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Routine Ear Care for your Beagle

Those floppy ears can be so nice and soft to handle. The ears have to be one of a Beagle’s best features. They require regular care though to prevent infections and stay healthy. This becomes even more important if your Beagle swims on a regular basis since the additional moisture makes the ear a great breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. Although you should make a practice of cleaning your Beagle’s ears on a monthly basis, if he is showing symptoms of an ear issue including redness, odd smells, excessive scratching, or visible debris in the ear, you need to sit down and clean them sooner.

Basic Cleaning

Use baby bum wipes. They are designed to be gentle on vulnerable skin but at the same time clean the surface they are used on. Wrap a wipe around your index finger. Gently clean any waxy buildup in the ear. Make sure you wipe in all the grooves of the ear. Your index finger is big enough that you will not get far enough down the ear to do any damage. Never use a cotton swab or small item to clean out your dog’s ears.

Once you have removed any external dirt and wax, put a healthy squirt of ear cleaning solution into your Beagle’s ear. Gently rub the base of the ear so that the liquid gets down deep into the ear. Then let him shake it out. Ear cleaning solutions are available at many pet supply stores or through your veterinarian.

Potential Problems

Yeast infections tend to produce a funny smell in the ear. The wax tends to be prolific and may smell as well. They are treated with antibiotic ear drops and oral antibiotics. Some dogs will develop reoccurring yeast infections. This may be an indication of allergies and you should investigate that possibility further with your vet if the infections continue to come back after you finish the prescribed course of antibiotics.

Ear mites will produce a buildup that is dark brown or black in appearance. The ears tend to be red and very itchy as well. Many dogs will shake their head frequently in an attempt to dislodge the irritant. Ear mites are treated with a miticide usually in the form of an ear drop.

In areas with foxtails and awn grass, the seeds can become lodged in the ear. If possible, carefully remove them with your fingers or a pair of tweezers. It is very important to avoid pushing them further into the ear canal though. So, if in doubt, bring your dog into your vet to have them removed.

Cuts and injuries to the ear flap tend to bleed a lot. They can also be very difficult to heal because shaking the head can re-open the wound. Try applying pressure from both sides of the wound to see if you can get the bleeding stopped. If the wound is not serious and the bleeding stops, apply antibiotic cream and non-stick pads to all open wounds and bandage the ear to the head to avoid it being shaken by your dog. An Elizabethan collar may be necessary to prevent him from scratching at it. If you cannot stop the bleeding or the wound seems serious enough to require stitches, apply pads and bandage the ear to the head before you leave for the vet’s office. If possible, keep pressure on the wound using your hands and have someone else drive you there.

Keeping your Beagle’s ears clean and healthy will help prevent infections. Examine them routinely for any seeds or grass awns that may be picked up when running in the field. Always check your Beagle’s ears if he begins to scratch at them more frequently, they seem overly itchy, look red or inflamed, or smell odd. Although most infections can be handled easily, left untreated they can develop into more serious problems.

Photo credit: B, K & G/Flickr

Should you have a concern regarding the health of your Beagle(s), you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is presented solely for educational and informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving veterinary care for your Beagle(s).