Recognizing “Swimmer’s Ear” and Other Dog-Eared Problems

Proper ear care is necessary for your dog’s comfort and aural health.


Does your dog get to beat the heat by regularly splashing around in a lake, or perhaps a backyard pool? That could predispose her to ear irritation, or even an infection, if her ears are compromised due to allergies or some other condition. Frequent swimming can increase the moisture inside the ear, and that creates a good breeding ground for harmful pathogens in vulnerable ears, says Tufts veterinary dermatologist Ramón Almela, DVM.

Compounding the problem, Dr. Almela says, is that a dog’s ear canal goes straight down from the ear opening and then takes a sharp 90-degree turn, making it difficult for water and debris to be released. That can potentially pave the way for the colonization in the ear of bacteria or yeast. Thus, if your dog has sensitive ears, allergies, or other diseases that could affect them, it’s particularly important to dry your pet’s ears thoroughly after water “sports.”

In fact, if your dog is prone to ear infections to begin with, you should consider asking your veterinarian to recommend an ear-cleaning solution made for dogs. Many contain drying agents that will reduce moisture.


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