The itching. The smell. The whining. The head shaking. Dog ear infections are the worst! Unfortunately, many dogs will experience one or more ear infections. These ear infections can be painful for both your dog and your wallet. Prevention is so important! Cleaning your dog’s ears and keeping your dog earplugs clean and dry may be the keys to staying infection-free.
What Could Be Lurking In Your Dog’s Ears
Why is cleaning your dog’s ears important? Your dog’s ears are covered in microbes (source). You read that right. A healthy part of your dog’s immune system is known as the microbiome. The microbiome consists of a layer of microbes (microscopic organisms), that coat the dog’s skin, digestive system, and ear canals. These microbes include yeast and bacteria.
Most of the time, the microbes in the microbiome keep each other in check. However, sometimes conditions exist that allow one or more microbes to grow out of control. Consider when water gets into your dog’s ears. This creates a warm, moist environment that is perfect for yeast and bacteria to breed.
Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears Properly
One of the best ways to help keep the yeast and bacteria under control in your dog’s ears is by cleaning your dog’s ears. This step-by-step guide, should help in cleaning your dog’s ears properly:
- The Supplies
You’ll need some cotton balls, ear wash solution, tweezers or a hemostat, and lots of yummy treats to reward your dog.
- Holding Your Dog
Once you have your supplies ready, sit on the floor and hold your dog’s rear end between your legs. For larger dogs, you may want to sit in a corner of a room leaning on a wall and stand one side of the dog.
- Pull Up On Your Dog’s Ear Flap
With one hand, pull up on your dog’s ear flap. This will elongate the dog’s ear canal and prepare it to be washed. You will want to have the ear cleaner in your other hand.
- Using The Ear Wash Solution
Gently squeeze a few drops of ear wash solution into your dog’s ear canal. You will want to fill the whole ear canal. However, you do not want to touch the tip of the ear wash bottle to your dog’s ear canal. Doing so can spread yeast and bacteria. If the bottle does touch the dog’s ear canal, be sure to wash it with a cotton ball and alcohol right away.
- Give It A Massage
While still holding your dog’s ear flap up, gently massage the base of your dog’s near the opening of the dog’s ear canal. Do this for about 30 seconds. It will help the ear wash to begin breaking up any debris in the ear canal.
- Allow Your Dog To Shake Their Head
Your dog may feel the need to shake their head. This shaking will help to remove the ear wash solution from your dog’s ear canals.
- Swab With Cotton Balls
Swab the outside of the dog’s ear canal with cotton balls to remove and debris that might be there. Never place a Q-tip in your dog’s ear canal. Doing so can compact dirt and debris and lead to problems down the road.
- Remove Excess Ear Hair
If you and your dog are comfortable enough, use a pair of tweezers or a hemostat to pluck a few hairs from the inner side of the dog’s ear flap. Don’t use these tools to remove dirt and debris from inside your dog’s ear canals. Your veterinarian may have to remove such dirt and debris.
- Treat Time!
Don’t forget the treats! Using treats to reward your dog will help to make ear cleaning a positive time for your dog.
Caring For Your Dog Earplugs
Cleaning your dog’s ears is so important! Keeping them clean means making sure that your dog earplugs are clean as well. Directions for washing CrittEar Calm dog earplugs with soap and water or sanitizing them can be found here. Be sure to clean your dog earplugs after each use and allow them to completely air dry. This process may take several hours. Consider a 3-pack of CrittEar Calm dog earplugs so that you can always have one to wash, one to wear, and a spare. Only use dog earplugs on healthy, clean, and dry dog ears.
Staying Free From Ear Infections
Preventing ear infections in dogs is the key to being as infection-free as possible. Cleaning your dog’s ears and cleaning your dog’s earplugs are essential to keeping the dog ear infections at bay. An infection-free dog is a happy dog!