The ways we introduce sights, sounds and sensations to our pets sets the tone for any future experiences. If first encounters are generally perceived as positive you’ll have fewer uphill battles when it comes to convincing them that everything is A-OK later down the line.
For grooming and pet ear health, this is especially true. Many pets are utterly resistant to being handled in this way, but given the chance to learn that it’s not painful – and maybe even worth it in the end – they can learn to accept it.
Grooming the Ears?
Pet grooming typically involves bathing, brushing, clipping, skin conditioning, paw care, eye cleaning, nail trims, and ear care.
Every pet is unique. Some produce excessive wax, others have a lot of hair in the inner ears. Some pets that swim or have long, floppy ears may require extra attention. However, all pets have very sensitive and delicate ears.
An approach to pet ear health requires an understanding of the special anatomy of the region. There is the external or outer ear that we can easily see. Inside the ear, pets have a middle ear within the tympanic bulla, and an inner ear where the actual organs for hearing are located.
Inflammatory conditions are common in the ears. Training your pet to accept gentle touch and handling of their ears is critical while they are healthy. If attention is only given to this area when pets are already hurting from inflammation or infection, they may not readily give you access.
We recommend daily observation of the conditions in and around the ears. However, to prevent irritation do not clean their ears too frequently. Do not insert anything into the ear canal.
- Use a cotton ball or piece of gauze dampened with pet ear cleaner, mineral oil or hydrogen peroxide.
- Apply gentle pressure to lift any buildup of wax, dirt or debris along the outside and underside of the ear flap. Don’t rub into the ear.
- Dry the ears and allow for some fresh air to reach into the ears.
Ear Infections and Other Problems
Infections mainly affect the external and middle ears. Treatment depends on the cause: yeast, bacteria or ear mites. There may be underlying causes for recurrent ear infections, such as:
- High humidity or heat
- Lifestyle (for example, swimming or dogs that play in/around water)
- Trauma stemming from aggressive cleaning, injury, or hair plucking
- Polyps or tumors
- Foreign objects
- Medical conditions that challenge normal immune responses
Given the chance to identify and manage ear infections, we can help prevent or at least mitigate future ones. Follow ups may be necessary to reduce the chances of chronic infection.
Pet Ear Health
If you ever notice a bad smell or discharge coming from the ears, please contact us. Also, the following symptoms indicate that pet ear health must be addressed:
- Crusty skin
- Hair loss around the ears
- Scratching of the ears
- Head shaking or tilt
- Loss of balance
- Walking in circles
- Unusual eye movements
- Apparent hearing loss