If your dog has healthy ears and is not prone to ear infections, you may wonder if he needs a product to clean his ears. It is actually a great idea to regularly clean your dog’s ears to help keep the ears healthy, and reduce the likelihood of getting a painful ear infection. If your dog is already prone to ear infections, regular cleaning with an ear cleaner formulated for use in pets will help reduce the frequency of ear infections.
What causes ear infections in dogs?
The “L” shape of a dog’s ear canal makes them especially prone to ear infections, which are caused by an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast, or both. Certain factors can make your dog more likely to get an ear infection, such as:
- Moisture in the ear canal. Dogs are more likely to get water in the ear during the warm summer months when swimming and bathing is more common. The excess moisture in the ear, coupled with warm summer temperatures, provide an ideal breeding ground for the microorganisms that cause an ear infection.
- The specific features of your dog’s ears. Dogs with a narrow ear canal, floppy-eared dogs, and dogs with excessive fur in the ear canal are more prone to ear infections.
- Allergies. An underlying allergy can also make your dog more susceptible to ear infections and inflammation of the ear.
- Excessive wax in the ears. Dogs that produce an excessive amount of wax, or very thick wax, may develop a buildup of wax and debris in the ears which becomes trapped in the ear canal, making ear infections more likely.
Ear cleaners for pets are designed remove waxy debris and also dry, acidify and deodorize the ear canal. This makes it less likely for your dog to get an ear infection caused by moist ears, or excessive wax in the ears. Look for a gentle ear cleansing solution which can be used once a week. Be sure to use an ear cleaner after your dog swims, or is bathed or groomed.
To clean your dog’s ears, apply the cleansing solution into your dog’s ear canal and gently massage the base of your dog’s ears. Allow him to shake his head to remove any excess, and use a cotton ball or gauze to wipe any excess solution from the visible parts of your dog’s ears. Do not use Q-tips which may push wax and debris further into the ear, and can injure your dog’s delicate ears.
If you suspect your dog has an ear infection or suffers from recurrent ear infections, contact your vet before using an ear cleanser. Some prescription ear medications specify that the ears should be cleaned with an ear cleaner before applying. Regular use of a gentle ear cleanser will help clear up any conditions such as wax and moisture which may lead to an ear infection. A clean ear is a healthy ear.