Itchy ears. It can be an ongoing problem for dogs and their human companions.
For dogs, the itching can be incessant and it's even worse when your human demands that you stop! Ever had an itch that you can't scratch? Scratch me now I say!!
For the human companions, watching your dog scratch his ears constantly can cause you to pull out your hair over the sheer frustration and overwhelm you feel when trying to figure out how you can stop your dog from scratching!
Itchy ears can be a symptom of an ear infection. Said ear infection may be caused by a variety of different things - allergies, ear mites, excessive ear wax, long ears, grass, immune disorders or bacteria and yeasts. Symptoms other than itching might include discharge, odour, redness, swelling or head shaking.
Like with many dog or cat ailments, the first reaction one can have is to take your dog to the vet. Most commonly, your vet will diagnose an ear infection, clean the ear (sometimes with anaesthetic) and prescribe antibiotics and some sort of ear drops. Some vets may prescribe steroids like prednisone or pesticides if the cause is ear mites.
The problem I see with this approach is two-pronged -
1. It's a quick fix solution - it can provide immediate relief but doesn't offer a long term solution to the problem.
2. The possible side effects of the drugs, such as gastrointestinal upset like vomiting and diarrhoea, gastrointestinal ulcers, skin irritation, liver or kidney damage, and allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis.
Then there is the case that you may not have come away from the vet with a clear idea as to what is causing your dog to have ear problems in the first place.
And before you know it, you're pulling your hair out again because your dog won't stop scratching his ears!
This is not to say that you shouldn't take your dog to the vet.
If a vet hasn't previously diagnosed a problem with your dog's ears, it can be very helpful to get a vet diagnosis, and sometimes it's downright necessary to take your dog to the vet!
For me, I'd rather be clear on a diagnosis and then consider the treatment protocol knowing that natural remedies are available.
Depending on the diagnosis, it may be necessary to treat your dog conventionally in combination with treating your dog naturally. Your decision on how you treat your dog's itchy ears will depend on a number of circumstances such as how serious your furry friend's condition is.
Prevention is better than cure.
If your dog is susceptible to ear conditions, an occasional clean may be necessary. You don't want to clean your dog's ears too regularly though because you might upset the pH balance and natural environment of the ear.
One way that I like for cleaning dog's (and cat's) ears is coconut oil. Simply drop a few drops into your furry friend's ear a few times a day for a few days.
I also like Natural Animal Solutions Ear Clear, which assists with maintaining ear health as well as assisting with treatment and prevention.
Diet is super important for all things healthy, including treating your dog's or cat's ear condition. Simply by moving to a non-processed, whole food species appropriate diet, you can boost your dog's immune system to assist in combating any allergens or infections. You can also try an elimination diet as a means of identifying the allergen causing the problem and then removing it from your furry friend's diet.
Does your dog (or cat) suffer from itchy ears? Contact me today for a full nutrition assessment and let's together solve the problem once and for all. Mention this blog and I'll give you a 10% discount!