We all know how delicate our ears can be, it is the structure for one of the most important senses; hearing. While ears are important for us, they are way more significant for our furry friends; they lean on them even more than we do and listen to sounds that we cannot perceive.
Every cat and dog can develop problems in their ears. Sometimes in dogs, the furrier and longer ears they have, the more prone they will be to have problems, due to the big size of their ears and the augmented possibility of accumulating debris and moisture. Although breeds like Cocker Spaniels have more possibilities to develop a condition in their ears, all dogs and cats can have or develop a threatening condition; therefore, it is imminent to include ear cleaning in your pet’s routine.
There are several elements that can increase the chances of a harmful condition in your pet’s ears, among them we have: allergies, hormones disorders, ear mites, moisture or wax, extra hair, and others. Cats develop ear infections with less frequency than dogs, most of them are caused by mites, but also due to allergies, obstructions in the ear or even tumors. When it comes to dogs, the main causes include yeast and bacteria.
How to proceed with your pet’s ear cleaning routine
- Clean only the external part of your pet’s ear. Never introduce cotton swabs on your pet’s ear.
- Use another clean gauze to dry your pet’s ear thoroughly.
As we mentioned before, the accumulation of cerumen, debris or the presence of moisture can cause ear infections. This happens because those conditions ameliorate the environment of microbial grown. For this reason, maintaining dry and clean ears will be a key point for your dog´s health. A great frequency for your dog´s cleaning would be every two weeks; these are some steps to achieve great results:
- With the aid of a cotton ball or a dry gauze, apply some baby oil in your pet’s external part of the ear
- Be careful in only cleaning the external part of the ear; you should never introduce cotton swabs into the internal part.
- In order to dry the ear, use a clean gauze and gently remove the baby oil.
If this is the first time cleaning your pet’s ear, and if she/he presents a considerable amount of debris or cerumen, you could proceed with an ear wash. In order to do it, you will need a cerumenolytic product (for example, docusate sodium). To wash your pet’s ear, we suggest you to do it outdoors and on a sunny day; following these easy steps:
- Fill the entire ear canal with the cleaner.
- Fold the earflap and carefully give a soft massage to it.
- Stop the massage and stand two steps back, your dog or cat will automatically shake his/her head.
- Now is time to dry your pet’s ears. Use a clean gauze for this step. Remember that you should never introduce cotton swabs into the internal part of the ear.
Some signs that could suggest an ear infection:
- Scratching of the ear and/or area around the ear
- Balance issues
- Strong/bad smell inside the ear
- Redness or Swelling
- Crusts, peeling or scabs around the ear
- Hair loss
- Rubbing the ear against objects such as furniture and walls.
- Constant head shaking
- Hearing issues
- Bloody, brown or yellow discharge
It is very important to contact your veterinarian if you notice any of these signs in your pet’s ears or behavior. You dog could be suffering from an ear infection or any other threatening condition, a professional will surely take good care of him/her.