Proper ear care on dogs that swim or hunt in tall wet grass is very important. Heavy eared dogs, mainly the spaniel breeds, tend to have chronic ear infections. The two main causes are internal (nutrition) and external (ear care and maintance).
Nutrition for both the working dog and dogs with heavy ears should be corn and wheat free, low or no grains, and a moderate protein of 26 – 35%. This protein level enables the muscle and organs to work properly during times of excersice. The lack of grain, corn or wheat means less fillers or empty calories. Low or no grains makes for less allergen, which can contribute to ear infections. It also prevents the growth of yeast in the ears and on the skin.
To maintain the ear eternally, it is recommended that you keep the hair on the underside of the ear clipped to allow air flow which keeps the ear canal dry and cool. This can be done with scissors. Simply flip the ear back over the dog’s head, cut any excess hair that is on the bottom of the ear canal opening to expose the opening completely. You can also clip away any excess hair that is on the underside of the ear leather to allow more air flow. This is not seen from the outside and therefore keeps the natural look to the ears and head. Secondly, it is recommended that you clean the ears after swimming or working in tall wet grass to dry out excess water from the ear canal. To do so, use a cotton ball soaked with ear cleaner or Groomer’s Secret Derma-Ease . Gently insert the cotton ball into the ear canal. While squeezing the ear cleaner into the ear move the cotton ball around to pick up any debris or ear wax. Holding the ear down, rub the ear for a few seconds before releasing. The dog will shake his head to remove the excess ear cleaner. Look for ear cleaners that contain drying agents and antibacterial such as low amounts Tea Tree oil. Never use straight Tea Tree oil in a dog’s ear. You can also ask your veterinarian for an ear wash that will balance the PH in the ear for those that are very prone to ear infections or yeast. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to medication or ear wash they have prescribed.