How To Clean Your Dog’s Ears
(& Help Prevent An Ear Infection)
Did you know that untreated, chronic ear infections can cause permanent damage to a dog’s ears, up to and including deafness? The good news is that keeping your dog’s ears healthy and happy is fairly simple. With proper ear care, you can help prevent your dog from frustrating and painful ear infections. Here’s what you need to know about how to clean your dog’s ears (and help prevent an ear infection).
Patsy: Sometimes Bad Things Happen To Good Dogs
I’ll never forget Patsy. Patsy was a patient of mine during one of my clinical rotations when I was in vet tech school. She was a 7-year old cocker spaniel who had been battling a chronic ear infection for several years.
After reading her medical chart, I learned that a day earlier, she had undergone surgery for a total ear canal ablation (TECA). In short, TECA is the surgical removal of the ear canal.
This is an extreme treatment of last resort and is saved for the most severe cases of chronic, non-responsive and painful ear infections because it leaves the dog deaf in that ear.
After reading more, I learned that Patsy had shown signs of an ear infection for almost a year before she was brought to the vet. I also learned that prior to bringing her to the vet, Patsy’s owners didn’t know they should be checking and cleaning her ears regularly, so they never did.
After months of not responding to multiple treatments, frequent testing and deep cleanings, Patsy wasn’t showing any signs of improvement and was in constant pain. So the veterinarian and Patsy’s owners decided that the best way to provide Patsy relief was to perform a TECA.
I wondered then and I wonder now: if Patsy’s owners had checked and cleaned her ears regularly, would she have suffered as long as she did? If Patsy had been examined earlier, would more standard treatments- such as deep cleanings and medication- have resolved the ear infection? And could a TECA have been avoided?
I’ll never know the answers to those questions, but I do know that regular ear cleaning and monitoring is key to good ear health- and Patsy’s story illustrates this perfectly.
THIS EDUCATIONAL POST ABOUT PROPER EAR CARE IS SPONSORED BY DR. HARVEY’S. I AM BEING COMPENSATED TO SHARE MY HONEST OPINION AND EXPERIENCES WITH DR. HARVEY’S HERBAL EAR WASH. I ONLY SHARE INFORMATION ABOUT PRODUCTS THAT I USE AND FEEL IS BENEFICIAL TO DEAF DOGS AND MY READERS. DR. HARVEY’S IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONTENT OF THIS ARTICLE.
Why Early Detection and Treatment is Important
Left untreated, ear infections rarely get better on their own. Rather, an untreated infection painfully rages on, potentially causing serious and irreversible damage to your dog’s ears.
The sooner you can identify a potential problem, the sooner your dog can seen by a veterinarian and treatment can begin.
Checking your dog’s ears for signs of an infection isn’t hard and takes only a few minutes of your time.
Below are some of the signs of an ear infection, some potential causes of ear infections as well as a video showing you how to clean your dog’s ears properly.
Signs Of An Ear Infection
Here is a short list of the most common signs of an ear infection that pet parents are most likely to notice. If you suspect something is wrong with your dog’s ears, get him to the vet as soon as possible! This list is not comprehensive and I encourage you to talk to your vet about other signs.
- Scratching at his ear(s)
- Foul smelling ear(s)
- Dark waxy build up
- Head tilting
- Frequent head shaking
VET TECH NINJA TIP: It’s best not to clean your dog’s ear right before going to the vet- they’ll need to collect a sample for testing to determine the cause of the infection as well as the best treatment option!
What Causes Ear Infections?
Ear infections are caused by many things but some of the most frequent causes of ear infections include:
- Bacterial infections
- Yeast infections
- Fungal infections
- Traumatic injuries
NOTE: This list is not comprehensive. I encourage you to talk to your vet about other possible causes.
How To Clean Your Dog’s Ears
Here’s a video from the American Veterinary Medical Association that will show you how to clean your dog’s ears.
How I Keep Our Dogs’ Ears Healthy & Happy
If you’re a regular reader, you know I am a huge advocate for a holistic, all-natural approach to wellness, from food to supplements to grooming products and yes, even ear care. I approach cleaning my dog’s ears with those same values and goals- and I choose Dr. Harvey’s Herbal Ear Wash for regular ear care and cleaning.
Dr. Harvey’s Herbal Ear Wash is made with a unique blend of soothing and healing herbal extracts in a base of non-drying witch hazel and it is antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral- with zero chemicals!
Antifungal. Antibacterial. Antiviral. That’s pretty potent stuff that helps prevent some of the most common causes of ear infections. And the gentle formula removes dirt and wax from your dog’s ears of dirt and wax and helps stop any itching, irritation, redness and odor.
If you’re ready to try Dr. Harvey’s Herbal Ear Wash, enjoy a 10% discount with my Ambassador Code TD1218 right here.
I check my dog’s ears every week for any signs of infection. Depending on how dirty their ears are, I clean them once or twice a month- though Galileo and his obsession with dirt and mud means his ears get cleaned more often!
Deaf dogs are amazing creatures and I am a better person because my life has been graced with two deaf dogs. But as much as I adore deaf dogs, I want to prevent deafness whenever possible- and regular ear care and cleaning is an easy way for pet parents to prevent painful ear infections and permanent damage, up to and including deafness.