Dog’s ears are impressive. For example, they can swivel to locate the source of a sound in 6/100 of a second. However, the design of canine ear canals leaves something to be desired. Their shape (a downward plunge followed by a horizontal tract) can leave debris stuck too easily, which is why dogs—floppy-eared ones in particular—are prone to ear infections. Telltale signs include: Ear scratching, colored discharge, odor, redness, swelling, crusted or scabby skin, and impaired hearing. Also pay attention if your dog wipes his ear on the floor or furniture, or if he shakes his head a lot.
To prevent infections, gently dry your dog’s ears after swimming or baths, and occasionally clean his ears with a cotton ball dampened with a solution recommended by your vet. If you suspect a problem, it’s important not to self-diagnose. Bacteria or yeast causes most ear infections, and both require veterinary treatment.
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