Dogs that experience itching and scratch their ears, or frequently shake their heads, might be suffering from an ear infection, especially if any of these symptoms also include smelly ears. Although any dog can develop an ear infection, some breeds are more likely to develop one than others. For instance, Labradors, Beagles, Basset Hounds, Cocker Spaniels, Shar Peis, and Springer Spaniels are several breeds that are prone to ear infections due to the characteristics of the skin in their ear canals.
According to VPI (Veterinary Pet Insurance Co.), ear infections in dogs were the #1 reason for veterinary visits in 2011. However, routine ear cleaning can help prevent ear infections in dogs. Although it's not uncommon for a dog to develop an ear infection, some dogs could get chronic ear infections. In these instances, your veterinarian will need to determine the cause of the recurring issue. Chronic ear infections may be a result of allergic reactions.