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Common Dog Ear Problems

There are several common ear problems that can occur in dogs. The most common problem is usually an allergic reaction of some sort. Allergies often can occur for several factors ranging from a food allergy to an external environmental factor, such as pollen or toxic plants. Itchy, red inflamed ears and paws are a common symptom of an allergy and you may find your dog is biting at there paw or scratching at there ears a lot. To deal with external environmental factors, it’s important to reduce things such as dust and pollen and therefore it’s important to keep your dogs living environment as clean as possible. If it’s a food reaction you may need to test which foods it’s reacting to and possibly change to a low allergy food. It’s also important that you keep your dog’s immune system as healthy as possible, so regular exercise and mental stimulus mixed with a healthy variant diet will help to strengthen the body’s ability to deal with allergies. It’s important that you keep an eye on your dog and try to keep them away from poisonous plants which can show up in the paws and also in the ears.

Another issue which can arise is ear infections. Ear infections can be cause by many issues however they tend to arise when your dog’s immune system is low and a graze or minor irritant becomes infected. The infection thrives due to the dark, warm and moist environment inside the ear, especially with dogs with woolly coats. Yeast and bacterial growth will cause an odour in the ears and if the infection is found in only one ear you may find your dog tilts its head to one side attempting to equalise pressure. Common signs are that your dog is more irritable, the ears are warm to touch, possibly more tired and obvious signs such as redness inside the ear. The best treatment is to take your dog to the vet to get the ear checked out and if an infection has occurred then usually it will be fought with antibiotics, cleaning of the ear and also drops or a cream.

It’s important to check your dog’s ears for anything that may have found its way in there. They can range from plant material such as grass seeds or pollen, to sticks from off the beach or even cuts and grazes from rose bushes or black berry bushes. You should be able to check your dog’s ears with a flash light and a quick look inside, however it’s important that you don’t insert anything inside as this can damage the dog’s ear. If there is anything inside causing a problem you should take your dog to the vet to get a thorough check up and let them fix the issue. For a dog with quite a woolly inside ear it’s also possible that a knot can form from small debris inside the ear. If this occurs you should take your dog to the vet and get it removed as they can become infected.  

If your dog is treated with consistent flea and tick treatment then this shouldn’t normally be an issue, however if your dog is not treated they can effect your dogs ears. Ticks and fleas can bite inside your dog’s ears which can cause the bites to get infected or else your dog could have a flea or tick allergy which makes bites swell up and rashes occur. Even a bite outside of the ear can cause an allergic reaction which often shows up as redness inside the ears. The best treatment is to regularly use a flea and tick controller and also to make sure your dogs sleeping area is kept clean by regular vacuuming and also washing of bedding. Fleas usually only need to feed about once every 3months and the rest of the time they live inside small cracks of walls and where the wall meets the carpet or other places which are warm and dark. If an infection or major reaction occurs within the ear you need to take your dog to the vet and get appropriate treatment.

If your dog constantly scratches its ears then it’s possible that this can cause irritation that can make its ears swell up or bleed. Constant scratching is usually an irritation from possibly one of the above reasons. Scratching of the ear usually causes it to become more irritated and often can lead to other issues. Because dog’s claws can harvest bacteria, cuts caused by scratching can become infected. If un-left then your dog will most likely continue with this scratching and often will only get worse. It is normal however for your dog to scratch its ears every so often however if they do get obsessed then it’s important to address this issue.

If your dog does have woolly ears it’s often been a common suggestion to pluck your dogs ears to keep them hair free. Plucking is a personal choice and some people believe it’s a must while others believe it’s unnecessary. The reasoning behind plucking is to help to prevent issues such as knots and build up of junk. However plucking can also cause infections when the plucked area opens a wound and also some dogs are very sensitive in this area and plucking can cause a lot of stress. It’s possible as well that the hair inside the ear is an important part of protecting the inner ear. If your dog doesn’t have any major ear issues then plucking is probably unnecessary, however if health issues arise from excessive hair inside the ear then you maybe advised to look at plucking some hair. Often all that is required is trimming the fur inside the ear and keeping the ears clean. Vets will be the best to advise you if there are some major issues when they do there health check ups.

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