How to Clean your Dog’s Ears
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As we bring Book Three ‘GROOMING TALK’ from our Blog Series ‘A Life with Dogs’ to a close, let’s retrace our steps.
We’ve discussed bathing your puppy for the very first time; what products you should (or shouldn’t use), the importance of pH balanced products; and the most asked question, in our experience… how often you should wash your dog.
Our final Chapter touches on the subject of ear cleaning. Part of the grooming process that should never be missed.
As the owner (lover) of Cocker Spaniels, I have learnt to make ear cleaning a top priority. Due to a very long ear canal (and ears), Cocker’s are more susceptible to ear infections than most.
If your dog has long floppy ears, special attention must be given – especially in those times involving water.
Because the ear naturally falls downward, it potentially closes off the ear-way restricting air flow. Any moisture left deep down in the ear cavity, over time, can easily become a bacterial nightmare.
Usually you will smell this occurrence, or your puppy will scratch or tilt his/her head. Best take good measure before and after swims, baths or any activity that meets this moisture criteria.
They never said it would be easy, but they did say it would be worth it!” – Mae West
Cleaning a dog’s ears is an important part of the grooming process and one that certainly should not be avoided on grooming days.
Due to their anatomy (especially for dogs with floppy ears), dogs can develop a number of problems such as ear infections and ear mites.
Why is Cleaning your Puppy’s Ears Important?
Thanks to the general anatomy of a dog’s ears, with a deep ear canal and either an ear flap or excessive hair covering the ear opening, dogs are prone to developing excessive wax build up, yeast or fungal infections, and insect infestations in their ears.
Your dog should have regular ear cleanings in order to avoid this common problem, which can lead to pain, neurological-like symptoms, and even deafness.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Ear Infection?
For an especially bad infection, your dog may tilt its head to one side.
In addition, ear wax may be dark and tar-like, or even have the appearance of coffee grounds.
If your dog’s ears emit a yeast-like odor, an infection is definitely to blame.
For more on diagnosing an ear problem, see Pet WebMD (just avoid letting your puppy surf this website alone, lest she becomes a hypochondriac!)
Which Dog Breeds are Most Prone to Ear Problems?
Dogs with long and floppy ears such as beagles, bassett hounds, spaniels, and labs are especially prone to ear disorders.
German Shepherds naturally produce a lot of ear wax, which can cause problems for this breed, as well.
Other dogs that have excessive ear hair growth, such as poodles and terriers, can be more susceptible to ear problems as well.
What should I use to Clean my Puppy’s Ears?
You should always talk to your vet when using an ear cleaning solution for your dog, but in general any mild formula will suffice.
Some pet owners use at-home treatments such as diluted apple cider vinegar or (cooled) green tea.
Avoid anything harsh or drying, such as rubbing alcohol.
The best way to clean your puppy’s ears is to squirt some of the solution directly into the ear canal and then massage the base of your dog’s ear to ensure the solution reaches every area in the ear to loosen wax and debris.
Next, allow your puppy to shake his or her head, and then use a dry cloth or q-tips to clean out only the areas of the ear that you can see.
Never place an object directly into your dog’s ear canal, as you can seriously damage the sensitive bones and tissues within your puppy’s ear.
How often should I clean my Puppy’s ears?
For general ear maintenance, cleaning is recommended every 2 – 4 weeks with a gentle cleanser.
If your puppy is prone to ear issues, a vet may recommend more frequent cleanings.
Preventative care for your puppy is an important part of grooming that every pet owner should be aware of.
The vast majority of problems that dogs experience can be prevented, and in nearly every instance the preventative measures are less expensive and painful than treatment, which leaves more time and money for fun puppy activities!
“Are you guys allowed to sleep on(in) the bed?”
I’ve never agreed with my dog’s being allowed to ‘make themselves at home’ on the couch, let alone the bed, BUT…
Jerry has had this very strange affect upon me. Twisting me fair and square around his rather large paws, this little man has me right where he needs me to be. One look, a bat of those eye-lashes and I cannot help myself. I’M SO EASY!
I’m not sure what it is, or why I have become so lax in my more mature years; perhaps it is the level of comfort I have needed at times, helping me give in to this darling wee canine. Jerry has always been able to read my moods. I am sure he would have brought me the tissue box on certain days if only it had fit in his mouth. I’ve always known that the connection between dog and human runs deep; especially if they’re gold & white, as soft as down, and smell completely scrumptious. Who could say no to that!
Ash Sukhwani a.k.a. Mother of Jerry
Jerry – Born ‘Royoni Naughty-on-Arrival’ June 17, 2017
Follow Jerry’s adventures on Instagram @jerrythecockerspan
Next up is Book Four in our ‘A Life with Dogs’ blog series – ‘Dog Dayz’
Some of the Chapters we’ll cover in this book are:
Keeping your Dog Healthy, Common Behavioural Problems, Socialisation, Health & Preventative Care, Safety, Exercise, Boredom Busters, Obedience, Travel & Holidays, Boarding & Day Care
But first up we’ll discuss the Puppy to Dog Transition
Watch this space – Chapter Twenty-Four – Coming Soon
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Photo Credits: Boston Terriers – @maggielovesorbit, Millie – @millie_therubycavoodle, Arlo – @arlothecavoodle, Calvin – @calvinthecockerspaniel, Maisie, FADM, Barry, Jax, Bailey – @baileyb767, Bella, Jerry – @jerrythecockerspan