Adopting a new furry friend into the family is one of the best feelings in the world. Every year 3.2 shelter animals are adopted, 1.6 million of them being dogs.
As much as we love giving them a new home and playing with them, it’s important to take care of them, too. Unlike us, dogs and cats don’t have the capabilities to take care of themselves and rely on us to make sure they are happy and healthy.
Part of this is making sure your dog’s ear stays clean and clear of infections, which are more common in certain dog breeds. We’ve outlined the health risks of dirty dog ears and why it’s important to get them cleaned at the groomers or at home. Continue reading to learn more.
The most common term for an ear infection is “otitis”. It doesn’t refer to one specific disease, but a side effect of several factors that can cause an ear infection.
There are several causes for ear infections such as an abundance of yeast or an invasion of mites or bacteria. Some dogs simply have hereditary issues or allergies.
Other dog breeds are prone to infections due to excess moisture buildup from their heavy, floppy ears – like cocker spaniels or beagles. Any breed that has an excess of hair in their ear canal is likely to get infections unless regularly groomed.
Other causes for ear infections could be:
- Anatomical issues such as narrow ear canal openings, growth, etc. or skin folds
- Self-inflicted trauma from rubbing and scratching
- Foreign objects (moisture, seeds, hair, wax)
If you notice your pup excessively shaking their head, scratching or rubbing their ears, constantly tilting their head, or a change in behavior they have an ear infection.
Other signs to look out for are: an unpleasant odor; red, inflamed ears; black or yellow discharge; hot and painful to the touch; wet sound when touched/massaged, or moistness inside the ear.
If you notice any of these symptoms, we recommend a trip to the vet for proper care and medication.
To avoid common ear infections, we recommend adding ear checks to your regular routine care. If you take your four-legged friend to a groomer, ask them to add this to their list as well.
When doing an ear check, see if your dog’s inner ear looks dirty. If they do, clean them with a cotton ball dampened with hydrogen peroxide or mineral oil.
Check to see if there is hair sprouting from their ear canal. Tweeze any excess ear canal hair to prevent tangles from forming and any potential hair mats. If you aren’t sure, talk with your vet to see if this is a necessary step for your dog.
Try not to overly-clean your pups ear to avoid irritation and never insert anything in the ear canal. The inner-ear skin is fragile, so if you aren’t sure how to clean it ask your vet for a cleaning demonstration.
Preventing Dirty Dog Ears
The best way to prevent your pooch from getting an ear infection is by routinely checking their ears and regularly cleaning them. There are specific ear cleaning solutions you can buy to help prevent these infections.
If you go this route, make sure they are an organic, all-natural product with antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Putting a few drops in each ear weekly will break down any wax buildup.
If your doggo loves to swim or if they bathe regularly, there are ear cleansers with gentle drying properties. The combined formula of essential oils, aloe, and alcohol sanitizes ear tissue, softens ear wax, and helps dry moisture in the ear.
Healthy Dog Ears
Keeping your pup from having dirty dog ears will keep both you and them happy and healthy. Routine ear checks and hair groomings from the groomer will help prevent most common infections.