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How to clean a dog’s ear with infection – Everything You Need to Know

Ear infections in dogs are frequent. Scratching at the ear(s) and head shaking are frequent symptoms. You may also identify an unusual odor coming from your ear, along with redness or swelling. Most adult ear infections are caused by bacteria and yeast, while ear mites are prevalent in puppies. Your vet will collect a sample from the afflicted ear(s) and analyze it under a microscope to determine if bacteria are present. 

How To Clean Your Dog’s Ears

How Long Will It Take to Clean a Dog’s Ear with Infection? 

Cleaning the ear does not take time. However, the entire treatment procedure takes time.  First, depending upon the severity and type of the infection, the vet will perform the treatment. Then the cleaning of the ear will follow.  

Tools Needed to Clean a Dog’s Ear with Infection 

The essential tools which will help in cleaning your dog’s ear with infection are: 

Cotton Call or Gauze 

Cotton Call or Gauze
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Towel 

Towel
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Dog Ear Cleaning Solution 

Dog Ear Cleaning Solution
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What Are the Symptoms of Dog’s Ear Infection? 

Many pets, especially those with long, floppy ears, are prone to ear infections. The following are the most common symptoms of dog ear infections: 

  • Excessive itching at the ear 
  • Shaking of head unnaturally 
  • Inflammation around the ear canal 
  • Poignant odor 
  • Scabs over the ear skin area 
  • Hear loss 
  • Loss of balance 
  • Walking in circle 

What Are the Causes of Dog’s Ear Infection? 

There are a few causes of a dog’s ear infection, which includes: 

  • Yeast and Bacterial Infections: It is typical for dogs to concentrate on microbes living on their skin’s surface. If the natural skin barrier is disturbed in any manner and becomes irritated and inflamed, bacteria have an opportunity to multiply unimpeded. Ear infections are caused by excessive yeast, bacteria, and the amalgamation of both. 
  • Ear Mites: Ear mites are microscopic parasites that can infest the ears of your dog. They transmit from animal to animal. They do not bite, but their presence irritates and itches the skin of your dog’s ears. Ear mites in dogs can cause ear infections because they inflame the skin. 
  • Allergies: Ear infections are caused by allergies. Dr. Grant recommends allergy testing if your dog has multiple ear infections. According to the AKC (American Kennel Club), ear infections affect 80 percent of dogs with food allergies and 50 percent of dogs with environmental allergies. 
  • Trapped Moisture: Bacteria and yeast thrive in moist, dark environments. Dogs with floppy ears encourage the growth of infections. Air can readily enter upright ears, keeping them dry. Ears that flap down, on the other hand, retain moisture, which stimulates germ growth. Puppy litters can also acquire ear infections by licking and tugging on each other’s ears. 
  • Aural Hematoma: It is a condition where blood clots between the skin and the ear flap cartilage. The symptoms of Aural Hematoma are shaking of the head.  
  • Diet: Processed food can encourage yeast growth inside the dog’s body. Kibbles are high in refined carbs, preservatives, and processed ingredients. These ingredients affect the gut due to the development of yeast, causing inflammation and ear infections.  
  • Excessive Ear Cleaning: A minuscule amount of ear wax is natural. Healthy dog ears do not need forceful cleaning. This can trigger skin irritation leading to inflammation.  

What Are the Types of Dog’s Ear Infection? 

The ear canal of a dog is significantly more vertical than the ear canal of a human. This L-shape makes it more prone to fluid retention and disturbance from bacteria, yeast, or ear mites, all of which can cause illness. Dog ear infections can be classified into three types: 

  • Otitis Externa: Affects the outer part of the ear. 
  • Otitis Media: Affects the midsection of the ear.  
  • Otitis Interna: Affects the innermost part of the ear.  

Steps to Clean a Dog’s Ear with Infection 

Here we are outlining a few methods which could be helpful to clean your dog’s ear with infection: 

Method 1 

Step 1: Rule Out Medical Issues   

  • Keep your dog rested with treats and care.  
  • Let your dog lay down in a rear position between your legs.  
  • Hold the ear and lift the ear flap to expose the ear canal. 
  • On the other hand, while holding the ear flap firmly and gently, take the ear cleaning solution prescribed by the vet. 
  • Pour the solution into the ear canal to fill the canal. Spilling of the solution outside the ear canal is natural. Do not panic.  
  • Keep the nozzle of the bottle from touching your dog’s ear. However, if it gets in contact with the ear, clean it and continue.  
  • Hold the ear flap firmly and gently massage the ear base for 30 seconds. This helps the solution to break the debris. This will also allow the solution to spread in the canal horizontally. 
  • Wipe away debris from the inner section of the ear flap and the upper ear canal with a cotton ball or gauze while still keeping the ear flap up. 
  • Your dog might shake his head at this juncture. Allow him to do so. This will help the left-out debris to come out to the outer section of the ear.  
  • Repeat the wiping of the procedure with the help of a cotton ball or gauze.  
  • Repeat the entire process in the other ear.  

Step 3: Apply Medication 

  • Medication is preferable to be applied after the cleaning.  
  • Hold the ear flap firmly and gently to expose the ear canal. 
  • Your vet has prescribed the number of drops you need to pour into your dog’s ears. Follow what the prescription says.  
  • Apply the solution in the infected area only.  
  • After applying the solution, massage the area with a sanitized hand, or wear a glove.   
  • After applying the solution, extra debris might come out. Clean the debris with a cotton ball or gauze.  

Method 2 

Step 1: Apple Cider Vinegar 

  • Prepare half and half solutions of ACV and Distilled Water. 
  • You can spray the solution into the ear canal with the use of a syringe. 
  • Allow the solution to settle in your dog’s ears. If your dog tries to shake his head, calm him down with high-value treats. 
  • Massage the ear of your dog. This will help the solution to spread throughout the ear canal.  
  • Your dog, by now, would want to shake his head. Allow him to do so, as this will help the debris to come out.  
  • Take a cotton ball and wipe the debris which has moved out in the outer section of the ear.  
  • Continue the same with the other ear.   

Step 2: Coconut Oil 

  • Heat the coconut oil, and then bring it to room temperature.  
  • Pour 2-3 drops into the ear canal.  
  • Let the coconut oil sit in the ear for some time. This will break down the debris and clean the inner ear.  
  • Use a cotton ball or a warm piece of cloth to wipe out the debris.  
  • Coconut oil can aid in killing the bacteria which cause infection. Drop coconut oil into your dog’s ears twice a week once the infection is gone to maintain the canal clean and clear of bacteria. 

Method 3: 

Step 1: Gut Management 

A leaky gut can affect the overall health of a dog. In addition, ear Infections might also get triggered due to leaky gut. To rule out leaky gut, you can: 

  • Introduce a vet-approved healthy diet. 
  • Eliminate processed food from the diet. 
  • Refrain from over-vaccination.  

Step 2: Removing Harmful Ingredient Which Causes Leaky Gut 

  • Glyphosate is used in non-organic soy, legumes, wheat, and potatoes. This ingredient is not recommended in a dog’s diet.  
  • Mycotoxins present in many processed dog foods can cause cancer.  
  • Lectins cause intolerance in many dogs and also affect the lining of the gut.  
  • Dairy and dairy products are harmful to a dog’s overall health. Dog’s do not produce the required digestive enzymes to break down the milk.  

Step 3: Add Necessary Food and Supplements 

To mend leaky gut, you can add supplements such as: 

  • L-Glutamine: It is a non-essential amino acid that improves the cells and gut lining. Broccoli, Asparagus, animal protein, and spirulina are good sources of L-Glutamine. 
  • N-Acetyl Glucosamine (NAG): It heals the gut lining and binds lectins. Bone broth is a good source of NAG.  
  • Licorice Root: Improves the blood flow keeping the gut lining nourished. It escalates mucus production keeping the digestive tract healthy.  
  • Aloe Juice: It is packed with polysaccharides, which helps in the reduction of inflammation. It also helps in regenerating cells.  

Pro tips:  

  • Never Use Q-tips to clean your dog’s ear. 
  • Check with the vet before you wash your dog’s ear with an infection. 
  • Carry the ear cleaning solution if you take your dog out on vacation.  

How to Manage Dog’s Hygiene? 

It is essential to manage your dog’s hygiene to prevent any infection. Cleaning ears regularly can: 

  • Give a clear sight of the ear canal 
  • Remove bacteria and yeast  

You can manage dog’s hygiene by

  • Cleaning a dog’s ear with absorbent gauze. 
  • Regular checkups 

Final Thoughts 

Dog ear infections can be dangerous, resulting in hearing loss or facial paralysis. It is essential to maintain hygiene to keep away unavoidable circumstances. Check with your vet before trying to clean the infected ear. It is crucial to prevent infection and seek treatment as soon as symptoms appear in your pet. Cleaning, treatment, and aftercare are all part of treating and controlling dog ear infections.

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