Ear Care in DogsMarch 17, 2016
Wanting to know how to best take care of your pets ears while grooming? Nadia Crighton investigates.
Looking after the health of your pet’s ears is vital in responsible pet ownership. But what does a healthy and unhealthy ear look like and what are the signs that something could be bothering your cats or dogs ears?
Making it a weekly ritual to check your pet’s ears is a good way to ensure that they are in top health. Healthy ears should be:
- Free of an excessive build up of dirt or wax
- Free of discharge
- Not painful to examine
- No smell
- No redness
If your pets ears look and smell good, you can now give them an easy clean to remove any dirt that may have accumulated over the week. However if you suspect your dog may be suffering from an ear condition (see below) it’s important that you make an appointment to see your local veterinarian ASAP.
To clean you pets ears; cover your finger with a piece of paper-towel or a soft cloth. It’s a good idea to make sure that your fingernails are short to ensure you do not hurt the ear. You can also use cotton balls. Gently clean the ear with small rubbing movements, making sure you clean out all of the creases. For any tough dirt stains you can dampen your cloth, but stay clear of any alcohol based products or vinegar as you can irritate the ear. Always start on the outside and work your way in. Never push your finger too far into your pet’s ear or you may cause damage. A general rule is to clean what you can see. Making this a weekly habit will allow you to check for excessive build up. If your cloth is dirtier than normal or has a sweet sickly smell you may need to schedule an appointment for a check up.
What are the symptoms of ear infections? And what should you do if you suspect your dog is suffering from an ear condition? Ear complaints, particularly in some breeds with large floppy ears, can become a common problem. However, with regular cleaning and working alongside your Vet you can help prevent ongoing problems. Ear problems can be caused by either infection, or allergies. Pet suffering with allergies may scratch their ears and continuously shake their heads. Symptoms of an ear problem include:
- Smelly ears – yeast infections tend to smell sickly sweet
- Lots of discharge and dark build up
- Shaking / scratching ears
- Pain when massaging ears
- Red, painful looking ear canal
Pets with reoccurring allergies will need further examinations to understand the allergy and how to best help your pet cope. Diet change, and possible steroids may be suggested to help prevent the onset of ear problems. If your pet does have an ear infection your veterinarian will prescribe medication that will treat the problem. If your dog shows any of the above symptoms it’s important to seek veterinary treatment quickly to prevent further problems.