Article courtesy of PetAlive
If your dog shakes his head too often, don’t just shirk it off as a funny habit. Dogs do not shake their heads without reason. If your dog shakes his head too often, you have every reason to suspect an infection in the ears.
Ear infection is common in pets. One of the most prevalent causes of ear infections is allergies. These allergies are caused by wet ears that become damp, hot and humid due to the fact that most dogs have ear flaps that cover the ear canal. Dog ears should be kept dry and should be cleaned regularly to avoid wax build up and excessive hair growth. Ear mites are another major reason for ear infections.
The natural appearance of the cartilaginous structure of the external ear is pink and feels flat when touched. Any thickening indicates presence of an infection. You should be able to see the ear canal clearly. While a small amount of discharge and wax is natural, any abnormal accumulation of debris or a foul odor indicates an infection. A yellow discharge points towards yeast infection and a black debris indicates dog ear mites.
Vinegar diluted in an equal amount of water is a safe home remedy that can be used to remove excess debris from the ear. Put in a few drops and allow your dog to shake his head (which he will do). This will loosen the wax to a large extent. Then remove the debris with a cotton swab wrapped around your finger, pushing it as deep in the ear as you can. Repeat the process till the inside of the ear is clear.
Don’t use vinegar if there are any open sores in the ear. A garlic pod soaked overnight in olive oil works well in such cases. Remove the garlic and put five to six drops in the ear, twice daily for 7 to 10 days. This will also help in refurbishing the animal’s immune system.
Ear mites are contagious and can pass on from one pet to another. Dog and cat ear mites live their entire life on the host and can cause severe inflammation. Any natural oil block the breathing pores of mites and kill them. A half ounce almond oil and vitamin E mixture is one the most useful home remedies for ear mites. It works in a manner similar to the vinegar- water solution. Just pour a few drops in both the ears. The dog will shake his head. You can then clean the ear with a cotton swab.
Some breeds have long ears. This prevents a free flow of air and prevents the inside of the ear to remain dry. Moist wax is a sure invitation for mites and infections. Too much hair in the ears can trap dust and dirt causing infections. It is important to remove hair in the ears periodically so that a hygienic environment is created. Apply dog ear powder ensuring that the base of the hairs is properly covered. Once the powder dries you can start pulling out hair with your fingers or tweezers. Since this can be irritating to the dog, pluck only a few hairs at a time and stop for a while before starting again.
Ear cleaning should be integral to regular grooming of pets. This will go a long way in detecting early signs of infections that may be developing. Your keen observation and timely action can make life comfortable for your loving pet.