Routine ear wash? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-13-2008, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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Routine ear wash?

Lola and I just got back from her annual exam. This is the second vet in our new(ish) town that has suggested using an earwash once a week, routinely. My vet back in Kansas City never recommended this for any of our dogs. Lola had one yeastie ear infection about 3 years ago, but no problems since.
Am I just being stubborn and uninformed by not doing this? I'm clinging to the old addage-"if it ain't broke, don't fix it". I would think that her normal flora would be disrupted and end up INVITING problems if I followed this advice. I could be mixing it up with the problems that can happen when human females use a certain hygeine product too frequently...

On another note, our visit was a disaster. She hates being restrained and it took 3 of them to get her down, after he requested I put the muzzle on, so he could draw blood. He was so flustered, that he had to be reminded to look in her ears. NOTHING else was done. He didn't look at her teeth, no listening to her lungs or heart, didn't take her temp, didn't look in her eyes. After her display, I think he was scared to come near her, because he remained on the other side of the room and behind the exam table while he lectured me about the ear wash and how she is a fearful dog. Yeah man, I know she is. I told YOU guys. She has always done well with those other routine things, she just hates to be held in a head-lock by strangers...we do it all the time!
The other vet in the practice did all of these things with our other dog, but he's sulky/submissive. I'll try her out, I think, before moving on to someone else...AGAIN.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-14-2008, 11:15 AM
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Re: Routine ear wash?

I routinely wipe the dirt out of my dogs ears with a baby wipe, but do not use a wash routinely.

When I do use a wash, I use 1/2 white vinegar with 1/2 water. I use this sometimes after swimming to prevent an infection. Do not use it with an existing infection though as it will burn the ear.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-14-2008, 02:31 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Routine ear wash?

Oh good! I finally got an answer!

Her ears are always very clean, partly because she gets an ear bath once in a while from our other dog. We look at them often to make sure nothing weird is going on in there. I guess that I'm just reluctant to start doing something that I think will upset the balance.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-14-2008, 03:01 PM
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Re: Routine ear wash?

I have a product for routine ear cleaning, but I don't use it anywhere near weekly, I'd say it's more like occasionally. It's DermaPet Malacetic Otic, and here is the description:

A general ear cleansing frequent use (up to 2-3 times daily) pH balanced product, which is unique to others on the market in that it uses functional acids. While Acetic acid is widely known to be effective against yeast, the most common complication in ear problems, it is Boric acid that the human literature claims to be the effective agent.

Acetic acid is unique in its property to be effective against Pseudomonas, the culprit in swimmers ear, as well as other bacterial and microbes. It does not contain ototoxic agents such as chlorhexidine or salicylic acid found commonly in many ear products or detergents or artificial cleansing or dewaxing agents. All natural, it does not contain alcohol, dyes, pain-killers or perfumes and is hypo-allergenic.


It's a good thing to have around to prevent ear problems, (which is always better than having to deal with them after the fact), or you could use the vinegar wash that Natalie suggests. You can buy Dermapet at multiple online sources - I think I ordered mine from amazon.com.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-14-2008, 07:11 PM
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Re: Routine ear wash?

I rarely clean Dante's ears, they're just clean
I too use vinegar/water, though I use Apple Cider Vinigar for a wash and baby wipes (hypoallergenic/fragrence free) for an occasional swipe

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-15-2008, 07:35 AM
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Re: Routine ear wash?

I keep a bottle of Blue Power Ear Wash on hand. I wipe their ears out once in a while. No regular schedule.

Blue power contains rubing alcohol, boric acid, and gentian violet.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-15-2008, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Routine ear wash?

We have the Blue Power solution made up for my other dog. Since we've moved south, he's had all kinds of problems. I haven't used it on Lola, though.

OK, I feel better about my choice. I'm NOT being stubborn, just logical.

Thanks for your help and your hints in case she does start to develop build-up.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-15-2008, 11:12 AM
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Re: Routine ear wash?

That's kind of funny how vets are about that. Mine has a sign in the exam room that says, "For your safety please allow the assistants to restrain your dog."
Several times a day after playing we go through a little drill that starts with Settle Down, Be Still, No biting, let me see your paws. (Yeah I know, I'm reminded of the Gary Larsen cartoon, What dogs actually hear. He probably hears, "Blah blah Down blah blah blah No blah blah blah.) But he seems to get the idea. Then I thoroughly inspect each paw, his tail, his belly, mouth, ears, eyes etc. He is not allowed to lick , play bite, or anything. He is to lay on his side and chill. It's a great way to calm him down and he seems to like it. If the vet would allow me to do that, I'm sure he would allow them to do it to him too. We've had no issues with the vet yet, he's been a perfect gentleman there so far, albeit only 3 visits for puppy shots. Other than the obvious part of seeing if anything is wrong, this drill is done pretty much solely for the times he might get hurt but vet's seem to ignore the training he might have had.

In their defense, I'm sure the vast majority of dogs they see have little training of any kind and a tussle can be expected with most of them. Your vet was doing the wise thing to stay away from her. If she had bowed up at him once, and she won, there's little to suggest that she would not do it again. This wasn't a training session.
As far as the ears go, I'm interested too. In my experience some ears can get so funky they will stink up a freshly washed dog. It permeates their whole head. Don't know much about the "flora" thing, maybe it's natural for them to stink a little. Almost all dogs do to some extent.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-15-2008, 12:32 PM
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Re: Routine ear wash?

Anja's ears are always clean, so I rarely do anything. Conor needs more attention - but not what I'd call routinely, every few weeks or so. I use Natural Herbal Ear Wash by Halo. It is very gentle and smells nice. I use warm water and Apple Cider Vinegar (make sure it's filtered!) if I suspect something yeasty... one teaspoon to one cup of water.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-15-2008, 01:25 PM
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Re: Routine ear wash?

Interesting. I was under the impression you had to wipe the ears when you used a solution of water and vinegar instead of dropping some of it at the base.

Please bear with my stupid questions. This old dog is learning new tricks. lol.

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