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Tip of the Month

4/25/2010 Cleaning Your Dog

If ear infections are not caught or properly treated your dog could sustain permanent damage leading to hearing loss. Some signs that the dog may have an ear infection is shaking its head, constant scratching the ear, redness, ears hot to the touch, sensitivity when touched, foul odor, discharge, or excess dirt. If you suspect that your dog has an ear infection you should consult your veterinarian. While you are inspecting the ear keep an eye out for signs of mites or foxtails as well.

The best way to prepare your dog for ear cleaning by you or your groomer is to frequent touches. When you are sitting with your pet massage the ears. Dog’s ears come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and configurations that require different methods of care. The basic dog ear shapes are:

Drop & Pendant: Some are large, V shape, folded, triangular, and some hang in folds. (Large drop breeds include Hounds & Spaniels, and smaller drop ears include Poodles, Bischons)
Erect: These ears are large upright rounded or blunt tipped. (Breeds include French bulldog, Corgi’s, etc.)
Semi-Erect: Ears that fold over or semi-pricked that folds at the tip and sometimes curls backward. (Some breeds include shepherds & collies)
Semi-Cropped: Ears that have been surgically altered. (Some breeds include Doberman & Great Danes)

Dogs with large drop ears need to be inspected weekly. Try to put them up so they can air and they must be kept dry from moisture. Therefore, if your dog is a swimmer, you must dry the ears completely.

Poodles and Bischons are some of the long hair breeds that require the hair to be plucked from the ear canal. Inspect your dog’s ears to see if there is hair down in the canal. If so, you should make sure to have it noted on your grooming order when you take the dog to the groomer. If you groom your own dog, you will need to purchase ear powder. To begin, lift up one ear, gently tilt the head, and sprinkle in a small amount of ear powder. With your thumb and forefinger, gently pull the hair from the ear canal by grabbing up only a few hairs at a time. When you have successfully removed all of the hair from the ear canal of both ears, it is time to clean them.

Cleaning the Ear (*Note: Follow the instructions on the specific bottle of liquid ear cleaner that you are using. The following directions are for most ear cleaners) Lift the earflap, spritz in some ear cleaner. With your fingers, gently press the side of the dog’s head and swish it a bit, then stand back to let the dog shake its head. Wipe the remaining solution from each ear with cotton balls making sure to use several until the cotton ball appears clean. Add additional solution to a cotton ball if necessary. Never use q-tips.

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