Animal Issues
ADDRESSING EAR WAX BUILD-UP IN DOGS Published: 08/02/10
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One of the ear problems experienced by dogs is build up of ear wax.  It needs to be addressed for most ear infections often start with accumulation of ear wax.  Ear wax problems are often seen in dog breeds that have long, hairy, or floppy ears.

Signs and Symptoms of Wax Build-UP

One of the tell-tale signs of ear wax build-up is presentation of brown ear wax in dogs.  This is seen when you lift your dog’s ears.  You won’t be able to see pass the ear canal for the build-up has blocked visualization of your dog’s ear.  This blockage further limits the circulation of air in your dog’s ear, trapping in moisture and heat that is quite conducive for microbial growth.  Your dog will also continually scratch his ears, shaking his head, and his pillow or blanket will show small amounts of ear wax that your dog has shaken loose.  Odor is also noted in your dog’s ear when ear wax has accumulated.

Treatment

You might be tempted, but you must refrain yourself from using Q-tips, small pointed objects, or any other similar contraption that can fit itself inside your dog’s ears.  Inserting objects inside your dog’s ear canal will only push the ear wax further inside your dog’s ear and can cause other ear problems.  Other than that, there is a high risk of you puncturing your dog’s ear drum.  

Before cleaning your dog’s ear, you may want to loosen the ear wax.  There are some solutions available in your vet’s office for this purpose.  Others recommend a mixture of vinegar and water to help loosen the wax.  A mixture of 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water is used as an ear wax softener.  If you are using this mixture, you may need to have something to put this inside your dog’s ears.  A turkey baster, a medicine dropper, or a small syringe without a needle can do the trick.  Pure cotton balls and a couple of towels are also needed.  Change into a pair of clothing that you won’t worry about getting stained or ruined.  Gloves, masks, and goggles are optional, but if you’re feeling squeamish over flying earwax you may want these protective equipments with you.  You need to do this in an area where you won’t worry about getting expensive furniture or equipment getting damaged.  A pillow may also be necessary to support your dog’s head on your lap. Once these materials and equipments are set up, then you’re ready to go.

1)    Lay your dog sideways with his head supported by your lap. If the position is too awkward, you may need to place a pillow to further elevate his head.  Gently and carefully lift up your dog’s ear to reveal the ear canal.  If you plan to use a commercial brand of ear solution, follow the package instructions on how much to place in your dog’s ears.  If you’re going to use the homemade solution a tablespoon is enough for big dogs, while a teaspoon is good for small dogs and puppies.  Restrain your dog gently and firmly while you place the solution in his ear while talking to him soothingly and calmly.  Do not let your dog shake his head yet.  Placing your fingers behind his ears, carefully shake it for 30-60 seconds until a squishing sound is heart.  Let go of your dog and let him shake his head.  Expect to have some flying ear wax while he’s doing it.  If you don’t have any personal protective equipment, you may want to stand clear and protect yourself from getting hit.

2)    With a lot of cotton balls, clean your dog’s ear softly and carefully.  Roll the cotton ball to fit inside the canal and let it soak the ear wax and remaining solution.  You can remove the loosened ear wax with a scooping motion, wiping outward and upward.  Change cotton balls in each turn, until the cotton balls are clean.  Wipe out any earwax left outside your dog’s ears and those located inside crevices. If indicated, apply the ear medication.  Do the same process with the other ear.

After the process, praise your dog, give him a hug and a treat.  Never make this a huge ordeal and see to it that your dog is comfortable throughout the entire procedure.  It is recommended that you do this cleaning on a weekly basis, or according to the advice of your vet.  

NOTE: CONSTANT SHAKING OF HEAD, SCRATCHING OF EAR, PAIN WHEN SCRATCHING, PUS OR BLOODY DISCHARGE, FOUL SMELL, AND IMBALANCE ARE SIGNS OF EAR INFECTION.  IT IS ADVISED THAT YOU HAVE YOUR DOG CHECKED BY A VET TO RULE OUT PRESENCE OF EAR INFECTION OR FOR PROMPT AND IMMEDIATE TREATMENT.


 

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