2001-Mon Sep 24 15:34:53 EDT 2018
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
In most cases, if your dog’s ears aren’t bothering him, there’s no reason to bother your dog with ear cleaning. In fact, healthy dog ears have a unique self-cleaning feature: The skin cells lining the inside of the ears grow away from the eardrums, carrying extra wax and debris to the outside.
If the ears are calm, you can usually skip the cleaning and not feel guilty about it, unless your veterinarian has given you other instructions. Unnecessary cleaning can actually irritate the skin, alter the pH or create a moist breeding ground for bacteria and yeast.
It is a good idea to check your dog's ears once a week to make sure they are OK.If your dog is scratching at one or both ears, rubbing them on the carpet or shaking his head, you should definitely have a peek inside. Signs that things may be amiss include inflamed or thickened skin lining the inside of the ear and discharge or debris that may be brown, yellow or even black, often accompanied by a foul odor. Some ears can be so painful that your dog may cringe and withdraw from any attempt to handle his ears. And dogs in a great deal of pain may even respond by biting.
At this point, your dog really needs to be examined by your veterinarian. With some ear conditions, the eardrum can rupture, and you don’t want to put anything into the ear canal — not even cleaner — until your veterinarian can evaluate the situation.
After examining the ears, your veterinarian will usually take a sample of any debris and examine it under a microscope to help determine if there are parasites, bacteria and/or yeast involved. If she suspects an infection, she may also submit a sample for culturing to identify the exact organisms and the most effective treatment.
If your veterinarian diagnoses an ear infection or spots parasites inside your dog’s ears, cleaning is usually part of the treatment regimen. Cleaning will help remove the debris so the medication can reach the skin and go to work killing the infectious organisms and relieving the inflammation.
Because there are many different kinds of ear cleaners, including some that can interfere with the effectiveness of the ear treatment, it’s best to follow your veterinarian’s recommendation.
It’s helpful if you can watch your veterinarian clean one of your dog’s ears, then you try your hand at cleaning the other. That way, you can ask questions and feel more confident about the process before you leave the office.
When cleaning ears at home, consider taking your dog outside or into the bathroom or laundry room, where it might be easier to clean up a mess.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.