Dog Has Swollen Ear Flap: Is It A Hematoma?

If you have noticed that your dog’s ear flap is swollen, it could be due to a condition called ear hematoma. This condition is common among dogs and can cause discomfort and pain. Ear hematoma occurs when a blood vessel in the ear flap ruptures, causing blood to accumulate between the skin and cartilage layers.

The most common cause of ear hematoma in dogs is head shaking or ear scratching. These actions can lead to trauma to the ear flap, causing the blood vessel to rupture. Other causes of ear hematoma include ear infections, allergies, and foreign objects in the ear. If left untreated, ear hematoma can lead to permanent deformation of the ear flap.

In this article we’ll discuss the causes of swollen ear flaps and hematomas and what can be done about it!

Common Causes of Swollen Ear Flap in Dogs

If your dog has a swollen ear flap, there could be several reasons behind it. In this section, we will discuss some of the most common causes of ear flap swelling in dogs.


Ear infections are one of the most common causes of ear flap swelling in dogs. Bacteria, yeast, or mites can cause infections in the ear canal, leading to inflammation and swelling. Other symptoms of ear infections include redness, discharge, and a foul odor.


Allergies can also cause ear flap swelling in dogs. Dogs can be allergic to a variety of things, including food, pollen, dust, or certain fabrics. Allergic reactions can cause inflammation and swelling in the ear flap, as well as other parts of the body. Other symptoms of allergies include itching, scratching, and redness.


A hematoma is a collection of blood that occurs when blood vessels rupture and blood accumulates in the surrounding tissue. In dogs, a hematoma can occur in the ear flap (pinna) when the dog shakes its head vigorously or scratches its ear excessively, causing the blood vessels within the ear flap to rupture. This can lead to a swollen, painful, and warm ear flap.

The ear flap in dogs has a lot of blood vessels, and when they rupture, blood accumulates between the skin and cartilage layers of the ear flap. This causes the ear flap to become swollen and painful. The swelling can be quite significant, and the ear flap may become very large and floppy. Hematomas can also cause the ear flap to feel warm to the touch.

If left untreated, the hematoma can cause the ear flap to become permanently deformed, and the dog may experience chronic pain and discomfort.

Treatment typically involves draining the blood from the hematoma and surgically repairing the damaged blood vessels to prevent further bleeding. In some cases, a surgical procedure called an ear-cropping may be necessary to prevent future hematomas from occurring.

Signs and Symptoms of Swollen Ear Flap

If your dog has a swollen ear flap, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms to determine the best course of action. Here are some common signs and symptoms to look out for:

  • Ear drooping: A swollen ear flap can cause the ear to droop down. This can be a noticeable change from your dog’s normal ear position.
  • Redness and warmth: The affected ear may appear red and feel warmer than usual to the touch.
  • Pain and discomfort: Your dog may show signs of pain and discomfort, such as whining, whimpering, or shaking their head.
  • Scratching or rubbing: Your dog may try to scratch or rub the affected ear against objects to relieve the discomfort.
  • Odor and discharge: In some cases, a swollen ear flap may produce an unpleasant odor or discharge.

If you notice any of these symptoms you should be proactive and consult with your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause of the swollen ear flap and the best treatment plan for your dog.

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

Veterinary Examination

If you suspect that your dog has a swollen ear flap, take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible. The vet will conduct a physical examination of your dog’s ear to confirm the presence of an aural hematoma. During the examination, the vet will check for the following symptoms:

  • Swollen and puffy ear flap
  • Warm and soft area
  • Shaking
  • Rubbing
  • Red color

The veterinarian may also take a sample of the ear discharge to test for the presence of bacteria or fungi. This will help the vet determine the underlying cause of the hematoma and prescribe the appropriate treatment.

Treatment Methods

The treatment method for a swollen ear flap depends on the severity of the hematoma. Some small, painless aural hematomas can be left to heal by themselves, but most are painful and need to be drained.

The following are some of the common treatment methods used by veterinarians:

  • Draining the swelling: Some aural hematomas can be drained with a syringe and needle. However, if the swelling comes back, which is very common, your vet may advise surgery to open the ear flap and remove the blood clot.
  • Medications: Your vet may prescribe pain relief medication to help alleviate your dog’s discomfort.
  • Antibiotics: If the hematoma is caused by an ear infection, your vet may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.
  • Corticosteroids: In some cases, corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and swelling in the ear flap.

It’s extremely important to follow your vet’s instructions carefully and administer any prescribed medications as directed. Failure to do so may result in a recurrence of the hematoma or other complications.

Prevention and Home Care

If you want to prevent your dog from developing a swollen ear flap, there are a few things you can do. Here are some tips for prevention and home care:

Regular Check-ups

It’s important to take your dog to the veterinarian for regular check-ups. During these visits, the vet can examine your dog’s ears and identify any potential problems before they become more serious. They can also clean your dog’s ears, which can help prevent infections and other issues.

Proper Hygiene

Maintaining proper hygiene is crucial for preventing ear problems in dogs. Here are some tips for keeping your dog’s ears clean:

  • Clean your dog’s ears regularly with a gentle ear cleaner recommended by your vet.
  • Dry your dog’s ears thoroughly after bathing or swimming, as moisture can lead to infections.
  • Trim the hair around your dog’s ears to prevent it from trapping dirt and debris.
  • Keep your dog’s ears free from foreign objects, such as grass seeds or ticks.

By following these tips, you can help prevent your dog from developing a swollen ear flap. H

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it necessary to seek veterinary care for a dog’s ear hematoma?

Yes, it is necessary to seek veterinary care for a dog’s ear hematoma. A hematoma can cause pain and discomfort for your dog, and if left untreated, it can lead to permanent deformation of the ear.

What can you do to reduce swelling in a dog’s ear?

To reduce swelling in a dog’s ear, your veterinarian may recommend medication to reduce inflammation and pain, as well as draining the hematoma if necessary.


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!

2 thoughts on “Dog Has Swollen Ear Flap: Is It A Hematoma?”

  1. Help my dog is my child and I love him very much.I have medicated him with sidation twice to different vets and still could get him seen by a doctor.He is in desperate need of help he has a ear infection and his nails are extremely over grown Please help if you live in the lemon grove ca area lm so scared for him


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