Petriage Clinical Insights

IMPORTANT: This article, which is provided for educational purposes only, is based on published veterinary data and decades of work with pets and pet parents. The information provided here is not designed to be comprehensive but to help you avoid the pitfalls of online misinformation and most importantly, to frame the conversation you should have with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian’s perspective may differ from what is expressed here. Always consult with your veterinarian.

Ear Problems

Ear problems are very common, especially in dogs. Vigorous head shaking, an abnormal odor coming from the ears, or scratching at the ears may indicate an ear infection. However, do not assume this ear issue is the same as a previous ear infection, even if it looks the same to you. Always consult your vet before treating the ears.


  • If only one ear is affected, compare one ear to the other, observing any signs of pain, swelling, irritation, discharge or abnormal odor.
  • If your pet has been in areas with wild grasses that release seeds such as foxtail, spear grasses, buzzard grasses, and feather grasses, it is possible grass seed has entered the ear. Mention this to your vet if your pet has been in these grasses. 


  • With dogs, watch for any pockets of swelling on the ear flaps. This can occur with vigorous head shaking. If swelling is present, contact your vet ASAP.