A dog’s ears are often overlooked when cleaning or grooming our pets. This is not a deliberate oversight on behalf of the owner, but either a fear of causing damage or simply a case of something being ‘out of sight and out of mind’.
A dog has more sensitive hearing than a human, aided by long, tight ear canals which can be prone to wax build up or infection. The ear canal twists in a right-angle within the head meaning that spotting any problems can be difficult, but regular checks and use of ear cleaning products can be hugely beneficial for your pet’s wellbeing.
Some breeds are more susceptible to ear problems than others. Dogs with large, floppy ears are more likely to trap dirt or excess wax within the ear itself often showing discomfort by scratching, shaking the head or rubbing the ears on the ground.
Infections can be fungal or bacterial based and can result from the presence of ear mites, foreign debris or simply too much wax. Untreated, such problems can cause permanent damage, yet many issues can be prevented by regular cleaning and there are plenty of products available to help with the process.
Cleaning solutions such as DechraCleanaural Sensitive or IntervetSancerum ear cleaners should be applied to the ear canal itself before gently massaging the area to create an even dispersal. Due to the sensitivity of the area involved, the dog may shake its head and dislodge the solution so gentle restraint and calming words are important.
Cotton wool balls can then be used to gently wipe any discharge away from the inside of the ear flap and these can be moistened in lukewarm water if the area is especially dry. The use of cotton wool buds is inadvisable as they can compact the wax and dirt or cause damage to the ear drum itself.
Another option is to apply products such as VetoquinolAurizon or VirbacEasotic ear drops. Again, the prescribed dosage should be applied just inside the ear canal before making a gentle massage of the base of the ear to aid an even dispersal of the liquid.
With weekly or twice weekly treatments, the process will become part of your pet’s regular heath routine, and any initial objections should ease.
If problems do persist, or the area is particularly inflamed or bleeding then do contact your vet.