We all have our quirky features. Arie’s are her ears.
A German Shepherd Dog’s ears are probably their most recognizable feature. These satellites of sound sit atop their heads, giving them the look of attentiveness and awareness as adults. As puppies…well, let’s be honest…they’re hilariously disproportionate. Arie’s ears, as a 3 month old little thing (at the size of many fully grown toy breeds), looked like a baby elephants:
Cuteness aside, Arie’s massive ears make the risk of her getting an ear infection much lower. As young puppies, the German Shepherd Dog has ears that are folded over, but as they age, their ears stand. These upright, open ears help to keep Arie’s ears free of bacteria:
“Open ears are a benefit to the dog in that there is increased air circulation in the ear canal. If a shepherd has an imbalance in the naturally occurring yeast or bacteria in the ear, the ensuing ear infection will not progress as rapidly as it would in a dog that has a flap covering the ear canal. (Ear flaps create a warm, wet area in which yeast and bacteria can multiply quickly.)” - Net Places
Though the natural posture of her ears helps keep Arie free of infection, that doesn’t mean that she won’t get one. Knowing the signs of an ear infection are important, as ear infections that go untreated can result in very serious effects, including hearing loss. Here are a few things to look for:
- Excessive head shaking. If your dog is constantly shaking their head, they could be exhibiting their discomfort from an ear infection.
- Red or swollen ears
- A bad odor…that’s right. If you suspect your dog may have an ear infection, you’re going to want to take sniff. No joke.
If you suspect that your dog has an ear infection, go to the vet. I repeat: Go to the vet! Unless you a) used to work in a vet’s office, b) volunteered at a shelter and helped with their veterinary care, or c) have been shown…in detail (NOT from the internet) how to clean your dog’s ears, you need to consult a vet before you try.
Okay…your dogs ears a smelling a little funky and he tossing his head like it’s a maraca. It’s time to go to the vet. The vet may clean your dogs’ ears there, but they may also send medicine home with you and directions on how to continue to clean his ears. Here are a few things to do before you try to clean the infected ears:
- Prepare the area you plan to use to clean the dog’s ears. A table is great because it puts your pup at your level in a lying position. Have the medicine handy. Wash your hands.
- Get your dog up onto the table and lying down. Stand on the table opposite of the ear that you plan to clean so that you can lean over the dog to clean said ear, using your body to restrain the dog if necessary. You can also have the do lay on his/her side.
- There are 3 parts of the dog’s ear that you will need clean, the outer, middle, and inner ear. Be sure to ask your vet how to clean each area, and be careful as you do.
Finally, clean your dogs ears, as directed by the vet. So far, I haven’t had to clean Arie’s ears after an infection, and her vet keeps a nice eye on those bat ears to ensure that they’re doing fine each time we visit. Have you had to clean your dog’s ears? Was it an easy or difficult task?