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Canine ear infections: Treatment and prevention

Ear-mites, fungus, and common allergies have many dogs – and their owners – scratching the heads. There are many treatment options for ear infections, but wouldn’t it be easier if they could be prevented in the first place? Fortunately, with a little extra effort and watchfulness, owners can greatly reduce the frequency and severity of their dogs outer ear infections.

Antibiotics like Otomax or Malotic are often used to treat severe cases, but some owners opt to take the more holistic route of using simple natural remedies to help prevent their dogs to keep from getting ear infections in the first place.

The first step in preventing ear infections is cleanliness. Especially after a trip to the dog park or the beach, be sure to check your dogs ears to ensure that the are free of dirt, sand, or other debris. Dogs with long dropped ears are more at risk than dogs with pricked ears, and long haired dogs have to be extra careful. If you have a long haired dog, be sure to keep the hair around the ears trimmed and clean, as the hair can not only pick up debris from the ground during playtime, but can help carry the junk into the ear canal where it can cause infection.

Some dogs seem to always have stuff in their ears. For them a rinse made of a simple 1:2 solution of white vinegar and water may help stave off infections. Use the solution to rinse the ear, massaging gently with a towel, then rinse a couple more times using plain filtered water. A 1:1 hydrogen peroxide/water solution also work well. Try the Hydrogen Peroxide solution if your dogs ears are tender from a lot of scratching as it will sting less than the vinegar.

Many large per stores stock several brands of commercial cleaners which may offer even more protection for your dog. Commercial ear cleaners often have ingredients specially formulated to treat common ear problems, and some of them even come with applicators which can make cleaning time much easier on both the dog and their owner.

One of the easiest ways to reduce all types of infections is to improve the quality of your dogs food. The fillers often used in cheap big brand dog foods offer little to know nutritional value. In addition to sometimes triggering allergies, non-nutritional fillers do your dog no good and only serve to add bulk to the product – and ultimately to your dogs too. Treat your pup to a healthy lifestyle by starting with a high quality dog food, check with your local specialty pet center for quality brands.

Its easy to reduce the severity and frequency of outer ear infection through simple grooming and good hygiene. While most ear problems affect only the outer ear, you should be aware of your dogs behavior and if they show signs of a deeper infection schedule a trip to the vet. Symptoms of more serious ear infections include: general clumsiness, walking in circles, or always holding the head tilted to one side.

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