If you find yourself asking the question “Why does my husky keep scratching his ears?” You aren’t alone. It’s a question most dog owners have asked. Since you have a husky you should know that Huskies – just like the Alaskan Malamute – have several health-related conditions and their itchy ears could be a cause of one of them but it could also be down to another factor.
What might seem small to use, can be extremely frustrating to our pooch. That’s why we’ve listed the top five reasons why your husky keeps scratching his ear and some possible treatments you can use at home to help relieve the itching as well as prevent any possible itching in the future will mean fewer trips to your vet.
Autoimmune Skin Disease
More common in Siberian Huskies, Pemphigus Foliaceus is a superficial skin disease that can cause itchy ears. It often starts around the age of 4 years old and can cause scabs, hair loss, and ulcers, usually on top of their nose and inside the ear flap. But they can also be found around their eyes, on their pads, and around their groin area.
It’s not known exactly what the cause of this skin disease is as it can appear suddenly. In some cases, it may be drug-induced or it could be a result of years of chronic skin disease. This complex disease is also known as uveodermatologic syndrome and is the result of your dog’s immune system forming antibodies against its own pigment cells.
Your husky is prone to a skin infection called zinc-responsive dermatosis. This is a result of your husky either not getting enough zinc in his diet or he doesn’t absorb it properly. The former is often referred to as Syndrome I Zinc-responsive Dermatosis – which is the most common one for huskies – and the latter is referred to as Syndrome II Zinc-responsive Dermatosis – which is more common in German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Poodles.
Symptoms for Syndrome I Zinc-responsive Dermatosis include erythema, alopecia, and crusting/scaling around the mouth, nose, and ears. Other regions such as their vulva, scrotum, and anal areas may also be affected. For a formal diagnosis, it is advised that you see a vet so that they can do a skin biopsy to rule out any other conditions.
If your husky scratches his ears a lot or shakes his head it could be a sign of parasites. Although ear mites can affect any dog, huskies can also get them. They are microscopic organisms that are hard to spot with the naked eye and are like tiny white dots. An ear mite infection will cause your dog’s ears to itch resulting in them shaking their heads frequently and scratching them with their paws. You may also notice that your dog’s ears are red and inflamed. Ear mites will cause a dry black discharge to appear from the ear as well as an unusual odor. Although ear mites are rare, it’s always worth getting your dog checked by a vet if you suspect they may have them.
Ear mites aren’t the only parasite that may be causing your husky discomfort. Fleas and ticks can also find their way into your dog’s ears. You can tell if your dog has fleas in its ear as the ear will look dirty and what looks like black pepper flakes in and around the ears. Ticks are often a lot easier to see as they are larger than both ear mites and fleas. They are often easy to remove, however, if they have gone too far into the ear canal then you may need to seek assistance from a registered vet. It’s really important that you remove ticks, fleas, and ear mites as soon as possible as they often carry other potential diseases such as Lyme Disease or tapeworm and can cause other health conditions such as anemia.
Sometimes dogs can get foreign objects stuck in their ears, this could be anything from a grass seed or hair to a tiny fly or tick. When this happens it will often annoy your dog and they’ll shake their head or itch until they get it out.
Grass seeds, believe it or not, are the most common form of foreign object that appears in your dog’s ear. This is usually a seasonal problem and occurs mainly in the summer months when your husky is jumping and running through a field of long grass. These will normally correct themselves in a few hours however, if it doesn’t you may need to give it hand by removing it yourself or contacting a vet.
There are a host of things that can cause ear infections. The main causes of ear infections are bacteria or yeast and sometimes can be a combination of both. All the issues above can also result in ear infections if left untreated. Signs your dog might have an ear infection include dark discharge coming from the ear, excessive scratching and head shaking, an unpleasant odor, redness and swelling around the ear canal, as well as crusting/scabs in the ear.
Huskies are more prone to ear infections due to their predisposed medical conditions like Autoimmune disease, allergic skin disease, and thyroid issues.
There are plenty of home remedies out there for you to manage your husky’s itchy ears. However, you will want to get them to check out by a registered vet first, to make sure there is nothing more serious going on. Checking these conditions out with your vet first will also help you know that the home remedies you plan to use are actually the correct options as you want to help your pooch get better not make it worse.
There are a couple of home remedies that can help relieve those pesky itches include:
Regular cleaning of your dog’s ears regularly will help keep their ear canals free from wax build-up and helps to clean out any debris. For those husky’s that love a good swim, you’ll want to make sure that you dry their ears with a soft cotton pad as moisture build-up can lead to ear infections. There are plenty of ear cleaning kits that will help to relieve the itching and clean out the ears at the same time, plus they are made from natural ingredients so you won’t have to worry about nasty chemicals.
There are a number of good topical creams and treatments out there that help relieve itching. Hydrocortisone creams can also be applied to itchy ears for instant relief and applied twice a day. Other topical treatments include Calendula Lotion, Mullein, and even dog-safe ear drops.
One cause of itching can be a result of your dog’s diet, which experts say plays a huge role in their immune system. Dry or stale kibble can lead to bacterial imbalance and lower immunity. So if this is the case, you’ll want to ditch the kibble and replace it with moist, natural dog food instead. Making this switch will not only reduce the itching and risk of ear infections it will also benefit their fur and skin.
You could also add certain supplements to your husky’s diet if they are lacking this in their food. To help relieve itching you’ll want to look for anti-inflammatory substances like fish oil, vitamin E, Turmeric, and even probiotics. We strongly recommend that you check with your vet first before introducing any of these substances.