Although, the internal anatomy is still the same; an animal’s outer ear comes in all shapes, sizes and designs. These ear flaps can cause different health issues. For example, animals with droopy ears like labs, cocker spaniels, bulldogs and bloodhounds are prone to develop bacteria and yeast infections in their ears. Moisture gets trapped inside the floppy ear and can’t escape, thus allowing yeast and bacteria to multiply inside. Dogs and cats that have access to the outdoors are susceptible to ear mites. To properly treat these ear problems, the ears have to be cleaned. Because another function of ears is to help with balance, extremely dirty ears and inner ear infections can cause a loss of balance in your pet.
QUICK ANATOMY LESSON: the ear canal is L-shaped. It is vertical towards the jaw and then makes a 45-degree turn horizontally towards the ear drum. Even though dogs and cats are different in a lot of ways, cleaning their ears are very similar. You have probably been warned about using Q-tips in pet ears. They can be used – cautiously. You don’t want to push the debris further into the ear canal and you need to keep the pet from shaking their head while the Q-tip is in the ear. Cotton balls or gauze pads may be safer alternatives.
From puppy-hood on, your dog should be used to touching their ears, lifting the flap and looking inside. Cats are no different, from kitten-hood on, getting them used to you gently grasping the ear flap and peering inside should be normal for them. We recommend utilizing the kitty burrito to confine your kitty while cleaning his/her ears.
For maintenance cleaning of normal waxy debris soak gauze or cotton with ear cleaner and wipe out the visible ear canal with all of its nooks and crannies.
For cleaning out really dirty ears, fill the visible ear canal with ear cleaner and massage the base of the ear allowing the cleaner to work deeper into the canal and break up the debris then allow your pet to shake their head. Shaking the head will bring debris to the visible part of the ear canal and allow you to wipe it out with gauze or cotton.
Repeat either step above until the ear wipes clean.
**Do not stick the tip of the ear cleaner bottle deep into the ear canal – if you would accidentally leave go of the bottle while it is still deep in the canal it could suck in debris and contaminate the whole bottle.**
WORD OF CAUTION: Utilizing home products to formulate your own natural remedy isn’t always the best answer for an ear problem. Apple cider vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baby oil, and rubbing alcohol all have their place but not necessarily in the ear of a dog or cat. Ear treatments vary depending on the issue: ear mites, bacterial infection, or yeast infection. Treating with the wrong or inefficient product can compound problems. If you suspect an infection based on amount of debris, odor or appearance, an appointment with the veterinarian is best. Our team can collect samples from the ears and see what is causing the infection and prescribe an appropriate cleaner and treatment regimen. Our veterinarian will look into the ears to ensure that the eardrum isn’t ruptured. Certain medications, cleaners or household products can cause more damage to your pet. Veterinary ear products are specifically designed for the natural PH level in a pet’s ears
If you have a dog that loves to play in the water, or a dog that gets regular baths, it is a good idea to clean the ears after these activities. Ear cleaner will help dry any water that remains in the ear canal. Water left in the canal can lead to secondary ear infections.