Dog ear care is an important part of your dog care routine. It's essential that you inspect your dog's ears from time to time to ensure that they are kept reasonably clean and healthy.
1. My pet has dirty ears that have an odor, should I be concerned?
This sounds like an ear infection is a possibility. Some dogs will produce excess wax and oil that might cause some odor without an infection being present. I recommend you have your veterinarian examine your pet's ear to be sure. The veterinarian will use an otoscope to look deep into the ear for signs of inflammation and infection. I tell my clients they should not clean their pet's ears before seeing their veterinarian. What actually happens is you remove much of the evidence needed for a proper diagnosis.
2. What are some signs of an ear infection?
Unlike people, pets can't tell us when they hurt; we have to rely on other signs to let us know if a problem exists. So it is up to us to be on guard and know the common warning signs of pet ear inflammation. If you see any of the following signs, your pet may have an ear infection and should be taken to your veterinarian right away:
3. How are a pet's ears different from our own?
First is the range of hearing. Humans hear noise between 20–20,000Hz (cycles per second) while dogs hear in the range of 40-40,000Hz, nearly twice that of humans. This is the reason that dogs can easily hear the sound of a silent dog whistle, while most of us people can either barely hear it or not hear it at all. Second, pets have a much longer "L" shaped ear canal. It is this difference in anatomy that makes pets so much more prone to outer ear infections because it traps moisture and debris providing food and housing for bacteria and yeast. That's why keeping a pet's ears clean is especially important.
4. What is the best and safest way to clean my pet's ears?
Fold the earflap back far enough so that you can see the opening of the ear canal. Then fill the canal with ear cleaner. After the ear is full of cleaner, gently massage the cartilage of the ear canal, which can be easily felt running from the opening down to the eardrum. This massaging loosens debris, allowing it to be dissolved or float to the top. Next, use a cotton ball to sponge away any fluid and wax. If you have used a gentle ear cleaner lthere is no need to worry about any fluid left in the ear. A quick shake of the head will take care of that.
If your is set on not letting you put the ear wash directly into his/her ear you can also
5. What should I be looking for in a good pet ear cleaner?
A good ear cleaner should do two things: Efficiently clean the ear and cause no harm. Many companies will put a significant amount of alcohol in their cleaner to help dissolve these waxes and oils because it is inexpensive and it disperses oils. The downside to using alcohol is that it can damage otherwise healthy skin that lines the ear canal. Many ear cleaners will use a surfactant such as docusate sodium that helps pull water into oils and waxes or contain glycerin to soften debris. The disadvantage to these choices is that they are slow acting, need significant contact time to work and tend to leave a coating behind. - Article by Boyd Harrell, DVM
Natural remedies for cleaning dog ears – and preventing dog ear infections
* A yeast infection is indicated by an accumulation of brownish-pink wax. Dilute white acetic acid or vinegar in an equal quantity of water and pour a few drops in the dog’s ears. Massage the area mildly and then remove the loosened wax with a cotton swab. Do not use this remedy if there is an open sore wound in the ear. Vinegar us likely to irritate the dog. Use mineral, almond or olive oil with Vitamin C to loosen the wax so that it can be cleaned.
* Pau d’arco, an herb that comes from the inner bark of a South American tree is a natural antibiotic recommended for dogs. Tincture of pau d’arco with a little bit of mineral oil will go a long way to remove ear infections in dogs.
* The adrenal glands play an important role in containing ear infections in dogs. You can improve the function of the adrenal glands by giving a regulated dose of Vitamin C. Keep a watch on the bowel movements of the dog and manage the dose so that it does not lead to diarrhea.
* A natural healthy diet is highly recommended to avoid harmful effects of commercial diets that use synthetic preservatives and additives. This will help to eliminate toxins, curtail the production of wax and also support the automatic immune responses.
* Trim hair regularly during grooming to give an easy passage to air to get in and dry the inner ear thoroughly after a bath.
Ear infections usually affect the outer ear and proper grooming can take care of practically all conditions. However, if your dog is still scratching ears too much, it is time to consult a specialist. Too much scratching can lead to a rupture of a blood vessel and cause a haematoma that may block the ear completely. Head tilting, clumsiness, walking in circles or drooping eyes indicates infection of the inner ear that should be attended only by a veterinarian.
The treatment that is most effective for ear infections in dogs depends upon the severity of the condition. Home remedies for dog ear mites and regular grooming are effective methods to treat and prevent mild ear infections. There are a few effective natural products you can try first.
Your pet is your responsibility and when you bring a pet home, it is incumbent upon you to take proper care of its health. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you get down to thinking about it, whether it is dog or cat ear mites, the infection is initiated by poor grooming. Dogs and cats require help from owners. Regular and proper ear cleaning can save you a lot of expense and your pets from a great deal of discomfort.
References: http://www.southpaws.com/topics/ears.htm http://www.vetsurgerycentral.com/ear_ablation.htm