You can tell so much about your pet by looking at their ears. These adorable and expressive body parts are not only a vehicle for sensory input, they also convey emotion and are an important means of communication.
Keeping your dog’s or cat’s ears in tip-top shape is an important part of pet care. Dog ears in particular are prone to problems, thanks to a horizontal ear canal that makes it easy for dirt and debris to become trapped. Clairmont Animal Hospital is happy to walk you through the basics of pet ear cleaning.
Stop, Look, and… Sniff?
About once per week, take a good look at the inside of your pet’s ears (lift the ear flaps if necessary). In both cats and dogs, the ear canal should be pink and free from dirt or debris (a small amount of waxy coating is normal). Lean in and take a sniff – healthy ears should not have a strong or unpleasant odor.
Signs of Trouble
Ear infections, mite infestations, or foreign objects can all cause problems for pets. Don’t clean your pet’s ears if you notice any of the following signs of trouble:
- Foul odor
- Any type of discharge from the ear
- Frequent head shaking
- Rubbing head/ears against the carpet or furniture
- Excessive yawning
- Reacting with pain when ears are touched
Pet Ear Cleaning
Fortunately, pet ear cleaning is simple and doesn’t require a lot of equipment. All that’s needed is a good quality pet ear cleaning solution (call us for recommendations), cotton balls, and a towel. Then follow these steps:
- Position your dog so their backside is facing you. Lift up the ear flap and fill the canal with cleaning solution (do not insert the applicator into the ear canal).
- Massage the base of the ear to let the solution work its way down.
- Allow your dog to shake the solution out of their ear.
- Wipe the canal with a cotton ball.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Reward your dog with treats and praise.
Not all dogs need their ears cleaned – in fact, overcleaning can cause irritation and other problems. Your veterinarian can help you develop a cleaning schedule that meets your pet’s needs.
Cats generally don’t need their ears cleaned unless indicated by a veterinarian. However, they should still have their ears inspected each week. Any dirt can be gently wiped away with a damp towel or cotton ball.
Please don’t hesitate to contact our staff for more information or to schedule an appointment for your pet.