Can you hear me now – Canine Ear Care

Much like dental care, many dog owners are guilty of ignoring the health of their canine companion’s ears until all of a sudden the scratching, head shaking, and obnoxious odor become unmistakably obvious. When the situation reaches this stage, it is best to schedule a consultation with members of your dog’s health team to help identify the potential underlying causes and remedies for your dog’s discomfort. A professional evaluation should also be made if your dog’s ears are unusually hot, red, or inflamed or if you notice any excessive ear discharges or a tilt of your dog’s head. Self diagnosis is not recommended for any of these situations, as the use of the incorrect remedy could actually cause serious long-term damage, including, but not limited to, ruptured ear drums, a loss of balance, or other deafness.

While fleas tend to congregate around your dog’s ears and cause varying degrees of discomfort, some of the other common ear problems that your dog might encounter include mite infestations, infections and “foreign body” irritations. Subsequent hematomas (i.e. pooling of blood due to damaged blood vessels) in the earflaps can also occur as a result of the constant head shaking and/or pawing at the ear that is often associated with these situations.

Ear mites are less common in dogs than they are in cats, but they can still cause problems for our canine companions, not the least of which is that the mites can spread fairly easily amongst all of our furry friends, thankfully not to humans! Even though such mites are generally not visible to the human eye, this “creepy crawly” population can cause your unfortunate dog to shake its head constantly or to paw at the ear area. Some dogs will dig at their ears while other never exhibit any symptoms of having an ear mite infestation, even though one does exist.Canine ear infections can also result from such simple things as a wax buildup or from water stuck in the ear canal after a bath or a swim. Varying degrees of pain, swelling, redness and discharges are often associated with such infections. Implementing a regular grooming schedule during which you are able to examine and assess the health of your canine companion’s ears is recommended. Look for dirt, wax, excessive hair matting, redness or tenderness, and quite obviously, any odor.

Traditional natural approaches to treating ear infections often include the use of acidic preparations such as diluted lemon juice, boric acid, or white vinegar; herbal products such as tea tree oil, Echinacea, or aloe vera, and various homeopathic preparations. There is a philosophy that often governs holistic animal practitioners regarding the dog’s ears: The ears are a window into the rest of the canine’s physical health and well-being, Because infection may be the result of an underlying ailment such as thyroid disorder, liver dysfunction and allergies it is important to visit your veterinarian so that the problems are able to be assessed and diagnosed properly. Following this, the most appropriate course of action may be an integrative approach that includes allopathic as well as natural remedies.

There are other options in order to correct or reverse any ear problems that your furry friend may encounter. Although, again, being certain that there is not any serious underlying illnesses involved with the infection or irritation. You might want to monitor your dog for any sign of food or environmental allergies, as these are a leading cause of ear problems. If your dog has recently finished a regimen of antibiotics the pH balance inside the ear may have been affected. Always check to see that there are not any burrs or stickers in the ear that may have become infected. Finally, please be aware that allergies can result in your dog’s chronic ear infections as well. If your dog has allergies to grain or ingredients in his food, environmental allergies, or even allergies related to pollen sensitivity, these problems may manifest in the ear related illnesses. Check with your dog’s health care provider.

Just for the health of your dog’s ears, check them regularly and if you are in doubt, ask questions of the holistic practitioner involved in your dog’s health. Since we are the voice of the dog, let us bark out loudly and clearly for them.

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