Dog Ears 101

Dog ears can become a major problem if they are not understood and properly cared for on a regular basis. There are 3 parts to them. The first is obviously the outer ear that you see all the time. Next is the middle ear. This is the part you see immediately inside the ear. The middle ear is an open, air filled cavity that leads to the eardrum. The inner ear is the part that is connected to your dog’s brain and helps with hearing and balance.

The key to maintaining healthy ears is to keep the middle ear claen and dry. When hair grows in the ear canal, it can lead to moisture and debris being trapped inside. If air cannot get into the ear to dry it, it can lead to a ear yeast infection. It is important therefore to clean and dry your dog's ears regularly. If you dog has long floppy ears this is especially important. Wax can build up over time causing a nasty infection.

Signs of a Yeast Ear Infection:

  • Redness inside the ear canal.
  • Discharge that may look black or dark brown.
  • Foul smelling odor.
  • Dog may shake its head more than usual.
  • Dog may rub its head on the carpet or floor to scratch ears.

How to Clean Dog Ears Properly:

To properly clean ears you can use one of the ear wash solutions you will find at the pet store. However, you can simply mix 50% white vinegar with 50% water and wash them with this solution. Use cotton balls dipped into the solution and clean the ear canal. Turn the ear flap back and clean the middle ear canal. You may need to repeat this several times in each ear to get them clean. Vinegar will dry quickly so the ear will be dry. Remember this is one of the keys to healthy ears. The other is cleanliness. Have you every cleaned with vinegar? It works.

The next step is to use some tweezers or a hemostat (find these in a pet supply store) to remove the hair in the middle ear. This can be a bit uncomfortable for your dog so get some ear hair removal powder at the pet store. Apply this inside the ear before removing the hair with the tweezers. It helps to reduce the discomfort. After the hair is removed you will need to use a cotton ball with vinegar to remove the excess powder. An over growth of hair in the ear can lead to trapped ear wax, debris and moisture which can cause a dog ear yeast infection. These can become very painful.

  • Remember clean and dry and you should be fine/

Dog Ear Mites and How to Get Rid of Them:

Determining whether your dog has ear mites will require looking inside the ear canal possibly using a magnifying glass. You will see the black debris from wax and dirt build up but if you use the magnifying glass you will notice little white dots that seem to be moving around. These are ear mites. They are very uncomfortable for your dog.

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