There can be several reasons that your dog’s ears are itchy (or it may be only one ear). Bacteria and yeast, ear mites, and allergies are among the top of the list for causing intense ear itching. And believe it or not, itchy ears is the most common reason a pet owner will take their dog to the vet (not counting yearly check-ups).
Symptoms That Your Dog Has An Ear Infection
The following are the common signs that your dog has an ear problem.
- They try to scratch their ears ever so gently, but it does no good, because it itches deep down.
- They rub their head on the ground.
- Their head is titled a lot.
- Their ears smell bad – non-infected ears basically have no smell.
Whatever the cause, you need to figure out what is causing the problem, itchy or not, and correct it fast. This is not only painful, but can cause secondary infections in the ear as your dog tries to scratch.
What To Do If You Suspect An Ear Infection
If your dog does not get frequent ear infections (which is what causes the itching), then most definitely take them to the vet for a diagnosis.
But for many dog owners, ear infections and itchy ears are just a way of life. Whether it is due to the shape of the ear that keeps it dark and moist and makes it a great place for bacteria, yeast, and mites to flourish, or if it is due to allergies, you know you need to keep the ear as clean and dry as possible.
Cleaning the ear can be very painful for your dog, depending upon how inflamed the skin is. Some dogs just don’t like having their ear cleaned. Still for others, the feeling of the ear cleaner going in the ear is enough to make them run and hide when it is time to clean their ears. But they need to be cleaned, and if the vet prescribes it, an antibiotic may also need to be applied to the ear after cleaning.
Tips For Cleaning Dog’s Ears
- Perform the cleaning either outside, or near a door where your dog can immediately go outside after the cleaning (they will need to shake their head and stuff may come out)
- Cotton balls seem to work best.
- Instead of pouring the cleaner in the ear, try saturating a cotton ball – to the point of it dripping – and put it in your dog’s ear. Close the ear flap over it with one hand and gently massage the cotton ball/ear cleaner for a minute or two. This keeps liquid from shooting down their ear canal, which many dogs don’t like.
- Gently massaging the ear helps the ear cleaner to break up the gunk. After a minute or two, remove the cotton ball and gently swipe with clean cotton balls to get rid of all the residue.
- Remember to do this all very gently and slowly – the ear tissue is very sensitive.
- When you’ve got as much of it out as you can, allow you dog to shake his head (let him do this outside for the least amount of mess). This should get most of the liquid out.
- Only use ear cleaners recommended for dogs, as you don’t want something that will leave liquid in the ear, but you also don’t want something that will dry out the ear.
If you are at all in doubt about why your dog’s ears are infected or smelly, a quick trip to your vet is the best place to start. However, once you know what the problem is, you will probably have to be cleaning your dog’s ears at home from now on. But with a little practice, you’ll get this down and your dog will thank you for not having itchy ears anymore.