Why do cavoodles suffer from ear infections and how do I prevent them?


There are many reasons as to why cavoodles get ear infections on a more regular basis than other breeds. Here’s how to prevent them from occurring frequently and how to spot if your cavoodle has an ear infection. 

According to Bow Wow Meow pet insurance one of the most claimable vet visit trips are for Otitis externa, which is another way of saying your cavoodle has an inflammation of the external ear canal (ear infection). 

A cavoodle’s ear infection can occur when the environment within the ear canal changes and the canal lining swells and secretes excess wax.

The ear canal gradually narrows and the canal and external ear will become painful, itchy and red, and if left untreated, can lead to otitis media (inflammation of the middle ear) or potential rupture of the eardrum. That is why when you see your cavoodle experiencing these symptoms below you want to make sure you take them to the vet immediately.



Symptoms to tell if your cavoodle has an ear infection:

An ear infection can affect one or both ears, and can be severe and sudden in onset.

Common symptoms your cavoodle is suffering an ear infection:

  • Head shaking
  • Ear scratching
  • Itchiness
  • Redness of the skin
  • Scaly skin
  • Unpleasant odour coming from the ear
  • Swelling
  • Self-trauma to the ear, from scratching
  • Aural haematoma from severe head shaking
  • Discharge from the ear
  • Signs of pain

Last time Bambi had an ear infection she was rubbing the side of her head and ear across the carpet in one of our rooms, I found this very odd behaviour from her and suspected she had an ear infection straight way, took her to the vert within a couple hours and they did a swab test of the ear to check, which came back positive. 

To treat it we were recommended ear drops from the vet to be applied morning and night in the ear for 10 days, it cleared it all up and she's never had one since!



So what can cause cavoodles to get ear infections more regularly than other breeds?

The main cause cavoodles get ear infections is because their Spaniel DNA features such as their floppy ears are more susceptible to it due to them covering the canal opening, restricting airflow and trapping moisture within the ear. Same with the Poodle parent features, excess hair inside the ear canals can result in the trapping of moisture also leading to an environment of high humidity and temperature that can breed infection.

That’s why breeders and vet will tell you when bathing to try not to get water in your cavoodle’s ear as this can lead to an ear infection if not dried properly or enough airflow gets into the canal opening. 

Other causes can include:

  • Allergies, dermatitis and hypersensitivity to environmental allergens, such as house dust, grass and moulds, food
  • Parasites and foreign bodies in the ear – ear mites, ticks
  • Inappropriate use of topical treatments
  • The shape of the ear canal – the ear canal of cavoodles are deep and curved, allowing dirt, wax and moisture to accumulate.
  • Excess wax production in the ear canals.
  • Trauma – usually from inappropriate cleaning. 

So how can we prevent our cavoodle from getting ear infections?

Unfortunately the genetic downfall of this breed is that both parental breeds are more susceptible to ear infections due to their physical features, thus passing this on to their cavoodle puppies. However, it’s nothing that can’t be managed or fixed quickly and not cost you a fortune.

Some cavoodles will be more likely to get ear infections more frequently if they have the cavalier spaniel floppy ears and if they are extremely hairy under their ears and inside. 

Ways to prevent your cavoodle getting less or no ear infections include:

  • Keeping the ear canal dry and well ventilated, be sure to pat dry after swims and baths.
  • Some groomers can shave or pluck hairs from the inside of the ear to improve ventilation if recommended by the vet. 
  • Do not apply anything to the ear that has not been recommended by your vet, such as home remedies or powders, as these can irritate an already-inflamed ear. 
  • Can look for a dog ear cleaning solution and massage the vertical ear canal from the outside ( get advice from your vet first). 

If you can’t give your cavoodle baths frequently because they do suffer from ear infections regularly, check out our leave-in conditioner or everyday cologne spray to freshen their coat up without the need for submerging them in the tub!