Dog Ear Care
Dog ear care is very important part in the dog grooming process. All dogs’ ears need to be looked at and wiped out, but long-eared breeds (Spaniels of any kind, Beagles, Basset Hounds, etc.) have ears that require frequent attention to keep them clean and healthy.
Excessive hair in the ears
Dog ear care is very vital for some breeds which have hair that grows inside the outer ear canal and traps wax and other dirt. A groomer will need to remove this excess hair periodically. It is not a good idea to use tweezers to try to pluck out this hair yourself, because plucking hurts and you could damage the delicate ear tissue with the pointed tips of the tweezer. But you do want that hair removed, because it reduces airflow into the ear, which is needed to prevent infections.
Groomers use a drying powder that stiffens the hairs, then clamp and twist the hair out with a surgical clamping instrument called a hemostat. If your dog has excessive hair at his ear openings, leave it to the professionals unless you are willing to learn how to do it yourself. If you do want to try doing it yourself, ask your breeder or a groomer to show you how to do this safely and comfortably.
Routine Dog ear Care
Ear dog grooming routine ought to cover regular ear checks. this can be particularly necessary for dogs who have too much earwax or have heavy inner ear hair:
- If inner ears of dogs appear unclean, wash them with a cotton ball humidified with hydrogen peroxide, mineral oil, or an alternative formulated solution designed for this object. Inner ear skin is delicate, therefore let your veterinarian to explain and detect the appropriate way of cleaning your pet’s ears.
- Don’t wash your pet’s ears frequently or intensely as to cause aggravation, also take good care of prevent insert anything in the ear canal of your dog.
- If your furry friend sprouts hair out of his ear , your groomer might need to tweeze out it every couple of weeks to stop doubtful mats and tangles from formation. Please talk with your veterinarian if this really is crucial for the dog.
Tips for dog ear care
Breeds with Long, Heavy Ears
The first tip for dog ear care is considering breeds with long, heavy ears. Floppy-eared dogs can have chronic ear infections. Dogs such as Cocker Spaniels, English and Irish Setters, and Basset Hounds and Bloodhounds are prone to have ear infections and other ear problems.
Dogs with erect ears rarely have such issues, except for German Shepherds, who despite their short, tall ears tend to have similar problems. Infections with both yeast and bacteria are not uncommon for dogs who are affected, and they can also have mites.
Ways to Clean the Ears
The 2nd tip for dog ear care is that for a dog without any ear problems, you just want to keep the opening to the ear clean. It’s most comfortable for the dog and effective in getting the ear clean if you use a moistened cotton pad to wipe inside the opening of your dog’s ears. Alternately, you can use a tissue that you double over and wrap around your index finger to wipe around in the exterior ear crevices.
The 3rd tip for dog ear care is choosing the best ear-cleaning solutions. There are a couple of different solutions to clean the ears: the ones sold by pet stores are good if you have a dog with ears that need cleaning deep down. Otherwise, you can make your own solution and store it in any plastic cosmetic bottle: 2⁄3 water, 1⁄3 white vinegar (the same organic method you can use to clean out your refrigerator). It’s nontoxic, nonirritating and has a good antibacterial effect. However, it does not have any deep-cleaning activity.
(A) Cleaning the outside of the ears.
The 4th tip for dog ear care is cleaning the outside of the ears. One good way to clean the ears externally is to dampen a cotton pad (the round or square flat ones, not a cotton ball) with the vinegar solution. Hold up the flap of the dog’s ear with one hand and with your more adept hand rub away any dirt or dark waxiness that is beneath the flap or at the ear opening.
You’ll see there are lots of nooks and crannies to a dog’s outer ear, so you need to gently rub the cotton inside all of the crevices to get it really clean. You can go into the ear canal as far as the tip of your finger wrapped around the cotton pad—or even as far as your fingertip wrapped around a thick tissue. Just keep using new cotton and/or tissue until there is no more dirt on them.
(B) Cleaning the inside of the ears.
The 5th tip for dog ear care is cleaning the inside of the ears. Another way to clean the inside of the ears is to use one of the commercial ear-cleaning solutions. Holding your dog’s head at an advantageous angle, squirt some of this solution directly into the ear canal— don’t put the tip in too deep or squeeze with too much force, because the eardrum is delicate.
Then massage the fluid throughout the canal from the outside, rubbing your fingers right below where the ear attaches to the head. Try to massage the fluid into the ear canal quickly before the dog shakes his head and shakes it all out.
The ear wash brings to the outside whatever debris or wax is deeper in the ear, so that you can wipe if off at the opening.
Scratching at the ears.
If you have a dog who fusses a lot with his ears, scratching them with his back paw nails, lessen the chance that he’ll hurt himself with his nails by cleaning his ears frequently. Scooby Doo is like that—his ears get superficially dirty because he’s always digging in the woods, and they are red and irritated after he scratches.
Dogs use their hind feet to scratch their ears: if you hold his back leg when he’s trying to scratch with that foot you can see how much force is behind it. There may only be a minor itchiness to the ear, but a dog can do some damage to the ear with sharp toenails and substantial muscle-strength behind them.
The 6th tip for dog ear care is soothing the ear. To soothe his ears afterward, I rub some aloe gel on the underside of his ear flap —you can find one hundred percent aloe gel in any drugstore (with the tanning products or body lotions). Put a dab of the clear gel on your fingertips and rub it gently around the clean underside of the dog’s ear.
Aloe is a natural substance (from a cactus-type plant) that has healing, soothing properties and is often used to soothe skin after sunburn and other minor burns. It absorbs immediately into the skin.
SIGNS OF EAR INFECTION OR OTHER PROBLEMS
The 7th tip for dog ear care is observing any signs of ear infections. If you have any doubts about whether your dog’s ears require professional attention, then there’s a good chance that they do. There are not always outward signs of the ear infection, but
- dogs will scratch at an ear with a back paw or rub their head against things in discomfort.
- Other times a dog may tilt his head or be off-balance because of an inner-ear infection.
- There is often a nasty odor from the ear(s) and a discharge that ranges from dark brown to black.
Don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your vet—as with any infection, the longer you wait the worse it may become.
RADICAL SURGERY FOR CHRONIC EAR INFECTIONS
If you have a dog who gets numerous ear infections, you may at some point want to consider surgery. Every severe ear infection that a dog suffers through causes scarring, which eventually can nearly close the ear canal.
For dogs with chronic ear infections that will not resolve, there is a surgical option: “ablation” is the removal of the entire ear canal, which eliminates the environment in which the infections have thrived. Ideally, this surgery should be done by a veterinarian who specializes in the procedure.
It sounds drastic, but for dogs who suffer with the irritation, pain and worsening hearing of constant infections—along with massive amounts of antibiotics—this surgery is often an act of kindness. I opted for it with Amalfi, my Cocker whose ears always reeked and drove both of us crazy—he was comfortable for the first time in years within days of the operation.
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