Dogs rely on their senses of smell and hearing to navigate and interact with the world around them. While their sense of smell is incredibly powerful, their sense of hearing is also very important. That's why it's so important to clean a dog's ears regularly - to ensure that they can continue to hear clearly and function well in the world.
Why it's important to clean a dog's ears
Some dogs have healthy, clean ears that don't need to be cleaned unless they roll in something smelly. Other dogs require their owners to regularly clean their ears or risk developing an ear infection from the buildup of dirt and wax. All dog breeds are susceptible to developing ear infections, but those with long-hanging ears, such as Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels, have the highest risk.
Checking your their ears for health should be part of your routine. Your pup might lean into a good ear rub when they're feeling okay, but if he tenses up or pulls away, something might be wrong. You can start to determine their condition by tenderly massaging your dog’s ears.
Ear infections are a common problem in dogs, and can be caused by a variety of things, including accumulation of wax and dirt, parasites, or injuries. Left untreated, ear infections can cause permanent damage to a dog's hearing. So it's important to clean your dog's ears regularly and to take them to the vet if you notice any signs of infection.
How to tell when a dog's ears needs cleaning
Before you use any dog ear cleaners, be sure to check if your dog actually needs its ears cleaned. Over-cleaning your pup's ears can lead to infection and irritation, so familiarize yourself with what a healthy ear looks like—pink, odorless, with no dirt or inflammation—doesn't smell yeasty or stinky. Only clean it when you notice a change.
Certain dogs need ear cleanings less often than others, while those more susceptible to infections or who frequently swim might require them more.
If you catch a faint scent or see your dog shaking his head more frequently, it might be time for a cleaning. However, if your dog's ear looks red and swollen, smells like yeast, or seems to be in discomfort, then it's time to contact your vet.
Various symptoms may suggest an ear infection, fleas, allergies, or ear mites; if you observe any of these things it's best to contact a medical professional. Additionally, trying to clean an infected ear often does more damage than good.
The best way to clean a dog's ears
Cleaning the exterior of your dog's ear
Nuesta Pets' Dog Ear Wipes are a gentle and convenient way to remove dirt, debris, wax, and excess moisture from your pup's ears. These wipes are pH balanced and infused with Coconut Oil, Eucalyptus, and Aloe Vera to soothe and protect your dog's skin.
These fragrance and alcohol-free ear wipes that are larger and thicker than other brands, measuring 3 inches in diameter. These delicate yet efficient ear wipes are perfect for daily use or quick clean-ups!
Tough on dirt, yet mild enough for puppies over 12 weeks old.
Cleaning your dog's ear canal
- To clean their ears, you'll need some supplies and your dog. When he is calm, try to clean his ears as this will help make the process easier. To encourage him, don't be afraid to use treats as a reward.
- Use a squeeze bottle to fill your dog's ear canal with a veterinarian-approved ear-cleaning solution. Gently massage the base of their ear for 30 seconds. As you use the product, you will notice a squishing noise as it removes debris and buildup. To prevent introducing bacteria, make sure the tip of the applicator does not touch your dog's ear.
- Use a towel to wipe down your dog's face and protect yourself from the spray because they are going to want to shake their head afterward. After your dog stops shaking, use a cotton ball or gauze to lightly wipe the ear canal. only go as deep as the first knuckle on your finger. If your dog is uncomfortable or in pain at any point during the cleaning process, stop and speak to your veterinarian.
What to do if your dog has an ear infection
Your veterinarian will use a medicated ear cleanser to clean your dog's ears. Your vet may also prescribe an ear cleanser and a topical medication for you to use at home. In more serious cases, your veterinarian may prescribe pills for antibiotics and anti-inflammatories.
With the proper treatment, early-stage ear infections will heal in a couple of weeks. More severe ear infections in dogs or those caused by another health condition may take longer to resolve and be more difficult to treat. If your dog has a severe case, they could experience chronic ear infections and be more prone to developing infections later on.
To clear your dog's ear infection as quickly as possible, it is essential that you follow your veterinarian's instructions carefully. Not completing prescriptions, or discontinuing treatment before the infection has cleared can result in a reoccurring infection that becomes more difficult to treat over time.
Your vet will likely recommend a follow-up appointment after your pup has completed their course of treatment. This is to assess whether the infection is truly gone and to see if another round of medication is necessary.
How often you should clean your dog's ears
The frequency of ear cleaning and inspection needed for your dog is quite different. Although you should check their ears every week, usually monthly cleanings are sufficient for healthy ears. Be sure to also take into account if your groomer cleans your dog’s ears. Their ears should only be cleaned if there is a buildup of wax or dirt, and this generally shouldn't happen more than once every 1-2 months. If your dog needs their ears cleaned more frequently, this could be indicative of an underlying issue.
Routine ear cleanings are not the only time you should pursue this healthy task for your pet. It is also a good idea to clean your pet's ears after each bath or any water-related activities, such as swimming, or playing at the beach or lake. This helps clean out the ears and prevents excessive moisture from building up in the ear canals during bath time or play.
Don't clean your dog's ears too much, as it can ruin the delicate ear ecosystem and cause infections.
Tips for keeping your dog's ears healthy
To keep your dog's ears healthy, consider taking the following measures:
- Make sure to dry your dog's ears thoroughly if they love swimming or playing in the rain, as this will decrease their chance of getting ear infections.
- In order to keep their ears clean, regularly use a gentle ear cleaner specifically designed for dogs like the Nuesta Pets Ear Wipes that we mentioned earlier. Make sure to wipe all the way down into the ear canal but not too far and avoid using Q-tips as they can damage the ear canal or risk perforating the ear drum.
- If you notice any redness, swelling, or discharge coming from your dog's ear canal, take them to the vet immediately for treatment as these are all signs of infection.
- Maintaining your dog's health is important to prevent ear infections. Dogs with allergies or other medical conditions are more likely to get them, so take your pup for regular vet check-ups and treatments.
If you follow these tips, you can help prevent their ears from becoming infected.
FAQs about cleaning dogs' ears
- Can I use hydrogen peroxide to clean my dog's ears?
Hydrogen peroxide is not good for your dog's ears. This household product can actually cause healthy skin cells to become irritated. Extended use of hydrogen peroxide on ears can lead to damage because the tissue is sensitive. To avoid this, only use cleaners that are approved by veterinarians.
- When should I start cleaning my puppy's ears?
The best time to start cleaning your puppy's ears is when they are young. This will help them get used to the process and make it less likely that they will be resistant to having their ears cleaned in the future. With Nuesta Pets ear wipes it is suggested to wait to use them until your floppy-eared friend is at least 12 weeks or older.
- Is vinegar toxic to dogs?
No. It is not toxic for your dog to ingest vinegar or unfiltered apple cider vinegar. However, when it comes to the DIY dog ear solution floating around out there you should NOT use it!
For starters imagine having a cut and putting vinegar on it. Sound like it's going to hurt right? Well, when your pup has an ear infection they scratch at their ears causing a little cut, and when you put vinegar in their ears it's the same feeling as putting vinegar on a cut you have.
Secondly, vinegar whether used with or without water adds moisture to the ear. This allows for a perfect environment for bacteria or yeast to multiply because the ear has extra moisture and isn't able to dry out.
So as easy as this DIY solution sounds it's not helpful for your dog's infection.
- What is the brown stuff in my dog's ears?
If your dog's earwax is dark brown or black, it may be a sign of a yeast or bacterial infection. If this is the case, you should consult with a veterinarian. Brown or light brown earwax is typical and nothing to be alarmed about. However, if you notice a bad smell or inflammation in addition to the wax, could be an indication of an infection.
The best way to clean a dog's ears is by using a veterinarian-approved cleaner. This will help avoid any damage or irritation that can be caused by other household cleaners like hydrogen peroxide. It is also important to start cleaning your puppy's ears when they are young so they get used to the process and are less likely to resist having their ears cleaned in the future. We hope this article helps you keep your furry friend p-a-w-f-e-c-t-l-y clean.🐶
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