dog ear bleeding due to bite
Pet Care Advice

How to Stop a Cut Bleeding on a Dog’s Ear

It can be pretty worrying when a dog starts to bleed from the ear. After all, this is a pivotal part of the canine anatomy, and it can be very delicate. How can it be treated without causing more problems?

The first thing that any dog owner should be aware of is that canine ears tend to bleed a lot when a problem arises, due to the sheer number of blood vessels found within the organs. Medicinenet provides more information on this issue. That doesn’t necessarily mean that your dog is in danger when they bleed. You will have to stay calm and be prepared to take action quickly.

This article will guide you through all the possible reasons why a dog may be bleeding from their ear, and perhaps more importantly, what you can do about it. The reasons for such a mishap are varied, and it’s crucial that you know how to react appropriately.

What Causes a Dog’s Ear to Bleed?

There are many reasons why a dog’s ear could start to bleed, ranging from action and behavior to sickness.

A summary of possible causes for bleeding ears within your dog include:

  • Trauma. This is the most common reason why your dog may be bleeding from the ear. Trauma comes in many shapes and sizes, ranging from your dog being bitten by another animal, their ear being struck by a foreign object, or because your dog has scratched or clawed at their ear to excess.
  • If your dog has a lesion on their ear, whether benign (such as a wart or a pimple) or something more serious (as a result of a tumor or cancerous growth), it may burst. This could happen organically, or it may be a result of your dog scratching. Either way, bleeding is the most likely result.
  • Dogs can be susceptible to ear infections, and it doesn’t take long for them to turn nasty – with bleeding a possible side effect. For more information on canine ear infections, check out our guide on what to do if your dog’s ear smells and has brown discharge. Also learn the typical symptoms of a dog ear infection, which include swelling, struggling to retain their balance, scratching to excess and continually cocking the head to one side.
  • Parasites. A dog’s ear canal is an inviting home for various parasites, including ticks, mites, and fleas. A tick, in particular, could lead to a bleeding ear that will need to be dealt with ASAP – and remember to always keep on top of any parasite prevention treatments.

dog ear bleeding from scratching

As you will see, there are many possible reasons why your dog’s ear may start bleeding. If you have any doubts at all, don’t delay in consulting a vet about the problem. Your dog will be in a great deal of discomfort throughout this process, and if it can be rectified, you’ll want that to be the case. Usually, a vet will be able to prescribe medication that puts an end to the problem.

I Can’t See Any Blood – is My Dog’s Ear Bleeding?

On paper, it seems obvious – if a dog’s ear is bleeding, you’ll be able to see blood seeping or pouring from the wound. However, this isn’t always the case; on occasion, there may be another cause. If you can’t see any blood within your dog’s ear, but they are exhibiting any of the following symptoms, seek the advice of a vet.

It’s possible that your dog has an infection or internal bleeding:

  • Swelling in the ear canal.
  • Foul smell from the ear.
  • Refusal to allow you to touch the ear.
  • Wax that falls from the ear.
  • Constant scratching of the ear and tilting of the head.
  • Walking in circles.
  • Struggling to maintain balance.

Every one of these symptoms needs to be taken seriously, and should be seen as quickly as possible. We don’t say this to alarm you as a dog owner, but they often be attributed to a severe health concern such as cancer, and time could be of the essence. A vet will be able to run many different tests that will hopefully alleviate any worries and get your dog back to their old selves.

Should I Take My Dog to the Vet Every Time Their Ear Bleeds?

This is a difficult question to answer, as any trip to the vet will result in a judgment call on your part. As VCA Hospitals explain, however, shock can set in if canine bleeding is left ignored and untreated for too long. It would take a great deal of blood loss from an ear for this to happen, but sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry.

If your dog’s ear is bleeding for the first time, you suspect that your pet has an ear infection or you can’t quite work out why your dog’s ear is bleeding, seek the advice of a vet. There is nothing to be gained from ignoring the problem and hoping that the situation will resolve itself – that could do a great deal of harm in the long term.

My Dog’s Ear is Bleeding from a Bite – How Do I Stop the Bleeding?

When two dogs fight or a cat and dog turn on one another, it can be somewhat terrifying. If your dog keeps attacking another dog for no reason, check out our guide on how to coach them out of such behavior. It may still happen, however, so follow these steps to neutralize the bleeding.

  • Make Sure the Blood Belongs to Your Dog. Firstly, ensure that it’s your dog that’s bleeding and not their sparring partner. You will be able to do this without aggravating any injuries.
  • Check That Your Dog’s Ear is Otherwise Intact. If your dog’s ear is bleeding through a puncture wound, that’s one thing. It’s quite another if the damage is potent enough to sever a part of your dog’s ear! If that’s the case, gather everything up and rush your dog to the vet ASAP.
  • Clean Up the Wound. If your dog is bleeding as a result of getting scrappy with another animal and the damage does not stem beyond a basic puncture of bleeding, you’ll need to clean up the wound and make sure that there is no chance of infection. The fastest and easiest way of doing this is to clean up the area using cool water on a cotton pad, then to mix a hydrogen peroxide and water solution (fill a bottle with half each) to prevent infection. Once you’re done, very delicately dab your dog’s ear dry using a soft, fluffy towel.
  • Bandage the Wound. You’ll then need to bandage up the wound. You’ll find step-by-step instructions on how to go about this later in this guide. Just make sure that you invest in a first aid kit to make sure that you can take the necessary action when the moment arises.
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dog cut inside ear

A bleeding ear following a dogfight can be worrying, especially seeing as canine ears tend to bleed seemingly to excess, but as long as you remain calm and take the necessary action your dog should not suffer any permanent damage. Just make sure you separate the pugilistic pups for a while and allow your dog to heal before Round Two.

My Dog’s Ear is Bleeding from Scratching – How Do I Stop the Bleeding?

If your dog has scratched up a storm and ended up with a cut in their ear, it’s hugely important that you understand why. As we have already explained, they may have a foreign body growing with their ear, an infection that is making them itchy and desperate to relieve the symptoms, or an unwelcome parasite making itself at home and causing considerable discomfort.

The first thing that you need to do is identify exactly how the cut has occurred. Does it seem that the wound is self-inflicted, perhaps because your dog scratched himself or herself and drew blood? If this is the case, ensure that your dog is not living with a bacterial infection that inspired them to scratch to excess, and then get their nails trimmed to prevent this from happening again! We can offer advice on how to cut dog nails that are too long if this is something that you struggle with.

Of course, just because you have identified why the problem has arisen, it doesn’t mean that your work is done. It’s imperative that you stem the bleeding from the cut, and do whatever you can to ensure that it heals appropriately. Clean the cut with cool water and a cotton pad, then mix the same 50/50 solution of water and hydrogen peroxide to disinfect any potential infection.

If it appears that a growth arose inside your dog’s ear and burst, then you should seek professional help.

You’ll be able to stop the bleeding by picking up a clotting agent available from most pet stores or pharmacies, but that will only be a temporary solution. You’ll need to deal with the cause and prevent it from returning, not keep cleaning up after the issue.

I Cut My Dog’s Ear While Grooming – How Do I Stop the Bleeding?

Grooming a dog at home is sometimes a case of trial and error, and there may be a handful of accidents along the process. It’s hardly surprising when dealing with fidgety pups and sharp blades! One example of this is nicking a dog’s ear with a pair of scissors while attempting to trim the fur around this part of their body.

If this happens, follow a similar protocol to when a dogfight occurs. Firstly, check that you have not lopped off part of your dog’s ear. Upon confirming that it’s just a snip and cut, clean it up with the same hydrogen peroxide/water solution as always and bandage up the wound. Just prepare yourself for a very reluctant dog the next time you attempt to groom them!

Conversely, even a professional groomer may experience these problems from time to time. Any reputable groomer will call you and explain what happened, and ask for permission to get a vet to deal with the minor damage before returning your dog. If this is the case, go easy on the groomer in question – the chances are they are mortified, and as we all know, a squirmy dog can be extremely challenging to work with!

How to Bandage a Dog’s Ear

We have established that if your dog is bleeding from the ear, whether through a self-inflicted bout of scratching or because a third party got involved and caused the bleeding, you will need to bandage up the wound.

You should do this straight away, as a dog that is uncomfortable through bleeding ill probably shake their head, which will make a great deal of mess.

There are two different techniques as to how to bandage a canine’s ear, depending on your breed of dog.

If your dog has FLOPPY ears at the side of their head, follow this technique:

  • Clean the wound, and place a cotton pad or medical gauze over the bleeding area.
  • Very gently life your dog’s ear, and apply another pad or gauze to the back of the ear – directly behind the wound.
  • Wrap a bandage around the pads to hold them in place, ensuring that it’s tight enough to be effective but not so tight as to be painful.
  • Secure the bandage, ideally with medical tape rather than a safety pin as this could become dangerous.
  • Consider whether it would be safety-conscious to secure the ear to the side of your dog’s head with tape or a second bandage across the head while the wound is healing. They will hate this, and it will impact upon their quality of life as they will not be able to use their otherwise-functional ear, so only take this step if you are confident that your dog will otherwise scratch and claw at their bandage, potentially re-opening the wound.

cut dog ear while grooming

If your dog has UPRIGHT ears at the top of their head, follow this technique:

  • Clean the wound, and place a cotton pad or medical gauze over the bleeding area.
  • Very gently push your dog’s ear forward, and apply another pad or gauze to the back of the ear – directly behind the wound.
  • Wrap a bandage around the pads to hold them in place, ensuring that it’s tight enough to be effective but not so tight as to be painful.
  • Secure the bandage, ideally with medical tape rather than a safety pin as this could become dangerous.
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Either way, ensure that your bandages are secure without causing any discomfort of preventing circulation and check them regularly to ensure that the bleeding has stemmed and clean the bandage if necessary. Don’t be shy about seeking advice and help from a professional if you need it!

Can I Use a Band-Aid on a Dog’s Ear That’s Bleeding?

Do you have hair anywhere on your body? If so, head to your tool cupboard and find some super-strength electrical tape. Apply that to the hairy parts of your body, and get it nice and tight. Then, in one fluid motion, rip the whole thing off.

Ouch, right? Well, that’s how your poor pooch will feel if you yank a Band-Aid from their furry ear! You’ll be making an already scary and uncomfortable experience even worse, so don’t do it. Use a bandage instead.

My Dog’s Ear Tips are Crusty and Bleeding

This is almost invariably due to a bacterial infection within your dog’s ears – and the same could also be said if there is dry blood in your dog’s ear.

If your pet is in discomfort or displaying any of the following symptoms, you should get them to a vet quickly:

  • Tilting head to one side.
  • Struggling to focus eyes.
  • Loss of hair surrounding the ear.
  • Angry redness or swelling in and around the ear.
  • Discharge of a strange coloring from the ear (usually brown or yellow.)
  • Foul odors from the ear.
  • Constant scratching of the ear, or dragging it along the ground.
  • Walking in circles.
  • Losing balance.

The condition won’t be life-threatening, but it will be uncomfortable for your dog, and there may be an underlying cause that needs to be treated. More often than not, however, it’s nothing that a course of antibiotics won’t be able to deal with. Just remember, the faster you seek professional advice, the quicker your dog will be feeling better and back to their old self.

Natural Remedies to Stem Bleeding in Dogs

Some pooch parents prefer not to use shop-bought or medical remedies for an ailment that befalls their dog, and instead look to rectify any problems through natural means. This can be commendable, but as a responsible dog owner, you should always take bleeding seriously.

If you are determined to solve your canine’s bleeding ear issue with natural remedies, these herbs are appropriate according to Dogs Naturally Magazine:

Calendula Officinalis, aka Pot Marigold. This herb is famous all over the world for its positive impact in healing and treating wounds.

Ledum Palustre, aka Marsh Labrador. This is a shrub, and it can be hugely impactful when treating bites and punctures – whether inflicted by a fellow dog, or a parasite that has left Fido feeling uncomfortable.

dry blood in dog's ear

Arnica Montana, aka Wolfsbane, is deadly to both dogs and humans if consumed pure. However, if treated appropriately, it can work wonders on your dog’s bruising, bleeding and inflammation, and even calm their nerves. You’ll have to tread very carefully with this particular ingredient, though. Never supply it to your pet without expert advice.

As always, before using a natural remedy, you should check with a vet that the approach is suitable for your dog, and what dosage of each herb you should be providing. If your pet has an allergy to any of the ingredients we have discussed, you will be piling further problems on top of them.

My Dog Has a Cut on Their Ear That Won’t Stop Bleeding

If your dog’s ear wound stubbornly refuses to heal, the problem may be more severe than initially diagnosed. More often than not, however, it’s a matter of biology and the fact that the continually pumping blood around a canine’s ear ensures that a fresh supply of the red stuff is always looking to escape.

You need to continue applying pressure to a persistent bleed, ensuring that any pads that you put into place will keep up this compression. You could also try applying a little styptic powder, or a styptic pencil if your dog is brave and has a high pain threshold. Anybody that has used one of these items after nicking themselves shaving will confirm that a styptic pencil stings intensely!

If your dog continues to bleed even after you have applied a remedy and you have bandaged them up, rush them to a vet as quickly as possible (20 minutes is more than long enough for any typical bleed to come to a natural halt). The origin of the bleeding may run deeper than you initially realized, and your dog may be at risk of entering shock as they lose more and more precious blood.

If your dog has a cut on their ear, no matter how big or small it appears to be, don’t just ignore the bleeding and hope that it will rectify itself over time. The problem may be temporary, but it will be vital that you deal with it. Provided you follow the advice found in this article, and seek professional help wherever necessary, you should be able to put things right quickly.

Just bear in mind that this problem could be time-sensitive, and never take repeated bleeds lightly. Although an ear that bleeds is a scary sight that is quickly put right if it keeps happening it suggests that medical attention and tests for a health complaint are required.