According to the AKC, there is an estimated 20 percent of dogs that have an ear infection in either one or both ears. As you can see from the numbers, that’s a lot of dogs who are suffering and uncomfortable. Some dogs who are rescued/adopted have ear infections. This can be common due to lack of care in their previous environment. But for the other dogs, their ear infections could be easily thwarted. Here’s how to prevent ear infections in dogs.
Why It’s Important To Watch Your Dog’s Ears
Acquired deafness may result from blockage of the external ear canal due to long-term inflammation (otitis externa) or excessive ear wax. It may also occur due to a ruptured ear drum or inflammation of the middle or inner ear. Hearing usually returns after these types of conditions are resolved.Merck Vet Manual
If left untreated, a dog’s ear infection can cause hearing damage, including a total loss of hearing. Reoccurring ear infections can lead to permanent hearing loss.
Here Are The Symptoms of Ear Infection In Dogs
It’s important to pay close attention to your dog’s actions. Why? Because that’s how they speak – we have to catch the clues. Also, if your dog has floppy ears lift the flap and sniff. If they smell like yeast, your dog most likely has the perfect atmosphere for a future ear infection. Lastly, if your dog’s inner ear is red or has a discharge, it is likely infected. If you notice your dog any of the following signs, get into your vet ASAP:
- Balance Irregularities
- Lack of Attention To Your Commands
- Scratching One/Both Ears
- Shaking Head
- Walking Difficulty
How To Prevent Ear Infection In Dogs
The #1 reason that causes ear infection in dogs is moisture. To keep your dog’s ears dry during grooming, make sure they are protected. Of course, we believe fully in our dog earplugs, which can be used for grooming/bathing because they provide the perfect water barrier. But, while you wait for your order to arrive, use gently inserted organic cotton balls – replacing frequently during a bath in order to keep your dog’s ears dry. Pay attention to the moisture in your dog’s ears during:
- Swimming In Pools or Natural Water Sources
- Rolling In Moist Areas (mud, fields, etc.,)
- High Energy Exercise
- Playing With Other Dogs
- Rainy Days
Moisture in your dog’s ear is perfect for bacterial growth. That’s why you want to protect your dog’s ears when you know that water may intrude into their ear canal (baths and immersion in water). It’s also why you need to dry your dog’s inner ear post all secondary water exposure (rolling, playing, rain, etc.,). Allowing a canine’s inner ear to stay moist will most likely lead to ear infection in dogs.
How To Clean Your Dog’s Wet Ears
Use a clean, dry absorbent gauze to wipe your dog’s ear canal (don’t go too deep). Next use a clean gauze/cotton pad to clean and wipe down the outer ear. We highly recommend a high-quality, hydrocortisone-free, enzyme-based ear cleaning solution for dogs. Use a very small amount on a dry cloth to remove any debris in the ear. This is perfect for maintenance and prevention.
Other Causes of Ear Infections For Dogs? Parasites
The telltale sign of ear infection is ear inflammation. This is particularly true if a dog has, or has had recent exposure to parasites. Whatever parasite control you use, whether conventional or natural, always keep an eye on your dog’s ears. Use a quality (like the one described above) ear cleaner for preventative maintenance.
Other Causes of Ear Infections For Dogs? Food Is A Possibility!
Feeding a dog a species-appropriate diet is important to their good health. Food that is as close to whole as possible and is high in quality protein helps keep your dog’s body in top shape. Minimizing grains, starches, sugars, and processed foods will help keep your dog’s ears healthy and free of infections.
Ear Infections In Dogs Can Be A Thing Of The Past
If you proactively clean your dog’s at least once a month or at the frequency your vet indicates, your dog’s ears can thrive. However, if your dog swims or gets into water with some regularity, then a bit more frequent is needed. As mentioned earlier, the cleaning products you use on your dog’s ears should be free of hydrocortisone, as well as alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and vinegar.