Although it’s important to clean your dogs’ ears, many owners neglect them until the dog starts showing signs that something is wrong and your dog has an ear infection. Unlike humans, dogs experience the world mainly through their noses and ears. A dog’s sense of hearing is second only to his sense of smell. He can hear four times better than we can, detecting frequencies much higher and lower than what humans can hear. Your dog can hear sound with each ear independently. So he can listen to your voice with one ear but still hear the squirrel rustling in the tree with the other – and selectively pay attention to those sounds. No wonder he can snooze through bang-‘em-up TV shows but be instantly alert when you open the refrigerator door!
Here are some examples of classic symptoms of a dog ear infection:
- Rubbing or pawing at head, face or ears
- Shaking the head
- Discharge from ears
- Bad odor
- Redness in the ear canal
- Sensitivity or pain in the ears
- Swollen, hot ear flaps
- Tilting the head in an unusual way
Dogs have a very long ear canal – vertical toward the jaw, then taking a 45° turn horizontally toward the eardrum. Whatever goes in, such as, water, may have trouble getting out. The construction of the ear makes it harder to examine and makes dogs susceptible to a variety of ear ailments, including parasites and yeast infections.
Dog ear problems are extremely common and, if left untreated, can cause your dog not just pain and discomfort, but chronic illness or hearing loss. A little prevention on your part can help your dog stay healthy, comfortable – and ready to leap into action when she hears that treat bag being opened.
How often to clean a dog’s ears
To avoid an ear infection, veterinarians recommend that dogs have their ears cleaned no more than weekly but at least once a month. If your dog has floppy ears, swims regularly, has heavy fur around the ears, suffers from skin allergies or gets frequent ear infections, you should clean the ears more frequently. As a dog ear cleaner, Banixx Pet care provides a gentle but powerful combination of anti-bacterial & anti-fungal properties for your dog’s ears, without harming healthy tissue, and with no burn or sting upon application.
It’s also important to know when NOT to clean your dog’s ears! If you notice a foul smell emanating from your dog’s ears, or if she has been scratching them repeatedly, do not remove any fluid drainage or thick waxy material that might have accumulated in the ear. Instead, take your dog to the vet so he/she can take swabs of the infection and put the gunk under a microscope; it may help determine the cause of the irritation and the optimal course of treatment.
Caring for your dog’s ears
Take a close look at your dog’s ears before beginning to clean. If all you see is dirt or normal earwax, you’re good to go with cleaning. But here are some other things to look for in your inspection:
- Fluid drainage (it can be clear, or might be gray or brown), thick waxy material, scratches, scabs or wounds. If you see any of these, you may be able to clear it up with a solid dog ear cleaning solution such as Banixx but be prepared for a visit to the vet if the situation has progressed too far.
- Parasites and foreign bodies like plant seeds, burrs, grasses, etc. If you see these, try to remove the object gently or clean the ears to remove these things. If this doesn’t work, you will need to take your dog to your vet.
- Mites, ticks and fleas. You can prevent and/or kill ticks and fleas by using various topical flea and tick prevention methods available from your veterinarian. However, you’ll need to have a veterinarian diagnose and treat ear mites. These tiny creatures live and feed off the earwax and oils in your dog’s ears. Dogs with ear mites usually scratch their ears and shake their heads a lot and it will take a visit to the Vet to determine if mites are the issue. Once determined, the treatment is not expensive, easy to administer and quick to act. The mites are contagious, so you may need to treat your other household pets too. Mites, however, cause damage, in terms of open sores (caused by your dog’s scratching) that can become infected. Treat these infected areas with Banixx Pet care to avoid escalation of the problem. Banixx is well tolerated since it has zero sting and comes along with no medicinal odor to put your dog on the defense.
Also inspect your dog’s ears for these more serious conditions, which may require veterinarian assistance to clear:
- Signs of an ear yeast infection, such as a bad smell or brownish discharge. Using a dog ear cleaning solution may cure it if you catch it early enough; severe cases may require veterinary intervention.
- Bacterial infection in the outer part of the ear, which may need a veterinarian to diagnose and treat. Again, vigilance is the key. Caught early with a dog ear cleaning solution such as Banixx Pet Care may be the answer; more severe cases may call for a visit to the Vet.
- Tumors. Don’t be overly alarmed if you see something suspicious – tumors are rare. In most cases, lumps and bumps might be nothing but bug bites, skin cysts or reactions to trauma. Still, if they don’t go away, check them out with the vet.
The Big “No-No”
NEVER use a Q-tip in the canal, for the same reasons you don’t put a Q-tip in your own ear canal (do you?) – you could compact the earwax or even rupture the eardrum.
The best method for cleaning your dog’s ears
The main goal of cleaning your dog’s ears is to get rid of foreign objects and keep excess wax and discharge from creating an environment where bacteria and yeast love to grow – and to do it in a way that causes the least irritation to your dog. Here are some recommendations on how to clean your dog’s ears:
- Choose the right ear cleaner. Use a good quality dog ear cleaner, such as Banixx Pet Care, which often considered a DIY dog ear cleaner. Do not use olive oil, vinegar, shampoo or any other substance in your dog’s ear. Banixx is not only a powerful yet gentle anti-microbial solution, it’s not sticky or greasy and do will not get all over your carpet or furniture. Banixx is for sale here.
- Find a good place to do it. Cleaning your dog’s ears can be messy job, because Fido is going to want to shake his ears throughout the process – so try to find somewhere that’s easy to clean up, and wear appropriate clothes.
- Do what you can to make it an enjoyable experience for your dog, so that he/she doesn’t mind doing it again. Here are our recommended procedures:
- Start and end with treats. Give your dog a treat to sit in front of you, if possible.
- Use a cotton ball moistened with Banixx. Banixx is gentle yet potent and non-toxic so it can be used as a regular ear cleaning solution.
- Coat the inside of the ear liberally with Banixx.
- Surprisingly, some dogs are not fearful if you spray Banixx directly into their ears. If you adopt this method, “close” off the ear using the dog’s ear flap and massage it gently around in the ear to ensure a good coating throughout the inside of the ear and do be sure that the Banixx is room temperature or run the bottle under hot water to warm it slightly. Just as you and I would not appreciate something cold being sprayed into our ears, neither does your pup!
- Give your dog lots of praise and a treat as you clean the ears – and then repeat the process with the other ear.
Once your dog gets used to the process of ear cleaning, he/she may actually end up enjoying it. After all, you’re reaching a place where she can’t get to, and it may be very satisfying to finally reach and relieve that itch!