Cleaning your dog’s ears is an important part of their overall health and happiness. In order to ensure that your furry friend can hear you loud and clear, it’s crucial to keep their ears clean and free from any infections or debris. Dr. Angelica Dimock, a Managing Shelter Veterinarian, provides valuable insights on how to properly clean your dog’s ears. From determining the frequency of cleanings to the step-by-step process, this article covers everything you need to know to keep your dog’s ears clean and healthy. Say goodbye to funky smells and discomfort, and hello to happy and attentive pups.
How Often To Clean Dog Ears
Cleaning your dog’s ears is an essential part of their overall health and well-being. Not only does it help prevent infections and discomfort, but it also ensures that your furry friend can hear you loud and clear when you call them. But how often should you clean your dog’s ears? According to Dr. Angelica Dimock, Managing Shelter Veterinarian for the Animal Humane Society, the frequency of ear cleanings depends on your dog’s breed and individual needs. Some breeds, such as Labs, Hounds, Cocker Spaniels, and Pugs, are prone to recurring ear infections and may require daily or regular cleanings. It’s best to consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate maintenance routine for your dog.
A clean ear is characterized by its pink color and absence of any odor, debris, or inflammation. By knowing what a healthy, clean ear looks like, you can easily identify when your dog’s ears are in need of cleaning. Look out for signs such as redness, discharge, or debris in the opening of the ear canal, as well as any funky smells emanating from the ear. Additionally, if your dog is shaking their head, scratching their ears, or rubbing them on the floor, it may indicate that their ears require attention.
How to Clean Dog Ears: 3 Simple Steps
Cleaning your dog’s ears may seem like a daunting task, but it can be easily done with just a few simple steps. Here’s how you can clean your dog’s ears effectively:
Gather the necessary supplies: Before you begin, make sure you have all the essentials on hand. You’ll need cotton balls or gauze, a vet-approved ear cleaning solution, a towel, and of course, some treats to reward your dog. It’s best to perform the cleaning in a bathroom or an area that is easy to clean up in case of any mess.
Apply the ear cleaning solution: Carefully squeeze enough ear cleaning solution into your dog’s ear canal, making sure not to touch or poke the inner ear with the bottle tip. Gently massage the base of the ear for 15-30 seconds, allowing the solution to break up any debris or buildup within the ear. You may hear a squishing sound as the solution works its magic.
Let your dog shake it out: After massaging the solution into the ear, allow your dog to shake their head to remove any excess liquid and loosened debris. Protect yourself from any flying fluids by holding a towel in front of your dog. Once your dog has finished shaking, use a clean cotton ball or gauze pad to gently wipe and blot any remaining liquid from the ear.
If you prefer a less messy approach, you can soak a cotton ball with the cleaning solution and use it to squeeze the liquid into the ear. Then, wipe the ear canal with a clean cotton ball or tissue, removing any excess liquid or debris. After the cleaning process, engage in a fun activity with your dog, such as going for a walk, playing fetch, or simply snuggling, to create positive associations with ear cleanings.
Dog Ear Cleaning: What Not To Do
While it’s important to clean your dog’s ears regularly, there are a few things you should avoid when it comes to dog ear cleaning. Dr. Dimock offers some helpful tips to keep in mind:
Don’t use cotton swabs: It’s crucial to refrain from using cotton swabs or any other objects that could potentially break off inside the ear canal. If this happens, it may require anesthesia to remove the lodged piece.
Avoid DIY fixes: Homemade ear flush recipes found online, such as those using rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or tap water, can actually worsen an ear infection or cause increased pain. Stick to vet-approved ear cleaning solutions.
Don’t overclean: Cleaning your dog’s ears too frequently can disrupt the natural balance and cause tissue damage. It’s best to let a healthy ear be and only clean as needed.
Only clean what you can see: It’s important to remember that you should never insert your finger or any other objects deep into a dog’s ear canal. Stick to cleaning the visible parts of the ear.
Stop cleaning if the dog is upset or in pain: If your dog shows signs of distress or discomfort during the cleaning process, it’s important to stop immediately. Forcing a cleaning can create fear and anxiety around ear cleanings in the future.
When To Consult a Vet
While regular ear cleanings can help prevent many ear issues, there may be instances where professional veterinary care is necessary. If your dog’s ears become excessively dirty or the signs of a dirty ear worsen despite regular cleanings, it’s time to schedule a vet appointment. Additionally, if your dog exhibits symptoms such as a decreased appetite, constant ear scratching, lethargy, head tilt, or stumbling, it’s crucial to seek immediate veterinary attention. These signs may indicate a more serious underlying issue that needs to be addressed by a professional.
How To Keep Dog Ears Healthy
Prevention is key when it comes to maintaining your dog’s ear health. Moisture is one of the biggest culprits for ear infections as it creates an ideal environment for yeast and bacteria to thrive. If your dog enjoys playing in or near water, or even in snowy conditions during the winter, it’s important to take precautions to keep their ears dry. After your dog has been exposed to moisture, use a dry tissue to gently wipe away any excess moisture from the ear canal once they are indoors and dry for the day.
If you bathe your dog at home, it’s recommended to place tissues or cotton balls in their ears during the bath. Even if you are careful not to wet their head, water has a way of finding its way into the ears. By taking this simple step, you can help prevent water from entering the ear canal and causing potential issues.
In conclusion, cleaning your dog’s ears is an essential part of their overall care. Regular cleanings, based on your dog’s individual needs, can prevent infections and ensure their ears remain healthy and functional. However, it’s important to follow proper cleaning techniques and avoid any potentially harmful practices. If you have any concerns or questions about cleaning your dog’s ears, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian for expert advice. By keeping your dog’s ears clean and healthy, you can ensure that they live a happy and comfortable life, with no hindrance to their hearing abilities.