Ear problems are one of the most common health issues in dogs. The structure of a dog’s ears is different to ours and it is easier for water or foreign bodies to get trapped.
Fortunately, most dog ear problems not serious and can be treated at home or prevented by keeping your dog’s ears clean and free of debris.
However, approximately one in five dogs will suffer from an ear infection sometime in their lives. If this happens, it should be treated by a vet.
Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears
Cleaning your dog’s ears should be part of your grooming schedule. The frequency of cleaning will depend on your dog. If your dog is susceptible to infections, he will need his ears cleaned more frequently than one that is not.
If you are unsure about how to clean ears or are worried that you could cause damage, ask your vet or a groomer to show you exactly what you should do.
Your dog’s ears should never smell bad. A yeasty odor coming from the ears is a good indicator that an infection is developing.
Do not use cotton buds for dog ear cleaning. These can cause damage if used incorrectly. Use cotton balls and an ear cleaner. Approved ear cleaners can be obtained from your vet or from online wholesale pet supply companies.
Put a small amount of ear cleaner into your dog’s ear. Let it run down into the inner ear. Massaging the ear gently will help the cleaner do its job.
Your dog will vigorously shake his head to get rid of the cleaner. This is fine once the cleaner has done its job, but you may need to hold his head for a minute or two to give the cleaner time to work.
Try to hold a towel around the dog’s head when he is shaking. This will help prevent ear cleaner flying all over the place.
Gently wipe the inside of the ear with cotton balls and repeat this until the cotton balls are clean after wiping.
Symptoms Of Ear Infections In Dogs
The symptoms of ear infection include
Shaking or tilting of the head.
Scratching the ears
A loss of balance
Swelling of the ear
Redness of the ear canal
Causes Of Ear Infections
There are several causes of ear infections. These include:
Grass seeds another foreign bodies
Growths or tumors
Ticks and other parasites
Treatment For Ear Infections
If, despite your regular ear cleaning, an ear infection does develop - take your dog to the vet. Untreated ear infections can lead to further complications and should not be ignored.
Your vet may recommend some ear drops or may give you some oral medications. Follow your vet’s recommendations closely and do not treat with home remedies.
If your vet’s recommendations are not working, a repeat visit may be necessary.
If your dog has a chronic ear infection it will need medical attention for the rest of his life.
Some dog breeds which grow a lot of hair inside the ear may need regular ear plucking. This can be done by your vet or a dog groomer. Your vet can show you how to do this yourself.
Dogs ear problems are rarely serious, and a good hygiene routine can mostly prevent them happening.