Ear infections are a common health problem for dogs, yet they are actually very serious and have the potential to develop into chronic health issues. For this reason, ear infections in dogs must be treated by a veterinarian. The veterinarian is the only one who can properly examine and diagnose the cause of the infection, whether it is due to yeast, bacteria, mites or some other underlying problem. The following steps will guide you through treating an acute ear infection in your dog, including the detection of the ear infection, seeing a veterinarian and applying the proper treatment for your dog at home.
Things You'll Need
- Prescribed ear medication
- Cotton swab or cotton ball
Determine whether your dog has a health problem. Check the dog's ears for a foul odor. Watch to see if the dog shakes his head frequently, or rubs and scratches at his head and ears. Look inside your dog's ears for a redness, swelling or a discharge. These are all common indications that your dog has an ear infection.
Contact a veterinarian to have your dog's ears examined. Only a veterinarian can ascertain the exact cause of the infection. Allow the veterinarian to take a swab of the ear and conduct a thorough examination.
Listen carefully to the diagnosis and recommended treatment method for your dog's infection. Treatment options can range from medication to surgery, depending upon the exact nature of the infection as determined by laboratory tests.
Clean the dog's ears thoroughly before beginning treatment. This will most likely be done at the medical office by the veterinarian after the examination.
Apply the prescribed medication to the inside of your dog's ear canal. Allow the veterinarian to demonstrate this process by giving your dog the first dose. Ask any questions regarding the proper medication dosage and application for your dog's infection.
Carefully pull your dog's ear flap straight up, holding it taught with one hand.
Apply the prescribed amount of medication into your dog's ear canal. Allow the medication to run straight down the vertical part of your dog's ear canal. Continue to keep his ear flap elevated until the medication has a chance to run all the way down the ear, including both the vertical and horizontal parts of the ear canal.
Gently massage your dog's ear canal after the medication has run all the way down. Use your finger and your thumb, placing your finger at the base of the flap in the front and placing your thumb at the base of the flap in the back.
Listen for a squishy sound as you massage the ear canal. This is an indication that the medication has been applied properly, reaching the horizontal part of the ear canal.
Let go of the ear and allow your dog to shake his head. If the medication is intended to dissolve buildup, some debris may be shaken out of your dog's ears at this time.
Repeat this process with the other ear, if necessary, or with other medications, as prescribed.
Clean your dog's ear canal and ear flap after you have applied all necessary medications. Use a cotton pad or cotton ball with a small amount of rubbing alcohol (70 percent or 90 percent isopropyl).