Ear infections in dogs ears can be very painful and serious, and should be treated immediately by a veterinarian, not ourselves.
How do we know if our dog has an ear infection?
By doing a regular inspection of our dogs ears will be the first step. Be familiar with his ears; know the typical smell, as that may be the first sign of something wrong. If there is an infection or ear mites, the smell may change, a foul odor is very typical of mites or infection. And if you see a dark, waxy type discharge, then this is another symptom of mites or infection. Either way, your dog needs to be checked and treated.
Even if you suspect, it may be something as simple as allergies, it would be better to be safe than sorry and let your loving dog suffer. They depend on you for their care and they have total trust in you. So when you think of it that way, you want to do everything in your power to make sure they stay healthy and happy.
The breeds with the longer floppy ears are going to be more prone to ear infections to those that have the upright ears. I have a black lab and a Chihuahua, ears of each kind. And I always watch for their behavior when it comes to their ears. When they are healthy, they leave them alone, but if there is pain, or discharge, they will paw at them or try to scratch. Dogs will also shake their head back and forth as if trying to shake something out of their ears.
How can you prevent ear infections?
Between normal checkups check your dogs ears on a regular basis. When you are playing with him or her, just casually look in the ears; it doesn't need to be a form of trauma for them. Another good time is when you are bathing your dog. Never, ever stick anything in your dog's ear. It is always a better idea to see your vet when it comes to anything to do with this very fragile part of your pet's body. Their ears are not like ours, they are very sensitive and have parts that can easily be touched and damaged.
There is one method that a vet will recommend for the owner to do. If you sense a foul smell, or something has changed, you may want to flush your dog's ear with warm water. There are ear washes for dogs that contain Tea Tree Oil; this is very gentle and very effective in cleaning the ears. It is a natural antiseptic, antibacterial and fungicidal, which will help to keep your dog's ears clear and infection free.
Make your dogs ears a part of your routine, whether bathing or when sitting quietly with him. Give your dog the care that he or she needs and can't do for him or herself. They can't tell when something is wrong; it is our job to make sure they are well and carefree.
Just as a dogs life should be!