We take our dog swimming. Why does he keep getting ear infections?



Kelly’s Wyatt enjoying his vacation at Lake Anna

      With the summer season right around the corner, we will all be looking for a place to cool off during the blistering hot days.  What is a better way to cool off in Frederick, MD than swimming?  While swimming is a fun activity for all of us, and helps keep us cool in the hot summer weather, it can cause some not so “hot” problems for your friend Fido.

Kelly’s Sugar swimming at the lake.
     A dog’s ear canal is shaped very differently than ours; it is longer and creates an “L” shape.  The unique shape of a dog’s ear provides the perfect environment for infectious organisms like bacteria and yeast.  Add water to the equation and your dog’s ear is the perfect place for these organisms to grow and thrive.  When bacteria and/or yeast are able to grow, they cause infection in a dog’s ears.  Symptoms of an ear infection may cause your dog to shake his head, scratch his ears, cry out, and have a dark rusty colored discharge and odor.  If you suspect your dog may have an ear infection, contact your veterinarian for an appointment.
     Cleaning your dog’s ears with a veterinarian approved ear cleaner after every water activity will help to prevent future ear infections.  Ear cleaning is simple and is done in three easy steps; pour the ear cleaning solution into the ears until you see the solution start to pool, massage the base of the ear gently to break up wax and debris, and then swipe the inside of the ear with a dry cotton ball.  See our video on Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s YouTube channel for a tutorial of how to follow these three easy steps here.

     So have fun and fight the summer heat with a refreshing swim, but don’t forget to follow up with an ear cleaning to prevent painful ear infections later.

Megan’s Sophie enjoying the pool.