Many pet owners do not realize that
dogs can grow hair in the ear canal, even large
amounts common to some Poodles and Terriers, as
well as other breeds.
For this reason, many owners never check their dog ears
unless the dog is shaking or scratching its ear(s).
By that time there is usually an ear health problem requiring
veterinary medical inspection.
Keeping your dog's ears clean is very important to maintain good health. Many dog insurance plans do cover ear infections for breeds who are known to have problems, such as Cocker Spaniels. Pet health insurance is very useful if you have a breed that is prone to health issues. Compare pet insurance plans to see which is the best choice for you and your dog.
"Otitis Externa" may arise from water
trapped in the ear canal. The damp environment creates an
ideal breeding ground for bacteria and fungus,
often leading to painful sensitivity, redness,
swelling and infection. Dogs with ear flaps are
the most affected since the flaps cut air
circulation and trap moisture.
Ear mites may also be
present in ear wax. Dogs with this problem often
shake their heads and scratch ears. You may be
able to locate ear mites by looking at ear wax
removed from the affected dog. Under a bright
light, spread a sample of ear wax on a piece of
white paper, and look for tiny white specks. They
are very contagious and will require the owner to
treat their pet for ear mites for over 3 weeks.
Insecticides kill the adult mites only, so repeat
applications are in order. Based on the life cycle
of mites, treatment usually consists of applying
insecticide for 7 days, then waiting 10 days for
baby mites to mature. Groomers seeing the evidence
of ear mites should recommend veterinary
inspection for a determination of whether there
the dog is infested, and for treatment.
wax and a lack of air circulation can lead to ear
canker. Canker infection often causes a
dark-colored discharge and foul odor. The pet
requires veterinary inspection of the condition.
Some dogs scratch
their ears as a result of allergies; they should
be inspected and treated by veterinarians.
will discover weeds and other organic matter in
ears. In fact, some weeds can work their way down
into the ear canal and cause serious, even
life-threatening conditions. On the West Coast of
the U.S. the infamous "foxtail" weed
finds its way into the ears of thousands of dogs
every year, even cutting into the fleshy skin
between feet pads and posing a serious health
groomers understand the serious nature of ear
problems and always ensure that pet owners are
advised of any suspect conditions and recommend veterinary inspection.
Before Ear Cleaning
Inspect every dog's
ears for potential problems before proceeding with
procedures. Be prepared to record written
descriptions of any suspect conditions so that you
may report them accurately to pet owners and
Realize that some
dogs may have very little or no hair to remove
from their ears. However, almost all dogs will
require some excess wax and dirt removal from
their ears and ear flaps as noted below.
problem signs are:
shaking and ear scratching.
- Ears sensitive to touch.
- Discharges and powerful odors.
- Hematomas (blood blisters) on the ear flap.
- Swelling and skin redness.
- Melanomas (tumors).
When you discover
serious ear problems you may choose to gently
clean the exterior area of the ear of dirt, wax
and other matter, and contact the owner and suggest
immediate veterinary care. Other groomers stop all
ear cleaning and suggest the pet owner to seek immediate veterinary care,
especially when the pet is in distress.
Sterilize any tools
that you have used during the cleaning process,
actually a process you should do between all ear
cleanings as well.
Cleaning Tools & Supplies
normally stock all the tools and supplies required
for dog ear cleaning.
You will need the following tools and supplies for the ear cleaning procedure.
Carefully read and follow instructions
supplied with all products before using
· Hemostat (sterilized before and after each procedure).
· Commercial medicated ear powder (deodorizer
· Commercial ear cleaning solution.
· Cotton (sterile medical grade preferred).
use Q-Tips or alcohol.
Cleaning & Deodorizing Steps
you will find basic ear cleaning and deodorizing
steps for dogs. However, you can expect additional
detailed instructions and guidelines from most
professional trainers and schools
We do not provide these steps as complete,
professional ear cleaning. We encourage pet owners
to use the services of a professional groomer and
veterinarian for ear cleaning. Pet owners should
practice preventative ear health maintenance and
check their dog's ears at least once a week.
1. Lift the dog's ear flap and expose the inside flap the
ear facing you. Using your thumb and index finger,
quickly remove hair as needed around the external ear opening.
Pull in the direction of hair growth and only small
amounts of hair at one time. You can spray a light
amount of medicated ear powder in ears with excess
wax and hair to dry the wax, and make the hair
easier to pull.
2. If there is hair in the ear canal it should be
removed when there are no signs of ear health
problems. However, never clean or remove hair more than one-half inch down into the ear opening.
The ear area further down in the ear canal is best
left to veterinary care. To remove this hair, spray a light amount
medicated ear powder into the ear. The powder absorbs moisture and
dries ear wax and hairs, thereby providing better traction.
3. Using hemostats, grasp small amounts of pet hair and pull outward toward
you slowly. Careful, don't pinch the sensitive ear
skin. Never probe further down than one-half inch into the ear canal opening. You must exercise this
extreme caution in order not to disturb or damage the ear drum.
Clean the hemostats after drawing out hair and
wax, and continue removing hair until done. Sterilize hemostats when done.
4. Although you do not clean ears more than one-half inch into the ear canal, observe the condition of the pet's ear beyond the cleaning limit and report any potential problems. You may see foreign matter, a discharge, heavy wax buildup or even a melanoma (tumor).
Record your suspect observations so that you may
accurately report them to the pet owner.
5. Look for additional ear wax and matter to clean
from the ear. Moisten cotton ball very lightly (absolutely no dripping) with a small amount of
commercial ear cleaning solution, and swab and clean
the ear canal area outward to the ear flap. Repeat as needed. This procedure
may soothe irritated skin from the hair removal
process depending upon the ear cleaning solution you
use. Ensure you have removed all ear powder from
6. Sterilize tools and properly dispose of ear wastes and soiled cotton.
Some pet groomers may over clean sensitive ears
causing irritation. The result may be redness, or
the dog may start scratching ears where it wasn't
before. Ears should be cleaned of matter as noted above, and reasonably freed of pet hair too. However, if you see the
dog's skin becoming red and/or irritated by the pulling, remove a reasonable amount of hair only and soothe pet's ear with the
lightly moistened cotton swab mentioned above.
As you clean ears you may uncover conditions that were previously not observed during the ear inspection procedure.
You may discover a
Hematomas, the swelling of the ear flap due to blood going into the tissue or serum under the
skin, or foreign matter or swelling, etc. Discontinue further cleaning when you uncover any serious ear
problem, and inform the pet owner that veterinary
inspection is in order.
Water and excess ear cleaning solution must never get in pet ears. Do not use water in the cleaning process. Do not syringe pet ears; it is a veterinary procedure only. If you are uncertain how to proceed,
don't. Seek professional veterinary care. It is best to advise the pet owner to seek veterinary attention rather than your aggravating a condition.
When you bathe any dog you should also place cotton
in their ears to prevent water from entering the ear
canal, and the ear area (especially on those dogs
with ear flaps) must be completely dry so as not to
provide a damp environment favored by bacteria and