Yucky Dog Ear Wax: What to Use for That Dog Ear Discharge

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By: Fabiana Piñeda Updated: April 16, 2020

Dog ear waxA little amount of ear wax is normal in dogs and it is a good sign of healthy ears with a functional self-cleaning system. But too much dog ear wax is a likely sign of problems happening, or about to happen! Ear infections and problems are one of the most common conditions dogs can get. Read on to find out how to detect and resolve issues with your dog’s ears!

Excessive Dog Ear Wax: Could this be a Sign of Dog Ear Infection?

When there is too much ear wax production, that causes an abnormal build-up of ear wax. This creates the perfect environment for harmful bacteria, fungi, and other micro-organisms to flourish, leading to ear infections. But how exactly can you tell if your dog has excessive ear wax?

First, the smell is a dead giveaway. If your dog’s ears smell stinky or stale, it is likely that there is an infection.

Second, look into his ear closely. It should look nice, very slightly moist and pink with a very light coating of ear wax. If the ears look reddened or irritated with dark brown or black discharge, that is a cause for concern. Your dog’s ears should also not be overly moist or dry.

Other signs you need to look out for in your dog’s behavior are:

  • Head shaking
  • Frequent rubbing or scratching of ears
  • Sensitive or pain to having ears touched

Here’s What You Need to Know About Dog Ear Wax Vs Ear Mites in Dogs

Excessive dog ear wax can be caused by infections or ear mite infestations. It is easy to confuse between the two since both conditions could show similar symptoms such as ear irritation, dark-colored ear discharge, and smelly ears.

Dogs with ear mite infestations often have black or brown crusty ear discharge whereas dogs with ear infections tend to have more reddish-brown or yellow wax build up. Ear mite infestations also usually cause wax build-up while ear infections can be caused by excessive ear wax build-up.

Ear mite infestations, However, further tests still need to be done to confirm if your dog has an infection or an ear mite infestation, which is where your local vet will come in. The treatments for these conditions are usually different as well so it is essential to know the difference!

Is Your Dog Ear Wax Brown? Causes of Ear Infection in Dogs

When an external ear infection is suspected, many possible causes can be primary or predisposing or perpetuating factors.

Some of the top primary causes include ear mites, foreign bodies, inflammatory polyps, tumors allergies and more. These cause ear infections directly and resolving these factors can usually solve the infection.

Predisposing factors cause an infection by making the ear canal more prone to getting infected as a result of the condition. Certain dog breeds such as Cocker Spaniels have ears that are hairier and more pendulous, which is a predisposing factor for ear infections!

Factors such as high humidity, high moisture in the ears and overzealous ear cleaning can also make dogs more vulnerable to ear infections.

Lastly, perpetuating factors can worsen and prolong ear infections even if the direct cause is treated. Other bacteria and fungi that invade the ears after the primary ear infection has occurred is a common perpetuating factor.

Thus, these causes can be identified and then treated or managed by you and your vet to return your pooch back to normal!

So, What’s the Best Dog Ear Cleaner for Maxwell?

Often after treatments for ear infections or even for prevention, it is ideal to continue to clean your dog’s ear canals whenever they get dirty.

When choosing your dog ear cleaning solution, you may be overwhelmed by sheer choice in the pet shops. It is essential to know which solution is best for your dog’s needs!

A good ear cleaner should not be irritating to your dog’s ears, gentle enough so that the solution would not strip away the natural protective oils of the ear and effective at the same time.

Vetericyn for Dogs

We recommend the Vetericyn Plus Ear Rinse as a great ear cleaner for your dog! Vetericyn’s ear rinse solution is formulated with an appropriate pH level for the ears, so they do not sting or irritate your dog’s ears. The solution is safe and non-toxic, with no alcohols, steroids or antibiotics in the solution.

The best part? Vetericyn Plus ear rinse is safe even if licked or ingested by your nosy hound by accident. We also find that their applicator is really easy to administer to dog ears of all shapes and sizes.

The product can be used for flushing and for the relief of irritations and wounds to the external ear or ear canal.

A Natural and Effective Route: Can you Use Hydrogen Peroxide Ear Cleaners?

As somewhat of a home remedy fix for your dog, many websites online recommend using a hydrogen peroxide mixture of one parts peroxide and one parts water as an ear cleaning solution. It is still a debatable topic as some believe that it is totally fine with approval from your veterinarian.

However, some possible cons of using a hydrogen peroxide solution are that hydrogen peroxide can be irritating and painful to your dog’s ear canal and hydrogen peroxide solutions kill all bacteria in the ear, including the good bacteria that live naturally in the ear.

Since it is still widely debated, the best solution would be to take a safer but less affordable route of approved dog ear cleaning products. Otherwise, consult your veterinarian for advice on using hydrogen peroxide solutions to see if it is a suitable treatment.

Dog Ear Wax Removal: If it’s Not Infected, then You Don’t Have to go to the Vet!

If your dog’s ears are not infected yet but are still looking really gunky and filled with wax, it is only a matter of time before problems arise! To maintain good ear health and remove all that wax builds up, the appropriate ear cleaning technique and routine need to be enforced.

The steps you should note are:

  • Be gentle!
  • Dribble a small amount of ear cleaning solution into the ear
  • As the solution flows into the ear canal, gently massage the base of your dog’s ear
  • Repeat this with the other ear
  • After that, use clean cotton balls, swabs or gauzes to gently wipe the ear canal to remove any wax or solution you can see (DO NOT USE Q-tips!)
  • And you are done!

If you are unsure on how to clean your dog’s ears appropriately, the best thing to do is still to consult your veterinarian or a pet-care professional.

In all, ear infections and issues are one of the most common ailments dogs can get! It is a crucial part of a dog’s care routine to maintain good ear cleanliness for a healthy, happy pooch.

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