Now Hear This!

Now Hear This!

Ear infections were the most common reason for dog doctor visits in 2009, according to the Veterinary Pet Insurance Company. Here’s how to keep your pup’s ears healthy:

Do a “sniff test” “Smell your dog’s ears weekly and become familiar with the normal odor,” so you’ll know if something is amiss, says Gregg Takashima, D.V.M., president of the American Animal Hospital Association.

Wax off Check your dog’s ears regularly for wax buildup, redness or foreign objects lodged inside. Cleanings aren’t necessary if nothing appears to be wrong. But if your dog often has debris, odor or wax buildup in his ears, clean them weekly with a natural cleaning solution of equal parts white vinegar and water or an alcohol-free commercial ear cleansing solution, advises Takashima. Fill the ear canal with solution then massage the base of the ear. Let your dog shake his head.

Manage moisture After a bath or swim, dry your pup’s ears. Be extra thorough if your dog has floppy ears, as they can restrict airflow and create a damp place where bacteria thrive. Similarly, thick ear canal hair can also trap moisture.