Does your dog seem like they have far too much wax buildup in their ears? It is normal for all dogs to have at least some earwax as, like humans, all dogs produce this soft, yellow substance on an ongoing basis. However, excessive earwax can lead to problems with parasites and ear infections. Earwax (the medical term is cerumen) is produced in your dog's ear canal; its purpose is to protect the ear canal itself.
But when your dog's ears produce too much wax, it can lead to a number of problems, including both bacterial and fungal infections, ear mite infestations, and possibly pain if the wax buildup is deep within the dog's ears.
By keeping your dog's ear free of excess wax, you reduce or eliminate the risk of exposure to these and many other problems that could result in an expensive trip to the vet.
Causes and Prevention of Excess Earwax in Dogs
There are a number of causes of ear wax accumulation in dogs, but by far the most common cause is allergies. Ear mites and ear infections can lead to wax buildup as well.
When dogs develop allergies, they tend to constantly scratch at their ears. Left untreated, this can lead to inflammation and the production of excessive amounts of ear wax.
Treatment typically involves working with your vet to determine what your dog is allergic to. Once this is determined, you may be able to keep your dog away from allergens or, at the very least, limit their exposure to them.
Your vet may also have a medication that can be used to help relieve the symptoms of your pooch's allergies. In most cases, this is a long-term solution to the problem, but it will take dedication and hard work on your part.
Ear mites are, unfortunately, extremely common in dogs. These parasites are highly "contagious" and can be transferred simply by your dog being in close proximity to an infested animal. Mites can cause inflammation and the presence of black or reddish-brown earwax.
Keeping your dog's ears clean on a regular basis (at least once per month) using a vet-approved cleaner will help to deprive ear mites of the food they need to survive. No food, no mites, no overproduction of earwax.
Having your dog checked out by their vet on a regular basis may also alert you to the presence of ear mites. Your vet will be able to recommend a treatment that will help destroy the mites and clean out the excessive ear wax. Keeping your dog's ears clean is an effective solution to a long-term problem, though it requires ongoing attention.
Ear infections often result in the overproduction of earwax as the dog's system tries to protect the inflamed areas. While the most common cause of inflammation is ear mites, if your dog likes to scratch their ears as a habit, this can also lead to infection and inflammation.
You may be able to train your dog not to scratch their ears using treats or even the "cone of shame", but this is likely to be a long-term project. The good news is that this can be a permanent solution.
Alternatively, you may find that the cleaner you keep the ears, the less your pooch will feel the need to scratch. Again, this can be a long-term solution, providing you are willing to put in the effort needed to keep your dog's ears clean.
Importance of Preventing Excessive Earwax
Finding the right way to keep down the amount of earwax in your dog's ears offers a number of excellent benefits. In the short-term, it will encourage you to keep their ears clean, and it will reduce the risk of an ear mite infestation.
For the long-term, keeping your pup's ear wax levels under control will also help to reduce the risk of infection and inflammation that can lead to expensive visits to the vet. Overall, the most important benefit of all is that your dog will be significantly healthier and happier, and so will you--with a lower vet bill.
On top of all of this, you won't have to sit and watch your poor dog constantly scratching their ears and whining, which is sure to make both of you much, much happier.
Too Much of a Good Thing
All dogs, like humans, produce a certain amount of ear wax, it's only natural. But when the amount of ear wax gets to be too much, it is often indicative of another problem that needs to be taken care of either by you or your vet. The good news is that unless your dog develops a significant infection due to lack of treatment, the long-term prognosis for their recovery is very good. In most cases, all you have to do is clean your dog's ears on a regular basis to prevent the problem from returning.