Caring for Pets’ Ears After Injuries

Floppy-eared dogs are cute and adorable … until their ear gets injured and it turns into a bloodbath. Dogs with droopy ears are prone to ear flap injuries especially when they run around, play rough, or get into fights. It can get extremely uncomfortable for your furry friend and frustrating for you.

The pinna (the technical term for the ear flap) has several tiny blood vessels. Any wound, no matter how small, can lead to profuse bleeding. It can also be quite messy whenever your dog shakes their head frequently or tries to scratch it. If left untreated, it can become infected, making things even worse.

Common Causes of Ear Injuries

The most common cause of ear flap injuries among dogs is trauma. Injuries can be caused by the dogs themselves when they scratch their ears or shake their head vigorously. Injurie can also be caused by an external factor, like getting stuck in branches or bushes.

Some dogs develop warts or polyps in their pinna as well. These masses can also bleed when scratched. Other problems include bacterial and fungal infections, and parasites.

Caring for an ear tip injury

Ear injuries should be taken to the vet for proper medication. However, you can perform first aid at home before going to the vet. Here’s how you can care for your dog’s ear injury:

  1. Figure out the source of bleeding
    The first thing you need to do is to locate where the blood is coming from. Check inside and outside the ear for lacerations and puncture wounds. See if there are any masses, lumps, or parasites that could have been the cause of injury.
  2. Remove small objects or debris
    Before you clean the wound, make sure to remove any debris. Oftentimes, small objects get stuck in the wound and your dog will try to shake their head in an attempt to remove it. This will be quite messy, so be careful! Use a pair of clean tweezers to remove anything such as pebbles, burrs, or grass.
  3. Clean the wound
    Avoid infection by cleaning the ear flap wound immediately. Rinse the area with water and wash gently with soap. Then pat the ear dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. If your dog has long fur, you might need to trim the area around the wound first before cleaning.
  4. Stop the bleeding
    Since a dog’s ear flap can bleed profusely, it’s important to stop the bleeding as fast as possible. Using gauze or a cloth, place it directly on the wound and apply pressure. Leave it on for several minutes until the bleeding stops.
  5. Protect the wound
    Ear flap injuries need to be monitored regularly because your dog will tend to scratch it and cause the wound to bleed again. This can delay the healing process and could cause infections. You can protect the wound by covering it with a gauze. Then, create a makeshift bandage by cutting a sleeve off an old T-shirt and fitting your dog’s head through the hole. This will keep the injury safe until you take your dog to the vet. A trusted brand in wound protection for dog ear injuries is No Flap Ear Wrap. They have a special patented design that makes recovery easier for the dogs; no restrictions on play, eating, or sleeping.

Ear Flap Injury Aftercare

Your vet will determine if your dog needs to have sutures or not. Whatever the case is, you have to prepare to take care of the injury once you get home. This will help the ear flap heal faster.

  • Remove the dressing
    Carefully remove the bandage and dressing from your dog’s head. If necessary, use scissors to snip the bandage but be careful not to accidentally cut the ears or cause trauma.
  • Disinfect the wound
    You can make a simple disinfectant using a saline solution. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in a cup of lukewarm water. Use cotton balls with the saline solution when disinfecting the wound.
  • Replace the dressing
    Depending on your vet’s instructions, you will need to change the dressings regularly during the first few days. As soon as the injury starts to heal, the dressing will require less frequent changes per day.

Ear flap injuries can be challenging for pet owners. But with the proper care from you and your vet, your dog’s ear will heal fast and they’ll be back to being happy and healthy very soon.


  • Slade says:

    How long does it take for s tear in a ear to heal back together?

    • petethevet says:

      It can heal in 10 days, or it could take two months – there is a lot of variation. The best answer is to work with your vet so that they can help you monitor it. Without experience of observing many ears heal, it is difficult to make judgements on when intervention is needed.

  • Kelly says:

    My dog was scratched on the ear by a cat on Monday and it is on the tip of his ear. We had a really hard time getting it too stop bleeding. The only way we can get it to stop is hold it with a paper towel or gauze and then hold the ear up. Then wrap it like that with ace bandages. It has to be monitored around the clock because anytime it comes off he shakes his head and blood sprays all over everyone and my entire house. It looks like a murder scene. What am I not doing that should be done. I have heard so many suggestions from a bandaid which wouldn’t even stay on his ear to super glue but as soon as he shakes his head it just starts spurting blood like a fountain. I am hoping I am explain how badly this has been bleeding well enough. It was like a blood bath from my bedroom down the stairs and through the whole house. That’s 4 rooms a hall way and a stairwell. He was also outside when it started another time and it’s all over my drive way and deck and my sliding patio door.

    • petethevet says:

      You really should go to your veterinarian for help with this: we are used to seeing these injuries and we are familiar with the best approach in each individual case. In one like you describe, other measures that may be needed include full scale bandaging of the ear flat to the head, and possible placement of a fine suture. Also, some dogs have coagulation deficiencies in their blood that need to be treated. Like I say in the article, this is often a challenging problem, and that is why the help of a vet is needed.

    • petethevet says:

      Sorry for delay in replying – ear tips are very tricky and it’s usually best to work with your local vet to sort this type of challenging problem.

  • Bithorai says:

    My puppy got bitten by a dog and we could not get the location in which part of the body he was bitten but there was little bleeding inside the ear. Since its my first time petting a puppy, I don’t know anymore how to handle it or treat it. Kindly help me! He is sad n just lie down without letting us see or touch…

    • petethevet says:

      Bites can be dangerous because there is only a small entry point, but then quite a bit of damage beneath the surface. So if your dog is dull and quiet after a bite, you are definitely wisest to take them to the vet for a thorough check over.

  • Ashley B Hammons says:

    My dogs got into a fight and one had to have stitches placed on the ear. I had to call vet to ask when to take them out. The receptionist insisted 2 weeks after placement. Is this accurate?

    • petethevet says:

      that’s usually correct but there is a window of time, and it’s always best to talk to the vet who did the op

  • Bryan Davis says:

    I noticed a small laceration on the inside of my Great Danes ear near the end it’s not bleeding it’s just open do I just leave it be and watch it and clean it?

    • petethevet says:

      I can’t comment on a specific case, but in general, if there is a small wound (less than 1cm) that is not bleeding and clean, then it is usually safe to bathe it twice daily in a teaspoonful of salt in a pint of boiled water. And to monitor it carefully, going to the vet if it is not healing over 5 – 10 days.

  • Shannon Brown says:

    My 1 yr old boxer / pitbull was attacked by another dog two days ago he had drainage from his ears and it looked like colliflower.ear his head Has a lump on it and he tilts
    his head and wines alot now and he is acting distant is he going to be ok I have no money and no care credit for my pet what can I do .

  • petethevet says:

    You really do need to get some help for him from a veterinarian – it sounds as if he is in pain. Are there any charity clinics in your area? Where do you live?

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Please note that I am unable to answer veterinary questions in comments. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health it is always better to contact your vet.

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