Ear Cleaning 101: How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears
What to Look for: The Signs of a Doggie Ear Infection
If you fear that your dog may contract an ear infection, remember that there are several signs to watch out for. Noticing these signs early will help your dog get the right treatment, and be back on their paws in no time. Some common symptoms include:
- Swollen ears
- Loss of balance
- Wincing when ears are touched
- Any sort of discharge
- Foul smell
- Pawing at the ears
- Constant head shaking
If you have ever had the misfortune of watching your dog deal with an ear infection, you’ll quickly understand that it’s no picnic -- especially for your dog! You’ll watch your best friend go from a happy, normal pup, to one that is both sad and irritable. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep your dogs ears clean. When it comes to your dogs ears, a little extra care can make all the difference. In this article, we will be discussing ear infection signs, and the steps you can take to clean your dog's ears to keep infection at bay.
Before we jump in, remember: NEVER do anything to your pets that you don’t feel comfortable with. Just like humans, dogs have highly sensitive ears, and using the wrong techniques can cause serious damage. If you don’t feel comfortable cleaning your dog's ears, simply have your vet show you the proper way! This will make sure your dog stays happy, and healthy.
As long as you are following the proper steps, dog ear-maintenance is not difficult to perform. The very first thing to remember is that, like many humans, dogs do not like having their ears touched. In other words, this will get pretty messy! Be sure to lay down towels and be prepared for lots of head shakes. In actuality the head shakes will help loosen ear gunk and make your job easier!
After prepping your area, try to get your dog feeling calm. While head shakes are good, we don’t want them to jump up or run away. These actions make gaining access to the ear rather difficult. Once your dog is relaxed, squeeze a small amount of ear cleaning solution (found at your vet or local drug store) into your dog's ear. Once this task has been successfully completed, thoroughly massage the base of the ear and be ready for the head shakes. Once the shakes have subsided and the ear dirt is loose. It’s time to go in and gently swab the inner ear with a cotton ball.
Please note: Q-tips can push debris further down the canal and their use is not advised for this process. Make sure to keep switching out your cotton until your swabs come back clean. When the cotton is clean you have successfully cleaned your dogs ears and improved their ability to fight off ear infection.
Other Preventative Measures
Although frequent ear cleaning is necessary for maintaining your dog's health, remember that over cleaning a dog's ears is just as bad as not cleaning them at all. When a dog’s ears are too clean, their natural balance is disrupted, thus creating a breeding ground for infections. For optimal health, a dog's ears should be checked and potentially cleaned about once a month.
Outside of cleaning, there are a few steps you can take to ensure the health of your dog’s ears. One example would be using a shower cap during bath time. One of the biggest causes of ear infection is water build up in the ears. By pulling a shower cap over your dogs ears, you can create a barrier between water and the ear canal. Your dog may look a little silly, but he will thank you for it later.
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