The large, erect ears of German Shepherds give them some form of advantage over other breeds with smaller ears. Aside from the fact that they have keen hearing abilities, they tend to enjoy more air circulation than other dogs.
Thus, their ear canals are mostly dry, making them less prone to infections (that does not mean they do not suffer ear infections because they do). It is then a necessity to clean your dog’s ear now and then. However, this can be a daunting task if your dog is not conditioned to accept ear cleaning yet.
It is important to regularly check your dog’s ear for dirt or even infections so you are not late in discovering if there’s an infection. You can do so by gently massaging your dog’s ears while assessing it.
Once your dog pulls its ears away from you, it can be a sign that it is suffering an infection which is causing it to pain as you touch it. You should then see your vet as soon as possible to avoid further deterioration of the infection.
How Do I Know My Dog’s Ears Need Cleaning?
Before you decide to clean your dog’s ears, you must be certain your dog’s ears need to be cleaned before you go ahead. Note that cleaning your dog’s ears more than it needs to be can lead to infections and irritation, thus you should know what a healthy ear looks like.
A healthy clean ear looks pink, odourless and not dirty or inflamed. Also, it does not stink or smell yeasty. Thus, you should only clean your shepherd’s ear when you notice a change.
While some dogs may not need their ear cleaned for a long time, those that mostly suffer from ear infections or often spend time in the water will need frequent ear cleaning.
It is recommended that owners of dogs that spend a lot of time in the water, use tropical astringents to keep the ear canals dry and well ventilated as well as prevent water from entering the ears canals during bathing.
You may have noticed that your dog is shaking its head more often than not or you can smell a mild odour from its ears.
It’s time to clean your shepherd friend’s ears. You should also contact your vet if you notice that your dog’s ears seem red and inflamed or have a yeasty smell and that your dog seems to be in pain.
Steps In Cleaning Your German Shepherd’s Ears
If it’s your first time cleaning your dog’s ears, it can be challenging but these steps should ease your stress. Let’s look at them.
Check for Infections
Before you get down to the cleaning itself, it is important to check your shepherd’s ears for infections. If you notice any sign or symptom of any infection, you should take your dog to a vet immediately. Some common signs are:
Redness and Inflammation
Your dog’s ears will definitely become red and inflamed if it has been scratching it for a long time. This means it has been experiencing some discomfort as a result of a possible infection. Have your vet check it out.
Discharge from your dog’s ears can also be a sign of an infection.
If there is way too much wax in your dog’s ears, it could also be a sign of an infection that needs to be attended to quickly.
If you notice scabs and sores in your dog’s ears, it is likely that it has been scratching it for a long time and this may be because of an infection.
Ready All Items You’re Going to Need
Once you have checked for signs of infections and are satisfied that there is none, you can now prepare everything you are going to need for the cleaning. Here are some items you’d need:
- You’re going to need a good ear cleaner for the safe cleaning of your shepherd friend’s ears as using regular will leave a warm moist breeding ground for bacteria. Always use a vet-approved ear cleaner.
- You’d also need some cotton balls to help you get around your dog’s ears. Nonetheless, you should not insert anything into your dog’s ears as it can get lodged and cause permanent damage to your shepherd’s ears.
- If your dog has lots of hair in its ears, you will need tweezers to cut some off. Although German shepherds barely notice when you cut hair off of their ears, you should stop immediately if you notice that your dog seems uncomfortable.
- Gloves may also be needed to prevent bacteria from moving from your hand to your dog’s ears. However, if you do not have one, you should thoroughly wash and clean your hands before touching your dog’s ears.
- You’d also need a towel for this. The moment you’re done with the treatment your German shepherd will probably want to shake his head everywhere to get the medication out. This often means that the formula will end up flying out. Having a towel handy is going to help you catch most of it, keeping the surrounding area nice and clean.
- Get lots of treats as this could entice your German shepherd to keep still while you clean. Some dogs may not be gentle with you touching their ears and as such treats may come in handy to ensure their compliance.
Start Cleaning the Ears
Now that you have all items ready, here’s how you can go about cleaning your shepherd’s ears:
- Whatever ear cleaner you bought, you should first read the instructions to know how exactly to use it as different cleaners have different instructions for use.
- Next, you should show the bottle of cleaner to your dog so it sniffs it. This gives it the assurance that whatever you’re going to use on it is safe and that it can trust you.
- You then lift your dog’s ear up and pour into the canal, the recommended amount of cleaner. Experts usually recommend that fill up the ear canal.
- With the cleaner in canal now, soothe your dog and gently massage the base of its ear in a circular motion. This enables the cleaner to properly sink in. Note that you should keep the ears out of the way when doing this.
- Now, your dog will shake its head any moment now and this is where you hold the towel around its head so you can catch most of what’s going to come out to avoid soiling the environment.
- Next is to clean up any excess medicine and dirt from around the ear with the cotton balls. Be careful not to place the cotton balls into your shepherd’s ears.
- Time for treats now. You should reward your dog for good behaviour with treats. This will always stick with it – that you cleaning its ears isn’t a bad thing and you won’t have any difficulty getting it to behave the next time you want to clean its ears.
- If your dog still won’t sit still for you to clean the ears, take it to a vet for assistance.
Is Hydrogen Peroxide Good For My Shepherd’s Ears?
NO! Do not use hydrogen peroxide for your dog’s ears as this product could cause irritation to your dog’s healthy skin.
If you continue using hydrogen peroxide, it would affect the sensitive tissues in your dog’s ears and eventually affect the ear itself, causing your dog pain and you, money for vet attendance.
How Do I Get My Dog To Be Accustomed To Cleaning His Ears?
Early on, get your dog accustomed to having his ears touched. Take advantage of it; most dogs enjoy having their ears stroked.
Talk in a calming tone while massaging the ears, and rub the flaps’ interiors once in a while.
Additionally, grasp the pinnae while occasionally running your thumb down the aperture of the external ear canal. Offer sweets or a play break as a reward for cooperation. Always touch your Shepherd’s ears as you groom or bathe her.
Even if you don’t clean your dog’s ears, teach her that bath time entails checking those limbs.
Some Common Causes Of Ear Infections In German Shepherds
- Yeast: Malassezia pachydermatitis and Candida are the two common yeasts that naturally occupy the skin and ears of dogs. As with allergies and other immune-compromising disorders, your dog will show symptoms of infection if these organisms become overgrown.
- Bacteria: Ear infections can be brought on by several pathogenic, or disease-causing, microorganisms. When treating resistant instances, an ear culture is required for diagnosis. Cases are frequently categorized according on whether they accept Gram stain or not.
The ear has a population of good bacteria, much like the skin and stomach do. When these organisms are hampered, harmful fungus, yeast, or bacteria can enter the area. Since most GSDs do not have hair, we did not mention it. Hair that extends deep into the outer ear canal is common in poodles and other breeds of dogs.
The hair is removed by groomers while cutting hair. You may need to clip the hair near each ear hole if your German Shepherd has lengthy hair.
Gram-negative bacteria like Pseudomonas are notoriously difficult to treat, becoming more so without an accurate diagnosis and treatment, according to Veterinary Partner Vin.
An otoscopic examination, a microscopic inspection of earwax, allergy tests, bacterial species identification by culture, bloodwork to rule out underlying disorders, and allergy tests are all used in the diagnosis of ear infections.
- German Shepherd Ear Mites: Small parasites known as ear mites prefer to reside in a dog’s ear. They enjoy living in damp environments and consume the wax, oil, and other waste presents inside a dog’s ear.
In a sense, the filth in your dog’s ears is cleaned as it is consumed by these mites, but there is a twist in that the dog may become extremely itchy due to the tickling sensations.
Your dog shakes his head constantly to try to get rid of the ear mites. If your dog exhibits any of the following behaviours, you can tell if your shepherd dog has ear mites or not:
- It scratches its ears intensely
- Always shaking its head
- It has a dark brown residue around its ears
- There is visible soreness/redness in its ears
Checking your dog’s ear on a frequent basis will help to prevent further suffering. Call your veterinarian right away. Professional assistance can guarantee that your dog’s irritation is permanently resolved. As it will receive longer-term treatment to ensure this.
You should regularly clean and check your dog’s ear after the infection treatment to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Below are some frequently asked about cleaning the ears of your German Shepherd;
Do German Shepherds ears need to be cleaned?
Even though German shepherds are somewhat less prone to ear problems than other breeds, you should still check their ears at least once a week and clean them as necessary. Avoid getting your dog’s ears wet when bathing him; excess moisture in the ear can lead to infection.
How often should you clean a German Shepherds ears?
If your groomer cleans your dog’s ears, that should also be taken in to account. As a rule of thumb, a routine ear clean should not be needed any more than once every 1 to 2 months for a dog with healthy, normal ears. If more frequent cleaning is required, this should indicate cause for concern.
How sensitive are German Shepherds ears?
German shepherds have large, erect ears and excellent hearing. They are a working breed that relies on their acute hearing on and off the job. Whether guarding the border or family pet, they can hear four times better than humans. Depending on the breed, dogs hear sounds from 40,000 Hz to 60,000 Hz.
What does an ear infection look like in a German Shepherd?
Scratching at the affected ear. Dark discharge. Odor. Redness and swelling of the ear canal are the symptoms of dog ear infections.
Cleaning your German Shepherd’s ears can be a difficult task, especially if it’s your first time and also if your dog won’t sit quietly for you. Yet, we are certain that following these steps and all guidelines outlined in this article will help you a great deal.
Do not clean your dog’s ears on a regular as the structure of the German shepherd ear means your dog’s ears are mostly dry and clean.
However, you should always be on the lookout for signs of infection and immediately take your dog to the vet if you suspect foul play.
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