If you follow us on Twitter, then you know that Jet has one heck of an ear infection going on at the minute.
Ear infections are not unknown to us…in fact, we are very familiar with each other.
So, while I was cleaning poor Jet’s ears this weekend, I thought it would be a good time to address the question of ear infections in your dog.
So, Why Does Your Dog Get So Many Ear Infections?
There are actually a few possible answers to this question…
- Your Dog is a Labrador…
Actually, I’m not.
Some dog breeds are prone to increased ear infections due to the anatomy of their ears.
Dogs with pendant-shaped or “drop” ears (think Labrador and hound) are much more prone to ear infections than dogs with prick or cocked ears (think schnauzer and rough collie).
Because the folded shape of the ear creates more warmth and locks in moisture within the ear and these two things combined make the perfect environment for bacteria and yeast to breed!
Dogs with the more perked ear shape get more air circulation within the ear which helps to keep ears cooler and to dry them faster.What can you do to reduce ear infections in your drop-eared breed? Clean ears once or twice weekly with a pH balanced canine ear cleaner. If the weather is particularly hot and humid, you may need to increase the frequency of your cleaning schedule.
We prefer to use the purple power ear formula (Make yourself using: 16 oz. Witchhazel, 16 drops Gentian Violet 1% solution, 4 Tbsp. boric acid powder or buy a ready made option here) but we have also used the Virbac Epi-Otic formula with success as well.
- You Don’t Dry Your Dog’s Ears
Whether your dog likes to swim or whether you just had to give them a bath, if any amount of moisture got into their ears, it could result in an ear infection (particularly if you own a breed referenced above).If there’s even the slightest chance that your dog got water in their ears during any activity, make sure to dry them thoroughly to prevent a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast.
Some dog owners can get away with using a cotton ball to dry inside ears and some dog owners use preventative methods like shower caps to stop water from getting in the ears at all. When Jet swims, however, we rely on drying powder in his ears, it’s the only thing that’s proven to dry them quickly and avoid those nasty ear infections!
- Food Allergies
Food allergies in people and dogs can lead to an overgrowth of bacteria and yeast in the body.
This overgrowth can lead to infections.
For dogs, this happens most often in warm, moist areas of the body like the ears, the creases of the hind legs, and armpits.
If your dog’s ear infections are a result of food allergies, you will most likely notice a range of other symptoms as well. These symptoms may include scratching, hair loss, a dull coat, low levels of energy, and listlessness.
If you suspect that your dog’s ear infections are a result of a food allergy, it’s a good idea to talk to your vet about allergy testing or trying an elimination diet to identify the culprit ingredient.
Ingredients that are particularly well known to trigger food allergies in dogs include grains, chicken, soy, and beef.
We feed Jet California Naturals Kangaroo and Red Lentil, a grain free, unique protein food and it has helped his allergies tremendously.
If you have a dog with significant trouble with food allergies, I highly recommend looking into a raw fed diet.