Dog ear infections may mean a trip to the veterinarian, but what you do in the interim is vitally important and just might ward off costly medical attention
A dog ear infection is undoubtedly a serious medical issue, but when dog ear infection symptoms are recognized early, the treatment will be much less intrusive and may be preformed at home.
Dog Ear Infection Symptoms and Causes
The causes for dog ear infections vary and some dog breeds are more susceptible than others. For instance, dogs with heavy, floppy ears are much more likely to be afflicted with frequent canine ear infections. All dogs are at risk, but the heavy ears create the dark, airless environment so attractive to infectious bacteria.
The most common causes of dog ear infections are yeast or fungi overgrowth. These type of infections display themselves as a dark brown to black waxy material that’s runny and smells rancid. A dog will signal ear problems by rapidly shaking his head for no apparent reason, scratching at his ears and in the later stages his ears with be sensitive to the touch.
Another common factor associated with dog ear infections are ear mites. And drying a dog’s ears after bathing or swimming will also aid in preventing his ears from becoming infected.
Dog Ear Infection Treatment
Many dog care experts highly recommend keeping a fully stocked dog first aid kit at hand and dog ear infection treatment calls for retrieval of the following:
- Water and Vinegar Solution (50/50)
- Spray bottle
- Cotton balls
- Ear cleaning solution (Pet Supply Store)
- 1% Cortisone cream (Cortaid + lanolin works great)
- Old piece of cotton material suitable for making a scarf for your dogs head
- Rubbing alcohol
For the canine ear infection created by yeast or fungal build up, it is important to return your dog’s inner ear to its normal PH balance. Using your 50/50 vinegar and water solution and spray bottle, spritz the inside of your dog’s ear. Using a cotton ball wipe the portion of his ear that is visible. Repeat this procedure twice daily. If the infection persists beyond the third day or so, your dog should be seen by his veterinarian.
Dog Ear Infection Remedy for Ear Mites
When a dog ear infection is caused by ear mites the mites are frequently visible. What you’ll be looking for is obvious itching and head shaking. Lifting the ear flap see if you can recognize a dark, crumbly material; these are ear mites.
There are a wide variety of over-the-counter ear mite medicines available at your local pet supply store and the veterinarian favorites contain neomycin sulfate. Ear mite salves and solutions kill the mites as well as address the painful inflammation.
Dog Ear Infections – Preventative Measures
If your dog suffers from constant or regular occurring canine ear infections there are preventative procedures you can follow. Keep his ears clean and aired out as often as possible. Fill the ear canal with your vinegar and water solution or Oti-Clens. Massage your dog’s ear ensuring the solution penetrates the L-shaped ear canal.
For dogs with hairy ears, regular plucking of this hair (using tweezers or hemostats) can ward off persistent dog ear infections. Using a dash of baby powder minimizes the uncomfortableness associated with hair plucking, and your dog will get used to this grooming technique once it becomes part of his regular routine. After plucking, massage cortisone cream into the visible parts of his ears and this will soothe the surface irritation.
Wiping a dog’s ears with rubbing alcohol on a regular basis helps prevent dog ear infections, as does fashioning a dog scarf that will lift his ears once in a while, allowing fresh air to enter the ears.
Recognizing dog illness symptoms at home can save your dog from considerable pain, repeated veterinary visits and may even save his life.