Dog’s ears are a multi-functional, amazing organ that are not only used for hearing the smallest wrapper wrinkle, but also for communicating and even channeling scent to the nose in some breeds! They come in a variety of sizes from the small prick ears of the northern spitz breeds to the giant drop ears of the scent hounds and everything in between. Being such an important part of a dog’s body, care should be taken to make sure they stay in tip top shape making ear checks and sometimes an important part of a dog’s routine grooming routine.
Canine Ear Structure
With their ears usually more of top of their head, the structure of a dog’s ear canal is very different from a human’s. Their horizontal section can make it difficult for trapped material to work its way out without the assistance of cleanings. If not removed, this material can cause an infection and lead to a red, itchy, painful ear and a miserable pup.
Ear cleanings do not require any specialized equipment, just a good quality ear cleaning solution and some cotton balls or gauze. Make sure never to put anything in your dog’s ear without veterinary approval due to the fact that unfortunately not all cleaning solutions are made equal.
While many dogs benefit from ear cleanings, there is such a thing as too much. Only clean your dog’s ears when needed as over cleaning them can cause irritation which can then lead to an infection. Some dogs have naturally healthy ears that may rarely, if ever, need cleaning while others are prone to infections and may need them more frequently. It is recommended to clean their ears only when you notice discharge, an odor, after swimming or as directed by a vet. If they are painful, red, or inflamed, please contact you veterinarian before cleaning as they may have developed an ear infection, ruptured ear drum, or other condition that may be exasperated by cleaning.
If they could benefit from a cleaning, just follow these simple steps:
- Gently restrain your dog in a comfortable position. For many dogs, the easiest method is to have them sit in between your legs, facing away from you.
- Hold one ear up vertically to expose and straighten the ear canal and squeeze some ear cleaning solution into the ear. Use enough to fill the ear canal. Do not put the tip of the bottle in the ear canal and make sure to wipe it off with alcohol if it touches the ear to prevent the spread of yeast or bacteria.
- Gently massage the base of the ear below the opening. You should hear a squishing noise as the solution moves around the canal and breaks up debris inside.
- Using the cotton ball or gauze, wipe away the debris from the inner part of your dog’s ear flap (pinna).
- Allow your dog to shake their head to remove the remaining solution and debris and wipe again.
- Repeat the process with their other ear.
While many dogs are originally averse to having their ears messed with, many come to enjoy it with some practice and treats. Make sure never to use cotton tipped applicators or Q-tips in your dog’s ear as they can damage the ear canal and drum as well as push debris further inside.
As always, do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your pet. We would love to help! https://www.centralvethospital.com/contact/