Keep those ears FRESH and clean!
with Tierra Price, DVM, MPH of DrTierraPrice, Preventive Advocate

Ever notice a lingering smell on your dog that you can't seem to get rid of? One bath after another and you finally conclude, you just have a smelly dog. Well, have you checked her ears?!

Normally, dog ears do not have a smell, but some breeds such as those with floppy ears are more likely to have smelly ears than others. Examples: bulldogs, spaniels, retrievers, terriers and poodles.

Ear infections are the most common culprit of smelly ears, but can occur for many different reasons. Signs of infection include: pain, itchiness, redness and discharge.

Cleaning your Dog's Ears

Ear cleaning is an important step in treating and preventing ear infections. Debris in the ear canal can inactivate some topical medications and prevent medications from reaching the ear canal. Debris can protect microbes and retain bacterial toxins that worsen infection. Use the following steps to clean the ear canal of debris:

·      Fill the ear canal with solution and massage for 60 seconds. 

·      Allow your pet to shake its head to help remove excess solution and debris. 

·      Residual solution and debris can be wiped from the ear canal and pinna with a tissue or cotton ball. 

·      Do not use cotton tipped swabs at home since they can push debris deeper into the horizontal ear canal. 

Commercial ear cleansers can be found over the counter and have compounds such as cerumenolytics and drying agents that soften and breakdown the ear wax, slow the growth of bacteria, decrease secretions and reduce moisture. For dog’s with recurrent ear problems, it might be helpful to clean his ears once a week. Not cleaning prior to applying medicine and cleaning too much are the most common reasons for treatment failure in dogs with ear infections.