Why is my dog scratching its ears?

(Welcome to the weekly pet column of Pet Connection Programs Inc. of Marilla, N.Y. A new article is posted each week, so be sure to check back on a regular basis!)

Ever wonder why your pet is constantly scratching its ears? When your dog reaches a hind foot for a nice scratch, that’s normal. But when your furry pal relentlessly scratches or paws at their ears and head, it’s time for a checkup at the vet.

A few reasons why your dog could be scratching are because of something caught in the ear, skin problems, too much earwax, an ear infection, or a cut or injury.

If your dog seems extra itchy after playing outside, it could mean an allergy, fleas, ticks or insect bites. It’s also possible your dog is sensitive to lawn chemicals.

Keep your dog healthy by cleaning its ears monthly, or more if they love to swim. Start by grooming the fur around their ears. If there is fur in the ear canal and it seems to attract gunk, ask a groomer to trim it down. Next, use an ear cleaner such as 21st Century clean ear dog liquid, to flush out your dog’s ears. Put a few drops into each ear and lightly massage the ear near the opening. Let your dog shake their head and then use a cotton ball — not a cotton swab — to gently wipe out the ear canal.

Pet parents can ask a groomer or vet what kind of ear cleaner is best for their pooch. Some cleaners are made to break up earwax, while others are made to dry out the ear canal.

Remember that a dog’s ears are very sensitive. Visit the vet right away if you notice odor, redness, pain, swelling, discharge or a mass or lump.
— News Canada

(For more information on pets and animal adoption, please visit www.petconnectionprogramsinc.com. Or, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PetConnectionProgramsinc. Located in Marilla, N.Y., Pet Connection Programs Inc. is a nonprofit maternity and special care shelter founded in 1984.)