Ear Care for Dogs
Although a dog’s ears need to be regularly monitored for his
entire life, a little basic maintenance is generally all that’s required to
keep them clean and healthy.
Because of the twisty, curvy design of a dog’s inner ears, it’s
easy for parasites, bacteria and yeast to hide and thrive in them. This also
means that any debris in the canal must work its way up to escape. Infections
can result from trapped debris. Dogs with allergies are particularly
vulnerable, as are those with floppy ears, like Cocker spaniels, basset hounds
Your dog’s regular grooming/maintenance routine should include
regular ear checks. This is especially important for dogs who produce excessive
earwax or have a lot of inner-ear hair:
- If your dog’s inner ears appear dirty, clean them with a cotton ball
dampened with mineral oil, hydrogen peroxide or a solution formulated
specifically for this purpose. Inner-ear skin is delicate, so allow your vet to
demonstrate the proper method for cleaning your dog’s ears.
- Do not clean your dog’s ears so frequently or deeply as to cause
irritation, and take care to NEVER insert anything into your dog’s ear
- If your dog sprouts hair from his ear canal, you or your groomer may have
to tweeze it out every few weeks to prevent problematic mats and tangles from
forming. Please discuss with your vet whether this is necessary for your
Wet Behind the Ears?
If you’re not careful, frequent bathing and swimming can lead
to irritation and infection. To prevent this from happening, place cotton in
your dog’s ears before baths, and be sure to dry her ears as thoroughly as you
safely can after all water sports and activities.
If your dog is prone to ear infections, you might want to pour
a tiny amount of an ear drying solution made for dogs into her ear canals to
help evaporate any water trapped inside. These ear washes, usually witch
hazel-based, are available at better pet supply stores.
Contact your veterinarian if you notice any of the following
symptoms affecting your dog’s ears:
- Ear discharge
- Bad smells
- Crusty skin
- Hair loss
Please also be aware that brown or black ear wax-and dry, dark
wax resembling coffee grounds-are classic indicators of microscopic ear mites.
Only your vet can tell for sure, so please don’t delay bringing a gooey-eared
pooch in for a checkup.