Schnauzer Grooming: Ear Cleaning
Regular care should be taken to ensure the ears of your Schnauzer are clean and healthy. Healthy ears should appear pink in color on the inside (except for a black colored Schnauzer, whose ears should be soft to touch on the inside and should not be burning hot when the dog is calm). A small amount of black or dark brown waxy buildup may be observed and this is normal.
Ear plucking should be performed regularly in order to avoid ear infection. It is an area best left to your groomer or veterinarian, unless you are experienced to it. Either case, you should clean your Schnauzer's ear regularly using veterinarian recommended ear wash solution or natural ear cleaner.
Ear infections in dogs are often caused by bacteria, yeasts and other fungi. Schnauzers with uncropped ears dropping down are more likely to catch ear infections than those whose ears stick high enough to let adequate air flow into and out of the ear canal.
Signs of ear infections include:
- Redness or swelling
- Unusual discharge
- Head shaking
- Ear scratching
- Rubbing ears on the floor or other surfaces
Have your Schnauzer examined by a vet if you suspect an ear infection. Your pet may have to be anesthetized in some cases before a thorough examination and treatment can take place.
If the infection is severe or involves the middle and inner ear, oral medications may also be prescribed, but sometimes, surgery may be necessary.
Ear Plucking & Cleaning
How it works?
Your Schnauzer is also subject to ear infections if the ears are not plucked frequently enough as they have lots of long hair in and around the ear canal which substantially reduces the air flow into the ears. Unless you are very experienced with it, plucking is better left for your vet but ear cleaning can be done at home. Here are the precedures of ear plucking and cleaning:
- Lift up your dog’s ear flap if his ear is uncropped, and check to see if there is any redness, swelling or other signs of ear infection. DON’T pluck the hair if you notice any of the above signs and seek professional advice.
- Sprinkle ear powder in the dog’s ear canal. The powder aids in controlling odor and will absorb the moisture in the ears, which makes it easier to remove the hair. A small amount of the ear powder for each ear will do the job.
- To reduce discomfort, pull out only a small amount of ear hair at a time, using bare hand or with the help of a small pair of tweezers.
- Repeat (3) until all hair around the opening of the ear canal of both ears is all plucked.
- Squeeze a few drops of ear wash solution / ear cleaner into the ear canal of each ear. Insert the tip of the ear wash bottle a few millimeters (mm) down the ear canal. DON’T force the tip too deep into the ear canal or the ear drum will rupture. Your Schnauzer will probably shake some of the solution out as soon as the solution is applied. But that is fine.
- Massage the base of the ear to distribute the ear wash solution throughout the ear canal.
- Use cotton balls to remove the discharge / waxy buildup from around the opening of the ear canal.
- Be very careful when you use a cotton-tipped swab. Inserting one deep into your dog’s ear canal is dangerous and may push the ear wax further into the ear canal. Using cotton-tipped swabs is generally not recommended.
- Keep your dog’s ear hair plucked every month. Plucking too often can cause irritation and lead to adverse effect i.e. an infection.
If you suspect that your Schnauzer is suffering from an ear infection, consult your vet for further advice, examination or treatments. Check out our healthcare section on Ear Infections for more suggestions.
Giving Ear Medication To Your Schnauzer
Similar to applying ear wash solution, when giving ear medication, place the prescribed amount of medication (whether ointments or drops) on the inside of the ear flap into the ear canal. The tip of the ointment tube or dropper should be placed a few millimeters (mm) into the ear canal to assure that the medication goes down the ear canal. Stretch the ear away from the head so that the bend in the ear canal will straighten and the medication can be deposited over the entire ear canal.
DO NOT place the long neck of the ointment tube too deep into the ear canal as this could puncture the ear drum.
Massage the base of the ear to help distribute the medication into the ear canal.
Dogs with chronic ear infections will benefit from anything that increases air flow into the ear canal. Ear flow can be improved by:
- plucking hairs from around the opening of the ear canal
- tying or taping ears together on top of the head using tubular fabric with hole cuts for exposure of the ear canals
Remember to check out our healthcare section on Ear Infections for more alternative remedies.