Pugs and Ear Care

Originally Written for Pug Partners of Nebraska – Please visit their website to find out how you can help Pugs!

Pugs are prone to ear infections at a higher rate than dogs in general. They are also susceptible to allergic otitis, inflammation of the ear canal caused by allergies, that predisposes them to infectious otitis. And their ears are floppy! This allows moisture to be more easily trapped in the ear canal of Pugs than in the ear canals of their pointy-eared friends. Evidence is not conclusive, but this too may predispose poor Pugs to ear problems!

While owners of other dogs will need to occasionally check their pets’ ears, Pug owners will need to be vigilant.  If your veterinarian says your pet’s ears are healthy, immediately lift an ear and look and smell.  That beautiful pink color? That is normal! The lack of debris? Perfect.

If your veterinarian says your pet’s ears are unhealthy, immediately lift an ear and look and smell. Notice the painful, swollen red canal, the black yuck and the wet-dog-gone-bad smell. Work with your veterinary team to bring your Pug back to optimal health, and be on the lookout for these signs in the future!

Regular ear cleanings will help keep your Pug’s ears healthy. Use only ear cleaner labeled for dogs, preferably one that your veterinary team hands to you. Peroxide is not safe. Alcohol stings.  Water just creates a moist environment. You need a pH balanced, non-irritating effective cleaner with a drying agent.

Choose a water-resistant environment in which to clean your Pug’s ears, perhaps in the bathroom or outdoors.  Pour the cleaner into one ear until it reaches the top of the ear canal. The ear canal goes down vertically a bit, and then just behind the hinge of the jaw, goes in towards the center of the head horizontally. So picture that you have just filled an “L” shaped tube with cleaning solution. Gently squish the ear canal so the solution agitates in the canal a bit.

Now stand back.  Close your eyes. Close your mouth. Aren’t you glad you listened to me?  Your face is wet, but your eyes do not sting! And you do not have a mouth full of Pug ear wax! You are welcome.

After your Pug shakes the excess cleaner out, use a cotton ball to gently wipe what is left on the inside of the ear flap and the part of the canal you can see. Continue until you get a clean cotton ball. Repeat the same process on the other ear.

You can use cotton swabs to gently clean the crevices of the ear flap and outer ear canal, but do not use them in the ear. Swabs will not hurt the fragile ear drum, as it is protected by its position at the end of the “L” shape of the canal. However, it is easy to accidently pack wax and debris into the ear canal with a swab. The debris that is out of reach will most likely be removed by the ear cleaner itself.

Clean your Pug’s ears after baths and swimming and otherwise every two to four weeks. This will keep excess wax at a minimum, and if not completely prevent, at least minimize the number and severity of ear infections. Also, if an infection is brewing, you are much more likely to catch it before it becomes chronic.

Stephanie – I think this is my FAVORITE picture of Typhoon!!

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