Doggie Blog

Why You Need to Clean Your Dog's Ears

Why You Need to Clean Your Dog's Ears 0

Want a Healthy Dog? Start With the Ears

You might prefer to assume that your dog ignores or disobeys you because he simply doesn't hear your commands -- but don't kid yourself. Dogs have extraordinary hearing ability, including the ability to pick out frequencies three times as high as our poor humans ears can detect. But that super hearing doesn't mean that your dog's ears are super-strong physically. Dirt, pests, and bacteria can cause some serious problems for those sensitive ears, so you need to take preventative action in the form of regular ear cleaning. Let's take a look at why canine ear cleaning is so important, along with the smartest and safest ways to go about it.

How Dirty Ears Can Lead to Trouble

One thing you may have noticed about your dog's ears is how much more open to the outside world they are than human ears. Even a floppy-eared dog has relatively wide ear canals. The structure and angle of the ear canals makes it easy for foreign matter to find its way into them -- and difficult for those substances to find their way back out. As a result, debris, moisture, wax, bacteria, ear mites, and viruses can take up residence inside your pet's ears. Some of the more common results include:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Bacterial or yeast infections
  • Hearing obstruction
  • Ear pain, itching and irritation (otitis)

Ear infections are particularly dangerous because some types can lead to permanent hearing loss -- but even a mild form of otitis is likely to make your dog miserable. Dogs typically develop otitis in the outer ear, but without prompt treatment, an outer-ear infection can move to the middle ear, culminating in a burst eardrum.

Different breeds of dogs may be vulnerable to ear trouble for different reasons. Breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, Setters and Cocker Spaniels, for instance, tend to have allergy-based ear issues. In floppy-eared breeds such as Beagles and Basset Hounds, the outer ear structure contributes to ear trouble. Other breeds such as Pekingese, Maltese, and Poodles develop problems due to the thick hair around their ears.

Adopting a Regular Ear Cleaning Routine

Fortunately, you don't have to wait for your dog to develop a painful, potentially damaging ear problem. Regular ear cleaning can help keep the ears clean and dry, reducing the odds of infection and infestation. Be warned, however, that dogs don't normally like having their ears fooled around with, even when it's for their own good. You can help your dog accept ear cleaning by accompanying it with plenty of treats as a reward for his patience and tolerance. Most dogs only need their ears cleaned about once a month. (If your dog is a swimmer, he may benefit from more frequent cleanings.)

The Right Products Make All the Difference

Cleaning a (cooperative) dog's ears isn't difficult -- but it needs to be done correctly. Cotton swabs or other elongated objects can cause serious damage, so stick to cotton balls or other soft, safe applicators. Don't use harsh cleaners such as alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, or medications such as antibiotics or steroids, unless instructed to do so by your vet. Instead, use the safe, gentle Ear Wash we offer here at Doggie Dailies. This product contains tea tree oil, echinacea, aloe vera and witch hazel -- natural ingredients that wash away dirt, wax, and infectious agents without harming delicate ears. It's a smart, easy way to help your dog maintain his comfort, health, and of course his amazing hearing -- whether he heeds your commands or not!

  • Jennifer M
Itchy Dog? It Could Be Seasonal Allergies

Itchy Dog? It Could Be Seasonal Allergies 0

Every dog gets a little itchy behind the ear every once in a while, but if you notice your fur friend is scratching, biting or licking themselves more than normal, it could be allergies. Just like humans, the change in the weather and the increase in pollen counts can spark allergies for dogs, and this often manifests in itchy skin and sudden rashes. Luckily, these issues are very common, and there are plenty of things you can do to help your dog be more comfortable.

Signs of Seasonal Allergies in Dogs

While you may experience post-nasal drip, some congestion and plenty of sneezing when the flowers bloom and the ragweed spreads, seasonal allergies work a little differently for canines. Some common signs of seasonal allergies in dogs include:

  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Excessive scratching
  • Biting at their fur or chewing on a specific spot
  • Excessive licking, especially of the paws
  • Hair loss or thinning in a certain area such as paws, hindquarters, chest and in the armpit area
  • Hot spots, which may show signs of infection in more severe cases

Keep in mind that dogs are generally very stoic when it comes to pain and discomfort. This means if your dog is itching or licking enough for you to notice the change in behavior or skin appearance, it's likely that he is experiencing significant irritation. These signs may also seem to come and go if your dog is outside (or in the house) more for a few days or if whatever is causing the reaction blooms.

Things You Can Do to Help

Any time you think your dog may be suffering from a skin allergy, it's always a good idea to cover your bases with a vet visit. While there are plenty of over-the-counter things you can do to help your dog, itching and skin rashes can also be indicative of a larger issues, such as ringworm or a food allergy, so it's important to make your vet aware of the issues your dog is experiencing so they can rule out anything more serious and give you advice on at-home treatments.

Once you and your vet have determined that seasonal allergies are to blame, some possible treatments include:

  • More frequent bathing: While this may seem counter-intuitive, washing your dog more often keeps the allergen from staying on the skin, and there are skin-calming shampoos that can make a big difference if your dog is experiencing red, itchy skin.
  • Hot spot treatments: These are usually liquids that come in a spray or sponge-topped bottle, and they have bittering ingredients that keep your dog from wanting to lick those spots. Make sure to look for a treatment that doesn't include alcohol and says it's safe for open wounds to ensure it doesn't burn your pup.
  • Fun T-shirts: If your dog is experiencing issues on the belly or the armpit region -- especially common on more wrinkly breeds because the skin folds hold onto moisture -- a doggie T-shirt keeps these areas out of reach. Bonus points for those with cute sayings that show off your dog's personality.
  • Supplements: Multivitamins designed to enhance your dog's skin and coat can help heal from the inside out and supports your dog's overall health. Omega chews are especially helpful for pets with skin issues.

Next Steps

If over-the-counter treatments aren't making a difference or you feel like your dog's symptoms are worsening, a trip back to the vet is the best bet. Your vet may be able to recommend a prescription treatment like Cytopoint, Apoquel or hydroxyzine or refer you to a veterinary dermatologist who can do more testing to determine if the underlying issues might be something like a food allergy.

  • Dana S
7 Common Causes of Dog Ear Infections You Need to Know

7 Common Causes of Dog Ear Infections You Need to Know 0

Ear infections are one of the most common illnesses your dog may experience. But what is at the root of these infections?

The L-shaped, vertical structure of your dog's ear canal makes him more prone to infections in his ear. So, it's important to understand the root causes of ear infections. Discover seven common causes of ear infections in dogs and how to keep them at bay:

1. Allergies

Allergies are often a common culprit of ear infections in dogs due to the inflammation allergies may cause in the ear canal. In fact, the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation estimates that most dogs that have food allergies (80 percent) and about half with skin allergies display ear infection signs. So, it's important to watch out for signs of dog ear infections, such as frequent scratching, discharge, blood, balance problems, redness or swelling of the ear.

2. Moisture

Wet dog ears is a great environment that harbor and grow yeast and bacteria. The moisture often leads to ear infections. Moisture can build up in your dog's ears from a variety of ways, including swimming, grooming or when you give your dog a bath. That's why it's important to keep your dog's ears dry.

3. Injury

An injury to your puppy's ear can also lead to infection. When your dog injures her ear, she can rupture her eardrum. This can lead to ear infections. Your dog may exhibit signs of trauma to her ear if she constantly tilting her head.

4. Excessive Cleaning

Cleaning your dog excessively may also lead to an unprecedented ear infection. That's because every time you clean your dogs, you expose their ears to moisture. Moreover, if you don't dry their ears properly, you give bacteria room to grow in your pet's ears.

5. Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases also often can explain the occurrence of ear infections in dogs. For instance, a common skin disease called pemphigus is common in dogs and often is associated with ear infections.

6. Ear Mites

Puppies are prone to having ear mites, and these mites are notorious for causing ear infections. Watch the signs for ear mites, such as shaking of the head or discharge resembling the color of shoe polish.

7. Bacteria

Bacteria exist in dogs ears. But when your dog has too much bacteria, it can lead to an ear infection. Bacteria-based ear infections can lead to an overproduction of wax and are common among dogs that swim.

How to Prevent Ear Infection in Dogs

If you think your dog may have an ear infection, it's important to take them to your veterinarian. But before

  • Use supplements. You can use supplements from trusted brands, such as Doggie Dailies, to keep ear infections at bay, including the Doggie Dailies Advanced Probiotics Supplements.
  • Use an ear cleanser. A cleanser designed for keeping your dog's ears clean can help you keep pesky ear mites out and prevent yeast from growing. You can use a soothing ear cleaning solution, such as Doggie Dailies' Cleansing Ear Wash for Dogs with Tea Tree Oil and Soothing Aloe Vera.
  • Keep your dog's ears clean (and dry). Use a damp cloth to clean your pet's ears and remove any dirt you can see. Also, avoid overexposure to moisture by keeping your dog's ears dry when bathing or grooming.
  • Inspect ears regularly. Every two weeks, exam your dog's ears for signs of ear infection, such as foreign bodies or a bad odor coming from the ear.

Final Thoughts

While there are several causes behind ear infections in dogs, you can take preventative measures to reduce these incidents. From keeping your dog's ears dry to providing her with supplements, you take several measures to keep dog ear infections at bay. Just watch out for the signs of ear infections in dogs and put these tips to use and you can worry less about dog ear infections.

  • Dana S
Is Your Dog Getting The Proper Nutrients? Supplements Could Help.

Is Your Dog Getting The Proper Nutrients? Supplements Could Help. 0

Your dog may have a glossy coat, a cold nose, and a constantly-wagging tail -- but is he really as healthy as he could be? Just as we humans need proper nutrition if we want to stay well and function correctly, our dogs need to get the right mix of nutrients to optimize their everyday health. You can't always count on your dog's food containing the right quantities of those essential nutrients. But don't worry, because nutritional supplements can step in to fill the gaps where nature could use a helping hand.

Your Dog's Nutritional Needs

Every dog needs a combination of macronutrients and micronutrients in order to stay healthy. Macronutrients include categories such as proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Micronutrients include specific vitamins, minerals, and amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). Like humans, dogs can't manufacture all of their necessary amino acids internally; 10 of those amino acids have to be present in the foods they eat.

The list of vitamins and minerals your dog needs may sound familiar, especially if you take supplements yourself. Dogs need Vitamins A, D, E, and K -- but not C, which their bodies can manufacture. Their mineral requirements include potassium, zinc, calcium, and phosphorus.

When Food Can't Get the Job Done

You might think that a decent brand of dog food would supply all the basic nutrition most pets need -- and in many cases, you'd be right. Pet foods that conform to the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) standards for nutritional content may offer a balanced mix of nutrients. But if you're feeding your dog meals of your own devising, you may have no idea whether you're really giving him the nutrients he needs.

It's also important to note that some dogs have particular nutritional requirements. For instance, a working dog who leads a highly active lifestyle may need extra portions of calcium and phosphorus for optimal health and performance. Pets who suffer from chronic pain or inflammation may need specific nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties. Dogs who have trouble absorbing nutrients due to a digestive condition may need to ingest more nutrients than a dog who suffers from no such problem.

Specific Supplements for Specific Needs

The first step in making sure that your dog's nutritional needs are being met is a consultation with your veterinarian. If nutritional supplements seem like a good idea, you'll find a wide variety of products right here at Doggie Dailies. For instance:

  • If your dog has trouble with arthritis or inflammatory joint pain, our Hip & Joint Formula contains nutrients such as glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega-3/omega-6 fatty acids to help those aching joints feel and move better.
  • Dogs with malabsorption or immune system issues will get a welcome boost in function from our Probiotics for Dogs product. This product fills your dog's gut with healthy bacteria to aid digestion and ward off unhealthy bacteria.
  • If your dog just needs some all-around nutritional enhancement, our 5-in-1 Multivitamin for Dogs will fit the bill nicely. This peanut-butter-flavored product includes a full complement of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, as well as premium-quality fish oil for skin and coat health.

Nutritional supplementation for dogs can make good sense under the right circumstances. Do the right thing for your beloved friend by making sure he's getting those building blocks of health!

  • Jennifer M