How to help dogs with outer ear infections.
Dogs can get three different ear infections, an inner ear, middle ear and outer ear infections.
Inner and middle ear infections are serious and must be diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian. Fortunately, inner and middle ear infections are rare.
Outer ear infections are much more common, about 20% of dogs will get one in their life.
Outer ear infections are much less serious than inner and middle ear infections, and as a dog owner, we can take valuable steps to help address a mild outer ear infection.
The medical name for an infection or inflammation of the outer ear canal is otitis externa.
Outer ear infections are caused by a variety of different bacteria and by the yeast Malassezia pachydermatis.
A normal healthy dog ear has excellent defenses against these organisms, but allergies, the wrong diet or moisture can get bacteria or use the upper hand.
When to Contact your Veterinarian
- If your dog tilts its head constantly, walks in circles or in an uncoordinated way, he could have a middle ear infection or a ruptured or weakened eardrum.
- If your dog shows any signs, contact your veterinarian before putting anything in his ear.
- If your dog is showing severe discomfort, if his ears have an unpleasant smell or if the ear canals look abnormal, contact your veterinarian.
If your dog suffers from chronic your infections or if there’s no improvement after a week of taking some or all of the steps outlined below, see your veterinarian.
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How to Treat A Dog's Ear Infection
The recommendations below are designed to enable dog owners to help address a mild outer ear infection, but they are not a substitute for veterinary diagnosis or treatment.
You may not need all the steps outlined below.
1. Clean your dog’s ears twice a day for two weeks
- To clean your dog’s ears, put a few drops of a natural ear cleaner like Xymox into the ear canal.
- Then gently massage the base of the ear for 20 to 30 seconds to soften and loosen any wax or debris.
- Many dogs actually love enjoy this massage.
- Wipe out loose debris and excess cleaner with a cotton ball.
- Repeat this procedure until there’s no more debris or wax on the cotton ball.
- Let your dog shake it’s hard to remove any excess gear cleaner.
- Do not put anything like a Q-Tip inside your dog's ear canal.
Dog Ear Infection Treatment over the counter natural ear cleaners to consider include:
- Animal Apawthecary Herbal Ear Rinse
- Ark Naturals Ears All Right
- Biogroom Ear Car Cleaner
- Homemade Dog Ear Cleaner Recipe
2. Appointment medication supplied by veterinarians
If you have seen a veterinarian and your dog has been prescribed a topical your treatment, it should be applied as directed by the veterinarian directly after cleaning the ear.
Don’t apply the treatment before cleaning ear.
If your veterinarian’s instructions differ from the recommendations here, always follow your veterinarians’ instructions.
3. Improve the health of your dog's skin and coat
A dog’s ears is an extension of its skin. Improving the strength and health of its skin can reduce or illuminate the conditions that lead to inflammation and infection.
Change your dog’s diet - The skin is an illumination organ. So naturally diet will affect the condition of the skin. The more digestible and high-quality that diet is, the less the skin has to take part in elimination. That results in fewer opportunities for inflammation and infection.
While the nutritional needs of a dog vary by breed, age, activity level and other factors, all dogs benefit from a diet that is easy to digest and free of artificial ingredients and binders.
Raw is usually the best choice for reducing allergies and inflammation because they contain fewer ingredients, few carbohydrates and lots of other great stuff like active enzymes, photo chemicals, antioxidants, natural sources of essential fatty acids and are minimally processed.
Raw diets are now available in multiple forms, including frozen, freeze-dried, and dehydrated.
Essential fatty acids supplements support healthy skin and coat and over all canine health.
Fatty Acid Supplements include:
Support good bacteria - good bacteria with probiotics such as OptaGest by In Clover. Pre-biotics are critical to good digestion and help support the immune system with more tools for combating common imbalance is such as infections.
Probiotics are also great for addressing used infections in the years Herb Smith Microflora Plus would be an option.
Some dogs need extra skin support - Dogs that need additional help for their skin frequently benefit from natural supplements specifically designed to improve skin and coat health.
Consider Canine Matrix Skin and Coat.
Is your dog bummed out when it comes time for ear cleaning? Here are some tips to make life easier for you and your pup.
- Be gentle and massaging and wipe his ears.
- Talk to your dog during the process, your voice can be very comforting.
- Stop periodically to give him a treat for being such a good dog.
- Do something fun afterwards so that he associates ear cleaning with a happy activity.
After the first week, there should be a reduction in discharge and odor from the ear. If there’s no improvement after a week, contact your veterinarian.
Continue cleaning twice daily for a full two weeks even if all symptoms resolve sooner.
If your dog has seen a veterinarian, be sure to follow his or her treatment instructions. Be patient, and know that with chronic cases, it may take up to 12 weeks for changes in diet and supplementation to be fully visible.