Dogs are prone to ear infections, just like humans. In fact, the frequency of dog ear infections is one of the reasons why cropped and lop-eared dogs are frowned upon by many breeders. Thankfully, unlike people who need to see an ear specialist to treat their infections, you don’t need to take your dog anywhere for pet ear care. If you’ve adopted a new puppy or adult dog recently, it’s important that you know about the different types of ears your dog has so that you can begin their pet ear care immediately. Even if your adult dog doesn’t have sensitive ears anymore, learning about them will help you understand their needs better in the future. Let’s get started!
Basics of Dog Ear Care
A dog’s ear canal is larger than a human’s, and it goes deeper as well. As a result, dogs can’t clean their ears as well as we can. Dog ears are also shaped differently from human ears. They’re taller, and the openings tend to be smaller. You can recognize the different types of ears by examining your dog’s ears:
- Erect-eared dogs have vertical ear canals that are about the same height as their head. The ear opening is usually round, smaller than the rest of the ear, and faces forward. Dog breeds with erect ears include Beagles, Border collies, and Dalmatians.
- Semi-erect-eared dogs have ear canals that are somewhat shorter than their head. The openings are round, smaller than the rest of the ear, and positioned at an angle. Dog breeds with semi-erect ears include Jack Russells, Poodles, Schnauzers, and Whippets.
- Lop-eared dogs have large, round ear canals and large openings. They are almost as wide as the rest of the ear and face sideways. Dog breeds with lop ears include Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, Bunnies, and French Bulldogs.
What causes dog ear infections?
Bacteria and yeast are the most common causes of ear infections in dogs. They can be passed from one dog to another through scruffing and licking, and they can also be passed along from owners to dogs when we don’t wash our hands after touching our ears. If your dog has an ear infection, you should treat it as soon as possible to avoid complications. A dog ear infection can lead to an ear abscess (a pus-filled pocket in the ear), which is very difficult to treat at home. Dog ear infections can happen at any age, but dogs that are over 10 years old are particularly prone to them. This is because they have weaker immune systems and can’t fight off infections as well as younger dogs can.
When is a dog ear infection a cause for concern?
An ear infection can be very serious if left untreated. As with humans, ear infections are caused by bacteria and/or yeast, and they can be very painful and uncomfortable for your dog. If left untreated, they can cause a lot of damage and even hearing loss, so they should be treated as soon as you notice them. Dog ear infections can be caused by irritants such as dust and pollen, so if you have a lop-eared dog, you should be extra careful during allergy season. You should also be careful if your dog goes to a lot of dog parks or does other outdoor activities, as these are breeding grounds for infections.
How to clean dog ears at home?
Ear infections are very common in pets, and they are easily preventable if you clean your dog’s ears regularly. However, cleaning a dog’s ears isn’t as easy as cleaning human ears, and you have to be careful not to damage your dog’s ears while cleaning them. If your dog has never had his ears cleaned before, begin by taking him to the vet for a checkup and cleaning. Your vet will show you how to clean your dog’s ears properly and give you the tools you need to do it correctly. Once you’ve been shown how to clean your dog’s ears, you should do it at least once a month. It’s best to do it on a day when you’re not going anywhere because your dog will probably be a little grumpy for a few minutes.
Tips to prevent dog ear infections
- First and foremost, you have to keep your dog’s ears clean. Cleaning them regularly will prevent bacteria from growing and will make it harder for an infection to start.
- You can also give your dog a diet with omega-3 fatty acids. These acids help fight bacteria, and they are found in salmon, sardines, walnuts, and other nuts.
- Avoid letting your dog swim in lakes, oceans, and even pools that have lots of bacteria. No matter how often you clean your dog’s ears, they can’t fight off bacteria from water.
- If you have a lop-eared dog, try to avoid letting him scruff other dogs. This is a common way for bacteria to spread, and it can lead to an ear infection.
- Finally, if you have an older dog, be extra careful about ear infections. These are common in old dogs, and they can lead to complications like hearing loss, so you have to take them seriously.
A healthy dog starts with a healthy pair of ears. Good ear hygiene can prevent infections from occurring, and it can also help cure an existing infection. The key to keeping your dog’s ears clean is to do so regularly. Keeping your dog’s ears clean can be done easily, and it will help keep them healthy. If you have a lop-eared dog, it’s especially important to keep them clean since they can’t clean their own ears as other dogs can. Be sure to follow these dog ear care tips to keep your pup happy and healthy!