Our dogs pretty much never get ear infections anymore. I know that may sound crazy, akin to declaring the end to bad driving everywhere. But honestly, there are some easy steps you can take to help your dog steer clear of ear infections. In rare cases, dog’s ear infections are due to genetics, breed-specific propensity, or as a signal for some other malady. In most cases, ear health in our pets can be proactively managed – pretty much putting an end to canine ear infections. Here’s how to protect your dog against ear infections.
Does Your Dog Have an Ear Infection?
Hopefully not, but just in case you’re not sure, there are some signals that your fuzzy one will send out… And rest assured, almost every dog has suffered from a painful ear infection sometime in their life. Watch your dog and if he is scratching or rubbing at his ears or shaking his head he may have an ear infection. Also, dog’s with ear infections tend to have an odor emanating from their ears, often accompanied by red irritated ear canals, and even brown ‘gunk’ in their ear. Gently clear your dog’s fur from his ears and take a peak. I use to freak out when my dog had gunky ears – but after a number of costly trips to the vet and some studying, I found it’s easier to fend off dog’s ear infections than treat it!
How To Protect Your Dog Against Ear Infections
There are two key steps to fending off ear infections for your dog:
- Nutrition/pH Balance – combats yeast
- Proactive Cleaning – combats bacteria
Pretty simple right? Well, food is where most of us get a bit confused. Food, or as we call it, nutrition, is often key. Without getting into too much detail, or scientific mumbo jumbo, a dog’s biology is made for fresh protein and minimal carbohydrates. Doggos are not the ‘eat fast food and enjoy optimal health’ type of animal. Just like humans, our dog’s diets often come in boxed and prepackaged ‘food,’ and that’s not ideal. Dogs immune systems need whole foods, rich in nutrition to help them fight off yeast or allergies and defend them against the truly bad stuff, like ear infections.
Feed Your Dog Nutrition
Proper nutrition helps your dog maintain appropriate pH balances throughout his little body. Why is that important? A proper pH balance is what creates the environment for enzymes to thrive. Is that important too? Yup. Enzymes are proteins that act as catalysts for all living organisms in a body – dog and human alike. We need them to live. Without them your dog’s body gets sad and more-than-likely sick. Yeasty sick is how it often starts. Your dog’s gut is a key to a healthy and long life. We recommend a diet full of grass-fed, hormone, steroid and antibiotic-free proteins and organs, tripe, freshwater fish like sardines, free-range eggs, and a few cancer-fighting vegetables and memory boosting fruits. Keeping a dog’s gut in-check is often key to a yeast free pooch, including his ears.
One thing to always keep in mind, just like humans, dogs need their ears to be dry. So, if your dog is the type that likes to swim, towel off their ear flaps, both sides, and gently dry their ear canals post swim, and that includes bathes. This is a must, no ‘I’m too tired to dry off Fido’s ears’ excuses. It’ll come back to haunt you…and hurt Fido. Dry-liness is next to Dog-liness! Next you’ll want to gently clean the insides of your dog’s ears, rubbing outward, with a natural cleaner made of purified water andcalendula oil – it cleans and doesn’t change the pH levels in your dog’s ears. If your dog has a tiny bit of ear wax in his ear flap, add a little bit of apple cider vinegar to the mix.
Calendula (calendula officinalis) is an amazing healer and is one of the best holistic and antifungal remedies for cleaning and treating your dog’s ears.
Calendula (a.k.a. pot marigold, don’t confuse it with the marigolds you plant in your flower garden) is used to stimulate wound healing, works as an astringent, is antimicrobial, antifungal antibacterial, antiviral and is used for all types of wounds – including cuts, scrapes, abrasions, burns, and inflammations. Calendula enhances fibro-blastic growth, thereby helping to reconstruct tissue found in cuts, scrapes, scarring, and the like.
How to Make and Use Calendula Ear Cleaner
Mix one tablespoon purified water and 10 drops calendula oil in a glass bowl and stir. Dip a cotton pad into the mixture until slightly damp, lift your dog’s ear flap, and starting close, but not in the ear canal, wipe the cotton pad outward. Keep turning the wet cotton pad, using a fresh piece, until the entire ear has been wiped clean. 1-2 pads per ear, and never re-dip the cotton pad into the liquid. Air dry for 10 minutes before wiping your dog’s ear dry. Clean 2x a week using this mixture.
The Danger of Yeast and Antibiotics
Antibiotics seem like a cure-all, don’t they? Go to your vet and you come home with antibiotics. This is no longer the case with human’s physicians due to antibiotic resistant strain diseases. Meaning, the infection appears to get better, only to come back stronger and most likely with a vengeance. Yeast loves dark moist places like your dog’s ears and many well meaning vets prescribe antibiotics – but 95% of the time that is not the way to go. That’s why we seek out holistic vets – they are schooled in helping your pet’s body work to heal itself.
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Keeping your dog’s ears clean is pretty simple when you really get down to it. Oh, and don’t forget if your dog has gunky ears, have him checked out and discuss an all-natural enzymatic solution with your holistic vet – and remember, it’s always easier to prevent an ear infection than treat one.