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Ear infections: they just stink!

Dog SwimmingAs the months get warmer, a lot of us take advantage of the precious little time we have to enjoy our favorite water activities. In the case of our dogs, water sports can make them more prone to ear infections. For those of you who have had to battle ear infections in your dog, you know what a pain these can be for everyone involved. If you're lucky enough to have not experienced this, hopefully these tips will extend your pup's infection free life.

Water is definitely an enemy to your dog's ears- the moisture that gets trapped in ear canals causes inflammation and results in a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. Regular ear cleaning can minimize the moisture and chance for infection. We recommend using an ear cleaner that is alcohol based (not powders or oils) in a solution form (wipes are not ideal). We have several types of ear cleaners at Packerland Veterinary Center- ranging from the basic cleanser to those that kill certain forms of yeast and bacteria. To clean your pet's ears, we recommend soaking a cotton ball in cleanser, placing the cotton ball in your dog's ear, and massaging the base of his ear to work in the solution. Then, using dry cotton balls, swab out the ear flap and cartilage to remove the debris. You will want to avoid Q-tips, as these can push wax further into the ear, as well as can break off if your pet moves suddenly. You should clean your dog's ears 1-4 times monthly, depending on how much debris builds up between cleanings. Also, if your pet is having fun in the water, we recommend a cleaning while he's drying off- this will help to dry out any water in the ears. If you have any questions about ear cleaning, a PVC staff member would be happy to help you with a demonstration.

Signs that you should have your pet examined by a veterinarian include: persistent head shaking, ear scratching, pain when you clean the ears, white pus-like debris, severe redness, head tilts or balance problems. If you have any questions about your pet's symptoms, don't hesitate to give us a call any time!