How often should I clean my dog’s ears?

April 13, 2012

Ear mites, bacteria and ear wax build up are some of the common causes of ear infections. Ear infections can make a dog’s life extremely uncomfortable because of the pain. Severe ear infections can result to hearing loss. Because of the pain, the dog would repeatedly scratch and shake the head until the ears bleed. Severe infection of the inner ear can develop to vestibular syndrome where the dog’s balance is affected. Ear infections can be prevented with regular ear cleaning. Ear cleaning though is not a tail wagging activity for a dog. Dogs love having their coats brushed. Dogs would tolerate being bathed. Most dogs though would draw the line at ear cleaning. Regular ear cleaning should be made a part of the dog’s grooming routine. However, this grooming routine often takes a back seat. In a group of ten dog owners, ten hands will be raised if the question “Who brushes the dog’s coat regularly?” is asked. However, not all the hands will be raised if the question is “Who cleans the dog’s ears regularly?” Some dog owners would see no need in cleaning the ears of the pet. Dogs commonly resist the ear cleaning efforts of the master. A dog owner may be aware of the need to regularly clean the ears of the pet but because the pet is uncooperative; the task will be put off lest damage to the ears will happen due to the struggling of the dog.

Ear cleaning must be done at least twice a month or more often if possible. Regular ear cleaning is very necessary for breeds like Golden Retrievers and Cocker Spaniels. Ear infections are common in these breeds because of their inclination to hunt and to retrieve in water. Floppy eared dogs need regular ear cleaning as well. The hanging ear that covers the ear canal keeps the ear moist. Moist and warm ears would be ideal grounds for ear mites and bacteria to grow more especially if there is a rather large accumulation of earwax. Because these breeds are more prone to ear infections ear cleaning must be done every week. The ears of retrievers must be thoroughly dried after the dog is hunted.

Dogs are very energetic. A dog unrestrained by a leash would run anywhere and everywhere. It is not uncommon for dogs to have a foreign object in the ears. Grass seeds, grains of sands, small stones and other foreign objects that managed to enter the ears would make the dog very uncomfortable. Ear mites that thrive on the ear canal and feed on ear wax and can cause the inflammation of the ear canal walls. Discomfort from these parasites and from foreign objects can be prevented if the ears of the pet are cleaned regularly. As mentioned, ear infections are common in dogs. Treating ear infections would be easier if the pet is accustomed to ear cleaning.

This part of grooming routine would be easier if the process was started while the dog is still a puppy. If cleaning is done at an early age, the puppy will be trained to hold still while the ears are being cleaned. Older dogs can be made more cooperative especially if the pet is accustomed to being touched. Play with the dog for a while before starting the ear cleaning session. Sit beside the dog in a couch with the pet occupying the corner of the seat. This will prevent the dog from vaulting. While cleaning the ears, talk to the pet in a happy upbeat voice. When ear cleaning is done reward the pet with a treat. Anticipating the treat, the pet would be more cooperative the next time the ears are cleaned.

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