The first issue to rule out is ear mites. Mites, small creatures similar to spiders, effect young animals more than older ones. They live on or just under the skin and can cause ear infections. Owners can determine ear mites by the dark red, brown or black crumbly discharge in the dog’s ear. This can be treated with several topical medications. Mita Clear is a lotion that contains two potent parasiticides that kill adult and larval stages of ear mites. Owners should make sure the ears are cleaned out before administering this medication, since it has to reach the ear mites.
The ear is meant to be a self-cleaning organ. However, sometimes dogs have more secreting glands than normal, or an infection has made their cell shedding mechanism ineffective. This is why keeping the ears clean is a way to ensure general health. Using a solution like 1-800-PetMeds Ear Cleansing Solution will clean, dry, acidify and deodorize a dog’s ear canal, discouraging bacterial or fungal infections.
To clean the ears, owners should soak a cotton ball in the solution or medication, then put the cotton ball in the ear, close the ear flap and gently massage. Always reward the dog after this uncomfortable action. This will also have to be undertaken if a dog comes down with an ear infection, which can be yeast or bacterial and is usually caused by earwax buildup, parasites, humidity or swimming.
Sometimes an excess buildup of earwax will require owners to flush the ears clean. Owners should only undertake this action with a veterinarian’s approval and with veterinarian-recommended solutions that are at room temperature. Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleanser is an antiseptic and keratolytic that helps to soften and peel the outer layer of skin where yeast and bacteria thrive.
Owners should gently fill the ear with the cleaning solution and use a regular or bulb syringe to suck back the fluid. Ear flushing is not a whirlpool action, and owners should never rub or massage the dog’s ear to distribute the medication. This can damage the seventh and eighth cranial nerves and cause deafness or loss of balance.