Ear infections, also known as otitis externa, are more common in dogs than they are in cats but can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort for our furry friends. If left untreated, they can even lead to hearing loss and other serious health issues. So, what are the causes of ear infections and how can we help prevent them?
Regular cleaning a dog’s ears is essential, particularly for dogs with floppy ears. Cats shouldn't need to have their ears cleaned unless advised to by a vet. Use a pet-specific ear-cleaning solution and some cotton wool or cotton pads. Steer clear of using cotton buds, as these can push wax and debris further inside the ear, which is less than ideal. Use the swabs to remove any excess wax and debris, and then dry off the ears. If you spot early signs of infections, such as redness, swelling, or discharge, take your pet to the vet instead.
If your pet isn’t used to having their ears handled, try to have a friend help you, and keep some treats handy to reward them.
Allergies can contribute to ear infections in pets. If your pet has allergies, work with your vet to manage them effectively. Your vet may recommend a special diet or prescribe medication to help reduce your pet's allergic reaction and inflammation.
Excess moisture in the ears can also contribute to infections, particularly in dogs. If they have a bath or go swimming, make sure you dry their ears off thoroughly. You can also buy ear-drying solutions too, which draw moisture from the ears.
Regular check-ups with your vet can help catch any signs of ear infections early and prevent them from getting worse. Your vet can examine your pet's ears and recommend treatment that may include medication or cleaning under anaesthesia.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, it’s worth taking them to the vet for a check-up: