Proper ear care is an essential part of grooming for your dogs. The frequency of ear cleaning can vary from one dog to another, depending on their susceptibility to ear infections, the type of ears, breed predispositions, etc.
Dogs like basset hounds with long and droopy ears may need more frequent cleaning compared to dogs with short, erect ears like some of our Indies, but all of them need it.
Importance of Ear Cleaning
The structure of a dog's ear canal can make it difficult for trapped debris to naturally exit the horizontal canal. Without regular cleaning, this buildup can lead to itchiness and potentially even ear infections.
Using the Right Ear Cleaner
Using a good quality ear cleaner specifically designed for dogs is recommended. It's important to avoid cleaners with hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, as these can irritate the ear canal, especially if it's already inflamed or ulcerated.
Some ear cleaners contain antibacterial or antifungal ingredients to help prevent infections, while others are effective at removing wax buildup. Consider using a cleaner that has salicylic acid as its main ingredient.
What You'll Need for Ear Cleaning
Cleaning your dog's ears is a straightforward process that doesn't require any specialized equipment. You'll need a good-quality ear cleaning solution, some cotton balls or gauze, and may be a handful of treats to reward your dog.
It's important to note that cotton tip applicators (like Q-tips®) should be avoided, as they can pose a risk of perforating the eardrum or causing trauma to the ear canal. Additionally, they may push debris deeper into the ear, so it's best to steer clear of them.
Not All Dogs Need Frequent Ear Cleaning
While it's crucial to clean your dog's ears when necessary, excessive cleaning can lead to irritation in the ear canal, potentially resulting in infections. Some dogs with naturally clean and healthy ears may never require ear cleaning.
However, it's advisable to clean your dog's ears if you notice any discharge or an unusual odor during your ear examination. Your veterinarian can help determine the appropriate frequency of ear cleaning.
If your dog's ears are red, inflamed, or painful, it's essential to consult your vet before attempting any cleaning, as these symptoms may indicate an ear infection or a ruptured eardrum.
Step-by-Step Guide for Ear Cleaning
Here's a step-by-step process for safely cleaning your dog's ears:
Sit on the floor with your dog positioned in front of you, or if you have a large breed, position them with their rear end in a corner of the room, against the wall, and stand on their other side.
Lift one ear flap gently to expose the ear canal. Carefully apply ear cleaning solution into the ear canal without letting the bottle's tip touch the ear.
Massage the base of the ear below the ear opening for about 30 seconds. Allow your dog to shake its head to remove excess solution and debris.
Use cotton balls or gauze to wipe away loosened debris and cleaning solution from the ear flap and upper ear canal.
Repeat the process with the other ear.
Provide treats and praise as a positive reward for your dog's cooperation.
Remember, if your dog appears uncomfortable or in pain during the cleaning process, it's essential to stop and seek guidance from your veterinarian.
Follow your veterinarian's recommended cleaning frequency, especially if your dog requires medication applied to the ears, which should be done after cleaning.
Regular and careful ear cleaning can contribute significantly to your dog's comfort and overall well-being.