Ear infections in dogs is one of the most common issues that we see here in My Vet Animal Hospital – Waterloo. Ear infections in dogs are usually very painful and dogs can be quite sneaky about not showing any signs of pain! Therefore, sometimes your furbabies can suffer from an ear infection for a few weeks before you even notice. Some causes of ear infections in dogs are due to excessive moisture, breed predisposition, food allergies and sometimes by foreign objects (like grass seeds). Therefore, it is very important to see your vet to determine the cause of your furbaby’s ear infection.
Most ear infections can be prevented or minimised by checking their ears on a regular basis. Here are some helpful tips on prevention and treatment on ear infections.
Keep those ears clean.
If your furbaby is susceptible to ear infections, much of it can be prevented by good ear hygiene. Depending on the severity, their ears should be flushed with correct ear wash every 2 weeks or after each swimming session. There are many ear cleaning solutions. Talk to your veterinarian which one is suitable for your furbaby because some ear wash from a pet store is toxic if they have damaged ear drums.
HERE is a video on how to clean your furbaby’s ears correctly. Make it into a habit of checking your dog’s ears on a weekly basis. Never put cotton tips into your dog’s ears.
If you suspect that your dog has an ear infection, take them to your local veterinarian immediately. It is NOT safe to use any ear cleaner unless prescribed by your vet if your dog already has an ear infection.
Hairy Ears Maintenance
Breeds with hairy ears like Poodles, Miniature Schnauzer and Labradoodle are prone to ear infections. We don’t recommend having your dog’s ear hair plucked unless they are causing problems. Always check with your vet if you are unsure. You can also ask your groomer to clip the excess hair around the ear opening – this will help prevent moisture from building up and triggering an infection.
See your vet if it doesn’t look or smell right!
Normal ears should look clean, free of debris or muck and should not smell funky! It should be light pink (almost white) in colour and shouldn’t be painful to touch. If your dog is scratching at the ears, shaking his head or tilting his head or appears to be uncomfortable, take him to a vet immediately. Ear infections are very painful even if your dog still seems ok. Furthermore, if your dog shakes his head too much, he can break the blood vessels in his ear flap and it will develop into a big swelling condition called “Aural Haematoma”, which usually requires surgical correction.
As you can see, this dog (CHU) has big floopy ears. You can sometimes get the hair inside the ear flap clipped nice and short if your dog is prone to ear infections.
Give meds exactly as prescribed.
It is VERY important to give the ear medications exactly the way your vet has advised, otherwise you might cause the infection to develop into a chronic condition. It is also very important to not self-medicate with any leftover ear medications that you may have. “Pulse” treatment can often lead to antibiotic resistance and that will be very hard to treat in the future!
This is what a normal ear should look like. It shouldn’t contain any debris or brown coloured discharge.
If you are having trouble medicating the ears, always consult your vet or come in and see us. If you are unsure how to medicate your dog’s ear – HERE is a video to show you how!
Recheck vet appointments are CRUCIAL.
Recheck ear visits with your vet is crucial. Your vet will scope down your dog’s ears using a special equipment to check if the ear infection has resolved. Sometimes, your vet may need to change your dog’s ear medications after a few weeks. Generally, ear infections can take anywhere between 2-6 weeks to treat, sometimes even longer for severe cases.
Remember to clean those ears after each swim to prevent ear infections in your furbaby!
If you have any questions or concerns at all about ear infections in dogs, like your furbaby’s ears, please do not hesitate to give our pawesome team a call!