These damp, cold months can be a prime time for ear infection in dogs. This is yet one more reason — on top of the main one that it’s just too chilly out there for man or beast — to keep dogs indoors as much as possible this time of year. Dogs with diabetes or other conditions are especially susceptible to the harsh effects of winter weather, but all dogs should be kept inside most of the time during this cold season. When it comes to being prone to dog ear infection, breeds with long, floppy ears are especially susceptible, but it’s a common ailment that needs immediate treatment in all dogs.
If you see your furry friend shaking its head or pawing at its ears, these are classic signs of a dog ear infection. There may also be a foul odor or redness inside the ears. A brown, powdery discharge in a dog’s ear usually means a parasitic infection such as ear mites, while odor in the ears is typically caused by yeast growth. Many vets say that signs of ear infection in dogs in the winter may mean that the cause is an allergy to parasites or to a certain food. Allergy, and all other causes of dog ear infection, should be dealt with by a veterinarian as soon as possible to prevent permanent hearing loss.
Vets will work to determine the cause of the ear infection so as to hopefully prevent a recurrence. He or she may prescribe ear drops or another medication to clear up the infection. Bacteria, yeast and parasites are common causes of ear infection in dogs, but tumors or other medical causes, including allergies, are also possible. Ironically, too much cleaning of the ears can make dogs susceptible to an ear infection, so it’s important to discuss how and when to clean your dog’s ears with your vet so that the procedure will specifically benefit your dog.
Based on your dog’s breed, your vet may instruct that you should clip the hair inside your dog’s ears regularly. He or she may also suggest an ear cleaning solution to use. Whatever you do, never use cotton swabs made for humans and jab them inside your dogs delicate ears! Breeds with inner ear hair or long, floppy ears are especially prone to dog ear infection as yeast and bacteria growth can be increased in these environments. The breeds most prone to ear infection include, but aren’t limited to, Bassett Hounds, Beagles, Labradors, Spaniels, Chow Chows, Schnauzers, West Highland Terriers, Poodles, Sharpeis and Shih Tzus.
Being on the watch for signs of ear infection in your dog is crucial both to prevent pain for your pet and to get fast veterinary help to stop any permanent hearing loss from occurring. Keeping all dogs indoors most of the time is also important during the winter months as the damp, cold conditions can make dog ear infection even more likely to occur. Bbeing out in the cold and wind is only going to make an infected ear more painful and more of a problem. Keeping your precious Lucky, Lucy, Max or Molly inside with your family this winter and getting him or her to the vet if you notice any signs of dog ear infection can make getting through these cold months as pleasant as possible for both you and your pet.
Chris Onyett is an experienced marketer and designer who is passionate about dogs. He created the Dog Help Network after an experience with his own dog, Kupo. He learned that doing proper research and learning from others’ experiences can be just as important as taking a veterinarian’s advice. Connect with Chris on Google+.