Dog Ear Care is Essential
Dog ear care might be one of the most overlooked part of dog care. All dog owners should understand how to keep their dog’s ears clean and free of infection. Some breeds, especially those with long dropped ears such as the Basset Hound, require more care than a dog with semi prick ears such as a collie, but all dogs require regular ear checks and cleaning.
The first step is to understand the anatomy of the dog ear. As you can see from the diagram, the dog’s ear canal is not straight like a person’s, but rather more of an L shape. There is a small flap at the opening of the ear, then the canal. It’s important to understand the shape of the ear canal so that you can comfortably clean it.
It requires a minimum amount of tools to keep your dog’s ears clean and healthy. Cotton balls or gauze on your finger work very well and are preferred over cotton swaps that might poke into the ear. You can use vinegar, alcohol, or aloe. Using your finger to gently guide the cotton into the ear, easing any debris out and away from the ear. Follow up with a clean cotton ball and continue wiping until the ear is clean and dry. Repeat on the other ear.
While cleaning the ears, look for any signs of ear infection.
These might include:
- redness or irritation
- discharge (brown or yellow, especially)
- odor (usually a foul odor)
- head shaking
- ear scratching
- rubbing ears on the floor or other surfaces
Ear infections can be caused by dirt buildup, but are often caused by an allergy, including food allergies, flea allergies, and even environmental allergies. It’s important to find what your dog is allergic to in order to prevent more problems. If the ear infection is allowed to remain, it can cause permanent damage such as cauliflower ear, or even hearing loss. Resolving a minor ear infection can often be done with natural means, as seen in the video below. Your local pet store carries products specific to maintaining proper dog ear care. Most pet professionals, including pet store owners, happily show you how to properly clean and maintain your dog’s ears.
However, if the problem has advanced, you might need to visit your vet. He can assess the situation and prescribe medicine or even procedures to heal the ear. In fact, your veterinarian may prevent further ear problems with earlier treatments.