With close attention to details and some good coaching and assistance, you and your dog can both be winners, too. Here are suggestions that will help.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Essentials of Maintenance Grooming - Part 3: Ears

Now Hear This! Caring for Your Dog's Ears

Ears are a chronic source of problems for many dogs and once an infection has gotten a foothold you may have recurrent problems throughout the dog’s life. The chances of infection are much reduced if you keep the ear clean and hair-free.

The first step is plucking the hair out of the ear canals. This hair is often waxy and hard to grasp so sprinkle ear powder into the hair and work it in with your fingers. Then pluck a little at a time until you can’t reach any more. If you are confident you can also use a hemostat (or tweezers) to pluck deeper hairs. Just be careful not to pinch skin. If the dog complains too much about having this hair plucked then try pulling smaller amounts at a time.

Next, clean the ears with a flushing agent. There are many types and brands of ear wash/flush/cleanser to choose from. Fill the ear canal almost to the top with solution and massage gently from the bottom of the ear canal up to the top. Have a gauze pad or cotton ball ready to absorb the excess that comes out of the ear. Allow the dog to shake it’s head and bring any debris closer to the surface. A little bit of dark debris may not be a problem but indicates, at least, that cleaning needs to be more frequent.

Signs of ear infection are dark wet or crusty discharge, foul smell, scratching, “hot” ears. Ear infections are stubborn because they are usually due to bacteria or yeast which prefer hot, moist, low air environments. Schnauzers with natural ears may have more problems with ear infections than those with cropped ears, though both types certainly get their share. This is an area where prevention is so much better than the cure that adequate attention is required.

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