Dog ears: Deep, dark, moist and twisty. They're perfect breeding grounds for various nasties. Many breeds grow hair in their ears, trapping debris and promoting health issues. Regular cleaning keeps your pup's ears healthy and problem-free.
Parasites, Infections and Debris
Numerous things can work their way deep into your pup's ears and cause problems, including bacteria, ear mites, and tiny seeds and grass bits he collects as he romps in the yard. Your dog won't be shy about letting on that his ears are bothering him. You'll notice him whimpering, scratching and shaking his head in an attempt to alleviate the discomfort.
A Floppy Problem
Although all dog breeds are susceptible to ear infections, those with heavy flappers are more likely than their shorter-eared counterparts to suffer problems. Moisture is a necessary ingredient for many infections, and the floppy ears on some breeds prevent proper air circulation. No circulation means no evaporation, meaning the moisture trapped in his ear provides the perfect breeding ground for yeast and bacteria growth.
Even though cleaning is a necessary inconvenience, dogs generally don't like to have their ears cleaned. Starting while he's young helps your pooch learn to tolerate it. Use cotton balls and commercial ear cleaner once a week to wipe any dirt or excess wax out of your pup's ear. Don't use cotton swabs, as they can push wax and foreign debris further into his ear, not to mention that one wrong move by either of you can injure his eardrum. Pluck excess ear hair to promote proper evaporation. Keep water from dripping into his ear by using cotton balls during bath time.
If the idea of poking around in your pup's ears makes you uncomfortable, see your vet for a lesson in ear cleaning. She can show you how to do it properly without hurting your dog. Your vet should examine your pup if you notice anything odd about his ears, such as discharge, odors or unusual redness or swelling. These indicate an infection, which needs medication to clear up.
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