Sticking to basic hygiene protocols regarding your dog’s ears can help you prevent the occurrence of nasty acute and chronic ear inflammation. The external ear canal is home to numerous bacteria and fungi that don’t cause any problems, but at a certain point which no one can predict, the micro flora can turn pathogenic and infective causing external otitis.
It’s always a good idea to regularly check the dog’s ears and reduce the chances of infectious inflammations which lead to pain and discomfort, hearing loss, vestibular syndrome and loss of balance.
While our blog’s mascot is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, these tips apply to any breed.
Signs your Dog Has an Ear Infection
Like any other disease, external otitis makes the dog shift from his regular and normal behavior the owners are used to.
Obvious signs of ear infection include:
- Swelling of the ears
- Narrowed ear canal
- Dark, yellow or red ear discharge
- Putrid or sweet-like odor
- Painful reaction when touched
- Scratching the ears
- Shaking the head frequently
- Loss of balance (inflammation of the inner ear)
- Unusual masses inside or around the ear
Thorough Hygiene to Prevention
The best possible way to reduce the chances of ear infections in your dog is regular cleaning protocols which you can do by yourself. Choosing the right and best dog ear cleaning product for ears which aren’t affected by some process is very important. These products work by breaking up the excess wax in the ear canal or by creating a dry environment not suitable for yeast and bacteria.
Most dog ear cleaning products contain propylene glycol, chlorhexidine, dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate and sodium lauryl sulfate, but there are also natural products made of mineral and olive oil. Using ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide, vinegar and alcohol solutions is never a good idea due to their irritating effect. It’s best to get tips from your vet about the best ear cleaning product for your dog.
The Act of Cleaning
Before actually cleaning the ears you need to clean the area by removing matted hair inside or around the ear canal. The excess hair should be removed with extreme caution in order not to physically harm the ear.
- Start by shaking the ear cleaning solution for 15-30 seconds.
- Afterwards grab you dog’s ear flap and start filling the ear canal with the liquid gently and slowly, until the canal is filled to the top.
- Start massaging the base of the ear for about half a minute and repeat the process with the other ear.
- Let your dog shake its head couple of times, grab a clean cotton ball and start wiping the ear canal until you remove all artifacts.
- Using cotton swabs can be potentially dangerous because the ear drums may be damaged.
Frequency of Cleaning
There is no strict rule about how often you need to clean your dog’s ears. Some breeds of dogs are more prone to infections than others and type of coat, age and frequent swimming or outdoor activities also play a significant role on cleaning frequency. It’s fair to say that monthly cleanings are frequent enough to prevent occurrence of diseases.
Whenever you suspect that there might be a more serious condition with your dog’s ears it’s better to visit your vet and prevent possible complications.
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