Dogs hear at both lower and higher frequencies than people, so they hear sounds from further away. Their ears, however, are prone to getting waxy buildup, mites and infections. This could cause odor. Once you determine the problem, you can clear it up.
Determining the Problem
Bring your dog to the veterinarian to determine the cause of the odor. Healthy ears do not smell bad. Sometimes the vet needs only to look at the ears to determine the problem.
Follow the vet’s instructions. If mites are causing the odor, the vet will clean the ears with a medicated solution. This one cleaning might solve the problem. If not, or if you have mites in your area that you want to protect your dog from getting again, your vet will show you how to clean the ears with the medicine.
Give your dog antibiotics that come in pill form for 10 to 14 days if an infection is causing the odor. You might need to keep the ears up by taping them together to facilitate airflow. Also clean the ears daily throughout this time.
The Cleaning Procedure
Clean the ears once a month with a cleaning solution you can get from your vet to prevent waxy buildup, which can cause ear odor.
Place your dog on a towel-covered table or floor, ideally in the bathroom with the door closed. Dogs usually try to get away. You might need to put a squirmy dog on her side.
Pluck any hairs with tweezers that block the ear opening. Good airflow often helps prevent ear infections and helps keep the ears healthy.
Squeeze a few drops of ear solution around the ear flap. Then gently squeeze 1 teaspoon for a small dog and 1 tablespoon for a large dog of solution into the ear canal.
Massage the ear at the base to swish the solution around the ear. This is the best part for your dog. Start the massaging quickly before your dog has time to shake out the solution, which she will invariably try doing.
Use a gauze pad to wipe out the ear using an upward motion to get out as much gunk as possible.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- PetMD: How Dogs Experience the World: Part 2
- Dog Health Guide +: Canine Ear Problems
- The Complete Healthy Dog Handbook; Betsy Brevitz
- Washington State University: Examining and Medicating the Ears of a Dog
- If you bring your dog to the groomer regularly, have the groomer clean the ears.
- Have someone help you hold down your dog if you have trouble cleaning the ears yourself.
- Cotton balls can leave cotton inside the ear. Gauze pads are better.
- Some dogs bite during the cleaning procedure. Use a muzzle if this is a problem.
Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.