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Ear cleaning

5314 Views 29 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  Scarlett
Whats the best way to clean a GSD's ears. I used to take him to the groomers but since we moved I havent gotten settled in with a new place yet. He plays outside with 2 boxers and they all get along just fine but I see hes got some dirt in his ears that I need to cleaned out. Ive never done it before so any tips would be greatly appreciated.
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I wet baby washcloths with Witch Hazel which works pretty good! My little girls ears are especially sensitive and this has worked well. For her the brands on the market just seemed to dry out her ears too much.
Originally Posted By: shilohsmomI wet baby washcloths with Witch Hazel which works pretty good! My little girls ears are especially sensitive and this has worked well. For her the brands on the market just seemed to dry out her ears too much.
Thanks for the responce,Ill try that.

But now I need to know in some detail exactly how to do it. I certainly dont want to do anything to harm the dog. Is there like an ear wash that would rinse out the ear??? Ive never done this before so I want to be exactly sure of what im doing before I do anything.
zymox. my vet recommended this to me, good cleaner and good on yeast infections.

You can get cleanser, medicated rinse and the otic solution. My guy has yeast infections time to time to I use the cleanser, and otic solution. I flush with warm water.

Or you can just wipe down the outside of the canal as posted above
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For day to day cleaning I use a baby wipe, wrap it around my finger and wipe the inside of the ear clean. You cannot reach the ear canal with your finger so do not be afraid of getting in there.

For deep cleanings or after swimming my vet told me he could sell me something or I could simply use 1/2 water to 1/2 distilled white vinegar. I squirt the mixture into the ear, rub the base of the ear around in a couple circles then release and watch as the dog shakes the stuff out.

Do not use the water/vinegar to treat an ear infection as it will HURT, only use it to *prevent* an infection or to deep clean.
"For day to day cleaning I use a baby wipe, wrap it around my finger and wipe the inside of the ear clean. You cannot reach the ear canal with your finger so do not be afraid of getting in there."

That was my worry right there. Thanks a lot for the responces, I feel ok now about claening the ears myself. I like the idea of the baby wipes too, thats a cool idea.

thanks again everyone.
You mean you can't reach the ear drum.

I don't know if that's really true as I know of someone who cleaned their springer spaniels ears and the dog all of a sudden fell on the floor and was later diagnosed with a broken ear drum (which is healed again now).

I usually use cotton balls to wipe out the ears.
In any case ill be careful. I just didnt know anything about how the ear was configured and didnt want to do anything harmful or painful to the Sarge. I like the idea of the baby wipes around the finger and just gently wiping out the outer ear area. I wont be JAMMING my finger in his ear,
although sometimes the way he acts I fell like I could just push a cloth all the way through and just pull it back and fourth!!!
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Do any of you have problem holding the dog down while ear medications are applied.

MY GSD has a yeast infection and I have the medications mentioned in your reply. However, each day it gets more and more difficult to apply. I am not sure what the solution is, but any suggestions would be appreciated.

As someone else mentioned, I was also told to use a vinegar/water solution for cleaning his ears, but not until the yeast infection is cured.

Does anyone know how I can tell when the yeast infection is cured.
Lakota had chronic ear infections for a long time, it seemed that we were treating more often than not treating, to the point that I was thinking about taking him to the Vet, knocking him out and do a deep ear cleaning with an ear flush. Pretty drastic measures.

First waht are you using to treat the ear. Next how many times has the dog had to be treated for the ear infection.

Reason I ask is the Vet kept giving me Otomax, which one wasn't working and two long term use can cause the ear drum to rupture.

Lakota (105 lbs) would see me with the stuff in my hands, he would lay down on the tile floor and pin his ear to the floor so I couldn't get it. Every try to lift the head of a large musclar male dog, if they dodn't want to cooperate. Now he will do a quick dive in his crate, I call him and he comes and sits at my feet. He doesn't love the process BUT will tolerate it.

You are saying Hey Val what did you do different.

First, I tried the product Zymox that Angela W, from the board reccommended. Then I broke out the most yummy of yummy treats, steak, roast only the best. At first I had to pick a stop at eye level for Lakota, I set a pile of treats there, let him know they were there. I took my bottle of Zymox and as fast as I could I squirted a bunch in his ear, grabbed his ear and massaged while he got to eat his treats. My first treament with Zymox I did for 14 days, OH boy when they are allowed to shake their head the junk that comes out is gross.

I still massaged the ear while he is eating his treats, but they are just dog biscuits.

I know that it is seasonal allergies that cause the problems with Lakota's ears. So you need to also figure out what is causing the problem, it could be food or it could be non food allergies. Another cause for yeast problems in the ears can be the use of Antibioitics.

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i agree to be careful with long term ear meds, especially Otomax as val mentioned. my last gsd has cronic yast infections, and we were usuing Otomax on a regular basis. beware, that cronic yeast infection can be a sign of other things going on, like ear canals not draining properly, etc. hopefully yours is not cronic, but if it does not go away or keeps coming back even though your treating, i would definitely have the dogs ears looked at more closely. alot of vets aren't real thourough about ear issues. they give you Otomax and send you home. thats fine, but repeatedly using the product with no results should be a red flag that something esle is going on.

warming the bottle of Otomax slightly might help with application, it won't feel as foriegn when its applied to the ear.

The Vet gave me a product called Epi-Otic to clean his ears. Then I apply a RX liquid called Mometamax 30gm (8 drops) to his ears. I was told to use it for 10-14 days.

Timber does the same thing Lakota does in regard to pinning his ears to the floor. It is difficult, but not impossible to apply the drops. Nonetheless, even if I don't touch his ears with the applicator he hates it. As a subsequent poster suggested I tried warming it up, but that did not help.

The dog is twenty months old and this is the first time he has been treated for a yeast infection. My breeder diagnosed it and then it was off to the vet.

He has also been on antibotics for a minor infection, not ear related. The name of that drug is Cephalexin 500 mg. He takes twice daily and we are done tomorrow.
Antibioitics can cause yeast infections.

Try getting Timber focused on some really yummy yummy treats. Don't give in, I always made Lakota sit and not lay on the floor. The laying on the floor and pinning the ear is being passive aggressive and I don't tolerate it. I understand that ear drop don't feel good going in the ear, that is why I use the treats. If you have another person there have them shove treats in Timbers mouth while you do the drops. Most of the time it is just me and the dogs, so my having help, isn't always helpful because the dogs think that Dad will save them.

I mess with ears all the time in my house. Even if I don't clean or treat them, I am messing with them, folding them back, looking ear, then massaging the ear.

Thank you, I mess with the ears quite a bit and as long as we avoid the ear canal he is fine. We will try the treat suggestion.

He only has a few days left and I guess after that I need to get him back to the vet to make sure the yeast problem is resolved.

This following may sound like a stupid question, but I always wondered.

In the 1960's while still in High School I got a GSD. Until I graduated from college the dog lived with me and my parents for seven years. Subsequently, he was adopted by the brothers at St. Mary's College in Winona, MN. Aside from shots, only once during all that time did he even receive medical care, and that resulted from a fight and subsequent infection.

My question is have things changed, it seems like nowadays every dog has some type of problem. Perhaps my first GSD had yeast infections that resolved themselves. We also had a lab and golden retriever, again aside from shots no vet visits. My parents got the latter dogs in the 1950's.
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The following is a homemade ear cleaner that I first learned about here at this site. I have used it for the past three years, and it has worked wonderfully well. It causes my dogs no discomfort, and keeps their ears perfectly clean. I use it once a month.

There are only three ingredients in it, all of which are very inexpensive and available at the drug store. One bottle of this mixture will cost under $3 and will provide dozens of treatments.

The alcohol is the carrier for the mixture--it dissolves wax and is antiseptic, and evaporates quickly so the ears do not remain wet. Gentian violet is an old-fashioned germ-killer (along the lines of merthiolate, that sort of topical tincture). And boric acid powder--which I think is the key ingredient--adjusts the ph of the ear to make it inhospitable to fungus. This powder doesn't dissolve, it's just suspended in the alcohol, so when the alcohol dries it leaves a very fine dusting of this acidic powder inside the ear canal.


16 Oz. bottle of Isopropyl Alcohol (standard 70%)

4 Tablespoons of Boric Acid Powder (drug store item)

16 Drops of Gentian Violet Solution 1% (drug store item)

Mix together in alcohol bottle and shake well.

You will need to shake solution every time you use it to disperse the Boric Acid Powder. Purchase a flexible plastic bottle with the opening at the top so that the solution may be gently squeezed out and dispense solution to affected ears. The ideal is a hair-dye bottle available at a pharmacy, Wal-Mart, Target, etc, or a beauty supply store.

complete article here:
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i think alot of things come into play now days. one is that we are more educated about our dogs now. where as years ago, things might have gone unnoticed until they got to a point where it was noticed. i think alot of us are very proactive with our dogs now.

also, not sure if your high school dog was a purebreed or had a mix in him, but mixed breeds don't seem to have as many hereditary issues.

yeast infections can be a result of a simple ear infection gone sour (not pun intended) or the cause of other health problems like thyroid issues, or ear canals being small, or closed up, etc. or could be an allergy. thats what you need to find out.

i also have a theory about foods and dogs, the inviroment and dogs, etc. people are more susceptable to allergies now days and other issues. i think it all plays a part.

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I think people saw the Dr. a lot less in the 60's also. I think there are more pollutants, 1000's of more chemicals used in everyday products, not as many vitamins and minerals in food because of the depletion of the soil and I am sure I could think of a few more. So dogs like humans are being assulted every day by chemicals and our food just isn't what it use to be.

Ok, I am done with my doom and gloom post.
You all have been so helpful I need to start taking notes regarding future stuff to use regarding his ears.

However, I tried something a bit different tonight to apply the ear solutions for his yeast infection. I put Timber's pronged collar on him, and it has only been used a few times to correct him from chasing joggers. It was high and tight.

Once the collar was on his actions were totally different. Although I never had to pinch him with it, he did allow me to apply the cleaner and his medication. I did not go into the ear canal, but was able to get a sufficient amount of the cleaner and medication drops into his ears to think it was effecitive.

No fights this time, it worked.

Thanks to all.
I hope you remembered big time reward when you were done.

Some may disagree with me, but I think the prong was a good choice.

When Lakota started the passive agressive stuff, it just got harder and harder to do the ear. I also put the prong on because I was tired of trying to pry his head off the floor.

Last night I gave Timber a bit of raw chuck steak, and tonight a raw turkey neck.

Simply putting the pronged collar on him really helped.
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