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Ear care for dogs: tips for healthy ears

Ear care in dogs is neither one of the most popular topics among dog owners, nor is it particularly exciting. And yet it is an important topic, because anyone whose dog has ever had an ear infection knows that the pelt-noses suffer a lot. For this reason, we would like to introduce you to the most important tips and tricks for ear care in dogs.

Dog ears: A sensitive sensory organ

Dogs are not only gifted sniffers, but also have much better hearing than humans. Similar to humans, their auditory canal is quite long. To clean the sensitive sensory organ, the dog has glands that produce earwax and thus clean the ear canal by itself. In some cases, however, the glands produce excessive amounts of earwax or a wrong nutrition and a susceptible immune system cause the sensitive structure in the dog's ear to become unbalanced. Fungi, germs and bacteria then have an easy time of it and make your pet feel uncomfortable. Some signs can indicate ear problems, including possibly

  • your dog often shakes his head,
  • he scratches his ear a lot or
  • he appears ill, for example, he has no appetite and is listless.

In such cases, it is best to consult your vet and get a diagnosis. Then you can be sure that the right therapy is chosen and that your pet will get better quickly.

Ear infections

Inflammations in the ear can have various causes: In dog breeds that have floppy ears instead of prick ears and tend to have a lot of fur on their ears, lack of ventilation can make fungi and bacteria feel at home in the pinna more quickly. Allergies and foreign bodies can also cause inflammation. Externally, an inflammation is recognisable, for example, by

  • purulent or encrusted areas,
  • redness
  • unpleasant odour or
  • dirt.

If a dog with droopy ears is your faithful companion, or if your pet has already been diagnosed with an allergy, you should regularly check that the ears are clean, smell normal and that your dog appears healthy in all other respects. If you suspect an inflammation, it is important to consult a vet. He can see if the eardrum is intact and decide on treatment.

Our tip: If your pet is a water-loving quadruped, you should avoid brackish, smelly waters when you are out and about. After bathing and splashing in apparently clean water, you should carefully dry and gently clean the ears. This is the best way to prevent germs from entering the ear.

Parasites in the dog's ear

Especially if you discover what you think is brown dirt in your dog's ear canal, it could be ear mites. These tiny parasites feed on dead skin cells, among other things, and cause your pet to itch. They are also very contagious, so it's best to see a vet and have the condition checked out. With suitable anti-parasitic medication, e.g. special ear cleaners and ear rinses, the problem can be quickly controlled.

Gentle ear care for your dog

If your dog is one of those sensitive animals who are particularly sensitive around the ears and tend to get ear infections (either because they have thick fur or because they swim a lot), you can start getting them used to regular ear care at an early stage. It is very important to remember that cotton buds are not suitable for cleaning a dog's ear - neither for the pinna nor for the deeper ear canal! A sudden movement will only push earwax, dirt and germs deep into the ear canal or you will hurt your beloved pet's ear.

Cleaning a dog's ear: the right way to do it

What you need:

  • a light cloth, a fine flannel or cotton wool are best for cleaning
  • a fur scissors, if you want to shorten the fur on the ears
  • treats as a reward

Prepare everything and find a cosy, quiet place where your dog can come to rest. Then you can get started:

  1. Moisten the cloth: Depending on how you want to clean the ear, moisten the cloth with lukewarm water or drip a few drops of dog ear care onto cotton wool (alternatively, home remedies for dog care are also suitable). Some ear care products, such as liquid ear rinses and ear cleaners, are applied directly into the ear. Here you should read the product-specific application instructions carefully before you start cleaning.
  2. Gently wipe out: A lop ear is now gently folded over so that the auricle is exposed. You can now gently wipe out earwax and dirt. You don't need to be afraid of damaging the eardrum, as it is hidden behind a crease in the dog's ear. Once you have done this, it is time for a well-deserved reward.
  3. Shortening the hair: If your dog has very long fur on his ears that hinders the ventilation, you can shorten it with a fur scissors. Again, work gently and calmly and reward your pet with treats in between, e.g. when he accepts the scissors, has made the first cut and bravely continues to hold still. By the way, it doesn't matter if you don't manage to do both ears at once: then next time it's simply the other side's turn.

Depending on your needs, repeat the cleaning up to once a week.

Our tip: Some dog owners swear by plucking the hair from the ears rather than cutting it, as this is said to be more efficient. However, before you try plucking, your dog should be able to tolerate the cutting without any problems. Alternatively, you can of course visit a groomer.

Natural home remedies for ear care in dogs

Some dog owners swear by coconut oil not only for tick protection and paw care, but also use the popular all-rounder to clean the dog's ears: Applied to a cloth, it cleans the ear well. The prerequisite is that your dog is not allergic to coconut oil. An alternative home remedy for cleaning the ears is lukewarm salt water, i.e. water in which you dissolve a little salt. This also has an antibacterial effect.

Conclusion: Regular, gentle ear care can help keep some dogs' ears healthy. If you notice any unfamiliar changes in your dog's ear, or if your dog seems different than usual, you should take him to the vet. Tell us about your experiences: How and how often do you clean your pet's ears and does he bravely endure it or did you have to come up with effective tricks? We are curious!

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