Dogs with floppy ears or who love to swim can experience canine ear infections. These are common infections in dogs, but they can be very painful. Once a dog contracts an ear infection, the next step is to visit a veterinarian.
A canine ear infection will not resolve itself. If it goes untreated, there may be serious consequences such as a ruptured eardrum or inner ear infection. In turn, this can lead to hearing loss.
Therefore, prevention is critical. Let’s talk about how to prevent ear infections in dogs.
Symptoms of Canine Ear infections
Not sure if your dog is suffering from an ear infection? Here are some signs and symptoms:
- Discharge from ear (brown, yellow, or bloody)
- Ear odor
- Scratching the ear or around the ear
- Hair loss in ear
- Head shaking
- Hearing loss
- Walking in circles
- Loss of balance
Tips to Prevent Ear Infections in Dogs
As you can see, the symptoms of canine ear infections cause great discomfort. Just like children who have them, dogs can become irritated and generally unhappy. Prevention should be your priority.
Find Out the Underlying Causes
Ear infections happen for a reason. Finding the reason also guides you in your prevention. Underlying causes of canine ear infections include objects stuck in the ear, allergies, hormone imbalances, autoimmune diseases, ear mites, and tumors.
Allergies are often the cause for chronic canine ear infections. Everything from what flora and fauna dogs meet outside to food sensitivities can cause ear infections.
Keep Your Dog’s Ears Clean
Cleaning your dog’s ears is simple. We suggest having your vet give you a tutorial on how to properly clean your dog’s ears. While you’re there, ask for some ear cleaning solution.
First, soak a cotton ball with the solution recommended by your doctor. Then, drip some of the solution into the ear canal (or on the cotton ball). Massage the base of the ear, and let your dog shake their head to get the solution out. Finally, use a washcloth or dry cotton balls to clean up the debris and excess solution. It is recommended that this routine be followed once or twice a week to prevent any issues, especially with dogs with floppy ears.
Keep Your Dog’s Ears Dry
Too much liquid in your dog’s ears is a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. Especially if your dog has floppy ears, you should aim to clean and dry your dog’s ears every week or so. If you bathe your dog regularly, their ears will get wet. Therefore, bath time is a good time to dry your dog’s ears well.
Bath Time Tip: Place cotton balls in your dog’s ears during bath time to prevent excess water from entering the ear canal.
Making Health a Priority
Low cost kibble and table scraps are not enough to sustain a dog suffering from chronic ear infections. If allergies or autoimmune issues are a factor, food matters. First, find a good dog food recommended by your veterinarian. If you’re on a budget, discuss with your vet as well. They may have lower cost recommendations.
Second, consider supplements. Nutritional supplements like fish oil can decrease inflammation causing ear infections. It can also improve your dog’s skin and coat.
Lastly, a probiotic supplement improves gut health and has an impact on the immune system. To prevent dog ear infections and to improve your dog’s overall wellness, supplements can help.
Focus on Prevention is Critical & K9 University Can Help
At K9 University Chicago, our canine experts are here to assist you with any of your dog’s needs. We have grooming services that take into account your dog’s medical needs, including chronic ear infections. Our team is experienced at dealing with this common issue.
As always, your dog’s vet is the person who should be addressing any and all canine medical needs. Their recommendations will ensure your furry friend is healthy and happy.