Your Labrador, Max, who is normally an avid water dog and loves swimming at the lake, avoids you like the plague when he senses it's bath time. Why? Maybe he does not like getting water in his ears; it is easy when using a handheld shower or pouring water over your dog’s head to accidentally get water in his ear canal, and most dogs do not like the sensation. Who would? But there is an even bigger problem than just not liking the feeling of water in his ears. If moisture and water remain in the ear after bath time it can change the pH balance in your dog’s ear and cause bacteria and yeast to multiply and result in a nasty ear infection. Ear infections are uncomfortable, unpleasant and can be difficult to get rid of. Far better to avoid them in the first place, by not getting water in your dog’s ears during bath time.
Your dog is not going to like getting water in his ears during bath time, even if he is a water-loving dog. Dogs with floppy ears and certain breeds are especially predisposed to ear infections if moisture gets in the ears and you will want to avoid this to prevent bacterial or fungal infections, which can be painful and difficult to treat. Protecting ears with cotton inserted into the ear prior to bath time or a mechanical barrier over the ears, and directing water away from the head and ears will prevent excess water draining into the ear canals and creating an unpleasant sensation and possible health problems. Remember, your dog's ears contain fragile hearing structures; use caution when working around and in the ear canal, so as not to cause damage.