens in a new tab.can all cause itchy ears.

Your pup will have many of the same symptoms as listed above, as your dog’s ears gradually become itchier and more inflamed. Allergies will have to be treated or ear infections will become chronic and recurrent.

If your retriever has a food allergy,Opens in a new tab. changing their food should stop ear infections. The same goes for allergies to pollen, grasses, dust, household cleaners, fabric softeners, etc.

Either you will need to remove allergens or your pup will need treatment for allergies such as antihistamines or immunotherapy (allergy shots). If allergies clear this should eliminate recurring ear infections.

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Seborrhea


Treating underlying medical conditions that are exacerbating ear infections should eradicate them.

Prevention of Ear Infections in the Flat-Coated Retriever

Although nothing is foolproof, you can prevent ear infections in your Flat-Coated retriever by cleaning your pup’s ears regularly and keeping them dry.

Ear cleaning should begin as a puppy, so your retriever becomes used to the routine, making it easy and not a battle. there are many solutions on the market for cleaning your pup’s ears.

If your retriever has battled ear infections in the past, consult your veterinarian about ear cleaners.

Some will dissolve wax and dry out the ear canal as well. This eliminates moist environments that bacteria thrive in.

If your Flat-Coat swims, be sure to dry their ears really well afterward. Check your dog’s ears routinely and especially if they’ve been outdoors, for bugs, dirt, or debris. Keeping their ears clean can avoid nasty ear infections.

So now you know just how important your Flat-Coated retriever’s ears are. You’d never want to jeopardize their hearing, so the prevention of ear infections by keeping their ears clean and dry is the key. Also, keep an eye out for anything you may see in their ears that seems unusual.

Catching ear issues early can avoid big problems in the future and even if your veterinarian checks them out and it’s nothing, it will put you at ease and maintain good ear health.

Recent Posts