Top 5 Questions on Dog Ear Health

      4 Comments on Top 5 Questions on Dog Ear Health
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1. My pet has dirty ears that have an odor, should I be concerned? Dog Ear Health

This sounds to me like an ear infection is a possibility. Some dogs will produce excess wax and oil that might cause some odor without an infection being present. I recommend you have your veterinarian examine your pet’s ear to be sure. The veterinarian will use an otoscope to look deep into the ear for signs of inflammation and infection. I tell my clients they should not clean their pet’s ears before seeing their veterinarian. What actually happens is you remove much of the evidence needed for a proper diagnosis.

2. What are some signs of an ear infection?

Unlike people, pets can’t tell us when they hurt; we have to rely on other signs to let us know if a problem exists. So it is up to us to be on guard and know the common warning signs of pet ear inflammation. If you see any of the following signs, your pet may have an ear infection and should be taken to your veterinarian right away:

  • Shaking of the head or scratching at the ears
  • Discharge from the ears, especially if it is moist
  • Abundance of wax in the ears
  • Odor from the ears
  • Red or painful ears
  • Swollen ears
  • Head tilt
  • Problems with balance

3. How are a pet’s ears different from our own?

First is the range of hearing. Humans hear noise between 20-20,000Hz (cycles per second) while dogs hear in the range of 40-40,000Hz, nearly twice that of humans. This is the reason that dogs can easily hear the sound of a silent dog whistle, while most of us people can either barely hear it or not hear it at all. Second, pets have a much longer “L” shaped ear canal. It is this difference in anatomy that makes pets so much more prone to outer ear infections because it traps moisture and debris providing food and housing for bacteria and yeast. That’s why keeping a pet’s ears clean is especially important.

4. What is the best and safest way to clean my pet’s ears? Dog Ear Health

Fold the earflap back far enough so that you can see the opening of the ear canal. Then fill the canal with ear cleaner. After the ear is full of cleaner, gently massage the cartilage of the ear canal, which can be easily felt running from the opening down to the eardrum. This massaging loosens debris, allowing it to be dissolved or float to the top. Next, use a cotton ball to sponge away any fluid and wax. If you have used a gentle ear cleaner like Oxyfresh Pet Ear Cleaner there is no need to worry about any fluid left in the ear. A quick shake of the head will take care of that.

5. What should I be looking for in a good pet ear cleaner?

A good ear cleaner should do two things: Efficiently clean the ear and cause no harm. Many companies will put a significant amount of alcohol in their cleaner to help dissolve these waxes and oils because it is inexpensive and it disperses oils. The downside to using alcohol is that it can damage otherwise healthy skin that lines the ear canal. Many ear cleaners will use a surfactant such as docusate sodium that helps pull water into oils and waxes or contain glycerin to soften debris. The disadvantage to these choices is that they are slow acting, need significant contact time to work and tend to leave a coating behind. Oxyfresh Ear Cleaner contains no alcohol or harsh chemicals of any sort and uses a natural base with good penetrating and mild foaming action to rapidly break up wax and cellular debris. It is effective at rapidly and comfortably removing oils, waxes and organic debris while the proprietary ingredient Oxygene® eliminates odors leaving your pet with a clean, comfortable fresh ear. It is simply the best all-around pet ear cleaner I have ever used.

Click here for more information on keeping your pet’s ears clean, naturally.

– Article by Boyd Harrell, DVM

4 thoughts on “Top 5 Questions on Dog Ear Health

  1. patty

    I need suggestions how to incorporate my new 11 week old male lhaso into the home with my 5 yr old female lhaso. She had bee with my two olders dogs all her life but they both died within a very short time. She didnt eat, play, etc since their death so I got the puppy; trying to help. Now she growls at him and doesn’t want much to do with him. I forget how to bring a new dog in and the articles i read dont help!

  2. Su

    We battled a low grade ear infection for a year in our lab. We spent a lot of money at the vet, administered the proper expensive meds, cleaned and cared for this ear day after day. Finally we changed vets and it was suggested that it could be his diet. Now, he was already on an expensive hypo allergenic dog food which cost as much per pound as the family protein did, but only as a supplement to the cooked meals we were providing him. We had been led to believe that he needed kibble to keep his teeth clean. THis new vet corrected us (that was like telling people they need to eat granola to keep their teeth clean instead of brushing). We immediately stopped ALL commerically prepared dog food and any packaged dog treats from his diet. This time the same meds worked and within 2 weeks NO MORE EAR INFECTIONS and he has been infection free for a full year. ALso his eyes brightened up and his coat stopped flaking. He was reacting to something in that very expensive commerically prepared dog food. He is now, by far, the most shiny, contoured, healthy lab I have ever seen in public. He also lost 8 lbs. and is now within the range of weight that we thought would have been impossible before. Also, on the day we cook up his chicken for the week, we enjoy a meal of it since it is so good! ANd honestly, I feel much better after that meal than on the evenings where we are rushing and order something out. If we ate like the dog eats now at every meal, we would certainly be healthier too! When people are told not to feed their dogs human food, they mean don’t give them processed food or pizza from your table.

  3. Brigitte Smith

    Hi Su,

    It just goes to show how important a healthy diet is for our dogs!

    Thanks for your input. I’m sure other readers can learn a lot from your experience.


  4. Brigitte Smith

    Hi Patti,

    I’m not sure what your question has to do with dog ear health?

    In any event, hopefully you have sorted out the problem by now. There could be any number of reasons why your 5 year old dog is not too keen on your new puppy, and one of those reasons could be that she simply doesn’t have much patience for a young and active puppy, particularly if she is still grieving for your other two dogs.

    Hopefully she has, or will, come around, and will get on well with the new puppy.


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