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Monday, May 11, 2009

On Cleaning Dog Ears

Chocolate Lab Ear Infection: Cheyenne
When we bring a Lab into our homes and hearts, one of the things that attracts us to this dog breed is its big floppy ears. However cute they may be, the shape of these ears (along with diet) makes this dog breed prone to very dirty and constantly infected ears if not properly maintained and cleaned.

Many owners of dogs with folded over ears get uncomfortable when talking about cleaning their dog's ears. Some bring their pups to the veterinarian's office every few weeks and spend a great deal of money to have them professionally cleaned because of the resistance their pup puts up.

So, how to give a dog ear drop or clean their ears when you practically have to sit on the pooch in order to pin him/her down while doing a sort of "twister" action to get a free arm to do to the deed with while he/she is putting up the fight of its life?

Simple question: What is your pup's most favorite thing in the world? Is it food? Is it a toy?

Use that thing to keep the pup still and reward the pup with it immediately after the ear drops are given. For us, it is a special dog treat we only use during the times we give ear cleanings or nail cuttings. Both Labs are highly food motivated but they are slowly becoming more relaxed when we do those things because the treat is right in front of their nose the entire time. When we are done, it goes right into their mouth.

I won't lie and say that the Lab Brats love to their ears cleaned but I can honestly say that they are not where as energetic in their protests as they once were. Dogs, especially Labs, need to have their minds and noses focused on something else to get their minds off of what you are doing to them.

Remember to stay calm through it all - you are in control and you are doing it because you truly love your dog and want to keep him/her healthy for many years to come.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

What sort of ear cleaning solution do you use and how often? Our chocopup Mango has been scratching at her ears lately. The vet gave us some ear drops and suggested a capful of hydrogen peroxide once a week to kill any bacteria or fungus. Do you agree with this?

May 11, 2009 12:43 PM  
Blogger Chester's Mom said...

Well for once, Chester is abnormal-in a good way. He sees me with the cleaner and tissue and turns his head. BUT once I get my finger in the ear canal, he groans and leans into it! I believe it feels good to him. Now if we could just get him to enjoy paw wiping on rainy days. (He's getting better at that but still gets a little ornery now and again.) A rawhide was used last nail trimming time and that worked like a gem for my chow-hound. Great advice!

*He will be 2 1/2 this Friday and he is really becoming a well behaved "gentledawg". When he was younger I never thought he could be this good.

May 11, 2009 1:11 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Chester's Mom - you really need to get that on video! LOL

Something Blue - We use Vet Solutions - Ear Cleansing Solution for Dogs & Cats. It helps clean, dry, acidify and deodorize. It also contains aloe vera. We have been using it for over 4 years now and it has worked quite well - gentle and does the job.

I would be careful with hydrogen peroxide. If you think about it - it is bubbling in the ear - could you imagine how loud or scary that would be to a pup? If you must use it, try mixing it with sterile water in a 1 to 1 ratio. You always want to dilute such things when first trying them out to make sure your dog doesn't have any reaction to them and also to get your pup used to using them.

Best of luck!

May 12, 2009 9:01 AM  
Blogger Life With Dogs said...

I sing the dogs a song about cleaning their brains, and they get fired up and line up for cleaning. Does that make them crazy, or me?

May 12, 2009 6:42 PM  

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