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How to dry ears without an ear flush?

666 Views 10 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  hanksimon
Our pup LOVES the water, but currently has an ear infection in each ear, probably from getting water in his ears. It was been an extreme nightmare trying to put drops in his ears. He panics, growls, snaps, etc. We've been trying to do some desensitization and counter conditioning, but it's a slow process.

We were told that from now on, after he goes swimming, we have to squeeze some ear flush in his ears to prevent ear infections. I really can't imagine us doing this successfully, but I also can't keep him out of the water the rest of my life. I'm wondering if there are any other suggestions for keeping his ears dry without squeezing liquid down his ears? My idea was to try to "clean" his ears with a paper towel after swimming, he doesn't mind that too much (it's the liquid he minds). Maybe I can even dab a bit on the flush on it, but I doubt that will work. I'm concerned though that I won't be able to get all the way down into the ear to really dry it out. Does anyone else have any ideas? He's a floppy eared dog in case that's relevant....
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I have heard it suggested to put a cotton ball in their ears before a bath, so maybe that would work?
I wonder how you could keep him from shaking it out? I also feel like they would absorb a ton of water! Thanks for the suggestion though
They make doggy shower caps, lol. Or just a regular shower cap with something to tie below his chin to hold it down.
I had no idea! There's no way though I can put something on his head, he's very particular about "wearing" things.
I would caution you against sticking a paper towel, or q-tip or anything else into the ear canal. If you go a little too deep, you can do a lot more damage than an ear infection will.
I appreciate the caution, but I couldn't get a paper towel in very deep even if I tried! I'd just be doing a wipe of what I can reach easily, just like a regular ear cleaning.
My dog hates ear drops as well, and he's little and squirmy and early impossible to get them in sometimes. The problem is you have to try to desensitize them BEFORE the ear infection because you simply can't take the time needed when the dog needs the medication. Desensitizing takes weeks if not months and isn't always successful, anyways.

Anyways, I've been able to keep my dog's ears in good shape by wetting a paper towel with the drying solution (I use a great one from Amazon that has worked on every dog I've used it on) and wiping the ear down with it, squeezing out a bit of the solution as I go. Of course, it would be ideal to be able to squirt it in since you would get more coverage and not waste as much, but it's a lot easier for me to accomplish and we haven't had recurring infections that way. I also put a small amount of apple cider vinegar in his food (I don't do the water like most people because I don't want to discourage him drinking) which he doesn't seem to mind. Not sure how much it helps but it isn't hurting him and it has some other supposed benefits.
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You'll have a lot more luck counter conditioning once he does not have a painful infection.

Ear infections hurt a lot. So I'd actually not do any counter conditioning or desensitizing while the infection remains. Just apply drops as quickly as possible (maybe oral antibiotics if needed?) and git'er done, even if that means muzzling for safety. Basically try not to make the ear/handling association any worse. You can't really do like "light touch, click, treat" kinda work when even light touch hurts.

After he heals, give it a few weeks and then start at the very, very low end of ear interaction and treat like crazy while progressing slooowly (like, increase handling over weeks or months not over just days)

He may also benefit from some pain meds till the infection is gone. Ask vet about getting a few days worth.
This is so helpful, exactly the kind of insight I was hoping for! So your dog doesn't seem to mind the drying solution as long as it's on the paper towel and not actually squirted into the ear? What is the kind that you buy, and do you do every time that he goes swimming or gets his ears wet?

And yes, totally agree with you about the desensitization, that's why it's been so hard. I had no idea he'd hate ear drops, so it wasn't on my radar to desensitize him until it was too late and he needed the antibiotics once daily.

We went back to the vet yesterday for a checkup after 10 days on Mometamax, and what used to be a mostly bacterial infection is now mostly yeast, which seems strange. I told them there was no way I could continue to get drops into him, so they did a one time application of BKT. I asked how long he shouldn't go swimming and the vet tech first said "oh, he can go immediately, it's really thick and water won't be a problem" and then 30 seconds later told me he shouldn't swim for a week. Does anyone here know what the right protocol is? Thanks
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Dogs naturally have a mix of bacteria and yeast in their ears, kept in check when the ears are clean and dry. When there is a mild yeast infection, ears may be itchy (the dog scratches or shakes his head), and you may be able to smell the yeasty infection even before the Vet can see it. The Vet may give you a cleaning and drying solution, then an ear-specific treatment for yeast or bacteria, taking about 2 weeks. If the dog has allergies, that can exacerbate things, and the Vet may suggest weekly treatments as a prevention.

I have used a powder called Wonder Ear (www.chantillykennels.com 1-803-329-1432 ), and put a pinch in clean, dry ears for maintenance. However, that means no swimming. I don't have a suggestion for swimming... sorry. The ear flush after swimming may be the best preventative... However, also ask the Vet if your dog has allergies that may contribute to the ear infections.
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