An often overlooked part of owning a dog is caring for a dog’s ears. Most of the health problems experienced by dogs are fairly visible, and easily identified by their owners. However, many dog owners do not care for their dog’s ears on a regular basis. In reality, ear infections are one of the most common problems experienced by dogs. Ear problems are usually treatable, though can result in serious complications if ignored for a long period of time.
One of the most important parts of caring for your dog’s ears is regular inspection. On a weekly basis, try to note any possible changes in the appearance of your dog’s ears. Skin discoloration could potentially signify a problem, as could any noticeable discharge. In dogs with ear infections, it’s also common for a dog’s ears to have a noticably pungent odor, usually caused by a bacterial infection. If you notice any of these symptoms, it may be beneficial to your dog’s health to seek the advice of a veterinary professional.
Another important part of caring for your dog’s ears is a regular cleaning. Many pet owners neglect to clean their dog’s ears on a consistent basis, which can potentially lead to ear infections. Most pet care supply stores carry cleaning products specifically designed for cleaning a dog’s ears. However, it is always recommended that you first read the ingredients. Some ear cleaning products could potentially cause irritation of your dog’s ear, especially if your dog has sensitive skin. It’s recommended that you don’t purchase products that contain any ingredients that could sting, such as alcohol.
Most ear cleaning products will come with specific directions, though they are usually poured directly into your dog’s ear canal. Many dogs find this sensation to be extremely uncomfortable, so it may be best for you to distract your dog with a toy or treat during the cleaning process. Once the cleaning product is in place, massage around the outside of your dog’s ear. This will help to loosen any extra earwax, and will help the cleaning product to work effectively. After approximately thirty seconds, begin removing the product from your dog’s ear. This can be accomplished either with cotton balls, or gentle-tip cotton swabs. Continue swabbing your dog’s ear until the cotton comes back mostly clean. Once you are finished, be sure to offer your dog a treat for cooperating during the ear cleaning process.
Caring for your dog’s ears does not have to be difficult, as long as you continue regular maintenance and cleaning. Some veterinarians may recommend specific products for cleaning your dog’s ears, which is usually the best option for your dog. At the first sign of a potential ear problem, it’s always best to seek the advice of a veterinarian. Though ear problems are seldom serious, they may become severe if left untreated. Prevention is the best way to care for your dog’s ears, and a regular cleaning will go a long way towards keeping your dog’s ears healthy.