Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How Do I Know If My Dog Has An Ear Infection?

So, you think your dog may have an ear infection. Do you know the signs? If you are going to a good dog groomer, they should notify you if they find any of the following symptoms.
·         Scratching or rubbing their ears.  A scratch here or there is nothing to be concerned about. However, if you dog is scratching the ears constantly, chances are it has a infection. Also, watch for your dog rubbing the side of his face on the floor. This is another sign.
·         Shaking his head.  My Cocker used to do this a lot. Constant shaking of the head, followed by scratching. This combination is enough to drive both the dog and myself crazy.
·         Strange Odor. When cuddling with your 4 legged fur baby, you may notice a strange odor. It is hard to explain the odor. It smells bad. Lift your dog’s ear and it will be an instant odor that tells you, your dog has an infection.
·         Redness and Swelling – I have seen it, where a dog’s ear will be swollen. Not only on the inside but on the outside as well.  When you lift your dog’s ear the inside will be really red and possibly swollen.
·         Hot to the touch. Along with the redness and swelling, you may notice the dog’s ear is also very hot.
What Causes Ear Infections?
In older dogs, the biggest cause is yeast and bacteria. In puppy’s it could be ear mites. (a blog for another day)  Dog breeds with long droopy ears, can get a lot of ear infections. A couple examples are, Cocker Spaniels and Basset Hounds. With the droopy eared dog the air flow is limited. Anything that gets in their ears, will remain there until you clean them. That is not to say that other breeds do not get ear infections. If your dog is a swimmer there is a high chance water will get in the ear canal, if you don’t remove it with a cotton ball, this can also cause infection.
How do I prevent an ear infection?

The answer to this is keeping your dog’s ears dry and clean. If water gets in the ears, put a dry cotton ball in the ear canal and rub at the base of the ear. This helps absorb the water.   I suggest you use a gentle ear cleaner. I put the ear cleaner on the cotton ball and wipe out the inner ear. I never put liquid into the ear. These few steps once a week should keep your dog healthy and happy.