Do I need to clean my dog’s ears?

Do I need to clean my dog’s ears?

If you’re lucky enough to be sharing your home with a canine companion, chances are there has been a point in time you’ve had to administer ear medication at some point. Ear infections are incredibly common, and can happen for a variety of reasons. Some reasons that your dog may suffer from an ear infection include;

Water in ears (bathing, swimming) allow normal bacteria and fungus to overgrow
Increased humidity (weather, grooming salons)
Allergies (can be seasonal, or year-round)
Anatomical misfortune (think cocker spaniel with those loooooong ears!)
There’s hair in there (overly hairy ear canals which limit ventilation – think poodle ears!)
Parasites – especially true in cats, mites can have an absolute party down there

With so many things that can go wrong with the ears, and ear infections being so common, no wonder we’re all eager to stave off infections. There is a huge variety of ear cleaners on the market, easily accessible as over the counter products. It can certainly be tempting to pick one of these up and start prophylactically cleaning your pet’s ears.

But what are you cleaning? Remember that wax has a protective function. It’s actually there for a reason, and is trying to prevent infection. Also, improper technique and frequency can actually cause damage to the ear canal, by over-moisturising and turning it to moosh.

My mantra – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

With so much that can go wrong, unless your family veterinarian has specifically advised and named a product, and tutored you in how to clean ears – don’t do it.

There are some absolutely amazing products out there, and a huge variety. The reason for the variety is because in this scenario, one shoe size does not fit all. If your dog has ear problems, it depends on what is causing the ear problems and what type of infection is present as to which one we need to select.

Is there a problem clearing wax?
Is there a problem with fungal, or bacterial infections?
Are allergies at the base of it all?

If you think your dog may benefit from ear cleaning, or you have concerns about your current ear cleaning regime, I’d love to see you and your dog. It’s one of my most favourite topics.

Dr. Vicky Wade

Veterinarian