Dog Ear Infections

There are some common dog health problems that are breed specific. Dog ear infections, however, are a problem for most breeds of dogs.  If not properly treated, the problem is likely to be ongoing and can, in some cases, lead to serious complications.

Symptoms

Many times, a dogs ear infection is not diagnosed until a vet discovers it during a routine visit. The longer the infection goes untreated, the greater the chances for complications.

That is why it is important for all dog owners to learn the symptoms so that they can seek treatment right away.  Some of the most common symptoms are listed below.

• Foul odor from the dog’s ears
• Dog shakes his head a lot
• Dog scratches at his ears
• Dog holds head at an angle or walks with head off to one side
• Discharge from the ears

If you notice any of the above symptoms, you should get your dog to the vet as soon as possible. While there are some home remedies available, the effectiveness of such products is open to debate. The best way to handle ear infections is by allowing the vet to prescribe medication.

Treatments

The exact treatment will depend on what caused the dogs ear infection. Some are caused by bacteria, allergies, or fungus.

Water in the ear can also sometimes lead to an infection, because it helps to create an environment within the ear that is a suitable breeding ground for infection.

The treatment plan may include medication that is placed directly into the ear and/or oral medication.

As mentioned above, there are some home remedies, but those should be in conjunction with, rather than in place of, prescription medications. Also, you should consult with your vet before using any type of home remedy to treat an ear infection.

Prevention

The majority of dog ear infections can be prevented by practicing diligent hygiene. This includes regularly cleaning your dog’s ears. If you have your dog professionally groomed on a regular basis, this should include proper cleaning of the ears.

If you are not sure, ask your groomer. If ear cleaning is not included, consider adding it. Even if you have to pay more, it is well worth it.

If you groom your dog at home, you will need to learn how to properly clean your dog’s ears. You will need to purchase a cleaning solution, and you should ask your vet for advice about which is best for your dog.

After putting the cleaning solution into the dog’s ears, gently grab the base of the ear and rub and shake in order to make sure the solution gets down into the ear canal.

Using cotton swabs, clean out any debris from the ear while taking care not to insert the swab into the ear canal.

Your vet can show you how to properly clean your dog’s ears. If you are unsure, it is best to watch the vet do it before trying it yourself.

It was mentioned earlier that most breeds of dogs are susceptible to ear infections, but those with long ears, such as Cocker Spaniels, have a higher risk.

The best thing a pet owner can do is work to prevent the infections. This will save money for vet bills and will also save your pet the discomfort that an ear infection brings.

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