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Dog Ear Problems

The heightened sense of hearing that dogs have is incredible. They can hear sounds in the range of 40-60,000 Hz while the human range is only 20-20,000 Hz. You will often see your dog get up and walk to the front door or bark way before your house visitor rings the bell. To keep our dogs hearing in tip top condition you need to know how to check and clean them.

A Basenji with its beautiful tall ears perked up
A Basenji with its beautiful tall ears perked up

Checking For Deafness

If you would like to get your puppy’s hearing tested, you can have them checked by your vet from the age of 8 weeks. It is not unusual for Bull Terriers, Dalmatians and white Boxers to be fully or partially deaf. Remember that a dog with impaired hearing requires close attention and often a bit of help with day to day tasks.

How To Check For An Ear Infection / Yeast Infection

Your dog’s ears should be clean with very minimal visible wax. Ear infections are usually caused by an overgrowth of yeast, which is why you might hear it being referred to as a yeast infection.

Typical ear infection symptoms to look out for in your dog include persistent scratching, shaking of the head, tilting the head, smelly ears, redness and inflammation.

A healthy dog ear
A healthy dog ear

Your vet might prescribe ear drops for your dog. They may need administering several times a day, but check what your vet’s instructions are. In some cases your vet might prescribe an oral antibiotic in the form of a pill to fight the infection. To find out how to give your dog a pill read here.

How to Check For Ear Mites

It is also very important to check inside your dog’s ears for ear mites as these pesky beasties can be irritating for your dog. Look out for dark bumps in the ear canal, as well as persistent scratching, shaking or tilting the head. Ear mites are highly contagious and can be found on dogs at any age. It is also useful to know that ear mites can be passed between other animal species, but they do not affect humans.

Treatment for ear mites come in the form of ear drops which should be used for 10 days to kill all of the mites and eggs. You should also apply flea treatment at the same time to kill off any ectopic (in an abnormal place or position) mites. Make sure that you clean all of your dog’s bedding, and treat all of your animals at the same time as mites are very contagious and can live away from the dog’s body for a long time.

How To Clean Your Dog’s Ears

Cleaning your dog's ears can be tricky and requires patience. To clean your dog’s ears, fill the ear canal with a cleaning solution that you can get from your vets. Next, place a cotton ball (not a q-tip) over the opening of the ear to prevent the solution from escaping. Now slowly tilt your dog’s head back and forth so that any debris that is inside the ear can move around and get caught on the cotton ball. Repeat this a few times until your dog’s ears appear clean, and then allow the ear canals to dry.

Small amounts of wax inside the ear canal is natural, but if you notice an excess or buildup of wax then you must contact your vet. They will be able to remove it without impairing your dog’s hearing or causing too much discomfort. If your dog is constantly scratching at it’s ears, or the ears smell or appear inflamed then you should notify your vet. These are the usual signs of infection.

A dog with a small amount of ear wax
A dog with a small amount of ear wax

Floppy ears can get very warm and sometimes damp, which is why they are most vulnerable to infections. Bacteria is able to grow quickly in these ideal conditions, so it is important to carry out routine checks. Trim any stray hairs that grow down the ear canal, as this can cause irritation which may lead to infection.

Never put q-tips inside your dog’s ears. This can be extremely damaging and can cause your dog to go deaf in a matter of seconds.

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