Hear that? Tips for your dog’s ear health

by Sojos | March 06, 2013


Whether your pup’s ears flop or stand straight up, there’s a good chance that at some point in his life, he’ll get an ear infection. It’s an incredibly common condition and can be triggered by a multitude of causes, so it’s important that every owner knows what to look for and how to treat it.

Luckily, symptoms are pretty easy to notice, giving you a good indication of when your dog needs special treatment. They include:

* Persistent bad odor coming from the ears

* Frequent scratching or rubbing of the ears and shaking or tilting the head

* Discharge

* Swelling

* Redness

* Tenderness or sensitivity to touch

The causes of ear infections vary widely – in fact, over the course of his lifetime, it’s entirely possible that he could develop infections due to complete different factors. Allergies, food-based or otherwise, can lead to infections, as can immune system disorders, swimming, too much ear wax, a foreign body caught in the ear, or simply old age. Bites and irritation from parasites like ear mites can become infected, as well. Some breeds with long, pendulous ears are particularly prone to infection.

Keeping your dog’s ears clean with regular maintenance can help cut down on the risk of infections. Even when you don’t see symptoms of infection, check regularly to make sure your dog’s ears are in good condition. There are a number of effective natural remedies that help to keep ears clean, or you can simply wipe them out on occasion with a soft, dry cotton pad.

* Green tea: Brew some green tea and let it cool. Dip a cotton ball in the cooled tea and wipe the inside of the ear. Green tea has antibacterial properties that can stave off infections.

* Vinegar: Make a 50/50 solution of white vinegar (or cider vinegar) and water, dip a cotton ball in and swab your dog’s inner ear. This is a good preventive measure to take after your dog goes swimming.

* Almond oil. This gentle option can help to break up ear wax. Using a dropper, place a few drops of almond oil inside your dog’s ear (this may cause him to shake his head, so be careful). Wait a few seconds and then massage the base of the ear – this will loosen the ear wax so it’s easier to remove. Then wipe out the ear with cotton or a tissue.

* Mineral oil. If your dog has ear mites, mineral oil can be a useful solution. Put a few drops (again, using a dropper) in the ear and then wipe the interior of the ear with a cotton ball dipped in mineral oil. The oil smothers the parasites effectively.

For your dog, clean ears are healthy ears. By keeping up a regular schedule of natural, gentle ear cleaning, you’ll help him avoid the bother of an ear infection.