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?
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