Why and How to Clean and Soothe Dog Ears

By Tess Thompson

At some time or another, pet health issues plague everyone who has a pet. Among other areas of concern, the one that can area that can pose a fair number of problems are ear infections. Ear mites and ear infections are some of the major problems that can cause discomfort your pets and can lead to many a sleepless nights for the owner as well. A dog with ear mites is a less common phenomenon than a cat ear with mites but if contracted, it can cause high levels of stress for the dog and the owner.

The one way in which you can ensure that you never have to face issues related to dog ear infections is to adopt good hygiene practices. Once these practices are regular habit, the chances of your dog contracting any kind of ear infection are reduced considerably.  It is therefore important to include ear cleaning and examination as part of a weekly ritual. If you use a professional grooming service, make sure that they include ear cleaning along with the regular bath, grooming, and styling services.

In case you do not use these services, ensure that you clean your dog’s ears every week. Cleaning the ears on your own is not really a difficult job. Remembering is the hardest part!  Lift the ear flap and expose the ear canal. Cover your index finger with a soft moist cloth and clean the inside of the ear flap and the exposed area. You can use a homemade cotton swab to clean the inaccessible parts.

Another aspect of dog ear hygiene is hair growth. Hair can grow in the ear canals in large quantities and this is true especially in the case of Poodles, Terriers and some other particularly hairy breeds. The hair can trap water and create a warm, humid environment where ear mites and bacteria can breed. It becomes crucial to remove excess hair from the inside of the ear to ensure that bacteria and mites do not grow there. A simple procedure that involves the removal of excess hair every two weeks can help maintain good hygiene and save you from many ear infections. To remove hair, lift the ear flap, expose the inside, and remove the excess hairs that you see on the external ear opening. Make sure that you pull in the direction of the hair growth and remove only small amounts of hair at a time. Make sure that you do not pull any hair if you see some signs of inflammation or infection.

Dogs with ears that droop over the ear canal are likely to face issues with ear infections and ear mites more than dogs that have ears that are erect. Excessive bacteria and mites can cause ear infections, swelling, inflammation and painful redness if not treated properly. Some severe cases can also lead to deafness.

Unfortunately many dog owners do not realize that head shaking scratching of the ears are often symptoms of ear ailments rather than normal dog behaviors.  Any kind of an ear infection that occurs due to ear mites needs to be referred to a veterinarian. Keeping a check on ear hygiene can help you avoid such problems. And even if your dog does get infected, there are home remedies for dog ear mites that you can explore if you spot the issue in advance.

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