Though it is more common with dogs who have floppy ears, ear infections occur to many dogs at least once in their lifetime.
15 March 2016| Last updated on 19 January 2020
Though it is more common with dogs who have floppy ears, ear infections occur to many dogs at least once in their lifetime. A number of behavioural signs such as, scratching, rubbing and head shaking are some of the indicators that your dog may have an ear infection.
Physical signs can be redness, swelling or abnormal odor from the inner ear. Ear infections are usually caused by bacteria and yeast.
For floppy eared dogs, it is not uncommon that they get ear infections from a lack of air ventilation going into the ear canal. If your dog is experiencing discomfort in the ear, you should take him/her to the vet immediately.
How to maintain a healthy doggie ear
Dogs are sensitive and so are their little ears, therefore, regular maintenance is mandatory, especially to those who are prone to infections.
If you’ve ever tried to clean your dog’s ear, you’ll know that they don’t want their ears cleaned, so you will have to find a medium ground between you and your dog, to make the ear cleaning process a successful one.
You should clean your dog’s ears regularly using any ear cleanser from the pet store. Keep in mind that if the dog has sensitive ears, you may have to be particularly gentle, as not to hurt him/her.
The process of cleaning is simple:
- After putting a few drops of cleansing solution into your pup’s ear, gently massage the ear with your fingers until the ear solution has moved its way down into the ear canal.
- A way that you can identify if the solution has reached the ear canal, is by massaging until you hear the moistening sound of the solution in the ear as you continue to rub it.
- After that, use a cotton ball and wrap it around your finger and clean as much as you can from the opening of the ear canal.
If you have been given medication for your dog’s ear infection, it is advised that you place the medicine into the ear after 10 minutes of cleaning the ear thoroughly.
Cleaning dog ears needn’t be a hassle
How can you clean your dog’s ear without it having to be a dreadful chore?
- Make it a positive experience: Talk to your dog throughout the process, make sure to remind them how special they are and praise them for their good behavior. If that doesn’t work, you may have to use a treat to bribe your way into positive reinforcement. Once your pup associates ear cleaning with something positive, the process will begin to get simpler each time around.
- Have your tools ready: Make sure you have all the essentials in front of you. If you are halfway through the ear cleaning and you’ve forgotten an important tool, chances are your dog will escape, in the time it takes you to get the tool. Some tools you may need include; gloves, gauze, cotton balls, ear solution and treats.
- Make sure everything is an arm’s length away: It is important that your tools are in reaching distance, otherwise your dog might squirm away and give you a hard time. By having all the tools close by, you are in control of the situation.
- Reward your dog: This overall process takes no more than a minute or two, but even if it’s a minute or two, it is still an incredibly stressful situation for your dog. Make sure to reward your dog with treats, love, cuddles and a lot of attention after it’s all over and done with.
There are a number of reasons as to why ear infections happen.
Although it seems impossible, there are some preventatives that can largely control any inflammation or infection in the dog’s ears:
- Plug your dog’s ear when you bathe him: Ear infections can often happen if the ear has been exposed to large amounts of water (from grooming, swimming or bathing). The water causes the ear to become moist, thus promoting the growth of microorganisms in the ear canal. In such cases, make sure to dry your dog’s ear properly, after being exposed to water, and use a solution as stated above to clean his/her ear.
- Regular air ventilation: Whenever your dog is lying down or lounging around, try to keep those floppy hears up instead of down, to allow for air to go into the ear canal and ventilate the stuffy ear.
- Plucking away the hairs: Ear hair has been linked to a lack of ventilation in the ear canal. If your dog is known to have a lot of hair in his or her ears, you may have to ask for the ear hair to be removed during the next grooming session, or you can even do it yourself, by purchasing a dry dog ear powder from your local pet store.
- Allergies: Dogs can suffer from a number of allergies, whether environmental (pollens, grass, trees etc.), dust or even food. Such conditions are trickier as they are life-long illnesses, in which case, dog owners may need to either adjust the lifestyle of the dog (particularly if it’s a food allergy), or maintain regular ear cleaning, in order to prevent bacteria and yeast organisms. Such cases, can only be advised by a vetrinarian.