While the title of this post isn’t that appealing, ear infections are common for many floppy-ear dog breeds such as shih tzu, poodle, pit bull, cocker spaniel, and Shar Pei.
Infections generally fall into two categories; bacterial, or yeast. WebMD says the main contributing factors of ear infections are: ear mites, excessive hair, moisture or wax, foreign bodies, allergies, and hypothyroidism. Not adequately drying or airing out ears after swimming, or exploring overgrown areas outdoors can expose your dog to the contributing causes of ear infections.
Infected ears can be uncomfortable for your dog, both because of the irritation in their ear canal, but also excessive scratching can cause cuts and increase the redness, as they attempt to scratch the itch away.
From time to time I have had to treat ear infections in my dog at home and found the following to be helpful to treat both kinds. When the non-prescription products don’t work after a few days, then a trip to the vet is necessary. I have found that often my grocery store pharmacy can order pet prescriptions. If you know you have a prescription coming your way from the vet, it is helpful to call the grocery store pharmacy to check their pricing to ensure you don’t overpay at the vet. If your pet prescription requires refills, you might as well save a stop and get them at the same time as your prescriptions (if any), or your groceries!
The five medications I have at home to treat my dogs ear infections are:
|Otibiotic||Vet’s Best Ear Relief Dry|
Otibiotic is made by VetUS (Henry Schein Animal Health) and comes in a 15g tube, with instructions to administer 5 drops in the ear each day, for 14 days. The ingredients are gentamicin sulphate, betamethasone valerate, and clotrimazole and they are mixed in a mineral oil paste. It controls bacteria and fungus, and is an anti-inflammatory. It has the same active ingredients and proportion of ingredients as Otomax, however it is less expensive.
Otomax is made by Merk Animal Health and was the original prescribed product we had received to treat both the bacterial and fungal ear infection. It contains gentamicin sulphate, betamethasone valerate, and clotrimazole, and is mixed with a mineral oil paste to aid in application.
Epi-Otic made by Virbac is a clear rinse that helps remove cellular debris and wax from the ears and contains an anti-irritant. The active ingredients are diethylene glycol monoethyl ether, salicylic acid, and chloroxylenol. It is applied by filling the ear, massaging for 60-90 seconds, then allowing the dog to shake out the excess. After that, a cotton swab should be used to wipe out the remaining, along with any debris or wax that has been loosened. Any following medication should be applied after the Epi-Otic has dried.
EcoEars is a natural product made by VetOrganics in the USA. The ingredients are: deionized water, witch hazel extract, denatured grain alcohol, vegetable glycerin, polysorbate 20 (food grade), boric acid, tea tree oil, ionic silver solution, organic mullein leaf extract, rosemary extract, and fingerroot extract. It is a clear liquid that can be administered directly in to the ear, or for squirmy dogs, a cotton ball can be soaked and the liquid squeezed into the ear.
The VetOrganics website goes into further detail to describe how each of the ingredients work to clear up the infection. I have found that it works well as a maintenance product. The label recommends using it twice per day for 10 days, or longer as necessary; weekly as a maintenance product. I found that the prescription medications show a visible improvement in the appearance of ear cleanliness and smell within hours of applying them.
Finally, Vet’s Best Ear Relief Dry is another natural formula made in the USA (Texas, to be exact) and contains Calendula, Clove Oil, Aloe Vera, Chamomie, Tea Tree Oil, Silica and Echinacea. It too is a white paste that dries to a powder which helps absorb moisture which can cause bacterial and yeast growth. The recommended application is to squeeze into the ear canal and let dry. This should be used before and after bathing or swimming, and can be used regularly as a maintenance product. I find this especially useful after baths because I know there is often water remaining inside Dexter’s floppy ears.
Some of the product links above are affiliate links to the product pages on Amazon.