Veterinarians will agree that one of the most common reasons a dog visits their office is for ear infections. If you can care for your dog's ears properly, then you can reduce the chance of him developing a problem.
- Check your dog's ears at minimum once a week.
- Cleaning solutions often help with excess debris.
- Never use a Q tip to clean your dog's ears
Examination And Cleaning Of Your Dogs Ears
Have a look inside your dog's ears at least several times a week. If they are clean and healthy, then you can keep them that way with a little bit of routine maintenance. If you think there is something not quite right, it is better to have his ears checked by your vet before you start putting anything in them. Cleaning ears isn't difficult. Use a gentle ear cleansing solution to help to remove dirt and debris, and to dry out his ear canal. Squirt some of the liquid into his ear and then wipe it out with a cotton ball. When you are finished, stand back! He will shake his head and any remaining cleaning solution will come out. If you're in the firing line, you can expect to get a bit wet. Never ever use a cotton bud or Q Tip to clean your dog's ears. They can do more harm than good, because if he moves at the wrong time, the Q Tip will go too far into his canal.
To Pluck Or Not To Pluck
Some breeds have hairy ear canals and these are often plucked out. Veterinarians tend to leave well enough alone; if the ears are healthy then they don't pluck. However, if there is infection present, then they may remove the hair to better let medication reach the skin of the ear canal. This is painful, so is often done while the dog is sedated. If your dog has a lot of hair around the opening to his ear canal or on the inside of his ear flap, this can be trimmed with some hair clippers, just to let the air circulate around his ear a little better.
Signs Of Infection
Check for reddening inside the ear flap and down into the ear canal. Have a sniff and make sure there is no strong odor. Look for any sign of discharge. If you see any of these, it's time to have him examined by your vet, as he may well have an ear infection. Dogs with frequent or chronic ear infections may be suffering from an allergy. Food allergies and atopy (allergy to dusts and pollens) are both characterised by inflammation and infection in the ears. Another cause of ongoing ear problems is confirmation. Breeds such as the Basset Hound or the Spaniels have long pendulous ears that effectively close off the opening to their ear canal. This prevents the canals from drying out and predisposes to bacterial and fungal growth.
In both cases, the only way to manage the chronic ear infections is to treat the underlying cause.
Regular ear care can help to avoid ear infections. Your dog won't have to deal with the pain of an infected ear, and you won't have to pay for his treatment.