Sunday, May 26, 2013

Preventing ear infections in dogs

It is the time of year (especially in DC where the humidity is creeping up); when I start seeing a rise in the number of dogs with ear infections.

In Chinese medicine we describe ear infections as "damp heat" in the ears. In addition to keeping ears clean to prevent infection, in my practice I talk with clients about dietary options to help drain damp and clear heat, as well herbal formulas and acupuncture treatments.

Gator loves to cool off in the pool; but I make sure to clean out his ears afterward

It is important to keep your dog's ears clean and dry (especially after swimming or bathing) to prevent ear infections. One of my favorite "at home" remedies to keep ears clean (after checking with your vet to make sure your dog doesnt have an active infection that needs to be treated) is to clean the ears every few days with pure aloe vera juice. Aloe is a "cooling" plant in Chinese medicine; and it has antimicrobial properties.

I have clients use "George's Aloe Vera Juice". Pour a cup of the juice over a few cotton balls. You can add 1-2 drops of tee tree oil (a potent anti-microbial essential oil) if your dog is prone to yeast or bacterial infections. Be careful to not use more tea tree oil than this (and never use it in cats); as this medicinal oil can be toxic at high doses.

Use the cotton balls to clean the ears. Never use Q-tips to clean your dogs ears at home; as it can be easy to go a little too far and severely damage your dog's ear drum

Here's Gator getting ready for an ear cleaning. It helps to have some treats handy as a reward :)

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