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Discharge From a Dog's Ear: Causes and Treatments

3 Steps for Applying Your Dog's Ear Medication

If your vet prescribes ear drops to clear up your dog's ear discharge, you may need to apply them for several weeks. These quick tips make that a little easier:

Make sure you have the ear drops close by. Then, hold your dog's head still, thumb between eyes and nose, fingers wrapped under your dog's jaw. Lift your dog's ear and clean away easy-to-reach wax with a cotton ball and ear cleaning solution. Don't dig deep and don't use cotton swabs, which can easily damage the ear canal or pack wax or debris against the eardrum.

Keeping your grip steady, place the nozzle of the ear drops at the opening of your dog's ear canal, angled toward their nose. Squirt in the prescribed number of drops.

Keep hold of your dog's head so it can't shake out the medication, then spread the drops by folding your dog's ear down and gently massaging the cartilage at the base of the ear for 30 seconds.

Make sure you follow the veterinarian’s directions: Cleaning the ear canal may not optimize certain medications, and others may require more frequent dosing.

Preventing Ear Problems in Dogs

Dogs with drooping ears -- basset hounds, Irish setters, spaniels -- are more prone to ear problems, but any dog can have ear mites, develop an infection, or get an irritant like burrs or seeds stuck in their ears.

Preventing ear problems before they start can help your dog have a full and happily noisy life. Each time your dog's ears get inflamed, the wax glands inside become bigger and more active, while the ear canal scars and narrows, making it more likely to have problems in the future. Help your dog's ears stay healthy by taking these steps:

Inspect your dog's ears every two weeks, checking for dirt, odor, and foreign bodies.

Keep the inside of your dog's ears clean. You can remove visible dirt with a cotton ball soaked with a canine ear cleaning solution (don't insert the cotton ball into the ear canal), or by wrapping a damp cloth around your finger and gently cleaning the outer ear.

If your dog swims a lot or tends to get ear infections, ask your vet about products that dry out the ear canal and prevent the growth of bacteria and yeast.

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WebMD Veterinary Reference

Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on March 24, 2013

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