Generally, dogs have no interest in having their ears cleaned; its certainly been the owners responsibility to make it done perfectly. Moreover, it is very important to examine their dogs ears every week and note down if there is any signs of irritation, infection, dirt and parasites. Dog’s with long, floppy ears are frequently being the victims of ear infections. So, its very important to make a routine ear cleaning as a part of dog-care schedule.
Dogs have very long ear canals, which usually ranges from 5-10 cm, much longer than humans’ ears. Though the wax that is formed inside their ears is dark and low in quantity. Yet, it still attracts several different types of illness causing organisms.
Obviously, the wet ear canals can predispose a dog to infections. When bathing your dog or taking them to a pool, there are chances to get water into their ears and this water can pool down in the horizontal ear canal and increases the risk of infection. So, it is must to keep their ears dry always. The common reason behind canine ear infection is, either due to bacteria’s, ear mites or yeast. Providing your canines a proper ear- cleaning will reduce causing them ear infections.
How to properly clean the Canines ears?
As an initial step to go, just start the dogs’ ear cleaning process with a good belly rub and soothing words. This make them relax and let him/her know that ear cleaning times are not so bad.
Simply look inside each ear for the signs of redness, dirt, discharge or waxy build-up. To clean the dogs’ ears, it is better to choose a mild ear cleaner (inquire with the vet) that is specifically designed to be used on pets. Make sure that the cleaner is free of alcohol, steroids, antibiotics or other toxic materials. Never use alcohol or vinegar, which can irritate the skin of some dogs and might be painful to an already inflamed ear canal. But, few people use a simple half-and-half solution of lukewarm water and vinegar; this is a very gentle mixture that helps to remove the dirt without causing any damage (make sure water is at comfortable temperature).
So next comes is the cooperation; some dogs may show signs of aggression and it would be necessary to use a muzzle before treating their ears. Other than that, the best option is offering treats, and keeping it bag handy that will aid you to offer small rewards throughout the process. And in case of pups, make sure they are relaxed as well as comfortable.
Lay the dog onto a flat surface; if needed ask another person to assist you in the cleaning process. Dip a cotton ball into the mixture prepared or purchased, then squeeze and twist the cotton to remove excess liquid from it. Place several cotton balls into a bowl that contains cleaning solution. Assure to halve the cotton ball if you are working on ears that are very tiny, make sure the cotton ball is damp and do not soak wet. Excessive moisture content won’t be very comfortable to your dogs and can make them upset or unresponsive to the process.
Then, start the cleaning process. At first, clean the outer part of the dog’s ear, make sure you use a very gentle touch as you wipe. And then, clean the inner part of the ears; wipe-out the dirt from where you can easily see. Gently place the cotton balls into the opening of the dog’s ear. Do not place the ball too deep into the ear, stop when you feel resistance; wipe only where you can see. So that the chances of becoming upset will lessen and make sure you do not damage their ear canal.
Since, their ears are more sensitive they become upset when cleaning inside. If the process is done, give them lots of praise for cooperative behaviour and a treat as well.
Things to remember while cleaning dog’s ears
There are few steps to remember while cleaning your dog’s ears in order to make the process safe and easier:
- Associate cleaning process with something positive – Treats and praises can help with this, along with that a long walk or an extra-long playtime session would probably make them realize that something fun is upcoming after getting their ears are cleaned. It may also make you an easier activity from then on.
- Avoid using cotton swab’s on a dog’s ears – Cotton swab may push wax and dirt further down into the ear canal; which leads to a severe problem in the future. Simply poking dirt/wax may also cause damage, better use cotton balls or a finger wrapped in gauze, which is especially good for smaller ears.
- Put everything within reach before you start – Keep all the requirements nearby before starting the process and if you get up in middle to get cotton balls, cleaner or anything you miss, the dog will also get up and it won’t be an easy task to calm them down again (to continue the cleaning process).
- To use gloves or not to use gloves? – This depends on personal perspective. If you have a habit of growing your nails (would hurt their ears badly) or if you ponder that your hands aren’t clean enough, then you can choose gloves. Or if you are free to use your bare hands, of course you can. But don’t forget to give them a good wash afterwards.
- Only clean until you feel resistance – Going deeper cleaning would make you meet with cartilage, bone and other important parts of their ear canal. So stop it, when you feel you are there because it may damage or hurt them later.
If the cotton balls you used to clean are very dirty, then it is time to schedule a check-up with your veterinarian. Most dogs will come to like ear cleaning; as long as their ears are comfortable because this is the one place that dog’s can’t scratch themselves when it itching. Over-cleaning or cleaning your dog’s ears too frequently can actually upset the natural flora balance of the ears, which leads to infection. And always check your dog’s ears carefully before cleaning them and if you notice any swelling, foul smell, redness or unusual heat consult a vet immediately. Owners should never attempt to medicate an ear infection on their own.