Some ear problems such as tumors or polyps may not be preventable. Luckily there are some things that owners can do to help prevent other ear problems.
- Water getting caught in the ear from water activities and baths can encourage bacteria and yeast growth. Make sure to thoroughly dry your pet’s ears after these activities. Water going in the ear is not a problem but water staying in the ear canal is a problem. Ear drying solutions can help to dry the ear and reduce potential problems from excess moisture.
- Food allergies cause excess moisture and inflammation in the ear. If you suspect that your pet may have a food allergy discuss this concern with your veterinarian.
- Foxtails can penetrate anywhere on your pet and the ear is no exception. In fact we commonly find foxtails in our patient’s ears. Keep your yard free of the grass that produces foxtails and do not let your pet play in any area where they are present. Freshly cut weeds from your yard should be disposed of promptly since this is a common way foxtails get inside your pet’s ears.
- Ear mites are contagious from pet to pet. Keep your pet away from any other animal that has ear mites. Outdoor cats are at a higher risk for ear mites due to their exposure to other cats. Regularly monitor your outdoor cat’s ears for any signs of ear mites.
- Chiggers are most common in early summertime and can be found in grass and other vegetation. Keep your pet away from areas known to harbor chiggers and stay on trails while hiking.
Once you do notice any signs of a potential ear problem the best thing you can do is to get your pet’s ears checked out by your veterinarian as soon as possible. Ignoring the problem or trying to wait for it to go away on its own usually only makes the condition more painful for your pet and more expensive to treat.