How to Choose and Use Dog Ear Cleaners

BedProd[tag-tec]Dog ear cleaners[/tag-tec] have two purposes – to clean the ear and keep it dry, and protect against [tag-tec]dog ear infections[/tag-tec].

Dog ear infections can occur when the ear retains too much moisture; bacteria and yeast spores that are normally present in the ear canal will flourish in moist conditions.

Ear infections can also occur when debris such as dirt, seeds, and wax become lodged in your dog’s ear. As your dog scratches to try and dislodge the debris the ear becomes traumatized and swollen – swollen ears are usually warm ears, and warm conditions encourage the growth of bacteria and yeast spores.

How do you choose an ear cleaner?

You should discuss with your vet the most appropriate ear cleaner for your dog’s needs; ear cleaners have been developed to treat particular conditions so it’s best to use one your vet recommends.

As an example, if your dog is predisposed to ear infections then your vet may suggest using a product that contains anti-bacterial or anti-fungal ingredients, or one that changes the level of acidity in the ear to prevent the growth of bacteria and/or yeast infections.

Certain ear cleaners contain drying agents, and these are good for dogs whose ears retain a great deal of moisture.

If your dog suffers with particularly smelly ears, the ear cleaner may be one specially perfumed to mask the smell.

If, like me, you prefer to use as few chemicals as possible on your dog, then there are two home remedies you can apply. You should not use these if your dog has an existing ear infection, or his ears are looking red and are irritating him because the ingredients can cause further irritation.

  • mix 1 part white vinegar and 10 parts water and apply a few drops to the ear canal as an ear wash. The vinegar is good at removing wax, and helps to get rid of bacteria and fungal spores.
  • mix equal parts white vinegar and isopropyl alcohol and apply a few drops to the ear canal; alcohol is a good drying component.

Liquid of ear cleaning pads?

Ear cleaning pads are convenient if you just need to clean the visible part of your dog’s ear flap. Essentially they are cotton pads pre-soaked in ear cleaner, and you can get the same effect by putting your regular liquid cleaner onto cotton balls.

If you are putting ear cleaner into your dog’s ear, then you’ll need to purchase a liquid cleaner.

How often should you use ear cleaners?

Again, ask your vet’s opinion on this. Some dogs need to have their ears cleaned once or twice a week to prevent ear infections and other dogs’ ears hardly need any cleaning at all.

Excessive use of cleaners can lead to ear infections:

  • the cleaner can soften the ear to such an extent that it causes swelling and folding of skin in the ear canal – such changes to your dog’s ear environment can promote the growth baceterial and yeast microrganisms;
  • continual use of products that contain anti-bacterial ingredients can lead to your dog developing bacteria that are resistant to these anti-bacterial agents, so making the treatment of an ear infection more difficult; and
  • regular use of ear powders without effective ear cleaning can result in powder deposits remaining in the ear and causing an ear infection.

Dog ear cleaners are an essential part of your dog care kit, just take your vet’s advice as to the best one for your dog and how often you should use it.

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