Ear infections in Dogs (otitis) is one of the most common health problems. To begin with, it is very painful and your dog has to bear all the sufferings at least once in his lifetime. If your dog shows symptoms of scratching and rubbing at his ears and head shaking, you can make sure that he is actually having ear problems. Besides, will also notice an abnormal odor coming from your pooch’s ears or see redness or swelling. This will clearly define that your dog is suffering from ear infections.
Most ear infections in senior dogs are caused by bacteria and yeast, though ear mites are a common cause in puppies. For some dogs, ear infections come and go within a short notice, whereas many dogs suffer with painful ear conditions for years. A holistic approach to the problem is the only solution where your dog can get relief from this, and for this what he eats, the way he lives and his lifestyle matters. Finally, here in this article, I shall be sharing with you how to take care of your furry friend when he is having ear infections. Keep on reading to know more about Ear infection in Dogs…
Canine Ear Problems
Many people have a misconception about canine ear problems. They think it's because of the bacteria or too much water in his ears or lack of cleanliness etc. But before you make a judgement, you need to actually know what ear infection in dogs mean.
First of all, Ear infection in dogs occurs as a result of environmental or food-based allergies and sensitivities. Dogs who are prone to itchy skin and hot spots frequently suffer with ear issues as well. Similarly, skin conditions can also be a reason for ear infection in dogs. There are certain bacteria and yeast that are naturally present in your dog's body, including the ears. They are a part of the normal functioning of your dog's body. But when environmental factors disrupt the balance, either one can grow out of control and thus result in ear infections.
Causes Of Ear mites in dogs
Until and unless you know the causes of ear infections, you cannot prevent them from coming back again. In some cases, your dog's ear canal becomes moist from bathing, swimming or grooming. This moisture in turn, encourages the growth of microorganisms in the ear canal. Also, you can prevent ear problems here as cleaning the ears helps to remove the moisture and prevent infection. However, in many cases, an underlying cause may not be easily taken care of.
Dogs that are exposed to environmental conditions like pollen, dust mites, food or molds get chances of ear infection as they are allergic to these allergens. This is due to the microscopic inflammation that allergies cause in the skin allowing overgrowth of bacteria and yeast organisms inhabiting the skin.
Following Are The Possible Causes Of Ear infections in Dog
Dog breed: Certain breeds with ears that hang down, like the Retrievers or Spaniels are more likely to get ear infections as they have high chances of yeast buildup. These longer ear flaps provide an internal ear environment that is dark, potentially more moist and perfect for the growth and accumulation of bacteria and yeast.
Diet: Diet can actually be one of the reason for ear problem in dogs. Food allergies are especially likely to be associated with ear problems when both ears are involved. An excess of grain or sugar in the diet is one reason why most dogs get ear infections. The sugar actually feeds the yeast which lives naturally in the body and causes a yeast overgrowth, thereby resulting in dark, yeast-smelling build-up inside your pooch's ears.
Parasites: Parasites, be it mites, or yeast or bacteria can attack your dog's ear canal and cause ear problems. Even though this is a relatively uncommon and rare case, some dogs may be allergic. Many at times, allergic ear problems can be mistaken for ear mites. If they do invade, you can treat ear mites with neem or plain mineral oil.
Another important factor
Lifestyle: If your dog regularly swims in lakes or swimming pools or ocean, then he is probably having a high risk of ear infections. This doesn't mean that you should stop him from swimming further. If your dog swims, he/she should have his/her ears dried afterward, using a soft towel or cotton wool to remove the excess moisture. This alone can prevent many ear infections from building as yeast and bacteria love to reproduce in the dark and moist places.
Above all, when it comes to spending outdoors, you should be vigilant. Dogs who spend a lot of time outdoors are lucky enough to run in the woods, sniff on the deepest hole or grassy open spaces. This, in turn, invites ear infections in your furry friend's ears. This can cause severe pain and discomfort in his ears. In some cases, your vet may suggest to pouring mineral oil or another substance into the ear to soften the seed. But before you make any preventive treatment from your side, check with your vet.
Signs And Symptoms Of Ear Infection In Dogs
If you see your dog scratching at his ears and shaking his heads more than usual, you can make sure he is suffering from canine ear infection. If they scratch and then smell their paw and lick it after, or have any other signs, you should probably take your pooch to the nearest vet and take a look at the ear canal. Following are the possible signs your dog might show when he has problem with his ears
- Shaking his head
- A bad smell coming from the ears
- Ear discharge
- Unusual eye movements
- Red and swollen ear canal
- Pawing and scratching the head
- Head tilt
How To Treat dog ear infections?
Ear infections also known as otitis are diagnosed by using an otoscope to look deep into your pet's ear canal. The skin inside the ear turns deep red if his ears are infected. The type of discharge deep in the ear can be seen and some can be removed to send to the lab to identify the specific bacteria and yeast creating the infection.
Because a dog's ear canal makes a sharp turn, your vet may pull slightly on the ear to straighten the canal and make it possible to see the eardrum. If he can see any fluid or pus behind the drum, which occurs with a middle ear infection. To confirm whether your pet has an outer ear infection, a middle ear infection or both, it is necessary to consult your pet with a vet to choose the most effective treatment.
How to treat a dog ear infection naturally
As mentioned above, some of the major reasons that lead to canine infection are fungal growth, improper hygiene, unhealthy environment, bacterial infections, food allergies and mite infestation. To help your dog overcome this problem, here are some of the simple home remedies that you can use.
- Macerated garlic: If your dog has mild ear infection, you can treat your dog by using macerated garlic. Steep 2 garlic cloves in olive oil. Let the mixture sit for 2 weeks. Then strain it. Pour 2-3 drops of the mixture in your pet's ear. Do this on a daily basis until the infection heals completely.
- Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar has been an effective home remedy for treating many health issues in dogs. Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a cup of water. Give it to your dog at least 2 times a week. You can also use this solution to clean your pooch's ears.
Alternatively, mix equal quantities of water, hydrogen peroxide and apple cider vinegar. Pour this solution in drops into your pet's ear and rub the base of the ear. Thereafter, using a cotton ball, clean the ear. This will prevent the growth of yeast or bacteria.
- Probiotic yogurt: Apply a small amount of organic probiotic yogurt to the ear and rub well. This is the best natural remedy to get rid of yeast infections from your pet's ear.
- Warm compress: Apply warm compress to cure the outer ear infection. It helps to treat the associated symptoms like redness, inflammation, pain and irritation of the ear. Soak a towel in hot water. Squeeze the excess water. Hold and press gently on dog's ear. Employ this remedy several times a day for best results.
Other natural remedies includes
- Cod liver oil or Vitamin E oil: cod liver oil or Vitamin E oil is an ear drop can help to get rid of inner and middle ear infection. Crush a Vitamin E capsule and use the oil as the ear drop, alternatively, purt 1-2 drops of cod liver oil in the ear.
- Aloe Vera gel: We all know that aloe Vera gel is good for humans in healing many health concerns, same is the case with dogs also. Warm some aloe Vera gel. Pour 1 teaspoon of it in each ear of your dog. This will help cure redness or irritation in your dog's ear.
- White vinegar: Combine water and vinegar. The quantity of vinegar in the mixture should be enough to dry out the excess water. Make sure there is no leftover water as it can lead to irritation. While pouring the solution into your dog's ear, ensure that the mix is at a room temperature, as the cool mixture will cause more pain.
- Almond oil: Heat some almond oil and warm it. Put 1/2 teaspoon of this oil in each ear. This remedy is effective in loosening the wax and dirt, thereby reducing the risk of infection.
Tips for Treating Ear Mites In Dogs
Most dog owners like me want a quick and instant fix to get rid of canine ear infections. I searched for some of the easy to do preventive measures you can try at home to help keep your dog protected from ear problems and I found some. To help cope this situation, here are a few tips for treating ear infections in dogs. You can actually prevent ear problems from coming back again.
- Grain-free diet: A diet free of grains is always helpful in fighting yeast infections. Grains contain natural sugars on which yeasts feed upon and multiply. A raw or natural, (minimally processed) diet can be very helpful in fighting and preventing ear problems. A healthy diet can remove toxic chemical preservatives and excessive gluten, by-products and fillers.
- Clean the ears properly and regularly: Getting the junk out of your pet's ears is an essential part of treatment. In severe cases, a vet may need to sedate the dog to thoroughly flush out the ears down to the level of the ear drum. Make sure you regularly clean your pooch's ears after each time you take him to bath.
- Topical treatments: There are a number of good and natural commercial products available from pet supply stores to treat bacterial and yeast infections. Or else, you can make a solution with 1 cup of luke-warm water using one or more of the following ingredients
tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide
2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoon plantain tincture
You can use this mixture to wipe out excess debris from visible areas of your pooch's ears.
Homeopathic Remedies For Treating Ear Mites in dogs
- Pulsatilla: this is one of the finest herb helpful for treating ear problems associated with redness and sensitivity, along with a yellowish discharge. Pulsatilla animals like to sit near open windows ad don't like their paws getting wet. They won't eve go out in the rain.
- Sulphur: often recommended for dogs having ear problems due to skin conditions. Excessive scratching or pawing at the ears may be a indicator for sulphur.
- Hepar Sulph: if your dog is irritable and don't like to have their inflamed ears, it is time you need to treat him with Hepar Sulphur.
- Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil has been in the good books of veterinary medicine due to its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. It helps your dog suffering from ear infections to treat yeast and bacterial infections.
- Chamomile: Chamomile's anti-inflammatory properties can be taken internally. It has a powerful ability to calm your pet and help her sleep without any pain.
- St. John's wort: possess antibiotic properties to treat both internally and externally. It helps to calm your pet during an infection.
- Calendula: very effective for treating ear and skin infections in dogs. It can be used either internally or externally as it possess high anti-fungal properties.
- Witch hazel: witch hazel is an excellent astringent that decreases the swelling in the ear canal to ease the pain.
- Mullein: mullein is extracted from olive oil and is one of the best remedy for soothing and healing inflamed surfaces inside your pooch's ears.
Although herbal remedies can help in treating your pets ear infections, make sure to consult your vet before taking any treatments of your own. Whatever be the underlying cause for ear infections in your pet, a routine cleaning with a gentle dog-approved ear cleaner can help you to reduce the frequency of recurrent ear infections in allergic dogs. Cleaning your dog's ears after bath or grooming appointment may prevent ear infections from coming back again. Give him the proper care he wants for and he will thank you for his lifetime.