Swimmers Ear

Swimmers Ear…Home Remedy?

I have been asked what can be used as a routine ear cleaner for dogs that swim a lot and are prone to get regular ear infections after swimming or bathing. There are a couple of different ear cleaning home recipes that you can make up yourself and use in dogs that have normal, healthy ears, but sometimes get this problem.

These seem to work pretty well as preventatives, but should not be used if there is evidence of redness, irritation or an existing ear infection. You should be checking your dogs ears regularly for any signs of infection, especially as much as our dogs are in the water. If caught early, infections are much less painful for the dog and much easier to get cleared up with proper medication from your vet.

These home remedies are both cheap and easy to make. It helps for easy application to the ears if you can mix these into some sort of squeeze bottle or yorker bottle. Use one or the other, but not both at the same time.

The first one is a 50/50 mixture of water and 3% Hydrogen Peroxide. This is not really an anti-bacterial, but works well to break up and remove wax. This mixture does not seem to sting or hurt the ears if there happens to be some existing redness or irritation. It can be used as a general cleaner each time after the dog is done swimming.

The other one is a 50/50 mixture of water and white vinegar. This is an astringent and somewhat anti-bacterial. The acidity makes it hard for some bacteria to grow, but because of this, will no doubt sting and be painful if used in ears that are red, ulcerated or infected. Again, this can be used as a routine ear cleaning and maintenance after swimming or bathing.

There are a few different things you can do to clean the ears. If you see that the inside of the ear flap is dirty, you can clean it with a cotton ball or gauze sponge soaked in one of the solutions. Wrap the cotton or gauze around your finger and wipe down into the ear. Then use a Q-tip to clean wax or debris from the nooks and crannies that you can see clearly. Do not put the Q-tip down inside the ear where you cannot see, as you will just be pushing the debris further down into the ear canal. Once you have made sure that the external part of the ear is clean, you can pour the cleaning solution down into the ear. Gently massage the base of the ear and then let the dog shake out the excess cleaning solution. When the dog is done shaking out as much as he can, you can wipe out the remaining solution with dry cotton or a tissue.

Again, the best medicine is prevention in my book. By routinely checking your dogs ears and using one of these simple ear cleaners, you might catch an ear infection early, and getting started on proper treatment is so important with our dogs, as I have seen a few dogs now that came down with a nasty ear infection and it really affected their performance at an event.