Your pet’s ears are very different than yours – inside and out – and many factors can lead to problems with your dog’s ears. Allergies to things in your dog’s environment (pollen, dust mites, mold, grass, etc.), also known as canine atopy; food allergies or food sensitives (protein source); and innate problems with the structure or function of your dog’s ears are the most common causes. Pets, especially goldens, who have an ear infection often develop an abnormal amount of wax and have infectious debris in their ears. Your veterinarian may prescribe an ear cleaner or medication to address the condition occurring in your dog’s ears.
Many chronic ear problems in dogs are due to underlying allergies or other conditions that your veterinarian may need to diagnose and address. It is important to get your pet examined by a veterinarian and follow all their recommendations to achieve the best outcome for your dog. These recommendations may include diet changes, limiting their exposure to allergens in your house or yard, oral or topical medications or allergy injections that help decrease your pet’s sensitivity to allergens in their environment.
Follow your veterinarian’s instructions on when and how to use the recommended ear cleaner. Make sure to ask your veterinarian or their technical staff any questions you may have.
1). Position your dog between your legs for the best control. The ear cleaner should be at room temperature. Most dogs shake their head when the ear canal is filled with fluid, so pick an area that is easy to clean afterwards. Holding a towel over the ear and back of the head while the pet shakes can help confine any possible mess.
2). The ear flap should be held back and upwards as the ear cleaner is poured into the canal opening. You should use enough ear cleaner to fill the entire ear canal.
3). Continue holding the ear flap upwards. Gently massage the base of the ear, near the head, to work the cleaner into the deep parts of the ear canal and dislodge any debris deep in the ear canal. Continue to massage the base of the ear for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Holding the ear flap prevents the dog from shaking the head dislodging ear cleaner and debris.
4). Use a cotton ball to remove the dirt and debris that floated to the top of the ear canal and is on the inside of the ear flap. Never place anything down into the ear canal such as a Q-tip or cotton ball as you could harm your dog.
5). Reinspect the ear canal and ear flap and repeat the procedure if you still see a lot of debris in the ear. Be sure to not over-clean painful ears. Alert your veterinarian if your pet appears to be in pain or if any redness or swelling is present.
Ear cleaners dispensed by your veterinarian can be tailored to your dog’s individual needs. There are a wide variety of cleaners available and your veterinarian will offer the best advice on which one is best suited for your dog. Although it might seem counter-intuitive you can actually clean their ears too often and cause more harm than good, so always follow the directions your veterinarian gives you. It is important to note that certain cleaners can be toxic to the sensitive cells in the middle ear that are responsible for hearing. All ear cleaners should be approved by your veterinarian before using them in any red, inflamed and painful ear.