Pro Pooch Blog
Have you noticed a sour or unpleasant smell coming from your dog's ears? Do you frequently notice them shaking their head vigorously or scratching at their ears?
These are actually quite common problems in dogs with floppy ears and other dogs who have a lot of fur in their ears or around the base of their ears. A very mild smell around your dog's ears may not mean anything, but most of the time stinky dog ears mean your dog is suffering from some kind of ear infection.
It comes in very handy having a resident dog expert to call upon for advice. It’s also great to be able to pass on useful tips and tactics to our customers, safe in the knowledge that they come from someone with many years of experience of grooming other people’s dogs. This week we’re focusing on the age old dog chewing problem. Dogs can get bored if they’re on their own all day, young dogs have teething pains and some dogs just like to chew things!
Dianna offers some advice on how to discourage destructive chewing.
Pro Pooch: Hello Dianna, nice to see you once more! So, why do some dogs seem to chew everything in sight?
Dianna: It’s nice to be back! Well, dogs chew things for all sorts of reasons. Chewing is instinctive behaviour in all dogs as it helps them to keep their teeth and gums clean and their jaws exercised and strong. Very young dogs may have teeth erupting and will chew on things to relieve gum soreness. Older dogs like to chew to maintain dental hygiene and jaw strength. Unfortunately, some dogs chew because they are bored or frustrated if they left alone for long periods of time and they have never been taught as young dogs to confine their chewing activities only to objects that they are allowed to chew. This makes a dog chewing problem difficult to tackle.
Pro Pooch: How old will a puppy be when he or she stops teething?
Dianna: Their teeth are usually all through by about 5 to 6 months but it’s important to encourage good chewing behaviour whilst your dog is still young. When I need to help a client tackle a puppy or young dog chewing problem, I advise them to use Pro Pooch anti chew spray to help their pet to learn what they can and can’t chew.
Pro Pooch: How do you tackle a dog chewing problem if the chewing is simply due to boredom?
Dianna: A combination of imaginative boredom relief and anti chew spray may be necessary here, and with older dogs, you can’t expect the problem to be solved overnight. The dog owner will need to be very patient and constructive. If your dog is left alone for long periods of time then leave them plenty of things that the dog can entertain themselves with and chew away at, without a worry. If you have a garden then allow the dog to access it and make sure that they are safe and cannot escape or cause annoyance to your neighbours. Perhaps your dog would like a companion to play with? You could always try having a friend, family member or neighbour pop in and spend a little time with your dog, or employ the services of a professional dog walker who can take your dog out for a good long walk to relieve their boredom.
These tactics used in conjunction with an anti chew spray, will usually solve a dog chewing problem over time. The Pro Pooch dog anti chew spray contains a very strong, nasty tasting substance which is completely harmless to dogs and humans but which will certainly discourage your dog from chewing furniture, carpets, fabric or shoes.
Pro Pooch: What sort of things would you recommend that owners with a dog chewing problem provide for their pets to chew when they feel the urge?
Dianna: There are all sorts of hard rubber toys that can be bought in a pet shop which are designed to be chewed by dogs and which give them a satisfying chewing experience. Most will last a long while but will eventually need replacing. You shouldn’t really leave your dog alone all day with a bone to chew just in case your dog swallows a bone fragment which gets stuck. If your dog is teething, you could try freezing an old wet towel. Let the towel defrost a little so that it is very cold and damp and then let your puppy chew that. The very cold water will help to numb their gums and bring some pain relief.
Some dogs like to chew shoes or fabric and if this is the case, give them some old shoes and old clothes to chew on, but let them know what they can and can’t chew. Encourage them to chew their own toys and their own things and perhaps use the anti chew spray and some gentle instruction to help them learn what not to chew.
Pro Pooch: Our thanks once more, Dianna, for your time and advice. We’re sure our readers will find the information very useful for solving dog chewing problems. We hope to speak to you again very soon.
Dianna: You’re most welcome and I look forward to coming back again in the near future.
A couple of weeks ago, we spoke to our resident Dog Grooming expert, Dianna, about her particular general dog ear care tips and tactics. Recently, we spoke to her again about how she actually goes about the process of cleaning any waxy build-up, dirt or debris from inside a dog’s ear. It certainly isn’t a particularly glamorous or remotely pleasant job, but it is one that needs doing regularly and properly to ensure that your dog remains healthy and in peak condition.
Pro Pooch: Hi Dianna, so let’s get down to the business of actually cleaning out a dog’s ears. What would be your first step in your dog ear cleaning routine?
Dianna: Well, the first thing is to make sure you’re wearing old clothes or a plastic apron, then get your dog to sit or stand still next to you and get yourself into a comfortable position where you can see into your dog’s ear. If your dog is well trained then this won’t be a problem for you but if you’re still working on his or her training, then you may need the assistance of someone else who knows your dog to sit with you and provide a little distraction whilst keeping your dog still.
We then need to do an inspection of the ear before using our dog ear cleaning solution. If you see any really excessive waxy build-up, clear, greyish or brownish discharge which smells nasty, wounds or scabs then it would be best to speak to your vet before attempting to clean your dog’s ears. A healthy dog ear will just have a light coating of wax and if it needs cleaning then you will notice a little dirt and debris in there too.
Pro Pooch: Why is it so important to consult a vet if you see excessive wax or some sort of discharge in your dog’s ear?
Dianna: Dogs can have all sorts of ear problems because they do love to roll around on the ground, run through the undergrowth or swim in the river! This means that they can easily pick up mites, ticks or fleas. These irritate the ear and your dog may scratch at the irritation and damage the skin inside the ear, causing an infection. Your vet will be able to determine the cause and recommend a course of action before any damage is done to the ear drum or inner ear. Applying a dog ear cleaning solution to damaged skin may hurt your dog and cause more
Pro Pooch: Right, so if your dog’s ears just look a bit mucky and in need of a clean, what’s the next step?
Dianna: As you know, I use the Pro Pooch dog ear cleaning solution because it’s a natural product with no nasty chemicals in there that might irritate a sensitive ear canal. The cotton pads and buds that come with the cleaner are ideal for any size dog and the buds especially are great for getting into difficult crevices! I usually put a little of the dog ear cleaning solution onto a cotton pad and then carefully and gently wipe any dirty areas outwards so that any loose bits of dirt or dried wax do not get dislodged and fall down into the ear canal. Gently massage your dog’s ears to work the dog ear cleaning solution into the skin to loosen any stuck on dirt and then repeat the wiping outwards process.
Dog’s ears are sensitive and you need to be ever so gentle when doing this job. Cleaning a dog’s ears is not a job that can be done quickly and half-heartedly. Care must taken, particularly with the ear buds. You must never push the ear buds down into the ear canal as you might damage your dog’s ear drum, they should only be used to clean areas of the ears where the pad won’t go. If you have a small dog or your dog has small ears, then you might find yourself using the buds more than the pads. The opposite is true if your dog has big floppy ears.
Pro Pooch: If you need to take your time with this job, what happens when your dog gets a bit antsy?
Dianna: It’s detrimental to establishing a regular dog ear cleaning routine if you try to force your dog to remain still for a long period of time whilst cleaning his or her ears. If your dog gets a bit bored then you can try giving some treats if that will help to keep them still, keep talking to and praising your dog if they’re behaviour is good or if they get really restless then just let them do something else for 5 or 10 minutes before trying again.
One thing your dog will almost certainly want to do during and straight after application of the dog ear cleaning solution, is shake their heads. This is why you need old clothes or an apron on. Any excess dog ear cleaning solution or little bits and pieces of debris, will be ejected at speed, so don’t get too close and mind your eyes.
Pro Pooch: Once The Head Shaking Is All Over, Are We Finished With The Dog Ear Cleaning Session?
Dianna: We just need to have a final check in each ear to make sure that the job has been done properly and keep an eye on your dog for the next few hours just to be sure that he or she is happy with their ears. If your dog is worrying at their ears or continually head shaking, then it may be necessary to closely inspect your pet’s ears again for any sign of irritation or possible infection that may have been uncovered during the ear cleaning.
Pro Pooch: Once again, thank you very much indeed, Dianna, for your valuable advice. We look forward to picking your brains for more dog health tips in a couple of week’s time.
Dianna: You’re more than welcome, it would be my pleasure!
Cleaning your dog’s ears may sound like a simple enough job, but that very much depends upon your dog’s personality. Dog’s ears are sensitive and so, naturally, they are sensitive about their ears! Whilst many dogs love an ear rub, not many like having things put into their ears and getting them to keep still whilst you clean their ears can be something of a challenge. This is especially true for big, strong dogs.
We spoke to Dianna May, our consultant professional dog grooming expert, who has over 25 years of experience and has cleaned the ears of hundreds of different dogs from Dachshunds to Great Danes, all with differing temperaments. Here’s what she had to say about the best dog ear cleaner tips and tactics:
Pro Pooch: Dianna, firstly, why is it so important to clean dog’s ears?
Dianna: It’s important to keep your dog’s ears clean to prevent the chance of an ear infection developing or of excess wax building up in the ear. Most dogs either get a daily run in the park, a walk along a dusty street or spend their day charging around the garden. As you know, dogs love to play and roll around on the ground which means that they are quite likely to get grit or other bits and pieces in their ears. Every dog owner should be aware that their dog’s ears will need cleaning periodically, even if they then employ a groomer who knows all the best dog ear cleaner tricks.
Pro Pooch: How often should I clean my dog’s ears?
Dianna: You should inspect your dog’s ears every few days as this will only take a moment of your time, but as for cleaning a dog’s ears, well, this depends upon your dog’s age, breed and general activity. I would personally recommend that you clean them every 3 to 4 weeks for a generally active, healthy dog and every 2 to 3 weeks for dogs who get to swim a lot. You should also receive advice from your vet when your dog goes for a health check-up. They will be able to tell you if the ears are excessively waxy and may need a high quality ear cleanser for dogs and more frequent cleaning.
Pro Pooch: What should a healthy dog ear canal look like?
Dianna: A healthy dog ear canal will have a light coating of ear wax but not great blobs of the stuff! If your dog does have an ear infection then there are all sorts of other signs which are difficult to miss. If your dog is constantly scratching or pawing at their ears, nodding their head or if you notice a nasty odour coming from either of your dog’s ears then you should take them to see the vet as soon as you can.
Pro Pooch: Do you have any tips about keeping your customers calm whilst cleaning their ears?
Dianna: Absolutely! This isn’t a job that you can rush as you need to be careful when using an ear cleanser for dogs. Play with your dog’s ears gently for a moment to get them feeling secure with you touching their ears. If they keep pulling away or seem at all distressed about this, then there may be an underlying problem in which case you should look for the signs I mentioned earlier, which may require a trip to the vet. Most dogs love an ear fondle but may need an additional distraction such as a small, healthy treat to keep them occupied during the session. All dogs are different and their owners know them best and can suggest what would make them keep their head still for a few minutes. Dealing with a dog calmly, gently, confidently and, most importantly, patiently; is most certainly the key to a hassle free dog ear wash.
Pro Pooch: What is your recommendation when suggesting the best dog ear cleaner ?
Dianna: Personally, I only use organic and natural products for all of my grooming activities and have done for many years ever since they became available. I find that, not only do they do a better job than the cheap synthetic stuff, my customer’s dogs are healthier and happier. When I get a new customer who has either been trying to keep on top of the grooming themselves without much success, or they have been using another grooming company who don’t use a natural ear cleanser for dogs, I love seeing the transformation of their beloved pet over time. Even after all these years, it still amazes me how much more vitality a dog gains when their owner switches to using natural dog health products. I love using Pro Pooch natural dog ear cleaner because it’s gentle and it does a great job which makes it great value for money. I get so frustrated when I hear of people cutting costs by using a slightly cheaper synthetic product because I know they’ll end up spending twice as much due to the product not being as effective, so they have to use twice as much to do the same job. It’s a terribly false economy! Plus synthetic products are usually bad for the environment and some even use chemicals that have been proven to be a risk to your dog’s health.
Pro Pooch: Thank you very much, Dianna, for the advice. Will you come back soon and let us into your trade secrets of how you actually go about the dog ear cleaning process?
Dianna: I will most certainly and thank you for the opportunity to spread the message about the importance of using good quality, natural ear cleanser for dogs. I’ll speak to you again very soon!
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Over the moon with Pro Pooch customer service from start to finish. The Ear Cleaner we purchased has worked within a week after spending £££ on other treatments to no avail. I felt truly looked after. Well done!
Finally I have found some grooming products for my beloved dogs where the ingredients are not just an afterthought but the focus of the whole company.
Your oatmeal shampoo, Its not cheap but my goodness it has stopped Kato's itching after just a few weeks. I was sold by the products natural claims but the real benefit to me is how soft and supple his skin is after bathing. Most pleased.
I was cleaning with boiled salty water for a week to no avail. I have used these drops 3 times now over 2 days after cleaning and bingo the improvement is astounding. Thank you pro pooch I am amazed by this product.