If your pet has had an ear infection, you know they are no fun for them OR you. Ear infections are a common problem; it is estimated that 20% of dogs have some form of ear disease or issue. Ear infections are less common in cats but can become serious pretty quickly. Infections can be caused by a variety of issues, but are typically caused by bacteria and/or yeast.
Fun fact, a dog’s ear canal is more vertical than a human’s. It is shaped a bit like an L that tends to hold fluid which makes them more prone to infection. Moisture – especially from swimming in lakes and ponds - can create a prime growing environment for bacteria. Allergies (either skin or food related) lead to ear infections in 50 – 80% of dogs with sensitivities. And of course, dirt and wax build-up are culprits too.
The most common ear infection is otitis externa, where the layer of cells lining the external portion of the ear canal get inflamed and painful. If not treated, the infection can spread deeper into the inner ear canal and cause serious health issues. So it is vitally important to recognize the signs of otitis externa and get it treated quickly. Since ear infections cause significant discomfort, some of the symptoms can be easy to notice in your pup:
- Head shaking
- Scratching at the affected ear
- Redness and swelling of the ear canal
- Dark or yellowish discharge
- Foul odor
- Crusting or scabs in the ears
Recognizing possible ear infections in cats can be a bit more challenging, as feline family members have a natural ability to hide their discomfort. But watch for any of these signs in your cat:
- Head tilting
- Redness or swelling of the ear flap
- Loss of balance
- Black or yellowish discharge
- Foul odor
- Excessive waxy build-up
Keep in mind that a happy, healthy ear is usually pale pink, free of odor and debris, and should have little to no wax.
The best defense against ear infections is regular maintenance and gentle cleaning, especially after playtime, swimming, or after being in a dirty environment. Silver Honey® Ear Rinse and Wipes are easy to use and very effective for ongoing prevention. If your pet is currently showing signs of an ear infection, contact your vet, and reach for our natural healing treatment Silver Honey® Vet Strength Ear Care so you can start the healing immediately from home.
Keep those ears happy and healthy and your pet will still be able to hear a food wrapper from three rooms away.