Ear Essentials for your darlings


Keeping pet’s ears clean is vital to prevent build-up of excess wax and to keep infections at bay. Regular ear cleaning and examinations at home helps in the early detection of potential infections and ear troubles.

Ear problems are one of the most common reasons why dogs need to be taken to vets. Thus, basic knowledge on how to avoid common ear issues will be helpful for pt parents. Chances of problems becoming severe like hearing loss or chronic ear disease can be avoided if detected at an early stage. It would also mean that your little one has to bear less pain and trouble.

Signs of infection
Normally, healthy ears of dogs are clean and odorless. They are pink on the inside and are not sensitive to touch. Depending upon the breed, some dogs have hair growing inside their ear flaps. Some amount of wax is common and it is nothing to worry about. The furriness on the outer surface of the ears should extend to the tips. The presence of bare, fur-less spots or crustiness should be examined by a vet as it could be an indication of mange.
Ear infection in dogs manifests itself in the following symptoms –

  • Swelling
  • Abnormal discharge from the ear
  • Foul smell
  • Excessive scratching
  • Redness and inflammation in the ear canal
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Pain around the ears
  • Incessant shaking or tilting of the head
  • Bald spots on the ears

Tips to prevent ear infection
Most ear infections, whether they are bacterial or yeast, are caused because of moisture or wetness inside the ear canal. Thus, the most important thing a pet owner can do to maintain optimum health of his dog’s ears is to keep the ear cavity as dry as possible.
Regularly cleaning the dog’s ears minimizes the chances of diseases and infections. It is best to use a mild ear cleaner that is specially designed for use on pets. Substances like alcohol, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide are a strict NO.

Nitya Ramachandran
These can irritate the sensitive skin around the ear canal and cause more pain and inflammation. Plucking hair from the ears should strictly be avoided. It can cause small wounds and serum oozing from pores which is an excellent breeding ground for bacterial growth. Instead of plucking hair, trimming is a better option. But it should only be done by a professional dog groomer.
A plethora of ear cleaners are available in the market for dog owners to choose from. While some cleaners are specifically formulated to break up wax, others are meant to dry the ear canal by removing the moistness. Make sure to check that the ear rinse you use for pet doesn’t have any antibiotics or steroids. Your vet can suggest the best suitable product for your pet. .
How to clean a dog’s ears properly?
1. Keep in mind that dogs don’t enjoy getting their ears cleaned. Hence, you need to gradually introduce your pet to the cleaning process. Associating it with something positive, like his favourite treats is a good option. It would encourage him to cooperate and make the cleaning process easy for you.
2. Maintain good overall grooming of your pet’s ears. All the cleaning tools should be kept well within reach. The cleaning process should begin with the removal of matted and dirty hair from around the ear canal and flap. This step is important because moist and heavily matted ear flaps and excessively hairy ear canals decrease the flow of air to the canal, increasing the possibility of wax build-up. It can also lead to ear infection. Gently trim the excess hair. It is best to have a professional groomer or veterinary practitioner clean the dog’s ears for safety reasons.
3. Once the areas around the ears have been groomed, it is time to clean the ears. This process should be done as gently as possible. Rough and abrasive cleanings can damage the sensitive parts of the dog’s inner ear. Starting from the outside and working one’s way towards the inner areas is the correct way to go about the process.
4. Appropriate amount of ear cleaning solution should be dribbled inside the ear canal by picking up the ear flap. The solution should not overflow. Once you’ve poured the solution, gently massage the base of your pet’s ears for a few seconds. Do it slowly to avoid any discomfort for the pet.
5. Gentle massaging helps soften the stubborn wax, which aids in its easy removal. After the massaging, the pet should be allowed a few minutes to shake off the softened wax and debris. Clean cotton balls can then be used to wipe the ear canal gently yet thoroughly in order to remove wax and traces of cleaning solution. It is best to avoid using cotton buds or swabs. A dog’s ears are very sensitive areas and deep or forceful placement of swabs inside the ear can cause permanent damage to the ear drums, hearing loss and extreme pain and discomfort. Separate cotton swabs should be used for each ear.
The frequency of ear cleaning is determined keeping in mind your pet’s age, breed, and coat length. Talk to your vet on how often you should clean his ears. Doing it slowly is the key. Also lots of treats and cuddles always help.