What is causing my shih tzu to have itchy ears?

His ears are naturally the cleanest I've ever had on one of my dogs. He has no wax, no smell, no moisture, no oily discharge. They are pale and white in color, no redness or irritation. The groomer plucks the hair out every 4-5 wks beginnng when he was a baby. She also puts some type of powder in his ears. So, why do they itch? The vet says they are clean and there is no debris or mites.

Could they be too dry? Am I overlooking something? What can I do to help him? I've heard of doing alcohol rinses and wiping them with vinegar and things like that but I'm reluctant to put anything in his ears.

Note: It is the only part of his body that itches with any consistency. No fleas on him either. He is not nervous or compulsive about it. It appears to be a legitimate itch.

Asked by Member 559531 on Feb 6th 2008 Tagged shihtzuears, earsitch in Health & Wellness
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Is he actually itching the inside of his ears or behind the outside of his ears? There is a difference. But if your vet can't find anything physically wrong with him, I wouldn't worry too much.

It's possible that his ears might be too dry, but if they were too dry then I would imagine you'd see some form of dandruff in his fur. If you think they're too dry, maybe start adding some fish oil into your dog's food, this will help his skin and fur grow/repair better. It might help, it might not. But it's definitely work a try!

I'm not sure what you mean by "legitimate itch", but I think I know what you're saying. Some dogs, as I'm sure you know, have obsessive compulsive disorders, itching is of them. Itching could also be a behvior he does so often that he no longer notices that he's doing it.

Member 409208 answered on 2/6/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


First, NEVER put alcohol or vinegar in a dog's ears (or anywhere on a dog, for that matter.)

I know some people do this and might suggest it, but it is NEVER a good idea and often burns the dog's skin. They have a much different ph balance to their skin than we do and just one application of alcohol can injure them.

The one thing that stuck out to me in your question was that the groomer puts some sort of powder in his ears. I would ask that they stop that for a while and see if there's an improvement.

Those powders can be very irritating and often cause irritation down further than we can see, so the inside of the flap isn't always red.

There's a medical ear cleaner called Wirbac which you can get at the vet's office. You can have the vet show you the proper way to clean the ears, but I wouldn't even do that until you're sure it isn't the powder. Most of the time, less is more.

Food allergies cause ear irritation, but unusual not to have redness.

Jack answered on 2/6/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer