This guide should by no means fall on deaf ears with owners: cleaning the dog’s ears concerns every dog owner. In addition to the nose, they are the most important sensory organ in our four-legged friend. It is therefore particularly important to look after them, check them regularly, and clean them.
The following sections explain what dog owners need to pay attention to when it comes to ear care and why the grooming ritual is so important.
Do Dog Owners Have to Clean Their Dogs’ Ears?
Well-groomed eavesdroppers contribute to the dog’s well-being. Therefore a check is a must for every dog owner. Whether regular ear care is necessary depends on a number of factors: Long floppy ears, such as in the Cocker Spaniel, have one disadvantage: They are less ventilated than upright, standing ears. The lack of air circulation creates a warm, humid climate – ideal for bacteria and fungi. Does the fur nose love to frolic in meadows with tall grass and also like to swim? Then there is also a higher risk that the ears will get dirty. But there are also dogs that suffer from ear diseases more frequently due to the increased production of ear wax (cerumen). So even a couch potato with erect ears can require more care for the eavesdroppers.
Do Not Underestimate: Ear Infections
The more a dog owner pays attention to the ears of his four-legged friend, the lower the likelihood of ear diseases. If this happens anyway, no time should be lost. If an ear infection is suspected, the veterinarian must be consulted immediately for good reasons: In dogs, inflammation in the external auditory canal occurs predominantly (otitis externa). If this is treated too late by a veterinarian, the ear infection can become chronic. Delayed treatment also carries the risk of inflammation spreading to the eardrum. Finally, inflammation of the middle ear (otitis media) or inner ear inflammation (otitis interna) can result.
Ear infections are usually associated with severe itching. By shaking its head or scratching its ears, the fur nose tries to relieve the itching for a moment. In addition, there is unbearable pain, which the vet has to relieve with painkillers or antibiotics.
Causes of an ear infection
The inflamed areas can have many triggers. The most common of these are:
- allergies (for example to cereals);
- yeast fungi (malassezia);
- parasites (ear mites and ticks);
- awns (the appendages of some types of grass and grain);
- other foreign bodies;
- increased cerumen formation;
- regularly wet ears from swimming;
- too intensive and aggressive cleaning of dog ears;
- a tumor that obstructs the ear canal.
Cleaning the Dog’s Ears: How Often?
Frequent checking of the ears is advisable and does not harm. The eavesdroppers should be tested especially after walks in nature or after a swim in a lake. As far as cleaning is concerned: Over time, dog owners develop a feeling of how quickly the eavesdroppers of their own fur nose are dirty with dirt or ear wax. In order to provide some orientation, the question can be answered as follows: A mild cleaning is recommended at least every two weeks for a dog that tends to get dirty on the ears. In this interval bacteria and fungi have no chance of developing to the point where they cause greater damage.
Cleaning the Dog’s Ears: This is How It Works
First of all: If there is already an infection, then do not try to clean the ears yourself. If you have an ear disease, you should definitely pay a visit to a veterinarian. The top rule in ear care is: proceed cautiously! As already explained under the causes, aggressive cleaning can cause an ear infection. In addition, a dog’s ears are extremely sensitive sensory organs. Therefore, care should be reminiscent of a wellness program rather than medical treatment.
A soft, damp cloth is sufficient to clean the auricle. The dirt is removed with gentle movements. If dog owners have obtained the “okay” from the vet beforehand, home remedies – such as a calendula tincture or apple vinegar – can be used as a preventative measure to complete the care.
Teamwork on cleaning with a rinse solution
Special rinsing solutions that remove dirt and ear wax from the ear are available from specialist retailers or are prescribed by the vet. It is important that the solution used is mild and that the instructions are followed consistently. First, let the specified does instill in the dog’s ear and let it take effect. Now use gentle movements to ensure that the solution is distributed in the ear canal. Now comes the appearance of the fur nose: By shaking violently (triggered by the shaking reflex), it hurls all impurities out of the ears. It is therefore advisable to carry out cleaning with a flushing solution outside.
Stay away from cotton swabs!
The only remedies that dog owners need are a damp cloth and, if necessary, a rinsing solution or a home remedy – nothing more. Cotton swabs are counterproductive: by poking around, the dog owner does not remove the dirt but instead transports it deeper into the ear canal. The use of cotton swabs thus promotes an ear infection.
Extra tip for long-haired dogs
For long-haired dogs, it is advisable to trim the hair on the ear regularly. Once the hair has been removed from the ear, the air circulation works better and the risk of ear infections is minimized. It’s a tricky business because the ears are sensitive. Therefore, mistress or masters leave the shortening to an experienced dog groomer.
A Simple Routine: Checking the Dog’s Ear
The inspection of the dog’s ear works best when the four-legged friend is in a relaxed state. It is therefore advisable to check your ears after a long walk. First, the dog is tired and allows control without resistance. Second, especially after long walks in nature, there is a risk of foreign bodies getting caught in the ear.
What does the dog owner need for control?
For an initial overview of the ears, two human sensory organs are required: the eyes and the nose. For example, ticks or awns can be recognized by the dog owner with the eye. A flashlight facilitates careful control. An inflamed area that already has pus in the ear canal can best be recognized with the olfactory organ. If the fur nose’s ear smells unpleasant, this is often an alarm signal that an ear infection is present.