Dachshunds may be cute, and for the most part, fearless, but they can be a bit high-maintenance, especially with regards to their health. Your Dachshunds ears are adorable and part of their appeal and character. Doxies have long and folded ears that make them likely to ear wax build-up, parasite infections.
Ear problems can occur many times during a Dachshund’s lifetime. If you own multiple breeds of dogs, you may also notice that Dachshunds are more susceptible to ear issues than many other dogs. So, why are Dachshunds prone to ear infections, and what can you do about them? Read on to find out the answers to these questions.
What Causes Ear Infections in Dachshunds?
Most ear issues in Dachshunds spring from some kind of infection. But why are a Dachshund’s ears more prone to infections? It has to do with the physiology of their ears. These dogs have elongated ears, almost like two flaps that cover the sides of their heads. This feature stands out in a Dachshund and is one of the many reasons Dachshunds are thought to be the cutest dogs ever. The flap-like ears, however, end up causing so many problems. The shape and size of the ears prevent proper air circulation within the ear canals, causing them to remain moist. And where there is moisture, there will be a haven for bacteria and fungus to breed. The size also attracts small insects that love to bite and cause trouble to your favorite dog’s ears.
Common Ear Problems in Dachshunds
Some of the most common ear infections are as below.
Ear mites: If you have noticed a dry, black discharge around the lining of your dog’s ears, it is most likely caused by parasites called ear mites that cause inflammation by biting.
Yeast infections: Yeast commonly causes problems inside the moist air canal of a Dachshund’s ears. A brown discharge might be a remnant of this cause.
Bacterial infections: Various types of bacteria can make your dog’s ears their home. From swelling to redness to puss-like discharge, all point towards bacterial overgrowth.
Haematomas: Haematoma is localized bleeding caused either due to injury or some kind of trauma. If you see swelling and redness within the flap, this might be the issue.
Fly bite dermatitis: Flies breed in warm weather and moist conditions. In such a climate, fly bites can cause dermatitis in your dog’s ears.
Foreign bodies: Their long ears make them prone to catching random objects such as seeds, twigs, etc., which may also cause an ear infection.
Symptoms of Ear Infections in Dachshunds
A common way to tell if your Dachshund has an infected ear is to notice its head movements. Constant shaking of the head may indicate that something is going on with its ears. Your dog may also tilt its head frequently in an attempt to drain out foreign objects from its ears.
Another symptom is a foul odor emanating from its ears and/or some form of discharge. Also, when you try and pat the dog on its ears, it might react restlessly and violently, indicating that it is in grave pain.
Can You Prevent Ear Infections in Dachshunds?
As moisture is the main culprit behind most of the ear infections in Dachshunds, it makes sense to try and prevent those infections by keeping the dog’s ears dry. If your Dachshund loves to swim, you must ensure its ears are visibly dry after it comes out of the water.
One effective way to do this is to place cotton balls around the ear canals (never inside the canals) and then wipe the area around the canals thoroughly after each bath/swim.
Another aspect of preventing infections is to maintain a nutritious diet, correct deficiencies with supplements, and ensure your dog’s immune system is strong enough to fight off any possible infections.
How to Clean Your Dachshund’s Ears
The gathering of wax is normal when you start cleaning your Dachshund’s ears but do not ever use a Q-tip or an ear cleaner that is specifically designed for humans. Using them may accidentally and irreversibly damage the ear canals of your dog, causing deafness.
The best way to clean your dog’s ears is to turn them inside out, wash around the canals with a moist, soapy cloth, rinse thoroughly by hand to remove any residue, and then wipe them with a dry cloth. After they are well-cleaned, wipe them again with paper towels to ensure they are completely dry.
When to See a Veterinarian
As soon as you suspect there is an ear infection, visit the veterinarian. Do not wait for the infection to subside by itself. By doing so, you are not just prolonging your beloved pet’s pain but also allowing the infection to spread to the inner ears.
Also, your local pet stores might suggest remedies for ear infections but it is recommended to not take a chance with them. They may or may not work, could cause side effects, and may even cause the pain to get worse. Your vet is the right person to diagnose the cause of the infection and treat it accordingly.
Treatment Options for Dog Ear Infections
Most ear infections are first treated topically. In this method, the vet thoroughly cleans the dog’s ears with a medical cleansing agent. Next, they apply medicated ointments that take care of the source of the infection.
They may also prescribe these ointments for you to continue to apply at home. Such mild infections may resolve within 1 – 2 weeks.
In moderately severe cases, your vet may prescribe antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs, again, depending on the cause of the infection.
In extremely severe cases or recurring infections, surgery may be the only way out, although this usually involves the removal of the ear canals and hence, should be used as a last resort.
Preserve Those Cute Dachshund Ears
Any health crisis can be demotivating, both for you and for your lively Dachshund. And as with everything else, prevention is always better than cure.
Hence, you must spend some time regularly cleaning your dog’s ears and keeping them dry. It makes more sense to try and preserve those flappy, elongated ears, and prevent surgery.
At the very first sign of ear discomfort, visit your vet promptly can carry out the treatment plan. If all goes well, you will, in no time, watch your favorite pet running around happily, flapping its cute ears as they chase the smaller animals in your backyard.