Preventing Ear Infections
If you have a dog that has floppy or hound-like ears then you need to be aware of the risk of ear infections. Any breed of dog can get an ear infection but when the ears hang down and don’t allow air circulation into the ear it creates the perfect condition for infections to get started. Combine this with a dog that loves to go in the water and you have a moist, warm and safe environment for all types of bacteria and yeast infections to get started and thrive. Infections can also be caused by allergies, injury to the ear or the presence of parasites, particularly ear mites and fleas.
The most common symptom of an ear infection in a dog is a foul odor that is immediately noticeable around the head and ears. The ears will often feel very warm to the touch and the dog may be very hypersensitive to any type of touch on the ears or the surrounding area of the head. Often the dog will tilt the head downward on the infected side. You may also notice head shaking and excessive scratching or rubbing of the infected ear or ears. When the infection has really taken hold you will see a yellow, or brown looking discharge that may be present in one or both ears.
ear infection can be treated fairly easily using medications that control the yeast or bacteria that is at the root of the problem. However, prevention can also be used to greatly reduce any risks of infection. Routine cleaning of the ears is important to catch any possible infections at the early stage. When bathing dogs or allowing dogs to swim, be sure to clean the ears out with ear cleanser and cotton balls afterward to get out the water. You can see a but you will need to lift the flap of the ear and squeeze a liberal amount of cleanser into the ear canal and massage gently before wiping out with cotton balls. Your dog will likely shake his head during the process which will help loosen any debris deep in the ear canal. Never try to force the cotton ball into the actual inner part of the ear or use a Q-Tip with a dog as this can cause serious and lifelong injury to the ear that may cause partial or complete loss of hearing. For some dogs that are very prone to ear infections a medicated ear flush specially designed for a dog’s ears can be used if recommended by a vet.
Keeping the ear clear of waxy build up with regular cleansing, and checking for ear mites is also critical in preventing this condition. Treating seasonal and food allergies can help prevent these types of ear infections. If your dog is prone to ear infections you can talk to one of our veterinarians to see what kind of treatments will be right for your pet.