All responsible pet owners should periodically check their pet’s ears for signs of infections or other problems. Making sure that your animal’s ears are healthy and clean is quite important for their well-being.
If a dog persistently scratches its ears then it might be in serious need for some ear cleaning! Image: anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Proper Ear Cleaning for Pets
Not all pets need to have their ears cleaned. Big-eared dogs do need attention and periodical ear cleaning as well as some cats and generally both cats and dogs after a certain age.
First of all, the only tools you need to clean your pet’s ears are some gauze and a suitable ear cleaning solution from your vet or pet store. Cotton swabs should be avoided since even a slight jerk while cleaning your pet’s ears might cause irreversible damage to the pet’s ear.
When cleaning the ears of a pet, first slowly open the ear and apply the cleaning solution. Gently massage the base of the ear and wait for the ear solution to flow down the ear cana. Then wipe off any discharge that comes out with some gauze.
In case that your pet is recovering from an ear infection or another ear condition (see below) any medication ointments or drops that your vet has prescribed should be applied after the ear is clean and dry and not while it is still unclean.
Managing Ear Infections
Yeasts and bacteria can build-up in an animal’s ear canal, leading to an ear infection.
Signs of ear infections include excessive earwax production, discolored earwax, foul smell, abnormal wetness, scaling, bleeding, redness, irritation and more.
There is little you can do for your pet to alleviate an ear infection besides a visit to your vet for medical care. However, after treatment you should make sure your pet’s ears stay clean and healthy since immediately after an infection is cured the ear is at a most susceptible state to contract a new infection.
Other Pet Ear Problems
Apart from ear infections there are some other conditions that can potentially damage your pet’s ears.
Ear mites are parasitic organisms that find shelter inside the ears of pets and special treatment is needed in order to remove them.
In some relatively rare occasions a pet’s ears might show signs of infection while in fact the pet suffers from another, more serious medical condition. Since you should get your vet to examine your pet’s ears in case of infection any more serious underlying ear problems will be diagnosed there.