A Dog's Ears Aren't Just for Hearing!

Gram and I were having our usual Saturday afternoon chat, sitting around the table on the patio. Gram was being playful and was tickling my ears, which got us into a conversation about the importance of a dog’s ears.

Gram was saying since most dogs can’t talk (I have a unique ability) they use their ears to speak for them in many ways. Ears can be floppy, upright, big or little, but no matter what the size, they have a way of speaking.

By paying attention to a dog’s ears you can tell if they are alert, fearful, feeling anxious, playful, cautious or excited.

According to Gram the biggest problem with a dog’s ears, is that humans do not pay enough attention to them, until it is too late.

So as a result of our conversation Gram and I are going to give you some tips on taking care of your dog’s ears.

First of all floppy ears does not mean that your dog is prone to ear problems, though Gram says some long eared dogs are genetically prone to problems like cocker spaniels, most dog do not have problems.

Secondly if you are planning on adopting a puppy from the animal shelter or from a private party always examine the puppy’s ears for a sign of infestation either from scabies or ear mites.

The most common ear problem with puppies is ear mites. If a puppy’s ears look like they are filled with something that resembles coffee grounds that is a sign of ear mites. A puppy will also scratch at it ears and shake its head frequently. If you suspect ear mites take the puppy to your vet for treatment and to pick up medication. Ear mites can actually leave the ear during treatment and then migrate back, so it takes diligence to fight the little critters. Also if you have a breed of dog, such as wirehaired terriers, that have hair growing in their ears, it is a good idea to start plucking the hair out of their ears at a very young age.

Gram says many people do no realize that a lot of ear infections in dogs come from allergies. Many dogs with reoccurring ear problems are allergic either to environmental things, smoke in the house or food allergies. These all require your vet’s attention.

If your dog has smelly ears and infection might be to blame. One of the most important things you can do is keep your dog’s ears dry. Moisture will cause bacteria to grow. If your dog is a swimmer make certain you dry out its ears after a swim and when you bathe your dog, either put a cotton ball in each ear or make certain you dry the ear after the bath.

Gram says it is very important not to put cotton swabs in a dog’s ear to deep clean it. Let your vet do the deep cleaning as you can cause some serious damage to your dog's ear.

If you have a senior dog that is showing excessive wax in its ears, use a cotton ball with a little mineral oil on it to swab out the ear. If the wax is deep, let your vet do it. This ounce of prevention may save you many dollars.

As dogs grow older there is a possibility that some harmless or malignant tumors can grow inside the ear around the glands that produce earwax.These tumors may have to be surgically removed as they can block the ear canal completely.

Gram also says the dogs, like people lose their sense of hearing as they get older, so if you notice that you have to speak louder to get your pet’s attention please take that under consideration if behavior problems occur.

Well, I guess we have covered some of a dog’s ear problems and just remember, check your dog’s ears on a regular basis and if you have any questions regarding your dog’s ears, call you vet. Prevention of a problem can save a great deal of money in vet bills.

Until next time, I remain

Your Sadie

Smarthome, Inc.