San Diego dogs are active, fun loving dogs that are prone to get a little messy. There is no question that we love our dogs, but keeping up with grooming and health maintenance can be difficult. One of the most problematic of these duties is dog ear care. Dog’s ears need regular ear care to avoid problems such as wax build up, ear mites and infections but knowing what to do and when to do it can be a bit confusing. Fortunately, taking care of your dog’s ears is a lot easier than it seems, especially with help from professionals like the veterinarian and mobile pet groomer.
Is Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears Really Necessary?
A dog’s ear canal is actually exceptionally long ranging from 5-10cm in length and has a right angle bend. Because of the shape of the canal, water from bathing and debris picked up from outside can easily drop in and become trapped in the warm dark environment. Once water or dirt is in the ear canal it is very difficult for the dog to get debris out, even with vigorous head shaking. Without help removing it, the ears can become sore and inflamed or cause painful infections. Proper and frequent ear care is key to a happy, healthy dog.
Floppy Ears (And Not So Floppy Ears) and Parasites
If you have a dog with floppy ears you know that those adorable ears can trap in a lot of moisture, dirt and wax. While common in all dogs, dogs with floppy ears are particularly susceptible to ear mites. There are several different kinds of mites, which are tiny parasites that feed on the wax and oils in the ear canal. They are so small that they are barely detectable to the naked eye until many of them gather in one place. Ear mites can cause irritation of the skin and can lead to more serious infections and even obstructions if not treated. An additional problem is that ear mites are also highly contagious and can contaminate from pet to pet, between both dogs and cats.
Regularly Inspect the Ears
To keep your dog’s ears healthy and clean, start by inspecting them regularly. A visual inspection can tell you a lot about the health of your dog’s ears. Look for waxiness, dark dots, and what looks like coffee grounds. Always look for cuts, sores, redness, and inflammation that could indicate an infection. Next, smell the ear. If it smells foul, it can indicate trapped water, wax, or infection. A bad smell might also indicate allergies or other medical concerns. If your dog’s ears smell foul, are sensitive to touch, or are red and enflamed have a veterinarian check them out to be sure that everything is okay.
How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears
Before you clean the ears, have the tight tools ready and near you. You’ll need ear cleaning solution (ask your veterinarian which is best for your dog), cotton balls, and a healthy supply of treats. Next, follow these steps:
- Hold the ear flap up and place the recommended amount of ear solution into the ear. Massage the ear for at least two minutes to distribute the solution.
- Let your dog shake the solution out of his ears.
- Take a cotton ball with additional solution applied to it and wipe down the flap of the ear.
- Dry down the ear with a clean, dry cotton ball.
- If the cotton balls seem excessively dirty, repeat the cleaning steps.
- Reward your dog with treats throughout the process.
Tips for Routine Ear Care
- When bathing your dogs, place a cotton ball in each ear to keep water from entering the ear canal. After the bath, be sure to dry the dog thoroughly so no water makes it into the ear.
- Never insert a cotton swab deeply in the ear canal as it will impact the wax.
- If your dog’s ears are prone to infections or seem to be moist between ear cleanings, talk to your veterinarian about ear drying solutions.
- Consider professional grooming to help with your dog’s regular grooming maintenance and to ensure your dog’s ears are cleaned regularly.
- If your dog grows hairs in his ears, talk to your mobile pet groomer about plucking the hairs to help keep the ears clean. Ear hair can become matted or trap additional dirt and oils that contribute to ear infections.
While the process of dog’s ear cleaning is simple, the execution of the process isn’t always as simple as it seems. Keeping your dog’s ears clean is a very important part of their overall health. If you have questions about dog ear care, contact a professional such as your mobile pet groomer who can recommend some best practices as well as provide grooming services to help you maintain your dog’s health and beauty.