When you bend down and pet your dog, where does your hand go first?  More than likely, you go for the dog’s head or ears. Dogs love getting their ears scratched, and most people will happily go straight for the ears. As cute as they are, ears are still susceptible to injury and infection. Keep an eye on your pooch. If he’s constantly scratching his own ears or shying away from your willing ear scratch, he may have an infection.

       Ear infections are not something that can be left untreated. If your young child had an infection, then you would probably take him or her to a physician for treatment.  If your pooch gets an ear infection, then you should treat him the same way you would a child. Ear infections are common in dogs, so there’s no reason to worry. However, if left untreated, they can be extremely painful and lead to more serious problems.

       You may be wondering how your dog gets an ear infection in the first place. For the most part, the infection stems from bacteria or yeast within the ear. There are many things that can cause the bacteria or yeast build up, including debris, hair within the ear canal (hair traps dirt, so it can be a breeding ground for bacteria), and wax buildup. No matter the cause, an ear infection is easily treated.

       If your dog is scratching his ears constantly or isn’t too thrilled for an ear rub, it’s a good idea to go see the veterinarian. After your initial visit to the veterinarian, you can start an at-home regime to keep your pooch ear-infection-free. Until then, you will need a professional to help you determine the cause and adequate treatment. The vet will examine your dog’s ears, hopefully discovering the cause of the infection. He or she may send you home with medicated ear drops or a special ear cleaning fluid. Whatever your vet prescribes, make sure you follow through with the routine. Just remember that your pet may be in pain, so be sensitive around the ears.

       Once you get rid of the initial infection, you can start an at-home treatment to prevent future infections. It’s not tough, but it does take time. If you do not have the time or resources, a groomer can do the routine cleaning for you.

       You will need cotton balls, cotton swabs, and an ear cleaning solution in order to clean your pet’s ears. Ask your vet to recommend a solution. He or she may also give you a cheaper at-home remedy. Start with a cotton ball soaked in the cleaning solution. Squeeze out any excess moisture, since you’re not giving your dog a solution bath. Place the wet cotton ball against the main part of your dog’s ear, and move it around gently. Don’t push the cotton ball into your dog’s ear. Your dog will naturally want to shake out the moisture, and it is okay for him to do so. Next, soak the cotton swab in the cleaning solution. Use the swab to gently clean around the outer ear. Make sure you get all the crevices; but, again, do not push the swab into the ear canal. Repeat this process as recommended by your veterinarian.

       If you want to keep scratching behind your pooch’s ears, you need to make sure they’re in good health. An ear infection is not something that can be left untreated; it can be very painful for your pet. If you think your dog is suffering from an ear infection, take him to your veterinarian. Your vet can help get rid of the infection and help you start a preventative at-home treatment.

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