Dog ear infections are a challenge to diagnose. While the condition is common in dogs, you may not know your dog is suffering until some other symptom shows up to alert you to the underlying problem.
Some dog breeds are more prone to ear infections than others. Sometimes allergies trigger inflammation that can lead to ear problems. The following pointers can help you ensure your dog is free of ear infections that can affect his happiness and general well being.
Symptoms of Ear Infections
A dog ear infection can range from mild to severe and can cause a number of different symptoms. Ear scratching is a common symptom. You may think your dog has a flea problem. A yellow or brown discharge may ooze from the ear. You may see redness in the ear canal or crusted, scaly skin. The ear may emit a foul, musty odor. The dog may lose hair around the ear or wipe the ear on the floor or carpeting. He may even suffer a loss of balance or hearing.
Causes of Ear Infections
Canine ear infections are caused by bacteria or yeast that abide in the warm, moist conditions of the ear canal. These conditions are the perfect breeding ground. Microorganisms multiply quickly, causing inflammation and sometimes pain.
Bacteria can be introduced through bathing without taking care of the delicate ear canal, through swimming or incorrect ear cleaning. A dog’s ear canal dips downward and horizontally making it easy for water or debris to become trapped.
Allergies can also cause chronic irritation of the ear canal making it susceptible to infection. Ear mites can be a problem, too, especially in puppy’s ears. Less obvious symptoms of ear infection include head shaking, lethargy and loss of appetite.
Your veterinarian will diagnose the ear problem by a visual inspection with an otoscope. He or she will also analyze a sample of the secretions from the ear under a microscope. These tests will tell the vet what type of germ is terrorizing the neighborhood so that the right medication can be prescribed.
Often the vet will prescribe eardrops for you to administer several times a day over a few days. You may need a second person to help hold the animal while you place the drops into the ears. The vet may also prescribe pain medication to control discomfort until the infection is under control.
Our herbal solution to dog ear infections of all types and for all breeds is called EarMist. It’s entirely holistic and organic, a 100% natural remedy for dogs with ear mites, bacteria and fungal infections.
Oral Antibiotic Medications
Ear infections are sometimes severe enough to require an oral antibiotic to help eliminate the bacteria completely from the ear canal. These medications may be in liquid or pill form. Administering pills to dogs can be difficult. You may have to hide the pill in a piece of cheese or other soft food that he particularly enjoys. Liquids can be messy to administer if the animal dislikes the taste. You may need to call in a helper for medication time.
An alternative to antibiotics with their notorious reputation for wiping out friendly bacteria in the gut is our natural approach to killing off only the bad bacteria. Your dog’s immune system knows best who is friend or foe. Our Primalix Immune can kick-start the dog immune response to begin healing from the inside out. It will then nourish the liver, kidneys and intestines to bring about added balance. You may want to try the special combination of EarMist and Primalix Immune together for best results. (See below)
Allergies are often the cause of dog ear infections. Your veterinarian can help you determine whether the cause of the allergy is from (a) food that is consumed or from (b) environmental factors.
The allergy begins with an irritation in the ear canal from allergens that are breathed in or from food consumed. This makes it easy for bacteria and yeast to take hold, a condition often called “yeasty ears.” Once the allergy is under control, however, fewer dog ear problems will occur. Antihistamine or steroid medications may ultimately be necessary to control allergy symptoms including the awful unscratchable itch.
Dogs Breeds Prone to Frequent Ear Infections
Dogs with long ears tend to get more frequent ear problems because of the inability of air to flow into the ear canal. Cocker spaniels, basset hounds, golden retrievers, dachshunds and poodles are often vulnerable to frequent dog ear infections.
Dogs that grow hair in the ear canal, such as schnauzers, are also susceptible to dog ear infections. These dogs may give off an unpleasant odor from the ears. This alerts the owner that an ear infection has set in. When ear infections are a recurring problem, veterinarians may advise owners to gently tie back the dog’s ears periodically to allow adequate air flow into the ears.
Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears
Cleaning the ear canal after baths can help reduce the number of ear infections. Gently swab out the ear with plain water. Do not use alcohol as it can sting delicate ear tissues. Never use Q-tips or other objects to clean your dog’s ears. Spray with EarMist … then dab with a dry cotton ball to allow the ear to dry thoroughly.