Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. I will answer this question as if you are speaking of the inside of the ears (not the external). Most dogs ears aren’t dry unless they have other skin issues such as skin allergies, which can be seasonal or year around and caused by many different things, such as foods, environment, dust, grass, pollen, and products (shampoos, perfumes, etc). Check in the ears for waxy build up. The ears should be clean of any wax and dry. If they have build up, I would take a cotton ball, and soak half of it in a dog ear cleaning solution. This solution should be made specifically for dogs, and your local vet would most likely sell the appropriate brand.

I would address any possible skin allergies, if they do not have any other skin issues, then looking inside the ears and cleaning with a good ear cleaner (should be alcohol free—because alcohol is very drying) If the ear scratching continues regularly then bring him/her into the vet to have a proper ear exam.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

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Never put anything in your dog`s ear without veterinary instruction. Your veterinary team can help you find the ideal treatment to treat the infection and give your dog much-needed relief. Itchy, uncomfortable ears can be caused by everything from ear infections to allergies and ear mites.
In the meantime, there are some home remedies you can try to ease your pet`s discomfort, such as a warm compress, vinegar or hydrogen peroxide ear flush, and the use of natural anti-inflammatory agents like coconut oil or aloe vera gel.
Ear mites cause intense scratching. If you look in your dog`s ears and see dark brown debris that resembles coffee grounds, then your dog most likely has ear mites. This parasite can be shared with cats, dogs and other animals (like the family ferret).
Olive Oil

To use this kitchen cupboard staple as an external treatment, apply a small amount to your dog`s dry paws, nose and ears. Make sure to rub it in completely, and remember: a little goes a long way! It`s also effective as part of your dog`s diet.

DON`T: Never put Vaseline inside your dog`s ears. Don`t use Vaseline as a way to treat hot spots or other skin irritations on your dog. If your pet has any kind of skin disorder, always consult with your veterinarian first.
Take your pet to the vet if his ears are red, have a bad odor or he is scratching his ears or shaking his head for proper care. Olive oil, mineral oil or coconut oil—oils are relatively safe to use, and olive oil can kill ear mites by smothering them though it takes many weeks to clear ear mites with this method.
In harsh climates, both hot and cold, petroleum jelly can help soothe and moisturize dry ears. Preparations containing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or vinegar are not usually helpful for dry ears but may help relieve itchy ears. It is best not to use cotton swabs for cleaning because they tend to over-clean the ear.
Various remedies that can be applied to improve your dog`s ear health and get rid of infections are: Coconut Oil: It acts as a great anti-bacterial and anti-fungal component that can be administered to the pooches in their infected ears.
People may be able to relieve itchiness at home by using a few drops of baby oil or olive oil. OTC eardrops may also help. If an infection is causing the itchiness, a person may require antibiotics. In cases of earwax blockage, a doctor can safely remove the earwax and provide prevention tips.
To clean the ears, tilt your dog`s head downward with one hand and squirt a gentle cleanser recommended by your veterinarian into the ear, filling the canal. Holding the ear closed, give it a nice massage, really squishing the cleanser around in there. That softens any gunk inside.
Never put olive oil, vinegar, shampoo, or any other substance in a dog`s ear. Also, avoid poking around with cotton buds in the ear, you will only work any wax and debris further in and potentially damage the eardrum.
Ear mites can cause dog ears to be crusty inside or have brown discharge and ear mites can cause brown or black discharge, which may look like coffee grounds. Your dog will also likely be scratching or shaking their head frequently.
Keep the dog`s ears as clean as possible by doing routine cleanings and checking or parasites. Moisturize the ears using hand cream, fly ointment (available at feed stores) or the liquid inside vitamin E capsules. Feed the dog a high-quality diet and supplement it with omega-3 fatty acids.
Apple cider vinegar helps by acting as a cleanser and an anti-fungal and antibacterial agent. Dabbing this into your dog`s ears sparingly can help to clean out the inside of their ears and treat the infection.
Apple cider vinegar can help reduce the itch and discomfort of an ear infection. Mix 1 part vinegar and 1 part filtered or spring water. Clean the visible parts of the ear with a cotton ball soaked in the mixture. Make sure you get the liquid into the ear canal by holding your dog`s ear still.
Many dogs with this condition respond well to medicated shampoos . Examples would be sulphur, salicylic acid, selenium sulphide, or benzoyl peroxide shampoos. Your veterinarian will be able to prescribe you this as it is not something that can be found over the counter.
Neosporin® is a common topical antibiotic used on minor cuts and scrapes. This ointment is pretty safe in dogs and should be in every first aid kit. Verify that the ointment only contains antibiotic and not steroids, which can actually delay healing.
Petroleum jelly (Vaseline™) or skin care ointments (Aquaphor™) can help treat your ear eczema. These products moisturize and protect your affected skin. They`re hypoallergenic and have antibacterial and antifungal characteristics that help heal your skin. Gently wash your ears with warm running water and mild soap.
Helping with itchy ears

Add a few drops of coconut oil to your dog`s ear and then massage around the area. This will help to clean out excess wax leaving your pup with clean ears.

Itching by itself without evidence of trauma or infection can be treated with a mild steroid ear drop. A few drops placed in the ear will help to decrease the amount of itching. Another helpful treatment is the use of 70% alcohol (rubbing alcohol) as an ear drop.
Types of Essential Oils for Ear Infections

Some research suggests that three specific oils—tea tree oil, garlic oil, and basil oil—may help fight ear infections and improve symptoms.

If your dog scratches their ears or shakes their head regularly, it could be a sign of an ear or skin problem. Common causes include skin allergies, ear infections and ear mites.
The resounding answer is YES, olive oil offers many benefits for dogs. Similar to us, dogs also suffer from dry, flaky skin. Olive oil contains phytonutrients, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids that help keep your dog`s skin moisturized and well-nourished.
An ear mite infection will cause your dog`s ears to itch, which often results in them shaking their head excessively, or scratching at their ears with their paws. Ear mites can also produce wax and irritation, so your pet`s ears may well look red and inflamed.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. One of my pet’s ears seems very irritated. What I can use to clean it with?
ANSWER : A. Ear Irritation can be caused by a number of things ranging from allergies, ear infections or even mites. Dirty ears can also cause irritation and problems. Knowing the type of problem is best for figuring out how to treat it.

For plain dirty ears that do not have any odor, redness or leakage of discharge/debris, a simple over the counter canine ear cleaner can be used. Gently soak some cotton balls or a washcloth with the cleaner, and then use these to wipe out the flap of the ear and opening to the ear. Do NOT use Q-tips as these can become stuck or lodged in the curve of the ear canal and may cause injury to the ear drum.

If the ear is bright red or itchy without any dirt or debris in it, it may indicate an allergy. Sometimes an allergy medication can help provide relief in this situation. Your vet can give you the correct dosages of an over the counter allergy medication to use, or may recommend one specifically for dogs.

For infections and mites, changes to the ear such as bad smell or lots of debris and discharge, flecks of black or brown debris, or scabs and sores in the ear may be present. In these cases, it is best to have your vet take a sample of the ear debris to test for mites or infection. Your vet can then give you an ointment that is placed and left in the ear between ear cleanings. Most vets will then recommend cleaning the ears twice daily and then leaving in the ointment after for a period of ten days.

Ear mites ARE contagious to other pets, so if your dog does have them, it is best to treat any other pets in the house at the same time to prevent the mites from spreading around continuously.

Q. Dog has dry ears and it itches him. Any recommended soothing lotions??
ANSWER : A. I will answer this question as if you are speaking of the inside of the ears (not the external). Most dogs ears aren’t dry unless they have other skin issues such as skin allergies, which can be seasonal or year around and caused by many different things, such as foods, environment, dust, grass, pollen, and products (shampoos, perfumes, etc). Check in the ears for waxy build up. The ears should be clean of any wax and dry. If they have build up, I would take a cotton ball, and soak half of it in a dog ear cleaning solution. This solution should be made specifically for dogs, and your local vet would most likely sell the appropriate brand.

I would address any possible skin allergies, if they do not have any other skin issues, then looking inside the ears and cleaning with a good ear cleaner (should be alcohol free—because alcohol is very drying) If the ear scratching continues regularly then bring him/her into the vet to have a proper ear exam.

Q. I have two problems with my 16 yrs old dog: he’s constipated and has a ear ache. What can I use to relieve these?
ANSWER : A. Constipation is a common problem in dogs that can be due to a number of things. However it is a good idea to make sure the constipation is not actually diarrhea, as some dogs can strain after a bowel movement, making it look like such. If constipation is present, adding a little pumpkin puree or plain yogurt to the diet can help make digestion easier and make stools easier to pass. However if symptoms do not resolve after a few days, it is best to speak with your vet.

For ear aches, it is best to have your vet examine the ear as many things including allergies, ear infections, mites and more can cause ear problems. If the ear is just dirty, then cleaning the ear gently with cotton balls or a clean washcloth and a dog ear cleaning solution can help. Do not use Q-tips as a dog’s ear has a 90-degree turn in it and placing Q-tips in the ear can cause damage to the canal or inner ear. However if the problem persists or cleaning does not help, it is best to seek care.

Q. How do I determine how much my overweight pet should weigh?
ANSWER : A. There are many tools to determine overweight and obesity levels in pets. A new tool, morphometric measurements and body fat index, are available to accurately determine a pet’s ideal weight; this will allow an accurate determination of the amount of food a pet should receive to achieve weight loss. Feeding the correct amount will lead to greater weight loss success.

There are many weight loss food options to help pets reach their ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help make a ideal weight recommendation. Here are some tips to help your dog lose weight in a healthy and safe way:

1. Diet: Providing a healthy and well balanced diet is essential to your pet’s overall health. Finding the right food for your dog can be a challenging process. For those overweight animals many commercial dog companies offer weight loss diets, but it is important to evaluate food labels for adequate nutritional content.

You want to ensure you are not missing other essential vitamin or mineral content. Volume of food is also important and the amount of food that works for one breed of dog may not be the same for another breed of dog. Portion control as opposed to free-choice feeding can help your dog to drop a few unnecessary pounds.

There are also prescription weight loss foods designed by veterinary nutritionists, such as Hill’s r/d (http://bit.ly/1AoENSd). Some pet owners find that home cooking is the best option for helping to provide a well-balanced and realistic diet plan. There are websites such as balanceit.com that offers recipes to fit your dog’s specific needs. Consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to find the appropriate diet is a great way to help your dog be as healthy as possible.

2. Exercise: Another great tactic for weight loss for your dog is exercise. Whether this is through running, walking or playing with a favorite toy all of these are wonderful types of exercise to help keep your dog at a lean and healthy weight.

For those pet owners with busy schedules utilizing professional dog walking services or playtime through dog daycare services is another option. It has been shown that those pet owners that exercise regularly with their pets generally live a healthier lifestyle.

3. Physical therapy: As animals age pet owners offer encounter their favorite canine having more difficulty walking and have a dwindling desire to play with toys. Physical therapy, specifically hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to help older and arthritic animals gain more mobility and lose weight. Hydrotherapy has been proven to have several therapeutic effects on the body including, muscle strengthening, relief of swelling, decreased joint pain, less stiffness in limbs, improved circulation, weight loss, and increased tissue healing to name a few. For more information on the benefits of hydrotherapy:
http://bit.ly/1w1qqoy

4. Veterinary visit and blood work: Weight gain can also be related to underlying health concerns such as hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders. Scheduling a veterinary evaluation and routine blood work can be another important component in increasing the longevity of your dog’s life. Conditions such as hypothyroidism that predispose dogs to gain weight can be treated with a daily medication to improve hormonal balance. If feel that your dog is unnecessarily overweight there can be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

5. Healthy treats: Pet owners love the chance to reward their favorite canine companion with treats and most dogs jump at the chance to consume these delicious products. The problem is many treats, which can include commercial dog treats or table scrapes can add many unnecessary calories to your dog’s daily intake. Reading labels and making note of the calories in these treats is an important component of understanding your dog’s overall health. Treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. There are healthier treats that can be offered to your pet to keep calories lower yet provide a fuller sensation. A pet owner can add steamed or pureed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or sweet potato to add more fiber and thus a fuller feeling for your dog.

Q. My dog is having ear problems. I have had her at two vets and they can not seem to find the cause. Can you help?
ANSWER : A. For a pet with chronic ear issues I would recommend checking her thyroid levels. Hypothyroidism can be a cause of chronic ear infections.

Then I would recommend having a bacterial culture of the ear debris to ensure the appropriate antibiotic is chosen to completely rid the bacteria in there. If there is resistant bacteria, the ear will appear to get better at first but then once ear meds are stopped they will thrive again and cause a re-emergency of the ear infection. Also longer treatment may be needed, for example instead of 7-10 days, perhaps 14 days continuously.

If all else fails, I would recommend a skull radiographs to look for signs of a narrow ear canal and/or an inner ear infection which will require not only topical antibiotic ointments put into the ear, but also oral antibiotics.
Most ear infections are caused by moisture in the ears, narrow ear canals, hypothyroidism or skin allergies. Each one has to be gone through systematically.

Q. Whenever I take my dog on walks he always barks at people and others dogs in my neighborhood. What should I do to resolve the problem
ANSWER : A. The very first thing to do is to make sure your dog is getting sufficient physical and mental exercise every day. A tired dog is a good, happy dog and one who is less likely to bark from boredom or frustration. Depending on his breed, age, and health, your dog may require several long walks as well as a good game of chasing the ball and playing with some interactive toys.

Figure out what he gets out of barking and remove it. Don’t give your dog the opportunity to continue the barking behavior.

Ignore your dog’s barking for as long as it takes him to stop. That means don’t give him attention at all while he’s barking. Your attention only rewards him for being noisy. Don’t talk to, don’t touch, or even look at him. When he finally quiets, even to take a breath, reward him with a treat. To be successful with this method, you must wait as long as it takes for him to stop barking. Yelling at him is the equivalent of barking with him.

Get your dog accustomed to whatever causes him to bark. Start with whatever makes him bark at a distance. It must be far enough away that he doesn’t bark when he sees it. Feed him lots of good treats. Move the stimulus a little closer (perhaps as little as a few inches or a few feet to start) and feed treats. If the stimulus moves out of sight, stop giving your dog treats. You want your dog to learn that the appearance of the stimulus leads to good things.

Teach your dog the ‘quiet’ command. Oddly, the first step is to teach your dog to bark on command. Give your dog the command to “speak,” wait for him to bark two or three times, and then stick a tasty treat in front of his nose. When he stops barking to sniff the treat, praise him and give him the treat. Repeat until he starts barking as soon as you say “speak.” Once your dog can reliably bark on command, teach him the “quiet” command. In a calm environment with no distractions, tell him to “speak.” When he starts barking, say “quiet” and stick a treat in front of his nose. Praise him for being quiet and give him the treat.

As in all training, always end training on a good note, even if it is just for obeying something very simple, like the ‘sit’ command. If you dog regresses in training, go back to the last thing he did successfully and reinforce that before moving on again. Keep sessions short, 15-20 minutes max, and do this several times a day.

Q. My dog licks his feet and legs and they are turning brown. He is a white dog. Can you help?
ANSWER : A. Licking the feet and legs can be caused by a number of things in dogs including allergies, illness or even stress behaviors. Allergies are the most common in dogs, with yeast infections coming in second. Allergies can cause the area to become red and itching, making your dog want to lick and chew on them. Over time, the area may become stained from saliva, especially in lighter or white-coated dogs. Yeast infections are also common between the toes, and may cause a smelly “corn chip” smell to appear near your dog’s feet. Again, dogs will attempt to lick and chew to relieve the itch. Keeping the feet clean and dry can help relieve both allergies and infections and pet wipes or a baby wipe of all paws when your dog comes in from outdoors may also help. Keeping your dog from licking the space with either dog booties or an Elizabethan collar is also good as it will prevent secondary infection and staining of the paws and legs. If your dog is determined to keep licking and keeping the feet clean and dry do not help, then your vet can help by providing a medication to treat any infection or provide relief of allergies.

Q. Can you use Floxin Otic for ear infections on dogs?
ANSWER : A. Floxin Otic is an ear cleaning solution designed for the clearing of ear infections in people. While it may be similar to dog products used for ear infections, it is best to bring it to your vet’s attention first so he or she can compare it to dog-safe products. It may be that it is in the same concentration and can be safely used, or your vet can instead recommend a product that is in the right formulation.

If you are seeing an ear infection in your dog’s ears, your vet can provide you with a dog-safe medication to use. Ear infections are usually treated over a period of ten days and involve cleaning the ear 2x daily and then placing the otic ointment in the ear to stay in place until the next cleaning.