How to Evaluate Your Dog for Ear Infections and Administer Treatments

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How to Evaluate Your Dog for Ear Infections and Administer Treatments

by Kristi Patrice Carter

It's not unusual for dogs to get ear infections, as the anatomy of the dog ear encourages moistness. Both bacteria and yeast thrive in dark, damp environments. Often dogs will have floppy ears that cover the ear opening, keeping the internal ear moist and dark. Dogs with ears that stand up straight can get ear infections, too, since the inner ear of a dog is a long, mostly horizontal structure. Animals with a more vertical ear may not suffer ear infections as frequently as dogs, since moisture can drain down and out of the canal. Sporting dogs who spend a lot of time in the water, and who also have floppy outer ears, may be at the greatest risk for ear infections.

Dogs will exhibit many symptoms when they have an ear infection. Look for the following signs:

-Shaking or tilting the head
-Scratching, rubbing, or otherwise trying to stimulate the ear
-Foul odor emanating from the ear
-Ear is warm to the touch
-Inflammation of the ear
-Missing fur due to scratching

Once you've determined that your dog likely has a problem, you will need to see the vet for diagnosis and course of action. If the dog has a bacterial infection, for instance, you want to use an antibiotic, but if there's a foreign body lodged in the ear, you will need take a different approach. Other possible causes of the dog's discomfort may be mites, scratches from running through the brush, or a yeast infection.

Your vet will probably demonstrate the correct way to administer medication to your dog?s ears. Remember the ear drum is a fragile structure, and could be ruptured if it's poked or if air is forcefully injected. For this reason, if you must administer medication, be careful not to insert the bottle or tube too far into the ear. You should be able to still see the item you are inserting as it is in your dog?s ear. If you cannot see it, you have inserted it too far.

Have the dog lie on his side, and lean over him from the back. Fold back the ear. Insert the medication into the inner ear, taking care not to insert the tube or bottle too far. Allow the drops or ointment to run or drip into the ear, then massage the ear at the base to work the medication further in. Sometimes a dog with a sore ear will be in pain, so be careful to work the tissue gently. On the other hand, if the ear is itchy, the dog may enjoy the massaging action.

Although your dog may some day get an ear infection, if you are an observant and conscientious dog owner, you'll be able to evaluate and treat your dog's ear problems with little effort.

For additional information, tips, and techniques for improving your dog?s health and happiness, please visit Learn more about Dog Ear Yeast Infection

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