golden retriever ears smell

Golden Retriever Ears Smell: Reasons and Solutions

If your golden retriever ears smell, it might be more than just a need for a bath. This could signal an ear infection. Regular checkups and cleaning can keep your golden retriever’s ears healthy and odor-free.

Why do Golden Retriever’s ears smell?

The Anatomy of a Dog’s Ear

The first step in understanding why your furry friend’s ears might have an unpleasant odor is to take a closer look at the anatomy of their ear. A dog’s ear is made up of three main parts: the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear.

The outer ear includes the visible part of the ear and the ear canal, while the middle and inner ear are not visible to us. The shape of a Golden Retriever’s outer ear makes them more susceptible to moisture buildup and infections.

The floppy nature allows moisture to get trapped inside, creating an ideal environment for bacteria and yeast to grow. Additionally, their long fur can create even more moisture around their ears, exacerbating any problems.

How Moisture and Bacteria Can Build Up in the Ear Canal

Moisture is one of the primary culprits behind smelly dog ears. When water gets trapped inside your pet’s ears after swimming or bathing, it creates a damp environment that can lead to bacterial growth. Bacteria thrive in warm, moist conditions which make it easy for them to reproduce quickly.

Furthermore, if your dog spends time outside or has allergies that cause excessive scratching or rubbing their face on objects like carpets or furniture, they could be introducing even more bacteria into their ears. These activities can scratch or damage the skin inside their ears allowing bacteria access to deeper tissues where they can create infections.

The Role of Yeast and Other Microorganisms in Causing Odor

Yeast is another common culprit behind smelly doggy ears. It is naturally present on your pet’s skin but overgrowth due to dampness or warm temperatures can lead to strong odors developing from within your pet’s infected area. Other microorganisms such as bacteria may also play a role in creating unpleasant odors.

These microorganisms can feed on the oils and wax present in your pet’s ear canal, leading to irritation and inflammation. This can result in a strong, unpleasant smell emanating from your dog’s ears.


Golden Retriever’s ears are particularly susceptible to smelling due to their anatomy. Moisture caused by swimming or bathing, long fur, and allergies are common causes of moisture buildup. Yeast and bacteria found naturally on the skin can lead to overgrowth while damaging the tissues within the ear canal causing infection.

Common Causes of Ear Odor in Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers are a popular breed known for their friendly disposition and long, floppy ears. However, those ears can also be a breeding ground for unpleasant odors. There are a number of reasons why your dog’s ears might smell bad, ranging from allergies to infection to foreign objects.

Allergies and Skin Conditions That Affect the Ears

Dogs can suffer from allergies just like humans do. These allergies can manifest in a variety of ways, including through skin irritation and ear infections. When your dog is experiencing an allergic reaction, he may scratch or bite at his ears excessively, leading to inflammation and redness that can cause an unpleasant odor.

Some common allergens for dogs include pollen, dust mites, and certain foods. In addition to allergies, Golden Retrievers are also prone to certain skin conditions like seborrhea that can affect the health of their ears.

Seborrhea is characterized by oily skin that produces a foul-smelling discharge when left untreated. If you suspect your dog might be suffering from an allergy or skin condition that is causing ear odor, it’s important to seek veterinary care right away.

Ear Infections Caused by Bacteria or Yeast

Ear infections are another potential cause of smelly Golden Retriever ears. Bacteria or yeast can build up in the ear canal if moisture gets trapped inside – which can happen easily in floppy-eared breeds like Goldens. Signs of an ear infection include excessive scratching or shaking of the head, discharge coming from the ear canal, and redness or swelling around the ear flap.

If left untreated, these infections can become quite serious – leading to hearing loss or even damage to the inner ear structures. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose the type of infection your dog is suffering from and prescribe an appropriate course of treatment, which may include oral medications, topical treatments, or both.

Foreign Objects or Parasites in the Ear Canal

Sometimes, the source of your Golden Retriever’s smelly ears might be something as simple as a foreign object lodged inside. Grass seeds or other plant material can easily get stuck in a dog’s ear canal, leading to irritation and infection. Similarly, parasites like ear mites can burrow into the ear tissue and cause itching and inflammation.

Your veterinarian will need to perform a thorough examination of your dog’s ears to identify any foreign objects or parasites that might be lurking inside. Depending on the severity of the problem, he or she may recommend flushing out the ear canal, administering medication directly into the affected area, or prescribing an oral medication to kill off any remaining parasites.


While smelly ears might seem like a minor inconvenience for you and your pet, they can actually be a sign of serious underlying health issues. If you notice that your Golden Retriever’s ears are emitting an unpleasant odor – along with other symptoms like scratching or discharge – it’s important to seek veterinary attention right away. With prompt diagnosis and treatment, you can help keep your furry best friend healthy and happy for years to come!

Prevention and Treatment Options for Smelly Ears

Golden Retrievers have long, floppy ears that are susceptible to a buildup of moisture and bacteria. To keep them smelling fresh, regular cleaning and maintenance is important. Additionally, there are several other prevention and treatment options available to help eliminate the unpleasant odor.

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

Cleaning your dog’s ears on a regular basis can go a long way in preventing ear odor. Use a gentle ear cleaner specifically formulated for dogs, which can be found at most pet stores or online.

Apply the cleaner onto a cotton ball or pad and gently wipe the inside of the ear flap. Be careful not to insert anything into the ear canal as this can damage your dog’s eardrum.

After cleaning your dog’s ears, be sure to dry them thoroughly with a clean towel or cotton balls to remove any remaining moisture. This will help prevent bacteria from growing in damp areas of the ear.

Home Remedies Like Apple Cider Vinegar or Coconut Oil

In addition to regular cleaning, home remedies like apple cider vinegar or coconut oil can also help prevent smelly ears in Golden Retrievers. Apple cider vinegar is known for its antimicrobial properties which can help kill off any unwanted bacteria in the ear canal. To use apple cider vinegar as an ear cleaner, mix equal parts vinegar and water in a small container.

Dip a cotton ball or pad into the mixture and squeeze out excess liquid before gently wiping the inside of your dog’s ear flap. Coconut oil is another natural remedy that can help keep your dog’s ears smelling fresh.

It has antifungal properties that can combat yeast infections that often cause odors in Golden Retriever ears. Simply apply coconut oil to a clean cotton ball or pad and gently wipe inside your dog’s ear flap.

Prescription Medications from a Veterinarian

If regular cleaning and home remedies don’t eliminate the odor, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian. They can diagnose any underlying issues and prescribe medication if needed. Antibiotics or antifungal medications may be necessary to treat bacterial or yeast infections.

In some cases, surgery may be required to remove foreign objects or tumors in the ear canal that are contributing to ear odor. Your veterinarian can determine if surgery is necessary based on an examination of your dog’s ears.


Smelly ears in Golden Retrievers can be prevented by regular cleaning and maintenance, using natural remedies like apple cider vinegar or coconut oil, and seeking medical treatment from a veterinarian when necessary. Remember to always monitor your dog’s ears for signs of infection or discomfort and seek professional help if needed. With proper care, you can keep your furry friend’s ears smelling fresh and clean!


Summary of Key Points

The smelliness of a Golden Retriever’s ears can be caused by a number of different factors, including allergies, infections, and foreign objects. Understanding the anatomy of your dog’s ear and regularly cleaning and maintaining them can help prevent odor buildup. Home remedies like apple cider vinegar or coconut oil can provide relief for mild cases, but prescription medications from a veterinarian may be necessary for more serious issues.

Final Thoughts on Caring for Your Furry Friend’s Ears

Caring for your Golden Retriever’s ears is an important part of overall canine hygiene. Not only will it help prevent unpleasant smells, but it can also keep your pet healthy and free from painful infections. Remember to always approach cleaning with caution and never use harsh chemicals or objects that could damage the ear canal.

It’s also worth noting that routine veterinary check-ups are crucial in ensuring your pet is healthy and free from any underlying conditions that may contribute to ear odor. By staying on top of regular care and being attentive to any changes in your furry friend’s behavior or health, you’ll be able to catch potential issues early on and keep them happy, healthy, and smelling great!

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