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Dogs and Ear Infections- How to clean your dogs ears

Cleaning your dog's ears....

Many pet owners are faced with their dog's ear infections. They can be chronic or one time infections, they can be quick to heal or complicated. Let's see what we can do about giving you some tips that will be helpful to you if you are dealing with your dogs ear infections.

Working in a clinic we often see dogs from Arizona with allergies, whether they are a food allergy causing the ear infections, environmental or genetic, they can all be the same…. Itchy, yucky and bothersome!

Here are some tips for you to remember if your dog has an ear infection or if you suspect it does and you are going to your veterinarian to have them examined.

1. Don’t clean your dog’s ears right before its examination! The veterinarian needs to see the current condition of your dogs ears. Your vet will be looking for the organisms inside the canals and on the inside flaps. If you clean all of the debris away the veterinarian will not be able to diagnose what organisms were present which will make treating difficult.

2. If you are using an OTC ear cleaner for dogs, that’s okay….. We just need to know! If you’ve put home remedies in the ears, we need to know that too. This will all make a difference in what to prescribe to you.

3. Don’t be afraid to admit you have no idea how to clean your dog’s ears. It’s not as easy with some dogs as you’d think. We can do a demonstration and clean your dog’s ears with you at your visit. If you go home and we think you understand how to do it, but you don’t, there’s a good chance you won’t do it and your pet’s ear infection will not clear up. Then when you have to come back because your pet’s ears are even worse.

So please take the above into consideration. Veterinarians want to heal your pet’s ear infection as much as you do.

 "Severe dog Ear Infection"

How to clean your dog's ears.

1. Follow the EXACT directions your veterinary label states. Often the first step is to clean first removing debris so the medication will line the canals and reach the deep inside.

2. Outside in your yard is sometimes best for cleaning ears so when your pet shakes its head the cleaner and debris go into the yard not all over the walls of your home.

3. Using a towel (size appropriate for size of dog) you can drape this around it's head and neck area to catch any spillage of the cleaner.

4. Hold the pinna (Ear flap) straight upwards towards the sky, give a hardy squirt of the cleaner into the canal.

Holding dog Pinna upwards

5. Gently squeeze and massage around the lower portion of the ear until it makes a squishing sound. This helps loosen the exudate. Once you’ve massaged the ear move back and let your dog shake his head, releasing any loose exudate.

6. Once he’s done shaking, gently take a cotton ball and wipe out any excess debris.

 Dog’s have both a horizontal and a vertical canal. It’s pretty tough for you to reach and harm the ear drum but if your pet dislikes this, he may move suddenly causing the Q-tip to lodge deeper than you meant.

8. If your pet does not allow you to hold his ear up and “squish” the base with the ear cleaner an alternative is to put the cleaner on a couple of cotton balls and do your best at gently cleaning the exudates out this way.

9. You may also use the tissue method if you really want to get fancy. This is where you take a regular nasal tissue and twist it until it has a long, pointy tip. This tip can be placed in the canal as far as you can get it by twisting and gently pushing it in the first, vertical canal. Once you remove the tissue, debris or exudates from the ear should be adhered to the pointed tip of the Kleenex.

We hope this will help you with cleaning your pet’s ears at home!

If you are still uncomfortable doing this alone, please let your veterinarian know. Ear infections can be tough to clear up and if you aren’t doing everything the right way the first time, you’ll most likely find that this will be a long and expensive infection to clear up.

Thanks pet friends and good luck with the ear cleaning!

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