The ears of your dog can be really sensitive, thus you need to take time to examine them thoroughly in order to prevent infections. This means that you need to look for any signs of dirt, irritation, parasites and infection. The good news is that this is a procedure that does not take long, and you can spot eventual issues before they become painful or lead to serious problems.
At this point, it is also important to consider a homemade dog ear cleaner to eliminate wax buildup or redness. If you include this in your weekly routine, you will keep your dog safe and healthy. You can learn more about this aspect in the following paragraphs.
The anatomy of the dog’s ears
If you take your dog’s ear to analyze it, you will see that it is twisted and curvy. This makes it the right place for bacteria and parasites to develop. As a result, it is mandatory to clean it in order to prevent eventual infections.
Debris tends to work its way up the canal and when it gets trapped it makes the dog feel itchy and uncomfortable. It is also important to know that dogs that suffer from allergies are more vulnerable to develop problems with their ears. The same situation is valid for pets with floppy ears like poodles, cocker spaniel and bassets.
The weekly care
The ear check should become part of the grooming routine. If you notice that your dog tends to develop earwax, or it has excessive hair in its ears, you need to clean them more often. Here is how the weekly care should look:
- Whenever the ear looks dirty, you need to clean it with a cotton ball. Though there are various solutions available on the market, it is a good idea to opt for one that you can prepare at home. You will find tested recipes in the following sections of this article;
- It is important to understand that the skin located inside the ear it is very delicate. By no means should you scrub intensively or use solutions that can cause rashes.
- When you clean the dog’s ears you need to stick to the external parts. To be more exact, it is forbidden to stick anything in the ear canal as this can lead to serious problems. If you notice that the dirt does not go away, or it is too deep, you can go to the veterinarian and ask for future guidance.
- In case the ear canal is filled with hair, you may need to groom it a bit. To be more exact, you can tweeze it out on a regular basis (every few weeks) so it does not get tangled. If you are not sure whether it is a good idea to trim the hair, you can ask the veterinarian for specialized advice.
Signs of infection
It is important to be able to spot signs that can indicate a possible infection in order to treat it from an early stage. You also need to be careful when you wash your dog to prevent water from entering the ear. The best solution in this situation is to use cotton before bath time.
This is a great alternative even when you take your pet for a swim as it can prevent all sorts of diseases. However, you also need to be able to spot any danger signs. There are certain symptoms, as you can see below, that can point out an ear infection. In this case, it is advisable to contact the veterinarian immediately. Here is what you need to look for:
- discharges from the ear;
- unpleasant smell;
- the interior of the ear turns red;
- swelling and bumps;
- the skin becomes crusty;
- the hair from the ear starts to fall;
- the ear wax becomes dark and it is similar to coffee grounds.
Getting ready for ear cleaning
Most dogs do not like to have their ears cleaned. As a result, they tend to move a lot and want to play. However, this is a healthy routine, thus you need to get your dog accustomed to it. Though it may take a while until your pet will fully accepts the ear grooming process, it will be easier if you start it from an early age.
On the other hand, it does not mean that you can give up if your dog is already an adult that would do anything to escape cleaning. In order to get it ready, consider the following tips:
- make this activity look positive;
- have the right tools with you;
- put everything you wish to use within reach;
- follow the ear grooming rules.
If this is the first time you plan to clean your dog’s ears, make sure that you allow it to get accustomed to the procedure. Do not force it to do something it does not want to because this will turn it into a squirmy pooch. It is a good idea to turn this activity into a fun one, but at the same time to teach it to stay still.
The easiest way to do it is to give it treats every time it cooperates and listens to your commands. Additional rewarding should include kisses and belly rubs. As ear cleaning tends to be a complex procedure, it is important to have the right tools with you. To be more exact, the kit should include cotton balls, gloves (if you decide to clean them by hand), and homemade ear products.
It is important to understand that once you start cleaning your dog’s ears, there is no way to stop, otherwise it will become agitated and not very cooperative. As a result, make sure that you have everything you need close to you. However, make sure that the products are at a decent length away from the dog, otherwise it may start chewing them to relieve the stress. Also remember to take a step at a time, and to clean the ear in the correct order. If you are not precisely sure how it’s done, check out these rules:
- Clean the outside, and only when you are done you can work your way in.
- Do not try to push the cotton ball more than it goes and stop when you feel resistance.
- Wet a cotton ball and start cleaning the part of the ear that you can see.
- Wet a different cotton ball and start cleaning the inner ear.
- Repeat the procedure at least once a week.
3 useful recipes
Vinegar + boric acid + alcohol
|Boric acid||1/2 teaspoon|
This recipe is very easy to prepare and helps you clean your dog’s ears fast. All you need to do is to mix the vinegar with the boric acid and add the rubbing alcohol after. If you wish to make it even more sterile, you can add some extra drops of povidone-iodine. It is important to shake them firmly to mix them together. However, it is mandatory to remember that povidone-iodine has an intense smell and can leave strains, so if your dog’s fur is white you can omit it.
This recipe is perfect to use after you take the dog for a swim in a river or sea. After you are done grooming the ear, you need to wipe it with a clean cotton ball or washcloth.
Vinegar + water
If you fear that alcohol can be too harsh on your dog’s ears, you can try a milder variant that implies vinegar and water. This mixture is also appropriate for dogs with dry skin. It is easy to prepare, and it has great cleaning properties. It is recommended to opt for apple cider vinegar, but any variant works.
The water should be lukewarm, so this is a recipe that needs to be mixed every time you clean your dog’s ears. It is advisable to soak a cotton ball and to wipe gently the visible parts of the dog’s ear. Do not push the cotton ball too much as it can cause damages. For breads with large years, a soft cloth can be used instead of a cotton ball as you can cover a larger surface easier.
Almond / olive / mineral oil
|Almond / olive / mineral oil||Few drops|
This is a homemade recipe that requires a single ingredient, and it is perfect for wax buildup. Some dogs tend to develop more wax than others, and it can lead to buildups that can affect your pet’s hearing. In this case, it is a good idea to add a couple of drops of almond, olive or mineral oils as it can loosen the wax and help you remove it with ease.
You need to apply the oil on the visible part of the ear and allow the dog to shake its head in order to spread it. You need to wait for a couple of minutes then you can clean the oil and wax with a clean cotton ball or cloth.
Recipes for irritated ears
Allergies can cause scratching, and this leads to mild ear irritations. In this case, you need to assure proper care. A great idea of a homemade recipe includes the following three ingredients: white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and alcohol.
It is recommended to mix only as much as you need for one cleaning session, and prepare more when you see other signs of irritations. In this case, you need to add half hydrogen peroxide, half white vinegar and just one drop of alcohol. If you see that the irritation persists you can ask your veterinarian for a medicated flush that has antibiotic properties and add it when you are done cleaning the ear.
Another great way to calm ear irritations is Aloe Vera gel. All that you need to do is to warm the gel in hot water until it becomes liquid. You can add a tablespoon of this ingredient in each ear, and the effects are immediate. Just like in the case of almond oil, you need to leave it for a couple of minutes before you wipe it with a cloth.
Besides soothing red ears, Aloe Vera also has cleaning properties and can eliminate wax. According to how serious is the problem, you will need to repeat this procedure several times. However, if you see that the dog does not start to feel better you need to go to the veterinarian immediately.
Things to avoid
It is mandatory to be gentle when you clean your dog’s ears. This means that intense scrubbing or pushing the cotton ball too deep is strictly forbidden. If you believe that you are not patient enough to get your pet accustomed to this procedure it is advisable to allow a specialist to do it. Here are other things that you need to avoid when you groom the sensitive ears:
- you must not allow water to get inside the canal as this can lead to the formation of fungus and bacteria that can lead to infections;
- avoid using a syringe to introduce the homemade cleaning product as you risk pushing the liquid too far and harm your pet;
- by no means should you go deeper than half an inch inside the ear canal as this is very dangerous.
As it can be seen, it is not that difficult to keep your dog’s ears clean. You simply need to accustom it to this procedure, and everything will be fine. Remember to follow the cleaning rules and never push the cotton ball too deep. Though there are various products on the market that can help you eliminate dirt or wax it is better to opt for homemade ones.
They are gentle to the sensitive skin and do not cause allergies. Furthermore, you only need two or three ingredients to prepare the mixture. It is mandatory to keep your dog safe from infections, and it will live a long and happy life.