When you know your huge furkid is in the room because you smell his ears even before you see him, it’s ear-cleaning time. Saint Bernards are prone to developing offensive ear odor, especially if they swim regularly. Your gentle giant will benefit from regular ear attention.
What a Smell
Your Saint Bernard’s long, floppy ears lie flat against his head, preventing any moisture that gets into them from evaporating quickly. A dip in the lake, a bath, or just being outside in the rain can all create a humid environment in his ears. Add in your dog’s natural earwax, and – poof – he has a case of stink ear.
Wipe and Go
Unscented baby-bottom wipes make inexpensive ear wipes. Keep a package on hand and grab your Saint for a quick ear wipe two or three times a week, if he’s prone to stink ear. Gently wipe out the visible part of the ear canal, and then wipe off the underside of his earflap. Frequent wiping works well once you get rid of the initial odor, but it might not clear up big problems.
Tackle that Tiger
Adult Saint Bernards weigh anywhere from 125 pounds for females to more than 250 pounds for males. That’s a lot of dog to hold still if he doesn’t want any part of your ear-cleaning treatments. The best way to clean your dog’s ears is to get him used to the idea as a puppy.
If that ship's already sailed, take your time, and pet your dog until he’s calm and relaxed. Lift and wipe the underside of the earflap while reassuring him, and gradually work your way to wiping the ear canal. Eventually, your Saint will understand that ear cleaning is not a death sentence.
Deep Ear Cleaning
If you haven’t been cleaning your Saint’s ears regularly, they could have more wax buildup than a simple wiping would eradicate. Gentle canine ear-wash solutions are available from pet supply stores and from your veterinarian.
The caveat here is to perform deep ear cleaning outdoors. After letting the solution trickle into your dog’s ear canal, massage the area just below his ear, and then let him shake his head. Ear solution will fly everywhere, so don’t stand beside your dog. Use sterile cotton balls or pads to wipe earwax and excess solution out of his ears.
Gunk and Goo
If you shuddered when first saw the gunk in your Saint’s ears, it might be wise to have a vet take a look. Dark, thick waxy deposits could indicate an infection that requires antibiotics. Other indicators that it might be more than just stink ear include frequent scratching, redness or swelling in the ear canal.
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