Pointed, floppy, or extra hairy, some dog’s ears need a little extra attention every week. Spring is a great time to reassess your grooming routine from top to tail, and ears can be a problem spot if overlooked. Floppy-eared dogs seem to be more prone to ear infections. The floppy ears you fell in love with on your puppy create a warm environment for the canals that welcome certain bacterial and yeast infections.
Symptoms to watch out for:
1. Excessive dark wax. Some dogs naturally produce more wax than others, but when you see dark wax, your pet may have a case of ear mites (parasites) which would be contagious to other pets or more commonly a yeast infection. If you suspect either, you should have your dog assessed by your vet as soon as possible. Don’t clean or apply any product to the ears or you could unintentionally remove the evidence your vet needs to diagnose the problem at hand.
2. Little white dots. If you seen these moving in your dog’s ears, it could mean ear mites. Don’t scream and don’t clean. Call your vet immediately.
3. Violent head shaking and excessive scratching of ears. These symptoms point to an ear infection. Again, avoid the temptation to clean up the ears before your dog is seen and diagnosed by the vet.
4. Foul odors from ears. It takes a little time for an owner to develop a nose for this, to distinguish a naturally pleasant doggie smell from one that’s a bit off. The next time you go to the vet when your dog is given a clean bill of health, make a point to get a whiff of what healthy ears smell like. A rank smell from the ears is a sure sign of an ear infection.
5. Redness and puffiness around outer ear canal areas. Again, these warning signs most likely indicate ear infection.
6. Problems after swimming. If your dog has difficulty after a dip in the lake or the ocean, the extra moisture in her ears may be the culprit for an infection. Water in the ears can set off a chain of events that’s not pleasant for your pet. If these indications are present, it’s not a good time to clean your dog’s ears. Let your vet observe and diagnose the problem first. She’s trained for the delicate task of treating this very sensitive area.
If none of the problems mentioned are present, clean your dog’s ears about once a week as part of his grooming routine. The simplest method is use an ear cleaner pH-balanced for your pet’s ears. These cleaners not only clean but also help dry out any extra moisture.
A dog’s ear isn’t all that different from a human’s, so you wouldn’t want to risk inserting a Q-tip or other object too far into the canal and risk rupturing an ear drum. There are two big benefits from routinely checking your dog’s ears. The first is that you will be the first to know if there’s a problem, and the second is that you allow your dog to become accustomed to having her ears examined.
For clean ears and any other grooming question, contact our team at Town ‘N’ Country. Our (clean) ears love to hear from you!
Image courtesy of Ellen B and Flickr.