It’s easy to assume your dog’s ears are just like yours. Ears are ears- right?
Your dog’s ears are similar to yours, but different in ways that affect how you should care for him. Knowing more about your dog’s ears equips you to care for his needs better.
3 Things You Should Know About Your Dog’s Ears
- Your dog’s ears are shaped like an “L”. The human ear canal is mostly a straight shot from the outside to the eardrum. But your dog’s ears take a sharp, 45-degree turn inside the ear canal. This helps trap dirt, debris, and sometimes bacteria and yeast before it reaches the eardrum. This also means that sometimes those nasty irritants get trapped inside your dog’s ears without regular ear care.
- Ear problems were the #1 reason dogs visited the veterinarian last year. Bacterial infections, yeast, parasites, allergies, and injuries of the ears accounted for the majority of doggie visits to the vet last year. This highlights why proper ear care is vital to your dog’s good health.
- Symptoms of an ear problem in dogs aren’t always obvious. Your dog may obsessively lick at a paw, shake his whole body, become grouchy and irritated, or stop coming when called when he’s suffering from a problem with his ears. Common symptoms are scratching at the ears, whining, shaking the head, pain, smell, hearing loss, and discharge.
Take the quiz here to find out if your dog is at risk for ear problems.
How to Care for Your Dog’s Ears
Caring for your dog’s ears regularly is easy and helps prevent many common ear problems. First, you’ll need to gather a few supplies. You’ll need:
- Cotton balls or a clean washcloth
- CLEAR ME pet ear cleaner
- An extra person to help
Like most grooming tasks, your dog probably doesn’t like to have his ears cleaned. That’s why it’s important to create a positive association for him during ear care. Give him a treat he loves, and have more on hand to give throughout the process and immediately when you’re finished.
Be sure to praise his cooperation and give him lots of lovin’ when you’re all done.
Also, try to avoid yelling or correcting him when he tries to get away. Simply redirect him back to the area with a calm and firm tone and use your extra person when needed.
Fill your dog’s ear canal with CLEAR ME ear cleaner for pets and gently massage the base of the ear for a minute. You’ll want to keep your washcloth handy to clean up any drips. Once completed, gently wipe your dog’s ear with cotton balls or washcloth until clean.
You can clean your dog’s ears daily or weekly if needed.
Certain breeds, such as those with longer droopy ears, are more prone to ear problems and may need more frequent ear care. Sometimes, the first symptom of an ear problem is your dog not coming when called. Wax buildup, infections, and debris can reduce his ability to hear you clearly.
Dog breeds that are highly prone to ear problems are:
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Basset Hound
- Afghan Hound
- Springer Spaniel
- Cocker Spaniel
- Shih Tzu
- Saint Bernard
- Great Dane
- Golden Retriever
- Portugeuse Water Dog
Your dog may need ear care after baths or swimming or if he’s been exploring the outdoors. Under the ears is also a good hiding place for ticks in season, so be sure to check once he comes back inside.
Ear problems can be especially uncomfortable and even painful for your dog. Severe infections can lead to abcesses that require surgical lancing and prolonged medication to treat. Some problems can lead to permanent hearing loss or damage to the ear. Caring for your dog’s ears regularly helps decreases his chances of develping a serious problem. Prevention is always worth a pound of cure.
Consult with your veterinarian if you suspect your dog currently has an ear problem.