As a life long owner of dogs with upright ears I have never had to do much maintenance in that department. I know that Labs are prone to ear infections. What are your best practices for maintaining ear health? What to use to clean them and does diet impact their ear health? Any tips would be appreciated. We have had Deez for 4 months and his ears look OK to me, but I don't want a nasty surprise one morning because I have not been proactively caring for them.
It depends on the dog. Judy always has clean ears whenever I check. Mitzi, who had has allergy problems since she was 2 needed almost constant attention to ears. After the allergy was under control, I check every few weeks, but she needs ear meds two or three times a year.
You can tell if the dog is shaking head or sctatching the ears.
Just watch for them pawing their ears. I generally just tissue them out every few weeks, especially in dry and dusty weather. Maybe dampen the tissue with Witch Hazel from time to time for cleansing. Otherwise I leave their ears alone.
For a long time I was blissfully ignorant of the need to check Maggie's ears. She always had great ears ("Beautiful ears," according to her vet) until about six months ago, and she wound up with a galloping yeast infection that took forever to clear up. She's allergic to Otofoam; had an awful reaction to it. So once we got the infection and the blistered ears cleared up, the vet recommended I clean them with half white vinegar and half warm water. I do that every few weeks, and she hasn't had any big flare-ups since.
It didn't seem to be her food, although I know that's a common cause. I believe she picked something up at the beach, which brewed for awhile before it became a full-blown infection.
Just check Deez's ears regularly. Smell them; if they're becoming infected, you'll be able to tell. I also gently clean Maggie's with a Q-tip before I use the vinegar and water, so I know what's going on in there, but I don't go in too far. Our vet explained that, unlike ours, which are straight, dogs' ear canals are configured in an L shape, so when you put liquid cleaner in them you need to make you put enough to get it all the way down. They'll shake out the excess.
Sorry I wrote a book. I just don't ever want to go through another infection like the last one, and don't want you to, either.
If they don't have any allergies, they can be easy to keep clean. I bet I clean Jes's ears no more than once or twice a year. They just never get dirty. Now give him something with wheat in it and those suckers will clog up and get inflamed in no time.
I am in the middle of treating Chance's ear infection right now. The vet gave me some drops (more like an ointment) to kill the yeast/fungus/bacteria/whatever and also some solution for keeping his ears clean. You do have to use a lot of solution to get into their L-shaped ear canals but the liquid will work any "debris" out so you can just wipe it out of their ears. The vet said Labs are just prone to ear infections, and there's nothing to prevent them, other than keeping a close eye on them. He said to hang on to the leftover ear drops because it'll be likely I'll need them again down the road... I'm lucky that Chance likes to get his ear cleaned and rubbed...he just stands still and waits for his treat. Some dogs can't stand it!
I have never had to clean Nellie's ears. If they ain't broke don't try to fix them is my philosophy. They are always clean and pink inside. Several years ago she had a food allergy which manifested itself as yeast infections in both ears and a bald chest. Changing the food and treating the yeast infections cured her ears.