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Posted on 09-20-2018

Ear Care Tips for Your Dog

Dog scratching behind his ear

Your dog's ears are a very important organ that you need to care for. If your dog's ears become infected and you don't treat the infection, this could harm your dog's ability to hear and may eventually lead to hearing loss.

If your dog cannot hear, he will not be able to hear you call to him and can't hear another animal or a car coming, which could lead to your dog becoming injured.

Read on for tips to care for your dog's ears and what symptoms to look out for if your dog has an ear infection.

Ear Care Tips

Caring for your dog's ears is not difficult, but your dog may not want you looking in or cleaning out his ears. Grab a helper to hold your dog's head steady so you can get a good look at your pet's ears. To clean them:

  1. Take a cotton ball or gauze (a Q-tip is too small and can damage your dog's ear canal and hearing) and soak it with white vinegar. You can also use an ear cleaning solution which you can find at your local pet supply store.
  2. Wipe the inside of your dog's ear with the cotton ball or gauze. Don't try to get inside the ear canal, instead only cleaning the ear and the folds.
  3. Use multiple pieces of cotton ball or gauze if your dog has a lot of gunk in his or her ears. Remove as much buildup as you can. 

You should clean your dog's ears a few times per month, not just when you notice they are dirty. If they do have a lot of buildup or gunk, this is possibly due to an infection. Clean your dog's ears consistently to prevent the infection from occurring in the first place.

Some dogs are more prone to ear infections and dirty buildup, such as dogs with large ears including Beagles, Basset Hounds, Cocker Spaniels, and even Great Danes.

If you aren't able to clean your dog's ears, take your pet to a professional groomer or your veterinarian to clean out your dog's ears.

Signs of an Ear Infection

If you suspect your dog's ears are infected, take your dog to the veterinarian's office so your vet can properly diagnose and treat the infection. Some symptoms to keep an eye out for include:

  • Constant head flapping
  • Scratching or pawing at the ears
  • Bleeding or redness in the ears
  • Foul odors coming from the ears
  • Brown or reddish discharge releasing in the ears

Also note any behavioral changes, as these might be another sign of an ear infection.

Some factors that can lead to ear infections in dogs include the following:

  • Improper drying of your dog's ears after a bath or swim: This could cause yeast and bacteria to grow. Always dry your dog's ears with a towel or leave them open to dry.
  • Allergies: These could be seasonal or something inside your home.
  • Reaction to medication or to new food or treats: Introduce new food and treats slowly, and watch your dog after giving him or her any new medication.
  • Scratching injury: If your dog excessively scratches at his or her ears, make sure to look out for signs of injury or infection.

To help treat the infection, you can apply and rub in an ear cleaning solution. Your veterinarian will most likely prescribe you or advise you about this solution if your dog has an infection. You will need to carefully apply this to your dog's ear until the infection clears up.

By proactive care for your dog's ears and watchful attention for signs of infection, your dog can have healthy ears for years to come. Take your dog to the Columbine Animal Hospital for an exam and treatment if you've spotted any issues with your dog's ears.

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