Every other week, animal expert Piet Hellemans denounces an animal issue. This week: the ear canal of cat and dog.
Every owner knows that hearing and listening are two totally different things. But to be able to listen as a good dog or cat, you have to be able to hear.
That is why it is very important that the ear canal is kept clean and that you recognise problems before they give rise to complaints! This can prevent pain and inflammation.
A little earwax is good, this keeps the ear canal supple and prevents too many bacteria. If an ear is irritated or if it is scratched or shaken a lot, there will be more wax which can cause complaints.
What can you do as an owner? Regularly check your cat‘s or dog’s ears by looking into them, feeling them at the base of the ear and smelling them. Do you see excessive lubrication, is the ear sensitive to touch or does it smell? Then it needs to be cleaned.
But beware! A cotton swab is already controversial in human ears, for dogs and cats it does more harm than good anyway…
In the ear canal of a dog and cat there is a big kink, and with a cotton swab you cannot get into the deeper part of the ear.
A cotton swab mainly pushes earwax into the depths, causing too much earwax to collect there. This causes or exacerbates problems. For cleaning, use a special ear cleaner for dogs or cats. You can buy this at a pet shop, online or at your vet. To clean the ear properly, fill it with the cleaner. Then massage it well at the base of the ear and after shaking it with your head (beware of earwax flying around!) clean and dry the inside of the auricle with a cotton wool pad or a wad of cotton wool.
Regular checking is therefore very important, after every check you can reward the dog or cat with some treats. In this way he gets used to it and it remains fun for owner and pet. The ears only need to be cleaned in case of the above mentioned complaints.
By the way, did you know that dogs with long, drooping ears and dogs that like to swim are more likely to suffer from their ears? Does an ear remain sensitive or smelly after cleaning or does your animal keep shaking or scratching? Then make an appointment with your vet, there will be more going on or more research and support is needed. If your dog or cat often has ear infections, have him or her examined for allergies, this is often where the cause lies.
Instagram: @piethellemans and piethellemans.nl.