Learn to clean your dogs’ ears (and let your veterinarian buy his own Jaguar)

The Angel’s Angle | Dog Grooming 101 -Part 1

Chronic ear infections keep many dog owners running to their vets for expensive treatments. Ear infections run rampant in many breeds, especially those with long, floppy ears that literally seal the inner ear from air circulation, making a perfect Petri dish for yeast and bacterial infections. But there’s good news: Regular cleaning and grooming can prevent these infections most of the time. You owe it to your dog to perform routine cleansing and preventative measures. Our Canine Angels have their ears checked twice a week. We do this for all our service dogs. 

Ear cleaning in dogs is not like cleaning a human ear. Canines have long, complex ear canals and you never want to push any object beyond the area you can easily see. Improper methods can have you back at the vet with your pup suffering intense pain, lacerations, or even a ruptured eardrum. 

A general rule: if your dog screeches when you touch his ears, you need to have your veterinarian do the job. Otherwise, it is imperative to cleanse them regularly.

Every week without fail, I apply a cleansing solution to my dogs’ ears. My favorite is Epi-Otic, which has a drying agent along with a cleaner to loosen wax and dirt. It’s easy to find at your vet’s office. Give a quick squirt in each ear and gently rub the base of the ear, listening for the oil “squishing” around. A soft wipe with a tissue removes the excess oil and loosened dirt. The rule is to clean only what is visible. You can use a small flashlight to check for remaining wax or dirt in the canal. Repeat, if necessary.

Tip: Do not wear new pants or silk shirts, as the dog will shake his head and spray you lovingly with the oil.

Remember to restrain your dog gently but firmly during this process. A small dog can be wrapped in a towel with only its head exposed. A larger dog might need another person to stabilize the body and head. Use cotton or tissue to wipe away any visible dirt. You may use a Q-tip moistened with water, but be careful! NEVER to insert it down the ear canal out of sight, which could cause your dog to shake violently and harm himself.

The rule is to clean only what is visible. Use a small flashlight to look into the canal.   When the deed is accomplished, a nice cookie is in order. When you are done, you can also give one to the dog!



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