Pet Talk
Columns, Pet Talk

Pet Talk

December 18, 2019

In this week’s Pet Talk, Maneka gives tips on how often a dog’s ears must be cleaned and with what?

At what intervals should I have my pet examined?

Kitten or Puppy: Birth to 1 Year — You’ll need to bring your little one in for vaccines every 3 to 4 weeks until he is 16 weeks old. Dogs will get shots for rabies, distemper-parvo, and other diseases. They may also need shots to protect against health woes, such as kennel cough, influenza, and Lyme disease. Cats will get tests for feline leukaemia and feline immunodeficiency virus. They also get vaccinations that cover several diseases.

Adult: 1 to 7-10 Years (Depending on Type of Pet and Breed) – During this stage, vets recommend yearly check-ups. The vet may recommend other tests based on any problems your pet has, or anything unusual he sees during the exam. Distemper-parvo and rabies booster shots happen during the first yearly check-up, then, usually every three years after that.

Senior: 7 to 10 Years and Older – Vets suggest twice-yearly check-ups for older pets. Blood and urine tests can give your vet the information on your pet’s kidney and liver health, thyroid hormone levels.

How to identify dog allergies?

Ten percent of all allergy cases are food allergies. Dogs also can suffer from food intolerance, which is different from a food allergy.

The following can be signs of an allergy:

• Chronic ear inflammation; • Gastrointestinal problems; • Chronic diarrhoea; • Chronic gas; • Licking their feet; • An itchy rear end; • Swelling and itching in the membranes of the nose or around the eyes; • Redness of the skin after being licked by a dog; • Coughing, shortness of breath, or wheezing, within 15 to 30 minutes of exposure to allergens; • Rash on the face, neck, or chest; • A severe asthma attack.

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The most common allergens are beef, dairy, wheat, egg, chicken, lamb, soy, pork, rabbit, and fish. And, most dogs are usually allergic to more than one thing.

How often should I clean my dog’s ears and with what?

Some dog breeds are prone to developing ear infections. Dogs with ears that hang down, like a Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds or Labradors, are more prone to ear infections than dogs with ears that stand upright. 

Some breeds, like Poodles, grow hair inside the ear canal, which can further limit air flow and lead to ear infections. Other causes of ear infections include mites that live inside the ears, and allergies.

Cleaning the ears regularly might reduce their frequency. Exactly how often you clean the ears depends on your dog. You want to clean them often enough to keep infections at bay, but not so often that you irritate the ears. Ask your veterinarian how frequently you should clean your dog’s ears. For some dogs, you will need to clean the ears monthly. For other dogs, you’ll need to clean the ears every other week, or even weekly.

Cleaning your dog’s ears at home is easy to do, with the right supplies and techniques. You could also ask your vet, or a veterinary technician, to show you how to clean your dog’s ears in the clinic so you feel more comfortable when doing it at home. 

Following steps can be followed:

• To get started, you will need cotton balls or gauze and a vet-approved ear cleaner.

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• Cleaning the ears can be messy, especially if your dog’s ears are excessively dirty. If you’re cleaning the ears, and your dog doesn’t need a bath, you can wrap a towel around his neck and chest. This will keep him from getting ear cleaner and ear gunk all over his fur.

• To clean the ears, squeeze a little bit of ear cleaner into the ear and let it drip down into the ear canal. Gently massage the base of the ear to suds up the cleaner, and help it break down wax and debris.

• Gently wipe the outer ear flap, and inside the ear, with a cotton ball or gauze square.

• If your dog has an ear infection and needs medication, apply it after the ears are clean and                                                              wiped out.

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