A common health concern in Australian Shepherds is ear infections. These infections, often caused by bacteria or yeast, can be painful for your pet and require vigilant care. This article presents eleven tried-and-tested ways to both treat and prevent ear infections, with a particular focus on the role of Omega-3 fatty acids.
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1. Regular Ear Cleaning
Regular ear cleaning is a fundamental preventative measure for ear infections. Use a gentle, vet-approved ear-cleaning solution to keep your dog’s ears clean and dry. Cleaning once a week can help prevent the growth of bacteria and yeast.
Our favorite ear cleaner is these PetMD brand ear wipes on Amazon.
2. Proper Grooming
Australian Shepherds have thick, double-layered coats that can trap heat and moisture, creating a perfect environment for infections. Regular grooming, focusing on the ear area, helps keep their ears dry and clean.
3. Routine Vet Checks
Scheduling routine vet checks can help identify ear infections early. If your dog is scratching its ears more than usual or showing signs of discomfort, a vet check-up can help diagnose and treat an infection before it worsens.
In case of a bacterial or fungal infection, your vet may prescribe antibiotics or antifungals. Make sure your dog completes the full course of medication, even if the symptoms seem to improve, to avoid recurrence.
5. Ear Drops
Prescription ear drops can help soothe inflammation and treat infections. Apply these as directed by your vet, and never use drops intended for humans or other animals.
6. Balanced Diet
A balanced diet is essential for a healthy immune system. Ensure your dog’s diet includes a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, along with necessary vitamins and minerals.
7. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil and flaxseed, can boost your dog’s immunity and fight inflammation, including in the ears. Omega-3 is known for its anti-allergic properties, helping to manage and reduce allergies that can lead to ear infections.
We’re fans of this Norwegian salmon oil on Amazon. It’s a bright orangish-pink color and has no fishy smell at all due to it’s ultra high purity.
8. Keep Ears Dry
Ensure your dog’s ears are thoroughly dry after swimming or bathing. Trapped moisture can promote bacterial growth and potentially cause infections.
9. Natural Remedies
Some natural remedies, such as apple cider vinegar and coconut oil, can help prevent ear infections. However, always consult your vet before trying these remedies.
10. Avoid Allergens
Identify and avoid allergens that might be causing ear infections. Common allergens include certain foods, dust mites, and pollen.
A few good supplements to help your dog’s allergies are apple cider vinegar, quercetin, and colostrum, all of which are found in many natural allergy supplements like this one.
11. Adequate Exercise
Regular exercise promotes overall health and a strong immune system, making it less likely for your dog to get an infection.
FAQ about Ear Infections in Australian Shepherds
- Q: How common are ear infections in Australian Shepherds?
A: While ear infections can affect any breed, Australian Shepherds are more prone due to their floppy ears and thick coats.
- Q: How do I know if my Australian Shepherd has an ear infection?
A: Symptoms include redness, swelling, excessive scratching, head shaking, unusual discharge, or foul smell from the ears.
- Q: Can ear infections in Australian Shepherds lead to deafness?
A: If left untreated, chronic ear infections can lead to hearing loss.
- Q: How often should I clean my Australian Shepherd’s ears?
A: Typically, once a week is enough unless your vet suggests otherwise.
- Q: Can Omega-3 fatty acids help prevent ear infections in Australian Shepherds?
A: Yes, Omega-3 has anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties that can help reduce the likelihood of ear infections.
- Q: Can I use human ear drops for my Australian Shepherd?
A: No, always use medications prescribed by your vet.
- Q: Are some Australian Shepherds more prone to ear infections than others?
A: Australian Shepherds with allergies or underlying health conditions may be more susceptible.
- Q: What are some home remedies for ear infections?
A: Natural remedies such as apple cider vinegar or coconut oil can help, but always consult your vet first.
- Q: Can diet cause ear infections in Australian Shepherds?
A: Yes, certain foods can trigger allergies, which can lead to ear infections.
- Q: How can I prevent recurring ear infections?
A: Regular cleaning, vet checks, a balanced diet, and allergy management can help prevent recurrent ear infections.
In conclusion, the prevention and treatment of ear infections in Australian Shepherds require attentive care, a balanced diet rich in Omega-3, and regular vet check-ups. With these measures in place, your Aussie can lead a comfortable, happy life free of ear infections.