Shih Tzu Ear Problems: Infection Diagnostics, Treatment and How to Take Care

A Shih Tzu’s Ear

A normal ear doesn’t smell at all; it is clean and skin-colored inside. Yet its inner cavity is very warm and moist because of Shih Tzu’s hair grows long and ears hang loose. This is a friendly environment for yeast, pathogenic germs and mites. Moreover ear wax and fur inside an ear can make a real mess.

Infection Diagnostics

Ear infections can manifest in the following symptoms:

  • bad smell;
  • scratching;
  • yellowish and pasty or black and chunky discharge;
  • pain or oversensitivity (you can’t feel your dog’s pain, but you can see if he does);
  • swelling and redness ;
  • irritability;
  • tilting and/or tilting head to the side.

Bacterial Infections are Characterized by

  • swelling;
  • redness;
  • discharge;
  • pungent smell;
  • pain.

Whereas yeast contamination involves

  • swelling;
  • redness;
  • discharge;
  • chalky odor;
  • scaling;
  • dryness;
  • intense itching;
  • infection of both ears and the entire body.
NB: Dogs that have allergies are predisposed to ear infection more than those who haven’t. One more factor that increases risk of infections are hormonal disorders.

It’s worth mentioning that for better diagnostics you need an otoscope, and most probably you don’t have one. A vet has. Besides, he can perform a surgery to widen the ear canal in case if it turns out that the problem is actually caused by an ear developmental abnormality and not infection. Also there is a lab in a vet clinic, where the vet can send a sample of discharge to understand what infection your dog is suffering from.


In order to keep ears healthy, you should groom the Shih Tzu all the time. Clean the ears daily, pay special attention by wash them at least once every two weeks, removing wax and dirt thoroughly, and regularly trim hair inside. Once the dog is exposed to water, dry his ears. Ear cleaner wipes, mineral oil, and ear cleaners (e.g. Top Performance Pro Ear or Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced) can be of great use. Cleaning ears with Q-tip is inacceptable. Briefly speaking, the washing process basically consists of the three steps:

1. The canal is filled with an ear wash
2. After the fluid level is seen, the canal below the opening is massaged
3. The debris that has floated to the top is wiped out with cotton balls or wipes.

As for hair, it would rather be removed by curved hemostat or tweezers than scissors and/or straight hemostat.


A minor infection pass away when an ear is cleaned properly by the commercial washes mentioned above, for they contain drying agents and antiseptics that kill the germs and prevent them from growing. Yet, sometimes you need stronger measures.
Common bacterial infections treatments include one or couple of the following things:

  • Otomax ear drops;
  • Cephalexin antibiotic;
  • Epi-Otic flush;
  • Temeral-P;
  • Yeast can be fought off by;
  • Epi-Otic flush;
  • Mometamax ear drops;
  • Temeral-P.

But if the case of yeast infection is severe, your choice is Ketoconazole. This fungicide should be given twice a day for a period two months.

Home Remedies

Nevertheless, you should better not overuse antibiotics; since they can promote resistance to them and let the germs grow stronger. As non-antibiotic treatments, you can try:

  • macerated Garlic. Steep two cloves of garlic in olive oil, let the mixture sit for 2 weeks and strain it. Pour 2-3 drops off into the pet’s ear every day until full recovery;
  • >warm compress. For curing outer ear infection, apply a towel, soaked in hot water and squeezed to ear. Such compress can soothe redness, inflammation and pain. Put the compresses several times a day;
  • apple cider vinegar. Dilute 2 tbsp. in a cup of water, give to your dog at least twice a week and optionally cleanse the ears with the solution;
  • vitamin E oil. Crush the capsule and pour in the affected ear;
  • margosa Oil. Mix 1 tsp tea tree oil, ½ tsp eucalyptus oil, ½ oz. olive oil and 1 oz. margosa oil put 10-20 drops into the ear with a dropper and massage the ear’s base gently to spread the oil;
  • witch hazel. Mix apple cider vinegar and witch hazel in equal parts and pour several drops into the ear;
  • aloe gel. Warm some aloe vera gel and pour into the ear to alleviate redness and irritation. ;
  • almond oil. Warm it and pour ½ tsp into each ear. This remedy loosens wax and dirt and therefore reduces the risk of infection;
  • white vinegar. Combine water with vinegar. The amount of vinegar should be enough to dry out the excess water. Then warm the mixture and pour some into the ear.


Ear infections are bad, but they’re not the most terrible thing that can happen to your dog. In most cases treatment is easy and usually doesn’t demand going beyond simple hygienic measures, though severe infections require antibiotics to heal. In addition, hygienic measures such as cleaning and cutting hair inside ear canal can prevent yeast and bacterial contamination at all.

6 Photos of the Shih Tzu Ear Problems: Infection Diagnostics, Treatment and How to Take Care

Shih Tzu ear infection picturesMy Shih Tzu ears smell badShih Tzu ear hairShih Tzu ear mitesShih Tzu scratching ears all the timeHow to clean a Shih Tzu ears
Author of Silvia Brown
Written by Silvia Brown
Glad to see you, my friends! I started this blog several years ago as a hobby and continue to write articles about dogs.
I'm a dog lover and the proud owner of two wonderful dogs: French Bulldog Maya and Beagle Tom. It's been more than 10 years since I had a dogs and worked closely with them. I've raised four dogs throughout my life and have experience assisting in the births of two dogs. At least once a week, I volunteer with friends at a dog shelter AMA Animal Rescue and Animal Care Centers of NYC in NY.

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