A few months ago, I (Steph) noticed a very small irritated area above my dachshund Django's left eye. It seemed some hair was also missing from the spot. I quickly noticed a second small irritated area not far from the first on the left side of Django's head. At this point I began worrying, thinking Django might have a health condition causing these small abraded spots on his face.
The next afternoon, Django's veterinarian confirmed that Django was perfectly healthy, but he had a mature ear infection in his left ear. And the two irritated areas above Django's left eye? Apparently Django had been scratching his left ear and the surrounding area with his paw. The scratching is what irritated the skin, causing the two spots I saw the day before.
The crazy thing? Neither my husband Mike or I had noticed Django excessively scratching his ear in recent days. Sure, maybe a brief scratch here or there, but nothing that would prompt an urgent vet visit.
This was Mike and my first experience dealing with a serious ear infection in our adorable and hairy sausage dog, so we did a lot of research into canine ear infections. What causes ear infections in dogs? Aside from scratching, are there other canine ear infection symptoms to look for? And what are the most effective and safe treatment options? Here is everything you need to know.
Ear infection and inflammation in dogs, also known as otitis, are extremely common canine health problems.
Dog (and human) ears always have a low level of bacteria and yeast cells present. Otitis occurs when conditions allow these bacteria or yeast cells to thrive and overwhelm the ear canal, resulting in infection and/or inflammation of the ear.
There are three types of otitis. Otitis externa is infection and inflammation in the outer ear, also known as "swimmer's ear" in humans. This is the most common form of infection since dogs' outer ears are most exposed to water, bacteria and other foreign pathogens.
Otitis media occurs when there is infection and/ fluid buildup in the middle ear canal behind the ear drum. Otitis interna, the most severe level of infection, occurs when infection reaches the inner most part of the ear canal. The inner ear canal hosts our sensory and hearing organs; infection here can lead to vertigo, imbalance, and even deafness.
These are the most common causes of ear infections in dogs:
Yes, ear infections are extremely common in dogs. As mentioned above, otitis externa is the most common form of infection. Otitis externa occurs when the outer ear canal becomes infected and inflamed due to an overgrowth of bacteria or yeast.
Although every dog breed can develop ear infections, dogs with floppy ears (i.e. cocker spaniels, basset hounds, etc.) tend to be more prone to otitis.
How do you know if your dog has an ear infection? Look for these telltale symptoms.
If your dog is displaying one or more of these symptoms, please arrange a visit with your veterinarian immediately so he or she can be properly treated. Ear infections in dogs are fortunately very common and usually relatively easy to treat. With that said, it is important to not delay care and ensure your dog gets the proper treatment as soon as possible. If left untreated, ear infections can spread to the inner ear canal and potentially cause deafness, facial paralysis, and/or other serious health problems.
Your veterinarian will likely clean your dog's infected ear thoroughly at your visit with a medicinal cleanser. Depending on the type and cause of infection, a cleaning may be all that is needed. Most likely, however, your veterinarian will prescribe a regiment of oral or topical antibiotics (to fight the infection) as well as corticosteroids (to quickly reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain).
Django was diagnosed with otitis externa, infection and inflammation of the outer ear. Our vet cleaned Django's left ear thoroughly and prescribed gentamycin, an antibiotic that fights bacterial ear infections in dogs. The gentamicin was in liquid form, and we applied the ointment directly into Django's infected ear canal.
In addition to gentamicin, other common topical antibiotics used to treat bacterial ear infections in dogs include mometamax, otomax, and tresaderm.
If your dog is diagnosed with a fungal or yeast infection, fungicide medicine will likely be prescribed. Per PetCareRX, "Itraconazole and Ketoconazole are commonly prescribed fungicides, and are very effective at clearing up excessive fungus or yeast."
Ear mites are treated with anti-parasitic medicine.
Although ear infections are extremely common in dogs and typically easy to treat, they come in all shapes and sizes and can lead to serious health problems if not addressed immediately. For this reason, please contact your veterinarian right away if you suspect your dog may have an ear infection. Your veterinarian can best determine the cause, type, and severity of your dog's ear infection and advise the most effective treatment plan for your dog.
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Most dogs detest having their teeth brushed. Many pups won't even let their owners come near them with a doggy toothbrush! Brushing your dog's teeth is obviously not always easy or enjoyable. It is also very easy to forget to brush your pup's teeth on a daily basis. Fortunately, one very reputable company, BARK, came up with a way to make doggy dental health much easier for us pet parents.
We discovered BARK Bright’s enzyme-powered monthly doggy dental kit last year and have been fans ever since. BARK Bright's chicken-flavored dog toothpaste and dog sticks turbocharge the enzymes in dogs' mouths to keep their teeth clean and breath fresh. They are incredibly simple and effective, and the kits are conveniently shipped straight to your door.
Is BARK Bright right for your pup? In this DJANGO Dog Blog article, we provide an in-depth overview and review of BARK Bright. It is based on our own experience getting the dog teeth cleaning kit for our sausage dog Django.
Dr. Ian Billinghurst is the father of the raw dog food diet and the founder of the BARF ('Biologically Appropriate Raw Food' or 'Bones and Raw Food') diet. In late 1993, he wrote Give Your Dog a Bone. The worldwide best seller is one of the most important books on dog nutrition ever written. It discussed why raw, whole food is best for your dog.
As an Australian veterinary surgeon with 50 years of experience, Dr. Billinghurst has one consistent message: raw-fed dogs are healthier than their kibble-fed counterparts.
We caught up with the long-time raw food champion and international lecturer to discuss the controversial raw dog food diet. We also dig into how gray wolves evolved into modern dogs, and we weigh the benefits of the raw dog food diet against safety risks like foodborne pathogens. Finally, we chew over how to solve the companion dog population boom and why so many veterinarians have raw emotions about raw pet food.
When Mike and I (Steph) moved into our new home earlier this year, we reveled in the spacious layout. Compared to our previous 650 square foot apartment in New York City, our modest new home felt like a palace. We soon realized, however, we had a lot of furnishing to do. Our hardwood floors, in particular, needed immediate protection. We have a boisterous 3-year old toddler, a long-haired dachshund, and a newborn. The last thing we wanted was for our toddler's toys, our baby's spit ups, and our pup's nails to destroy our new hardwood floors.
While researching the best rugs for families with kids and pets, Mike and I (Steph) came across Tumble. Tumble offers machine washable and spill-proof area rugs with modern patterns and colors. Mike and I ordered 3 rugs for our home—a kitchen runner and two area rugs—and we never looked back.
The following is an honest review and in-depth overview of Tumble rugs based on our family's personal experience using several of the rugs in our home.