You clean your ears daily and still get shocked by what you retrieve. But having this junk in your ears is part of your body’s way of protecting and regulating itself. Cerumen, that waxy residue, helps keep out pesky bugs and bacteria, and lubricates and protects the delicate eardrum.
There are 2 types of cerumen: the wet type, which is what we see on our Q-Tip, and the dry type that’s dead flaky skin and oils (that we may not realize is earwax).
Having too much of a good thing is, well, not a good thing. Too much accumulated earwax can lead to infection when bad things get trapped in it and are left to fester. It can even result in a loss of hearing when it’s impacted (hardened) against or blocking the eardrum.
These reasons make it equally important to maintain your dog’s ear health as well. They face the same problems except they can’t help themselves.
The traits that make dachshunds adorable are their impossibly long torsos, stubby little legs, and silky smooth, but oh so long ears. Who doesn’t love a dachshund running around with its happy ears flapping and bouncing about?
However, it’s the physiology of these adorable ears that are their detriment as well. Long, low hanging ears prevent good air circulation. The ear flap traps unwanted things inside a moist environment that encourages fungal and bacterial infections like a sweaty gym locker.
Combined with poor airflow, long hanging ears are susceptible to freeloading passengers such as fleas and ticks who hop aboard while you’re out playing in grasses and foliage. Not only will they bite and bloody your dachshund’s ears, but their poop accumulates and contributes to their ear problems.
Maintenance is Everything
We’re sure Ben Franklin’s saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” must have been referring to dachshund ears. But all joking aside, the few minutes you spend on routine ear cleaning is so worth it to avoid an impacted ear or infection down the road.
You should look at little Baby’s ears weekly, but feel free to casually check more often while that little hot dog is quietly sitting on your lap.
Here’s what to include in your weekly maintenance:
- Visual Inspection – Ears should be the softest of healthy pinks in color.
Check for signs of critters like fleas, ticks, and mites. Inspect for their feces, too, which appear like tiny coffee grounds or poppy seeds. Look for pin-prick sized red dots that may signal bites.
You should not see oozing or smell anything foul, which more than likely is an infection for which you need to see your vet.
If this is your first cleaning, you may see dark waxy deposits (there’s that cerumen again) in the geography of the inner ear flap. As you maintain your cleaning these globs will decline.
- Washing – When you bathe your dog you don’t want to get water into their ears. Remember that moisture is the enemy because it can sit, stagnate, and become an infection.
Use a clean washcloth to soap up your pet’s face and outside ear flap. Hand rinse with a plastic glass or gentle sprayer. The smell of the bathing product may deter pests from being interested.
Next, take that rinsed and wrung out washcloth or moist (not dripping) sterile cotton balls and swab out the nooks and crannies of the inner ear. Aside from carefully cleaning the outer nooks, never ever use a cotton swab like a Q-Tip inside your pet’s ears. Using a Q-Tip could puncture the eardrum or push wax deeper inside.
Don’t be afraid to manipulate Doxie’s earflap, even turning it inside out as you dig into those outer deposits. Don’t confuse re-adjusting the ear’s position with pulling on the ear flap— which will hurt!
- Finishing Up – Now that the ears are shiny clean, you want to properly finish the job off. Paper towel and completely dry all the areas where water or moisture may linger.
If you found an accumulation you believe to be from ear mites or an ear infection, consider using our all-natural, highly praised EcoEars to maintain those lovable ears and keep your best friend healthy.