Grooming 101: ear and dental care
Ear and dental care play key roles in keeping your dog happy and healthy, and they are easier to keep up with at home than you may think.
Many dogs who have floppy ears such as Cocker Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, and Poodles; as well as dogs who have hair that grows inside of the ear canal like Schnauzers, Maltese and Shih Tzus are prone to ear issues and infections. Keeping the ears clean and dry are two important steps pet parents can take to help keep their dogs ears healthy.
Please Note: If your dog’s ears smell bad, your dog is scratching at them/shaking their head, or if they react like they are in pain when you touch them, it could be a sign of an infection and the time to call your veterinarian. This instruction is not meant to be a substitute for cleanings and check-ups from your vet and groomer, it’s simply a way you can clean them at home in-between visits. If your dog is not a fan of having it’s ears cleaned this is a task best left to the professionals, both groomers and veterinarians offer ear cleaning and if needed ear hair plucking.
The first thing you’ll need is a good ear cleaner. You will want to be sure it is one that is a drying formula, because leaving your dogs ears extremely moist provides an ideal place for bacteria to grow and could lead to infection. I have personally used the Gold Metal brand ear cleaner, it’s a good alcohol-free formula and has always worked well for my dogs. Before purchasing any ear cleaning product always consult your veterinarian and be sure to use the product as directed. You will also need cotton balls, and just like for the warnings human ears do not use q-tips or ear swabs.
After you have gotten your cleaner and cotton balls, it’s time to get your dog on to a sturdy surface in a well lit area so you can clean it’s ears. Wet the cotton ball with a few drops of cleaner and wipe down the inside surface of the dog’s ear flap, starting from the outside and working in. Once the ear flap is clean, get a new cotton ball and wet with cleaner; clean the inside part stopping when you feel any resistance or can no longer see what you are cleaning, which ever is first. By going any further you risk damage to your dog’s ear.?
If you happen to have a pet that has inner ear hair, it does need to be plucked from time to time. I do not recommend trying this at home, just be sure to check with your vet and your groomer if your dog needs to have this particular service done.
As far as dental care and brushing your dogs teeth, this is usually an easier task to preform at home. Aside from bad breath, poor dental health and the accumulation of plaque can cause a number of problems such as inflammation, pain, gum infections, tooth loss and infections that can spread to internal organs. Using an enzymatic toothpaste to brush your dogs teeth at home will be easier on you and works better for your dog. Enzymatic toothpaste uses enzymes that convert to antimicrobial compounds that reduce bacteria in the mouth and lessen tartar buildup. Using the enzymatic toothpaste, you will not need to brush your dogs teeth like you do your own, a quick gentle scrub to get the toothpaste on the teeth will do the trick.
Also, your dog will more than likely think he or she is getting a pretty tasty treat as the toothpaste is usually meat flavored
Featured Photo courtesy: Alex McClung
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