The Basic Guide to Dog Ear Care

Dog ear care is an important part of maintaining your dog's health. Some dogs are more susceptible to ear infections than others, especially floppy-eared or furry-eared dogs, such as the cocker spaniel. Lack of air circulation within the ear, accumulation of moisture, bacteria, fungi or mites can cause dog-ear infections. If left untreated, ear infections can result in dog hearing loss or even death as in the case of infections of the inner ear. They can also be very painful depending upon how deep into the ear the infection is located. Careful monitoring of the ears done weekly is the best form of prevention.

Beware of Moisture

Accumulation of moisture in the ear is the most common cause of ear infections. For dogs that love the water, careful checking after a swim for any water in the ears will prevent an ear infection. However, for dogs with floppy or furry inner ears, careful monitoring is necessary since airflow within the ear is restricted by the fur. Bacteria and fungi can thrive in moist, dark, dump locations such as the ear.

Redness, itching, swelling, pain, ear discharge, smelly odor emitting from the ear or head shaking are all signs of an ear infection and should be treated immediately by the veterinarian since hearing loss and in extreme cases of major inner ear infection can lead to death.

Tips for Cleaning Dog's Ears

Since most dogs do not like their ears to be touched, it takes some practice and patience in getting your dog to allow an ear inspection. It is best to begin this routine as a puppy but older dogs can learn as well.

  • Inspection Ears Regularly - Raise the flap of the ear and look for any debris, excessive wax, dirt, insects or moisture. Healthy ears are a fleshy pink inside and emit no odor.
  • Maintain airflow to the ear by trimming any excessive fur that is blocking or restricting airflow. Excessive moisture in the ear provides an excellent potential breeding ground for bacteria and fungi.
  • Never use Q-tips when cleaning a dog's ear. Instead use cotton balls and dog ear wash.
  • Though rubbing alcohol can cause skin irritation, it will help remove excessive ear wax. Use cotton balls to apply.
  • Applying garlic or apple cider vinegar will prevent yeast from growing resulting in an infection. However, there may be an allergic reaction to either of these remedies.
  • Cold compresses will alleviate any pain in the event an ear infection develops while hydrocortisone cream can temporarily relieve the pain and itch of fungal infections until the dog is able to visit the veterinarian.

Take a dog to the veterinarian if any of the symptoms for an ear infection develop. Walking in circles is an indication that there may be an inner ear infection. Basic dog ear care does not involve any special knowledge or tools, just consistency in monitoring your dog's health.