Thinking back, you probably noticed something wrong with your dog early on. He was scratching his ears a little more than usual. He might have even seemed obsessed with cleaning them. Now that you've pulled that ear flap back, you've discovered a smelly mess, and you're not sure what to do.
We expect certain responsibilities when we get that new puppy. Even kids know that a dog comes with obligations. It's why they promise to feed and walk the new dog every day. However, occasionally we discover something we weren't anticipating.
Ear infections in dogs can be one of those unwelcome surprises. The infection will start out small enough, but the next thing you know, you'll catch a whiff of something much more sinister. When you fold that ear back and find lots of gunk, you could even feel a little guilt about letting it get to this point.
Don't. Ear infections sneak up on pet owners all the time. In fact, they are the most common reason dog owners make a costly visit to the vet. Here's what you need to know.
What Causes Ear Infections in Dogs?
As we wrote in our blog post: The Ultimate Guide to Annoying (and Expensive) Dog Ear Problems, there are many different types of infections that can occur in dogs, including bacterial, yeast, and ear mites. In this article, we are focusing on the type of infections responsible for the nasty smell and gunk; bacterial and yeast infections.
To understand the causes of bacterial and yeast infections in dogs' ears you need to understand that a dog's ears angle steeply downward. Because a dog's ear canal is mostly vertical, debris and moisture can build up allowing microbes to grow. Normally, healthy and well maintained dog ears can defend against these bacterial and yeast infections, but sometimes ear environments can change due to allergies, hormone abnormalities, or excessive, long term moisture as mentioned above. Similarly, ear mites or excessive can cause the debris that creates a home for bacteria or yeast to thrive.
Dogs with floppy ears are most susceptible to the infections. The "flop" acts as a moisture trap that allows the infection to grow. Breeds such as basset hounds, beagles, cocker spaniels, and setters are all leading the charts of breeds with frequent ear problems
What are the Symptoms I Should Look Out For?
You might be able to catch the problem early if you notice an unusual or frequent itching. In some ways, ear infections in dogs have a lot of the same symptoms as athlete's foot does for humans. They itch like crazy. Therefore, you will almost certainly notice ole’ Sparky scratching his ears and head on anything and everything possible. It is very common to see a dog with an ear infection running their head along the carpet or slamming it repeatedly into the couch, think of it as a cry for help.
Additionally, a brown, yellow, or bloody discharge is a clear giveaway of an infection. You may also notice a foul odor or redness and swelling around the ear itself. Your friend may also be holding her head at a slight tilt or shake his head regularly. A veterinarian can take a look to confirm that it is an infection if you are unsure. Your vet can even run tests to figure out the cause. Knowing the cause is great, but you'll most likely find yourself treating the symptoms, and you can save yourself the costly trips to the vet by being proactive in keeping your dog’s ears squeaky clean.
Pro Tip: Sometimes your dog will not exhibit any intense scratching or shaking, which might make the infection hard to catch from afar. If you notice that Mr. Scruffles is much more lethargic than usual, you need to figure out why. Lifting up the ears might unveil a foul odor and a goopy mess. So you should always be sure to look into any unusual behavior from your furry companion.
My Dog Definitely Has an Ear Infection - What Kind of Treatments are Available?
Some causes of ear infections in dogs can be difficult to deal with. Excessive hair can be mitigated through regular grooming, and swimming can be avoided but complete elimination of these may be impossible. It's likely you will find yourself controlling the problem and looking towards preventative measures instead.
It’s pretty much a guarantee that you have no interest in spending hundreds of dollars every few months for the vet to give you a small bottle of antibiotics that are chemically questionable for your dog. That being said, in extreme cases, or cases where natural treatments are not effective, it is certainly advisable to have a veterinarian look into your pups ears to find out what is going on.
The first thing you will need to do when treating ear infections is to clean the ears. Just like a skin infection on humans, it is imperative to keep the area clean and free from dirt, debris, and bacteria. Using a dog ear cleaner with a clean cloth, cotton ball or cotton pad, you can get rid of a lot of dirt and bacteria that are causing the infection.
If you are looking for natural treatments, coconut oil has recently been hailed as a miracle cure for everything from heart disease, to immune support to skin care. For doggie ear infections, coconut oil contains antimicrobial lipids, as well as auric acid, caprice acid, and caprylic acid, which have anti fungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. We recently wrote an article on, well basically everything you should know about coconut oil for dogs.
Pro Tip: Sometimes, an allergy will create the reactions that cause the ear build up that makes a home for bacteria and yeast. Fixing the problem could be as simples as controlling your dog's diet. Many of today's dog foods use grain as a filler, and dogs are primarily carnivores. Many of them have a bad reaction to the grain. You may have to experiment with a variety of foods to discover the right combination of ingredients for your friend.
What Can I Do About It?
The best treatment for an ear infection in dogs is keeping the area clean and free of the junk that attracts the yeast or bacteria causing the infection. You need a product that is going to clear out the debris and prevent pests like ear mites from multiplying without irritating your pet's ears. Petpost Dog Ear Cleaner is used by dog owners at home to safely and naturally eliminate ear problems for good.
For only $21.97, you can have the Premium Ear Cleaner that blasts away bacteria and wax that causes infections, GUARANTEED!
Petpost Dog Ear Cleaner powerfully treats symptoms of ear infections and gently soothe your dog’s sensitive ears with our special formula of coconut oil and love. This is the trusted solution by groomers and veterinarians that prefer natural solutions to their most common ailments.
Yes - it’s true, our naturally derived solution doesn’t have ANY harsh chemicals or manufactured antibiotics like other treatments do and it’s made right here in the USA.
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