Most dog parents know about ‘bad ears’, an unpleasant condition that causes pain, itchiness and a yeasty smell that lets you know whenever you dog is within a 10-foot radius. It’s often caused by allergies, mites and water in the ears after swimming, but it can also occur when you’re lax about your routine to ensure your dog has clean ears.
It’s important to regularly clean your dog’s ears not only to prevent an infection but also so you can spot an infection early and take your dog to the vet before it gets worse.
Signs of an infection
If your dog has a lot of discharge from the ears, blood in the ears, or the ears look inflamed, feel hot and smell sour you need to get her to your veterinarian right away. Don’t try a home remedy until your dog has seen the vet, and run the remedy by your vet to make sure that, at the very least, it won’t do more damage.
Learn about dogs ears
If you’re very uncertain about the wisdom of poking around in your dog’s ears, ask your vet to give you a demonstration on the best way to safely go about cleaning ears, during which you can also get a brief tutorial about how dogs’ ears work and where the most sensitive areas are. A model, if your vet has one, can be most helpful.
Take note of the network of canals that form the inner and middle ear. Make sure you know where your dog’s ear drum is located, measure the distance using something that you can easily check, like your finger. Always go gently and never stick anything long or hard into your dog’s ear. Just one slip or a jerk from your dog and you could do permanent damage that result in the loss of your dog’s sense of hearing.
Start an ear cleaning routine as soon as your has shown you how to clean your dog’s ears safely. Remember to have plenty of treats to get your through cleaning. Save enough so you can give a jackpot reward when you’re finished.
Depending on your personal preferences you may decide to get a dog ear cleaning kit from your vet or you may choose to make your own. No matter which option you choose, make sure the cleaning solution is at room temperature or a tad higher. This helps dogs feel more comfortable and makes it easier to clean their ears.
Make your own remedy for clean ears
Always try to use the gentlest ingredients when preparing your home remedies. The following recipes use ingredients that are easy to buy, and are gentle enough to do the job without causing your dog undue discomfort.
Witch Hazel & Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Mix one part witch hazel and one part organic apple cider vinegar. About half a cup of each should do the trick, but you can experiment until you get it just right. Shake the solution well.
Make sure you use a soft ear syringe. You can find them in the baby section of most supermarkets and pharmacies. They’re made of a very soft and flexible material that can fold and bend very easily. Moisten some cotton wool in the solution and squeeze all the liquid out so that it is damp (not dripping). Wipe out the inside of your dog’s ears, being careful not to go to deep.
Note: Witch hazel is milder and gentler than rubbing alcohol. Apple cider vinegar helps restore the natural balance in your dog’s ear. It also helps dry out excess moisture from the witch hazel.
Warm a cup by filling it with hot water, empty the cup and add two teaspoons of Aloe Vera Gel. Wait for the gel to warm up and then place a teaspoon of gel into each of your dog’s ears. Be very careful with the teaspoon. If you don’t have a steady hand you can use your little finger. Aloe Vera works very well as a disinfectant and soothes irritated, red ears. Note: Don’t use more than a teaspoon.
Almond or Olive Oil
You can use almond or olive oil, which are gentle on the skin and help loosen dirt and wax. Warm the oil by adding hot water to a cup. When the cup is hot, discard the water and add the oil. Wait a minute or two and place about half a teaspoon of oil into each ear with a teaspoon or a dropper.
A cautionary note: You may have searched the internet and found a host of different homemade ear cleaning remedies; however, be very cautious with anything that recommends rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. They can cause burning, and peroxide can harm healthy tissue.