How to Care for Your Poodle's Ears
How to Care for Your Poodle’s Ears
Poodle owners love their dogs because they’re loyal, highly intelligent, and active. However, a trade-off for enjoying these perks is that poodles require more maintenance than other breeds.
While you probably have grooming appointments scheduled to trim your poodle’s thick coat every few weeks, how often do you check his ears?
See, poodles are prone to ear infections. But with your help, it’s possible to maintain healthy ears for your dog so he never has to worry about getting one.
Why Poodle Ears Need Extra Care
Poodles have ears that flop over their ear canals. Unlike dogs who have ears that stand straight up, such as German shepherds, poodle ears don’t have airflow circulating to keep their ears dry and moisture-free.
Poodle ears have an enclosed, humid environment that creates the perfect breeding ground for yeast, bacteria, and even parasites to thrive. This moisture also tends to build up wax, which can also lead to ear infections.
Ear wax is not inherently bad; it protects dogs from having dirt, bugs, and debris go deep inside their ear canals and even lubricates the area to protect their delicate eardrums.
However, a buildup of wax is unhealthy. And if the wax continues to build up and hardens, it becomes impacted against the eardrum and can result in your dog losing his hearing.
On top of their shape, poodles have so much thick hair surrounding their ears that it not only blocks airflow from reaching the ear canal, but it can sometimes trap dirt, pollen, and insects inside their ears.
Ear mites and fleas will not only bite your dog’s sensitive ears, but their feces will accumulate and contribute to your dog’s ear problems.
Signs of an Ear Infection
Did you know that ear infections in dogs are one of the most common reasons for a trip to the veterinarian’s office?
Look for these signs of a possible infection:
- Bad smell from the ears
- Redness, inflammation
- Oozing discharge
- Itching, rubbing, shaking head back and forth
- Ear sensitivity
- Atypical eye movements
Poodles are more susceptible to ear infections—and some even suffer from them chronically. That’s why it’s so important to set your dog up with a weekly cleaning schedule to keep infections at bay.
Weekly Ear Maintenance for Your Poodle
To keep your poodle’s ears healthy, here’s what you should do every week:
- Ears should be a healthy pink color and never red or inflamed.
- In the beginning, you’ll notice dark, waxy buildup in the inner ear flap, but this will decrease as you start cleaning every week.
- Check for fleas, ticks, and ear mites. When these critters are present, they will leave behind feces that appear like coffee grounds or poppy seeds that will build up in your dog’s ear wax.
While it may seem okay to clean your dog’s ears with water while you’re giving him a bath, this is NOT a good idea. This extra water will not have a chance to dry due to your dog’s ear shape and will only encourage more bacteria and yeast to grow in this moist environment.
Instead, reach for an all-natural, chemical-free ear cleaning solution such as EcoEars that has antimicrobial and disinfecting properties and won’t create excess moisture.
Here’s what you’ll do:
- Grab a few sterile cotton balls and your ear cleaning solution.
- Hold your dog’s ear flap in one hand and pour or squirt your cleaning solution inside the ear canal.
- Take a clean cotton ball and gently massage the base of the ear area for 30—90 seconds. This makes sure the solution gets down to the ear canal and doesn’t leak outside of the ears.
- As the liquid works its way inside your poodle’s ears, the antibacterial and antimicrobial properties will clean out all the debris and wax buildup inside. Wipe out this debris with another clean cotton ball.
- Repeat this process until the cotton balls are relatively clean after you swab the ears.
- Grab another sterile cotton ball to dry the inside of the ear. Don’t try to go too deep or you’ll risk injury to your pet.
NEVER use a Q-tip or cotton swab on the inside of your dog’s ears as it can easily slip and go deeper down the ear canal, possibly leading to a ruptured eardrum. You may even push wax further inside your poodle’s ear canal, which can have major consequences.
When used as directed, EcoEars destroys the cause and eliminates all ear infection symptoms related to mites, yeast infections, fungus, and a wide range of bacterial infections. In addition to disinfecting your dog’s ears, EcoEars lowers the pH slightly which makes the ear environment less susceptible to recurring infections.
If you follow this maintenance schedule, your poodle’s ears should remain healthy and infection free—good news for both poodle and diligent owner alike.
- "Ear Infections in Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, and Prevention," DogTime
- "Examining and Medicating the Ears of a Dog," Washington State University
- "Ear Infections in Dogs," Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University