You've been petting your dog's ears and noticed that the insides are rough and maybe grainy. You know they're not supposed to be like this, but you don't know what the cause is.
Rough skin in the ears can suggest various health problems such as ear mites, infection, allergies, fly bites or flea bites.
A healthy ear should be pink (or black, depending on your dog's skin color), clean and sweet smelling with no redness or inflammation.
Crustiness and roughness suggest either an infection with discharge, allergies or parasites. Ear mites will leave red, waxy gunk that smells foul, and fleas and flies will leave blackish grains from dried blood or dried feces.
Many people think that smelly dog ears are the norm and that dogs always scratch their ears--this is not the case.
A quick examination by a veterinarian will help root out the cause. In the case of infestation, you'll use otic products that will help clean the ear and get rid of the problem. In the case of allergies, your veterinarian may put your dog on a special diet and medication.
- "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Dog Health and Nutrition"; Margaret H. Bonham; 2003