A DogGeek.com exclusive by Teresa Barker
Keeping your dog’s ears free from moisture and bacteria is an important step in your regular grooming schedule. During hot summer months, and swimming season, you might be checking and cleaning your dog’s ears weekly or even daily. Think of your dog’s ears as a hot and moist petri dish for bacteria to flourish and grow. Think that’s gross? Try taking a whiff of the waxy brown stuff that you clean out. Yuck!
Here’s a few tips to keeping your dog’s ears clean.
- Check Them Daily
This is the most important aspect of keeping your dog’s ears clean and healthy. It doesn’t take long (a few days) for a little moisture to grow into a full blown problem. Your dog might scratch at his ears, causing infection and another problem to add to the list.
- Keep Them Dry
Moisture is usually the culprit. Simply swabbing inside of your dog’s ears with a cotton ball daily can help absorb anything moisture that crept in. It will also indicate if there is a need to clean deeper.
- Trim Hair Growing into the Ear.
Especially important for harrier breeds, poodles and terriers. Hair can trap moisture and result in helping the petri dish environment flourish.
- Use a Soft Cloth Wrapped Over Your Index Finger as a Swabber
Gently wipe inside of your dog’s ears. Diluted tea tree oil applied to the cloth is a wonderful antibacterial that will help prevent future build up.
Shaking of the head and scratching of the ears is NOT normal for dogs. If you see your dog exhibiting this kind of behavior, inspect thoroughly, as ear infections are extremely uncomfortable and can eventually lead to deafness. Also, remember, the more often you clean and check your dog’s ears, the less gross the job is!
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A DogGeek.com exclusive by Teresa Barker
This is the time of year when summer weeds can cause serious distress for your dogs. If you’re like me, you may hear all the the medical harm that foxtails can cause, but don’t really know what they are. The fact it, they can be extremely dangerous to dogs, most commonly lodging between a dog’s toes, inside the ears, and up the nose. If your dog is shaking his head violently, sneezing excessively, or biting at his paws, you might just have a foxtail to blame.
What exactly are Foxtails and where can you find them?
The name is given to a number of grasses that have a cluster of spikes at the end that resemble a fox’s tail. They are sometimes called “spear grass” and can be found in lawns, pastures and weedy areas of driveways. After doing more research on these nasty little buggers, I immediately went outside to my yard and inspected for their presence, and sure enough, there were many. The foxtail’s amazing design allows them to easily lodge onto any unsuspecting passerby, especially animal fur, and only move in a forward motion – even penetrating skin. If pulled back the barbs get involved and break off from the head. Quite a nuisance for any furry creature.
In order to prevent a trip to the vet for foxtail removal, there are a few measures that you can take to avoid exposure.
Look up images so you know exactly what they look like.
Then, take a look around your own yard in all the areas that your dogs roam, and you might just find them. Keep the grass short, and mow often to keep the foxtails from forming. The grasses and weeds themselves aren’t the problem, it’s the untamed bushy “tail” that forms when unattended that you want to destroy.
Inspect your dogs thoroughly every time they come in from outside
Be sure to check inside their ears and between their toes. Also, avoid hiking and picnicking where weeds and tall grasses are growing.
If you find a foxtail lodged in your dog’s fur, or you suspect one had been lodged in an orifice, contact your vet immediately. Remember, you could make it worse due to the foxtail’s design. Take time to scour your dog’s outdoor areas, and always do a thorough check over your dog’s body daily.
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