Most ear infections in adult dogs are caused by bacteria, yeast, allergies or hormonal imbalances. Infections are especially common during the warmer months or if you live in warmer climates. Dogs with floppy ears, such as golden retrievers and spaniels, are extremely prone to infections. Scratching at the ears, head shaking, abnormal odor, redness and swelling are all common signs. However, there are several things you can do to promote clean ear health. Here are a few suggestions:

Regular Ear Cleaning is Not Required By Most Dogs

Therefore, unless your pup has an issue it is best to leave things alone. Otherwise, you can create an imbalance in the PH level which can lead to infection. But be sure to properly dry your dog’s ears after swimming and bathes as the damp environment can create yeast and bacterial growth. You may also use a cotton swap to remove any debris from your dog’s ears, but be careful not to go inside the ear canal. You may have heard not to stick a Q-tip in your ear, the same rule applies here.

Make Sure Your Dog is Eating a Whole Foods Based Diet

And if he is prone to ear infections, consider going grain-free. An excess of grain and sugar in the diet feeds naturally occurring yeast causing an overgrowth that can occur inside the ears. Further, be sure to include healthy fats in your pup’s diet. You want to find a balance of omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids. There are a number of good foods and supplements on the market, as well as naturally occurring fats in flaxseeds, fish and coconut oil.

If you suspect that your doggy’s ear does need a cleaning from excess build up, there are several commercial products available at your local pet store or online. If you have a rather squirmy buddy, try the ear pads that are a little gentler than ear flushes.

You Can Treat Ear Infections at Home by Using Holistic Remedies

Apple cider vinegar (mixed in equal parts with water) is a great alternative when administered in the ear with a syringe or a cotton ball on your dog’s ear flap. Mullein oil, tea tree oil and oregano oil (all greatly diluted in purified water) can also be used for their anti-bacterial properties, as well as diluted calendula oil which is antifungal. Coconut oil, both anti-fungal and ant-bacterial, is a great resource. In fact, studies suggest that coconut oil is terrific in treating dermatitis which can develop on your pup’s skin (and yours too).

If you suspect that your pup has a persistent ear infection, you may need a trip to the vet for some steroids or antibiotics. Balance them out by giving your pup a probiotic supplement during and after treatment. You can also try some live-culture plain yogurt with lactobacillus and acidophilus, the “good bacteria.”

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