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How to Check for Dog Ear Problems

Importance of Regular Ear Checks

Dog ear infections and other ear issues can cause significant discomfort for your pet. It's important to regularly check your dog's ears to catch any problems early. While many pet parents may not routinely inspect their dog's ears, getting into the habit of doing so at least once a week can help you spot potential issues before they become serious.

Recognizing Signs of Ear Problems

Regular ear checks are especially important if your dog has a history of ear or skin problems. For dogs with floppy ears, you may need to lift the ear flap to thoroughly inspect the area. Look out for these signs that might indicate an ear problem:

  • Bad odor

  • Discharge

  • Blood

  • Red or irritated skin

  • Swelling

If part of your dog's ear feels like a pillow or balloon, it could be an aural hematoma, which is a collection of blood caused by broken blood vessels. This requires immediate veterinary attention.

Behaviors Indicating Ear Issues

Certain behaviors can also indicate ear problems, such as:

  • Excessive scratching or pawing at the ear

  • Head tilting or shaking

  • Loss of balance or coordination

  • Walking in circles

  • Other dogs excessively sniffing your dog’s ear

These behaviors may signal discomfort or more serious issues like a middle or inner ear infection, which should be treated promptly.

Veterinary Diagnosis and Treatment

If you notice any signs of an ear infection, take your dog to the vet. Do not attempt to treat it at home without veterinary guidance, as improper treatment can worsen the condition. A veterinarian will perform an ear swab to check for infections or mites and will prescribe appropriate medications based on the findings.

Proper Ear Cleaning Practices

While regular ear cleaning can help maintain ear health, over-cleaning can cause more harm than good. Clean your dog's ears only when necessary and after consulting with your vet. For routine cleaning:

  1. Use a pet-safe ear cleaner.

  2. Hold the bottle over the ear canal and gently squeeze the solution into the ear.

  3. Massage the base of the ear to loosen debris.

  4. Allow your dog to shake its head.

  5. Gently wipe away the debris with a cotton ball.

Avoid using cotton swabs, as they can push debris further into the ear and cause injury.

Managing Chronic Ear Infections

Chronic ear infections should be treated early to prevent long-term damage. In severe cases, surgery might be necessary to remove the ear canal. Regular check-ups and prompt treatment of any infections can help maintain your dog's ear health and prevent complications.

By regularly inspecting your dog's ears and seeking veterinary care when needed, you can help ensure your pet's ears remain healthy and free from infections.

dog ear wax color chart
dog ear wax color chart


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