German Shepherds are probably one of the most intelligent and protective dogs that you could ever have. Fierce looking, but friendly at the same time, these dogs look rather well built and exude a commanding aura! Don’t you just love it when your best pal just sits by the corner eyeing everything that’s happening and making sure that everything’s A-Okay? Well, one of the advantages of having a German Shepherd is that you’d have a caring police dog at the same time! Not to mention, these dogs are regal looking too!
These dogs may appear sturdy and built for action, so to speak, but sometimes, something peculiarly irritating, such as an ear infection, can strike them too.
What’s the most common sign that your commando fluff has an ear infection? Well, you guessed it, your German Shepherd is continuously shaking its head.
What’s an ear infection dog yeast?
Ear infection or what is commonly referred Otitis externa is quite common in dogs of all breeds, especially those with floppy ears. It may seem just an itch at first, but it’s far more concerning than it looks. This condition can be quite painful, not to mention irritatingly itchy! That’s why you could see your beloved fluff incessantly shaking its head in an effort to relieve the itch and the pain. How to spot an infection before it makes itself comfy in your pet’s ear? Check out the list below:
- Incessant itching and shaking of the head
- Redness on the ear
- A strong unpleasant odor coming from the ears
- A discharge which can be yellow, brown or black
- Bleeding from excessive scratching
- Scabs at the back of the ear
The condition worsens if left untreated and the infection travels down to the middle ear, and finally to the inner ear. When left unattended, an ear infection can result in a myriad of problems such as deafness and balance loss. All of which can be avoided if you can spot this condition at its earliest stage. After all, prevention is better than cure, right? And we’d all love to spare our pets from such discomfort.
So how can you prevent ear infections in German Shepherds?
Simple steps to avoid German Shepherds ear infections
Even if ear infections tend to plague floppy-eared dogs, your German Shepherd still isn’t spared from otitis media! Especially if your beloved fluff loves to swim!
All ears on this one!
1. Always keep the ears dry
This becomes a challenge if your buddy’s an avid swimmer! Or if he just loves the water so much that it’s willing to take a bath on a regular basis. So, what to do?
You can still indulge your pet with the frolicking fun in the lake or the bathtub; just make sure to thoroughly dry his ears after.
When the ears are left with a lot of moisture, bacteria and fungi will thrive and can make a home out of your dog’s ear canals.
One useful trick you can do to avoid water from getting into the ears is to stick a piece of cotton ball on the ear’s opening during baths. Just don’t push it all the way in! That’ll take care of the splash and the swoosh!
2. Clean the ears on a regular basis
What’s another recipe for perfectly itchy ears? Dirty ones of course!
When the ear is left unclean for a long time, bacteria tend to multiply in folds and it becomes very easy for these microorganisms to inhabit your poor fluff’s ears.
How to clean your dog’s ears properly? Follow these simple steps:
- First, you’d need a vet-approved solution, cotton balls, and patience. Yes patience, as some dogs tend to be finicky when it comes to ear cleaning!
- Soak the cotton balls in the solution and squeeze onto the ears and massage it gently. That motion will dislodge any dirt that has clung to the lining of the ears. Use cotton balls to wipe away dirt that has surfaced to the tip of the ears.
- Remember not to push the cotton inside of the canal. You could be pushing the dirt further into your clueless dog’s ear canals!
- Avoid overcleaning and also avoid pulling any hair from your dog’s ears.
- How often should you clean it? At least once a month.
Apart from a vet-approved solution, there are some items in your cupboard that you can also use too! This sound heaven to those who are into holistic healing for their pets. If you’re into such, check your cupboard for these items:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Virgin coconut oil
- Oregano oil
But remember that these organic and homemade solutions are more of preventive concoctions. Always seek veterinarian’s advice if you intend to use these for treatment.
3. Rule out any allergies or medical conditions
Sometimes, Otitis media can be a secondary cause of something more serious going on in your fluff’s body.
It can be allergies or any foreign object that might have gotten stuck when Fido was playing in the fields. From thyroid problems, meningitis to autoimmune diseases, these are just some disorders that can induce “head shaking”. Make sure to rule out any underlying condition to get to the root cause of this symptom.
A recurring ear infection is often times an indication of a more serious problem. So, if you’ve been dealing with an ear infection that goes away and pops out every week or so, your dog’s body is signalling that you to take a deeper look into its health.
4. Go grain free
Yes, you are what you eat, and it goes the same for your beloved fluff. A diet high in carbohydrates or starch can spell trouble for your dog’s ears. You may already be aware that dogs are obligate carnivores. Meaning, they don’t need starch or carbs in their diet to function. It’s all about the protein honey and the essential vitamins and minerals.
Apart from that stated fact, starch and dog foods with high traces of carbohydrates can cause allergies in some pets. The result? Red inflamed and itchy ears. That would explain the incessant shaking of your German Shepherd’s head! Along with shaking, comes the itching. The combination of these actions disrupts the normal defense of your pup’s body. The end results? An overgrowth of yeast and bacteria which are the primary ingredients of an ear infection.
So don’t skimp on the chow! You might even try home cooked or raw feeding!
5. Supplementation goes a long way!
We’ve mentioned that your dog needs protein and essential vitamins and minerals to be healthy right? Well, to keep your pup in perfect shape, sometimes, you need a bit more help from supplements. Just like you, your daily intake of vitamins helps you go through a very rough day. We all know when your body succumbs to stress, that’s when a myriad of health dilemmas occurs.
For dogs, it’s actually the same. Supplements such as omega 3 fatty acids help your Fido all pink and healthy. An ample amount of this rich fatty acid helps reduce inflammation that may lead to an ear infection. This is especially helpful if your dog is prone to having allergies.
6. Make sure your dog is protected from mites
Your German Shepherd can also be playful at times and it also loves rolling down on the green grass in the spring. And yikes! Your dog can get mites from literally anywhere! Especially from the fields where other infected dogs have been to. Mites are also one of the main causes of ear infections in dogs. Along with head shaking, it can also result in incessant ear scratching
So, before allowing your dog to go out and mingle with the pack, make sure he has ample protection from mites. Spot on treatments is a great and easy way to keep your fluff protected from these creepy crawlers.
7. No to DIY’s
If you see your pet shaking his head incessantly amidst all the preventive efforts and he doesn’t look too well, it’s time to take your furbaby to the vet. If every effort seems to be futile, it’s never a good idea to just ask Mr.Google on the right medications for an ear infection. Your veterinarian will be the only person who can determine the best course of action to take once an ear infection is already happening. Playing veterinarian and skipping on a vet’s visit when Fido isn’t looking all too well can make matters worse.
The Final Takeaway
Spotting ear infections at its earliest stage will save you on vet bills and spare Fido from discomfort.
Keep in mind that ear infection starts with these basic ingredients- moisture, dirt, and bacteria. Keep these at bay and you can prevent harmful bodies from invading your poor pup’s ear.
And also, a progressive ear infection warrants antibiotics. That’s something that we don’t want to expose our pets to as it can have serious implications on their health.
So whenever you see Fido shaking its head, it’s his way of telling you to look into my ears!