Basic ear care for dogs is most successful when performed on a routine basis, especially for breeds that have a higher risk of infection, such as Hounds, Labradors, Shar Peis, and Spaniels. Some dog breeds also prone to hair growth within the ear canal, blocking airflow which can result in infection. Hair in the ears should be removed by a pet groomer or veterinarian every one to three months. Dog breeds that commonly suffer from this problem include Schnauzers, Maltese, and Shih Tzu’s.
Ear infections in dogs are generally caused from a build-up of moisture in the ears. Fungus, such as yeast, can grow in the ear, causing black, dark brown or yellow discharge – as well as itching, inflammation, and odor. If not treated, a yeast infection can develop into a secondary bacterial infection, leading to erosions in the ear and pain for the canine. Chronic ear infections are also believed to be caused by a hypersensitivity to food more than 75 to 85 percent of the time.
Learning how to perform ear care for dogs at home can be a great skill for dog owners to obtain. Follow these step-by-step instructions to care for your dog’s ears:
- Hold the flap of the ear open at its base. Fill the ear with cleaning solution made especially for pets. Be sure to follow all instructions carefully.
- Massage the ear gently to loosen build-up of wax and debris.
- Let go of the ear and step back. Allow the dog to shake its head as this will help to remove debris and wax from the horizontal canal up and out to the vertical canal.
- Use a cotton ball to wipe away any excess debris and liquid that the dog has loosened. Begin at the base of the ear and work your way upwards.
- With your veterinarian’s permission, use a Q-tip to clean deep into the vertical canal. Be gentle as this sensation can be irritating to the dog.
Ears should be cleaned an average of twice per week if the dog has an ear infection or has chronic ear infections. Breeds that are at high risk for ear infections can also benefit from ear cleanings once or twice per week. Prescription medications used for the treatment of your pet’s ear infections should be given for the entire duration of the treatment, according to your veterinarian instructions. With regular ear care for dogs and speedy treatments of any ear ailments, your canine is sure to maintain healthy ears.