Regular ear care for dogs is an important care application and strengthens the bond between you and your animal companion. Touching, cleaning, and intensively examining the ears should become a comfortable rule for your dog. It is best to study these with your dog as a puppy. Don’t be afraid to put your dog’s ear care on your daily schedule, because there are ear care rituals in packs too. Because the ears are important and sensitive sensory organs of the dog – a delayed infection or an untreated parasite infestation can cause serious hearing damage.
Interesting facts about dog ears
The dog ear consists of the outer ear (outer ear), the middle ear, and the inner ear. The ears are extremely important organs for the dog. The dogs use them to communicate with each other, they give it orientation, stabilize its balance and indicate the direction from which the exciting or dangerous noises are coming: their voice or whistle, the delighted bark, or the warning growl of a conspecific.
Your dog hears many times better than you and can perceive both higher and lower frequencies. Healthy dog ears have a good blood supply and are clean on the inside.
Ear diseases in dogs: you should know that
As a rule, the dog’s ears have sufficient self-cleaning powers such as the formation of “earwax” (cerumen), fine protective hair, good ventilation, and blood circulation. Due to the variety of dog breeds, the ear shapes of our four-legged friends have changed so much that the natural cleaning mechanisms unfortunately do not always work well. Here you have to be vigilant and sometimes do the cleaning yourself.
The most common ear diseases in dogs affect the outer ear, ie the auricle and the external auditory canal.
Dogs more likely to suffer from ear problems:
- Long-haired breeds with floppy and crooked ears
- Dogs with a lot of hair on the outer ear
- Allergic dogs (food allergy, environmental allergy)
Bent and overhanging dog ears are poorly ventilated and offer a humid, warm climate in which germs, fungi, and bacteria can thrive. In the case of crooked ears, the ear canal is usually too narrow, so that dirt and pathogens can nest there. On the other hand, with very hairy dog ears – e.g. the poodle – the hair clogs the ear canal so that the earwax cannot drain naturally and the ear itself is not properly ventilated. This can cause inflammation to develop more quickly. Ticks, mites, and other parasites love such a “protected” environment.
Ear infection in dogs
As soon as the ears of your four-legged friend smell unpleasant, dark secretion sticks to the inside or the outer auditory canal are dilated and reddish, there is a high probability of an ear infection (otitis).
Also, watch out for the following symptoms:
- Dog often scratches its ears
- Rubbing head/ears on the carpet
- Often tilts his head, sometimes shakes it
- Is afraid of touching the ears
- Is restless to aggressive
Never treat your fur nose’s diseased ears yourself and with “home remedies”, but always leave the treatment to a veterinarian.
Causes of ear diseases in dogs
You should pay attention to this:
- Awn is spikes of tall grass in which seeds ripen. In summer, awns can easily get caught in the dog’s ear and penetrate there to the eardrum. This is particularly painful for the dog and can damage the eardrum. If awns are already deep in the dog’s ear, only the vet can help.
- Ear mites are tiny parasites that can lodge in the outer ear and around the edges of the ears. They feed on dander and earwax. Ear mite infections are extremely itchy and contagious, requiring treatment of all pets in the household. You can recognize a mite infestation by the brown-black ripples in the auricle and on the edges of the ears. Veterinary consultation is essential, where you will be given a special cleaning product and an ointment that kills mites. At the same time, watch out for ticks in the ear and remove them immediately with a tick hook.
- Environmental and food allergies in dogs regularly cause ear problems. The symptoms (itching, pain) relieve painkillers and anti-allergic drugs that the vet will give you.
Cleaning your dog’s ears: this is how you do it right
Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to dog ears. Since ear diseases always require veterinary attention, make sure it doesn’t happen in the first place.
In the case of long-haired dogs with crooked and lop-eared ears, it is best to inspect them daily after going for a walk.
If the ears of your four-legged friend do not show any abnormalities, then the self-cleaning protective powers of the dog’s ear are working perfectly and should not be disturbed by cleaning actions.
However, some dog ears produce too much earwax (cerumen), which over time can lead to certain health risks such as possible blockage of the ear canal and ear infections. But ear mites are also attracted to it.
Clean the dog’s ears and remove the excess cerumen, ideally weekly or monthly.
The following tools are suitable for this:
- A cotton cloth (no lint) soaked in warm water, which you wrap around your index finger. Carefully run it over the inner ear cup, several times if necessary.
- Special ear cleaning products. Dropped into the dog’s ear and gently massaged in from the outside, dirt, and deposits dissolve after a certain exposure time. After this application, let your dog shake it vigorously to get rid of the loose particles themselves.
- Special ear cleaning wipes for dogs. They are enriched with additional essences such as aloe vera and also care for your dog’s sensitive ear.
Cotton swabs are an absolute no-go when cleaning dog ears. With them, you risk damaging your dog’s eardrum or pushing wax and debris deeper into the ear canal.
Since dogs are very sensitive to their ears and don’t like to go through an ear cleaning procedure, helping hands, patience and good encouragement are necessary. Don’t forget the treats as a reward.