- Normal earwax secretion is usually an odor-free, brown, waxy substance. If it has an offensive yeasty smell, the ear is likely infected. Problems can develop further within the ear canal with a buildup of wax and dirt. Never insert a cotton swab or other object into the dog's ear to remove accumulation. This could cause serious pain and injury to the animal.
- Regular ear checkups and cleaning contribute to healthy ears. This process can be performed once a month for most dogs. However, dogs with large hanging ears should have their ears checked more frequently, preferably once a week. Dogs that swim regularly should also have their ears closely monitored.
- Long hair on the inside of an ear can accumulate dirt and debris, which can eventually enter the ear canal. Carefully trim the long hair on the underside of the ear and the fur located at the inner base with small sharp scissors to help eliminate debris entering the canal. Dog groomers will perform this procedure for a nominal fee.
- Hair buildup can prevent air and oxygen from allowing ear wax and organisms to dry out. Plucking some of the hair from the inside of the ear to let more air get into the ear canal is a preventative measure against ear disorders. There are no nerves running through the hair follicles in the ear, so this procedure is painless for the animal.
- Flushing the ear with commercial ear wax cleaners developed for dogs is effective for ear care. The cleaners may disrupt the wax by acting on the cells to which it adheres. Products that contain lubricants work by softening and loosening the earwax. After applying the product to the ear, gently massage the ear canal removing any excess or residue with a soft, clean cloth.
- Ear disorders require veterinary care as soon as symptoms become evident. Failing to seek medical treatment can result in the disorder becoming more severe and painful for the animal, possibly resulting in deafness. Prevention is the better alternative.