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Dog Ear Infections

Dogs

Definition of Ear Infections

Hearing is one of a dog’s keenest senses. Dogs rely upon sound and scent much more than they do upon eyesight, to navigate their way through the world. Dogs’ ears can become infected from the very outer edge of the ear flap all the way down into the ear canal. Ear problems are one of the main reasons that owners take their dogs to a veterinarian.

Parasites commonly cause ear irritation in dogs. Fleas, lice, mites and ticks can all contribute to ear irritation, infection, scratching and self-inflicted wounds. Foreign objects that lodge inside the ears, such as foxtails and grass awns, are other common causes of ear irritation, inflammation and infection. Weather extremes can contribute to ear problems; moisture and heat create a rich habitat for yeast and bacterial proliferation, and icy weather can cause frostbite. Allergies are also often associated with ear discomfort.

Introduction

It is a good idea to clean your dog’s ears on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. This is especially true if you live in a warm or humid environment, or if your dog has long floppy ears that can trap dirt and moisture. To clean your dog’s ears you’ll need just a few tools of the trade and an ear cleaning solution.

Cleaning a Dog's Ears

The best tools to use for cleaning your dog’s ears are a good pair of hemostats and some cotton balls. Q-tips can push debris further inside the dog’s ears, or even damage the inside of the ear. Hemostats can be purchased at drug stores, pharmacies, or you can ask your veterinarian to order a pair. You can purchase an ear cleaning solution specifically created for pets, or you can mix one up at home.

Cleaning Solutions

A highly recommended home ear cleaning solution is 1 part white vinegar to 1 part of water. This solution works wonders on dogs that have chronic yeast or bacterial infections in their ears. Another ear cleaning solution you can mix at home is 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 1 part water. Never use alcohol to clean your dog’s ears. Alcohol can dry out the sensitive skin inside the ears and cause allergic reactions.

Cleaning Techniques

Start your dog’s ear cleaning with a good belly rub and soothing words. This will relax your dog and let him or her know that ear cleaning times are not so bad. Place a small amount of the solution in your dog’s ears, and then massage the base of the ears. At this point your dog will want to do a head shake. Let the dog give a good shake which will help loosen debris inside the ear. Lock down a cotton ball in the hemostat and gently use it to wipe out the inside of the ear. Repeat as often as needed, working from the inside out with a fresh cotton ball, until no more wax is seen on the cotton ball.

 

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