Everyone knows dogs have excellent hearing. This keen sense enables them to be better hunters and watch dogs. But in order to function properly, ears must first be healthy.
- The most commonly diagnosed ear problem of pet dogs is ear infection (also known as “otitis externa”). Ears may become infected for a number of different reasons, but most often yeast or bacteria are the cause.
- Of course, dogs with sensitive skin or allergies are more susceptible to ear infections. Unlike humans, dogs have L-shaped ear canals. This makes it easy for water to stay trapped inside the ears after bathing or swimming. A moist, warm environment is the perfect breeding ground for yeast and bacteria.
- Certain breeds of dog are more prone to ear infection because of the shape of the outer ear. Dogs with droopy, heavy or shaggy ears (Labrador and golden retrievers, Bassett hounds, cocker spaniels) tend to develop ear infections as their ear canals stay warm and moist with very little exposure to fresh air.
Now that we know what can go wrong with ears, how do we go about preventing this painful condition?
First, know the signs of a potential ear infection:
- If your dog is shaking his head a lot, scratching constantly at the ears, or if the inner part of the ear looks red with a lot of waxy debris, he needs to be seen by a veterinarian.
- Remember, only a veterinarian can diagnose and prescribe treatment for an ear infection.
- Now, if your dog’s inner ear looks pink with little to no debris, chances are his ears are healthy.
- To keep them that way, be sure to flush out the ears with a veterinary approved flushing/drying solution after bathing or swimming.
- Never use alcohol, peroxide or soap to clean the ears. Ears are sensitive organs, so only use soft cotton balls to wipe out debris.
Healthy ears are vital to a dog’s comfort and well-being. Follow these steps to provide your dog with years of trouble free ears.
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