Do you regularly clean your dog’s ears? Should you?
Sweet, sleepy Teton.
I’ve cleaned Teton’s ears since we first got him at 8 weeks old. Mind you, I only clean them once a month (after bath time) or unless the little dude is showing signs of irritation or excessive itching. He doesn’t like having his ears cleaned but he’s a good sport.
Teton’s ears have been cleaned with a handful of ear cleaning products ranging from generic pet store potions to fancy schmancy sprays and wipes. Wipes are generally the easiest but also the most expensive. Sprays completely freak him out (I wouldn’t really want something sprayed in my ears either, to be honest). That leaves liquids that can be applied to cotton balls or cloths, which seems to be the lesser of the evils (to Teton at least).
Regardless of whether your dog has had a history of ear infections, ear cleanliness is just as important for your dog as it is for you.
The ASPCA, in one of their articles on pet care, has the following to say regarding the care of your dog’s ears:
Because of the twisty, curvy design of a dog’s inner ears, it’s easy for parasites, bacteria and yeast to hide and thrive in them. This also means that any debris in the canal must work its way up to escape. Infections can result from trapped debris. Dogs with allergies are particularly vulnerable, as are those with floppy ears, like Cocker spaniels, basset hounds and poodles.
They go on to suggest these simple ways to prevent infection:
Your dog’s regular grooming/maintenance routine should include regular ear checks. This is especially important for dogs who produce excessive earwax or have a lot of inner-ear hair:
If your dog’s inner ears appear dirty, clean them with a cotton ball dampened with mineral oil, hydrogen peroxide or a solution formulated specifically for this purpose. Inner-ear skin is delicate, so allow your vet to demonstrate the proper method for cleaning your dog’s ears.
Do not clean your dog’s ears so frequently or deeply as to cause irritation, and take care to NEVER insert anything into your dog’s ear canal.
If your dog sprouts hair from his ear canal, you or your groomer may have to tweeze it out every few weeks to prevent problematic mats and tangles from forming. Please discuss with your vet whether this is necessary for your dog.