Jet has Labrador ears.
I don’t mean that as a statement of the obvious.
There is a common understanding among Labrador owners that Labs are prone to gunky ears.
The cause of this is a combination of pendulous ears and a love for water. Sometimes just the pendulous ears or “drop-ears” and a humid summer day will be enough to lead to itchy ears with brown discharge and red, swollen skin.
Many long-eared dogs and dogs with ears that sit close to the head have this problem. The ears trap heat and moisture.
Dogs like German Shepherds have less of a problem with this because their upright ears allow for air circulation within the ear.
A grain-free diet helped tremendously with keeping Jet’s ears junk-free, but there was one other thing that really helped us – the “purple power ear solution.”
Now, I first came upon the “recipe” for this ear cleaning solution at the Woodhaven Labs website.
At the time, it was a particularly humid summer and I was looking for a drying cleaning solution that would help to keep Jet’s ears clean and dry AND address any existing infection.
Don’t get me wrong, you should ALWAYS visit your vet if you suspect that your dog has an ear infection, but Jet…being Jet…is a little different.
The ear solutions used in veterinary practices caused Jet’s ears to swell and turn blood red. He is allergic to most “dog” ear cleaners used by vets.
Being the persistent dog mom that I am, I went searching and ran into the Woodhaven site and figured we had nothing to lose.
Once I found the recipe there, I followed the referral links on the site at the time and found a pre-made version of the ear cleaner at Carnivora.
It’s FAR cheaper to make your own version of the ear cleaner, but I was hesitant to make it myself in case I somehow didn’t do it correctly. So I ordered from Carnivora.
Keep in mind that Canivora is in Canada so for U.S shoppers it is going to be costly to ship. There are a few similar products online within the U.S, but if you look at the ingredients they use alcohol. The recipe at Woodhaven says that you can use either isopropyl alcohol or witch hazel in the cleaner, but I find that alcohol can be more irritating to the delicate tissue in Jet’s ears, so we use witch hazel. The pre-made formula at Carnivora uses witch hazel too.
Knowing that Jet is prone to ear infections, we would use this gentian violet solution once a week when the weather was very hot and humid and Jet was outside frequently. When he had an ear infection, we would use the solution twice a day for a week to two weeks depending upon his ears at the time.
Now, just because it worked for us doesn’t mean it will work for you and you should definitely chat with your vet about what is right for your pup (*enter disclaimer here*) but for us it worked when we had no other choices.
Now that Jet is much less mobile, he spends minimal time outdoors and bath times are few and far between due to the strain it puts on his joints, so we don’t use our ear cleaner as much as we once did. Whenever anyone asks about ear cleaners, though, this is always my recommendation.