Monday, April 25, 2016
Canine Ear Health
Ear problems are probably one of the top reasons dog owners visit the vet. A dog's ears should be regularly monitored in order to keep them healthy and infections at bay. Once an infection starts, it can become time-consuming for the owner and agony for the dog. Often, a two-prong attack is what is needed to find out what is causing a dog's ears to become infected and to provide relief. The owner needs to 1. consult a veterinarian for medication that will provide immediate relief and 2. Examine what environmental factors are causing the dog's ears to become irritated. It is important to stay on top of your dog's ear health. Prolonged ear infection can cause permanent damage to you furry family member's hearing.
A veterinarian's medication will provide immediate relief for your dog's ears, but if the environmental factors that are causing the problem are not fixed, ear infections will become chronic. Often, an ear infection is caused by a dietary allergy. Bacteria and yeast are naturally present in your dog's gut, but can get out of whack from excess amounts of grain and sugar. Another factor that can cause excessive bacteria and yeast is moisture. If your dog is a swimmer, it is important to dry out your dog's ears after swimming. Also, check your dog's ears for grass seeds after hiking. These little babies can get lodged into the ear causing your dog A LOT of pain. Sometimes, surgical removal is required. Often your veterinarian might suggest using an oil to soften the lodged seed. But this should only be done if recommended by your vet.
If your dog is showing signs of an ear infection, it is important to take your dog to the vet for a diagnosis of what is causing the infection. If an antibiotic is prescribed, it might be beneficial to supplement your dog's diet with a probiotic to keep your dog's gut in balance. Healthy ears will not require frequent cleaning. In fact, over cleaning your dog's ears can cause infections as well! If you need to clean your dog's ears, please make sure you only clean the visible part of the ear. Like humans, it is not a good idea to stick a q-tip or anything else inside the ear. This could cause damage or blockage.
There are many good ear cleaners on the market, but you can also make your own ear cleaner at home. I have pinned a few examples here. Frequent monitoring of your dog's ears will keep those ears floppy as well as perking up in all directions!