by Marian Brown
Otitis Externa -- smelly, itchy, dirty ears -- is the third most common reason we take our dogs to see the veterinarian. Pet owners generally do not include ear cleaning as part of their daily or weekly grooming routine, but veterinarians are finding that at-home general cleaning can help eliminate the problem of otisis externa.
Spring and summer can be particularly hard on the ears. Walks, swimming and increased outdoor activity expose our pets to more pollutants and irritants. The ear naturally produces more wax for protection , giving more surface for dirt to accumulate. A vicious cycle for sure.
As the ears become dirtier, both wax and dirt can become lodged or accumulate in the ear canal. Dogs will commonly shake their heads and/or paw and scratch their ears. The pawing may lead to scratches and infections.
Gently cleaning the "outer inside" of the ear is now being recommended by many veterinarians. Cleaning helps remove the dirt and wax preventing the discomforting build-up.
Use a soft gauze or cotton ball and pet ear cleaner to gently wipe the ear. It is not recommended to use cotton tips (Q-tips) inside the ear. Also, look for a non-toxic and alcohol-free ear cleaner. You may also want to avoid those with fragrances and dyes as these can be an irritant.
If you think your pet has any type of infection, consult your veterinarian.
Marian Brown has been active in holistic health care for people and pets for over 15 years. She is editor of Holistic Health News. Visit the website and join our free email newsletter at http://www.hhnews.com and for more information on safely cleaning your pet's ears, visit http://www.oxybreath.com.
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