As a Shih Tzu owner, you know that taking care of your furry friend goes beyond just feeding and walking them. One important aspect of their grooming routine is ear cleaning, but it can be quite perplexing to figure out the dos and don’ts of this task. With so much conflicting advice out there, it’s natural to feel unsure about the best approach. However, by following a few guidelines, you can ensure that you are keeping your Shih Tzu’s ears clean and healthy. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take a closer look at why ear cleaning is important for Shih Tzu dogs, the dos and don’ts of ear cleaning, and when it’s time to seek professional help. So, let’s get started and learn how to keep your furry friend’s ears in top shape!
Why ear cleaning is important for Shih Tzu dogs
As a Shih Tzu owner, you may be wondering why ear cleaning is important for your furry friend. While it may seem like an insignificant task, neglecting your dog’s ears can lead to various problems. Regular ear cleaning is essential to prevent infections, remove debris and excess wax, and maintain your Shih Tzu’s hearing abilities. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the reasons behind the importance of ear cleaning for Shih Tzus and provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to do it properly. If you haven’t already, check out our other articles on Shih Tzu grooming to keep your pup looking and feeling their best, including shih tzu puppy grooming tips, top 5 Shih Tzu haircuts for summer, and how to brush your Shih Tzu’s teeth.
Prevent ear infections
Ear infections are a common problem among Shih Tzu dogs, but they can be easily prevented by keeping the ears clean and dry. Regular ear cleaning can help prevent the buildup of bacteria and yeast that can lead to infections. To prevent ear infections in your Shih Tzu, follow these tips:
- Inspect your Shih Tzu’s ears regularly: Make sure to regularly inspect your Shih Tzu’s ears for any signs of discharge, redness, or swelling. If you notice any of these signs, it may be a sign of an infection or other ear problem.
- Keep the ears dry: Moisture can be a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast, which can lead to ear infections. After bathing or swimming, make sure to thoroughly dry your Shih Tzu’s ears with a towel or a pet-specific blow dryer.
- Trim excess hair: Excess hair around the ear canal can trap moisture and debris, making it harder to keep the ears clean. Regularly trimming excess hair around the ear canal can help keep the area clean and prevent infections.
- Avoid allergens: Some Shih Tzus may be sensitive to environmental allergens, which can cause ear irritation and inflammation. Keep an eye out for any signs of allergies, such as scratching, rubbing or excessive licking of the paws. If you suspect your Shih Tzu has allergies, speak to your vet about appropriate treatment options.
- Use a good quality ear cleaner: Using a vet-approved ear cleaner is essential to keeping your Shih Tzu’s ears clean and healthy. Avoid using harsh chemicals or homemade solutions, which can cause irritation or damage to the ear canal.
By following these tips, you can help prevent ear infections in your Shih Tzu and ensure they remain healthy and happy. Additionally, if you’re unsure about how to keep your Shih Tzu’s ears clean, consider incorporating a professional groomer into your dog’s grooming routine. They can help advise on the best products and techniques for your Shih Tzu’s individual needs.
Remove debris and excess wax
One of the main reasons why you need to clean your Shih Tzu’s ears is to remove debris and excess wax. This is especially important for dogs with long and floppy ears like Shih Tzus. Over time, dirt, dust, and wax can build up inside the ear canal, which can cause discomfort, hearing problems, and even infections.
To remove debris and excess wax from your Shih Tzu’s ears, here are some simple steps you can follow:
- First, gently hold your dog’s head and lift one ear flap at a time.
- Use a clean and dry cotton ball or pad to wipe away any dirt or wax on the outer ear.
- Next, apply a few drops of vet-approved ear cleaner onto a cotton ball or pad. Be sure to choose an ear cleaner that is specifically designed for dogs and approved by your veterinarian.
- Gently wipe the inside of the ear flap and the ear canal. Be careful not to insert the cotton ball too deeply into the ear canal to avoid damaging the eardrum.
- After cleaning, let your dog shake its head to remove any excess solution and debris.
It’s important to note that you should never use Q-tips or cotton swabs to clean your dog’s ears as they can push debris further into the ear canal and cause injury. Additionally, you should avoid using water or homemade solutions as they can be too harsh for your dog’s delicate ears.
Regular ear cleaning can help prevent ear infections and other ear problems in your Shih Tzu. However, it’s important to avoid over-cleaning as this can also be harmful. Aim to clean your dog’s ears once a week or as recommended by your veterinarian.
In case you notice any of the signs of ear problems such as scratching, head shaking, redness, or odor in your Shih Tzu’s ears, it’s advisable to seek advice from a veterinarian. In certain cases, cleaning alone may not be enough to treat an ear infection or injury.
Aside from ear cleaning, there are other grooming needs of Shih Tzus that you should also pay attention to. You may check our DIY Shih Tzu grooming pros and cons article for more tips on how to keep your pup looking and feeling its best.
Regular ear cleaning is very important for Shih Tzu dogs as it helps in improving their hearing. Shih Tzus are prone to developing ear infections and the buildup of wax and debris can significantly decrease their ability to hear. In order to improve their hearing, it is essential to keep their ears clean and free from infections.
According to veterinarians, the ears of Shih Tzus should be cleaned at least once a week to prevent the accumulation of dirt, debris, and wax which causes hearing problems. When the ears are cleaned regularly, they remain healthy, dry and free of micro-organisms that can cause various ear infections.
Cleaning the ears of Shih Tzus regularly is not enough to improve their hearing. Shih Tzu owners should also take proper precautions to ensure proper hygiene and cleanliness. This includes using only vet-approved ear cleaners and avoiding the use of Q-tips or cotton swabs to clean the ears. Using these tools can push the debris and wax further into the ear canal, making hearing worse and reducing the effectiveness of the cleaning. Always be gentle when cleaning the ears and use a cotton ball to clean the outer ear.
It’s also essential to keep track of any signs of ear problems in your Shih Tzu. Regular ear cleaning will help you note any changes in their ears, such as redness, swelling or an odor, which can indicate an ear infection. When these signs are observed, it’s crucial to seek veterinary care promptly.
Regular ear cleaning, keeping proper hygiene and paying close attention to the signs of infections not only improve hearing, but also prevents many other issues that Shih Tzus are susceptible to. While good ear care for Shih Tzus is vital, they are also particular and require regular grooming to maintain their overall wellbeing. If you want to learn more about taking care of your Shih Tzu, check out our article on shampoo recommendations for Shih Tzu allergies, removing tear stains from Shih Tzus, bathing a Shih Tzu without shampoo, and maintaining their anal glands.
The Dos of Shih Tzu Ear Cleaning
Proper ear cleaning is essential for maintaining your Shih Tzu’s overall health and well-being. To ensure a safe and efficient ear cleaning process, it’s important to follow the right steps and use the appropriate tools. In this section, we will highlight the dos of Shih Tzu ear cleaning, including gathering the right supplies, cleaning the outer ear with a cotton ball, using a vet-approved ear cleaner, being gentle, and rewarding your furry friend after cleaning. By following these guidelines, you’ll be able to keep your Shih Tzu’s ears clean, healthy, and free from painful infections.
Gather the right supplies
Before you start cleaning your Shih Tzu’s ears, it’s essential to gather the right supplies. Here are some of the tools and products you’ll need:
|Cotton balls or pads||You’ll need these to clean the outer part of the ear and remove any debris.|
|Vet-approved ear cleaner||Using a vet-approved ear cleaner is important to prevent irritation or infections. Your vet can recommend one that suits your dog’s needs.|
|Treats||Reward your Shih Tzu for good behavior during the ear-cleaning process.|
|Soft-bristled brush||A soft-bristled brush can help remove any loose hairs or dirt on the outer ear.|
|Towel||Keep a towel handy to wipe away any excess cleaner or moisture.|
Make sure to keep these supplies within reach before starting the cleaning process. This will help make the process more efficient and less stressful for both you and your Shih Tzu.
Do clean the outer ear with a cotton ball
One of the dos of Shih Tzu ear cleaning is to clean the outer ear with a cotton ball. This step is crucial in maintaining the cleanliness of your dog’s ear and preventing any possible ear infections. Here are some tips to keep in mind when cleaning the outer ear of your Shih Tzu:
|Use a clean cotton ball||Make sure to use a fresh cotton ball for each ear. This will prevent the spread of any potential infection.|
|Be gentle||Shih Tzu’s ears are sensitive, so it’s important to be gentle when cleaning them. Avoid using too much pressure or pushing the cotton ball too far into the ear canal.|
|Use a circular motion||Gently wipe the inside of the ear flap and the surrounding area with a circular motion. This will help remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated.|
|Stop if there’s resistance||If your Shih Tzu shows any signs of discomfort or resistance, stop cleaning immediately. This could be a sign of an ear infection, and further cleaning could aggravate the problem.|
Following these steps will help ensure that your Shih Tzu’s ears are properly cleaned without causing any discomfort or harm. Remember to always be gentle and to stop if there’s any resistance or discomfort from your dog.
Use a vet-approved ear cleaner
It is important to use a vet-approved ear cleaner to ensure that you are cleaning your Shih Tzu’s ears effectively and safely. Using the wrong cleaning solution can lead to further ear problems and discomfort for your furry friend. Here are some vet-approved ear cleaners you can use:
|Name of Ear Cleaner||Description|
|Zymox Otic Pet Ear Treatment||This ear cleaner features a unique enzymatic formula that helps eliminate bacteria, fungi, and yeast that can cause ear infections. It is easy to use and safe for both dogs and cats.|
|Virbac Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaner||This non-irritating ear cleaner is designed to help remove debris and excess wax while also preventing bacterial and fungal growth. It also contains a drying agent to prevent moisture buildup in the ears.|
|Nutri-Vet Ear Cleanse||This ear cleaner uses a combination of natural ingredients, including aloe vera and tea tree oil, to soothe and clean your dog’s ears. It is gentle and safe for regular use.|
|Dechra MalAcetic Otic Ear Cleanser||This ear cleaner uses an all-natural formula that helps restore the pH balance in your dog’s ears, reducing the risk of infection. It is also effective in removing debris and excess wax.|
When choosing a vet-approved ear cleaner for your Shih Tzu, it is important to read the label carefully and follow the instructions for use. Some ear cleaners may be designed for specific types of ear problems or may need to be diluted before use. Consult with your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about which ear cleaner is best for your dog’s needs.
Taking care of your Shih Tzu’s ears is an essential part of their hygiene routine. It’s important to be gentle when cleaning their ears to avoid injury or discomfort. Here are some tips for being gentle during ear cleaning:
|Use a light touch||When cleaning your Shih Tzu’s ears, use a light touch to avoid accidentally injuring the delicate skin in and around the ears.|
|Avoid going too deep||Only clean the parts of the ear that you can see, and avoid going too deep into the ear canal. Inserting anything into the ear canal can be painful and, in severe cases, cause damage to your furry friend’s ears.|
|Be patient||It’s important to be patient when cleaning your Shih Tzu’s ears. Don’t rush the process or try to clean their ears quickly. Instead, take your time and be gentle throughout the cleaning process to ensure that your furry friend is as comfortable as possible.|
|Use gentle strokes||When cleaning the outer ear, use gentle strokes with a damp cotton ball to remove any debris or dirt. Avoid using any pressure or scrubbing motions, as this can cause irritation to the skin.|
|Avoid overcleaning||Don’t clean your Shih Tzu’s ears too frequently. Overcleaning can lead to dryness and irritation of the ear canal, as well as potentially causing more serious issues like infection or inflammation.|
Remember, always be gentle during the ear cleaning process to ensure that your furry friend’s ears stay healthy and irritation-free. If at any point during the cleaning process your Shih Tzu appears uncomfortable or in pain, stop immediately and seek veterinary attention.
Reward your Shih Tzu after cleaning
Shih Tzu’s are a lovable breed, and rewarding them after an ear cleaning session can increase the bond between the dog and the owner. Rewards can include treats, praise, or playtime. Here are some ways to reward your Shih Tzu after cleaning their ears:
|Treats||Shih Tzus love treats, and it’s an easy way to show them appreciation after an ear cleaning. Be sure to choose a healthy and safe treat that won’t cause any allergies.|
|Praise||Shih Tzus are very receptive to verbal praise, so a simple “Good dog!” is sometimes all they need. Use a friendly and nurturing tone to make them feel loved.|
|Playtime||Shih Tzus are playful dogs, and a short playtime session after an ear cleaning can be a great reward. Throw a ball, play tug-of-war or just have fun with your furry friend.|
Remember to reward your Shih Tzu after every ear cleaning session to motivate them to cooperate next time. Shih Tzus are intelligent dogs, and they will connect the cleaning session to the positive experience of getting a reward, making next time’s ear cleaning session more pleasant.
The Don’ts of Shih Tzu Ear Cleaning
When it comes to cleaning your Shih Tzu’s ears, there are certain things you should avoid doing to prevent injury or infection. Here are the “don’ts” of Shih Tzu ear cleaning that every owner should be aware of. Paying attention to these tips will help you keep your pet’s ears healthy and free of discomfort.
Don’t use Q-tips or cotton swabs
When it comes to ear cleaning for Shih Tzu dogs, there are certain guidelines that should be followed to avoid any harm or discomfort to your furry friend. One of the most important “Don’ts” of Shih Tzu ear cleaning is to avoid using Q-tips or cotton swabs in their ears. This is a common mistake that many pet owners make, assuming that these items would help clean the ear canal. But in reality, using Q-tips or cotton swabs can actually do more harm than good.
Why you shouldn’t use Q-tips or cotton swabs
Using Q-tips or cotton swabs can push dirt, debris, and wax further into the ear canal, leading to irritation or blockages. If the debris becomes stuck in the ear canal, it can lead to infection or damage to the ear drum. Plus, the Q-tip or cotton swab can accidentally penetrate the ear canal, causing pain or injury to your Shih Tzu.
Alternative ear cleaning methods
Instead of using Q-tips or cotton swabs, there are safer and more effective methods for cleaning your Shih Tzu’s ears. One option is to use a soft cotton ball or pad to clean the outer ear flap and opening. Another option is to use a vet-approved ear cleaning solution, which is specifically formulated for pets and can help break down and remove excess wax and debris.
Taking care of your Shih Tzu’s ears is an essential part of their overall health and wellbeing. To avoid causing any harm to your furry friend, it’s important to steer clear of using Q-tips or cotton swabs in their ears. Instead, opt for safer and approved methods for cleaning their ears. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, so regular ear cleaning sessions can help you catch any signs of infection or ear problems in the early stages.
Don’t use water or homemade solutions
When it comes to cleaning your Shih Tzu’s ears, you want to make sure you’re using the right products. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to use water or homemade solutions to clean your dog’s ears. The following are reasons why you should avoid using water or homemade solutions:
- Water can lead to infection: While water may seem like a harmless solution for cleaning, it can actually cause harm to your dog’s ears. When water sits in your dog’s ear canal, it creates a moist environment that encourages the growth of bacteria and yeast which can lead to infection.
- Homemade solutions can be harmful: You may be tempted to use a homemade solution to clean your dog’s ears, but doing so can be dangerous. Homemade solutions often contain ingredients that may be harmful to your dog’s ears, such as vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. These ingredients can cause irritation, pain, and even damage to your dog’s delicate ear canal.
- Vets recommend ear cleaners: Veterinarians recommend using vet-approved ear cleaners to safely and effectively clean your dog’s ears. These cleaners are specifically formulated to break down wax and debris in the ear canal without harming your dog’s ear. They are also pH balanced to prevent irritation and infection.
It’s important to always follow the advice of your veterinarian when it comes to cleaning your Shih Tzu’s ears. By avoiding the use of water and homemade solutions, you can protect your dog’s ears and prevent potential health issues. Stick to vet-approved ear cleaners, and be sure to read and follow the product instructions carefully.
Don’t clean too often
Cleaning your Shih Tzu’s ears is an essential part of grooming and overall ear health. However, it is important to understand that cleaning too often can be harmful. Over-cleaning can lead to dryness, irritation, and even infection. So, how often should you clean your Shih Tzu’s ears?
Here are some guidelines to follow:
- Once a week: If your Shih Tzu has a history of ear infections, cleaning once a week can help prevent future infections. Additionally, weekly cleaning can help remove excess wax and debris.
- Every two weeks: For Shih Tzus with relatively healthy ears, clean every two weeks. This will keep their ears clean without drying them out or irritating them.
- No more than once a month: If your Shih Tzu has never had ear problems and doesn’t produce excess ear wax, you may only need to clean their ears once a month. Any less frequent than this and their ears may become dirty, leading to potential ear problems.
It’s important to note that every dog is different, and there is no one size fits all approach to ear cleaning. Observe your Shih Tzu’s behavior and monitor their ears for any signs of irritation or infection. If you notice any issues, adjust your cleaning schedule accordingly.
Remember, over-cleaning can be just as detrimental as under-cleaning. Stick to a regular schedule and avoid the temptation to clean too often. Your Shih Tzu’s ears will thank you!
Don’t force anything into the ear canal
It is crucial to never force anything into your Shih Tzu’s ear canal during cleaning. This may cause damage to the ear canal or even rupture the eardrum, which can lead to serious consequences. Some Shih Tzu owners may be tempted to use cotton swabs or other objects in an attempt to clean deep inside the ear. However, this is extremely dangerous and can cause more harm than good.
Here are a few reasons why you should never force anything into your Shih Tzu’s ear canal:
- Ear canals are extremely delicate and easily damaged. Inserting anything into the ear canal may cause abrasions or scratches, leading to infection or hearing loss.
- Your dog’s ear canal is shaped differently than a human’s, which means you won’t be able to see the entire canal. You may end up pushing earwax or debris further back into the canal, making it harder to remove and increasing the risk of damage.
- Using Q-tips or cotton swabs can also worsen any existing infection or inflammation your dog may have in the ear.
- Finally, forcing something into the ear canal can be incredibly painful for your Shih Tzu. This can damage the trust between you and your dog, making future ear cleaning even more difficult.
Instead of inserting objects into the ear canal, focus on cleaning the outer ear flap and canal entrance with a cotton ball or pad. If you notice any excessive wax or debris within the canal that you cannot remove with a cotton ball, it is best to bring your Shih Tzu to the vet for a professional cleaning. Remember, it is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your dog’s ear health.
How often to clean Shih Tzu ears
Keeping a Shih Tzu’s ears clean is important, but over-cleaning can do more harm than good. So, how often should you clean your Shih Tzu’s ears? The answer is not straightforward and depends on various factors.
The general rule is to clean Shih Tzu’s ears once a month. However, some dogs may require more frequent cleaning due to factors such as:
Ear Infections: If your Shih Tzu is prone to ear infections, your vet may recommend cleaning their ears more often to prevent infections from recurring.
Ear Shape: Shih Tzus have floppy ears that can trap moisture, debris and wax. Dogs with long, floppy ears may need more frequent cleaning than those with upright ears.
Activity Level: Dogs that are more active and spend a lot of time outside may need more frequent ear cleaning than those who spend most of their time indoors.
Cleanliness: If your Shih Tzu has a tendency to get dirty or muddy, you may need to clean their ears on a more frequent basis.
While once a month may be sufficient for most Shih Tzus, it’s essential to observe your dog’s behavior and adjust your cleaning frequency accordingly. Over-cleaning can damage the ear canal and disrupt the natural balance of good bacteria that protect against infection.
Always consult with your vet before adjusting your dog’s ear cleaning routine. They can guide you on how often to clean your Shih Tzu’s ears based on their unique needs and health condition. Remember to be gentle when cleaning your dog’s ears to avoid causing any damage or pain. Also, follow the dos and don’ts discussed earlier in the article for safe and efficient ear cleaning.
Signs of ear problems in Shih Tzus
If you’re a Shih Tzu owner, it’s important to be aware of the signs that indicate ear problems in your furry friend. Dogs can’t speak, so they rely on their body language and behavior to communicate with us. It’s crucial to pay attention to any subtle changes in their routines or actions, as these can be a sign of an underlying health issue. In this section, we’ll discuss the telltale signs of ear problems in Shih Tzus that you should watch out for.
Scratching or rubbing the ears
It is essential to keep an eye out for any unusual behavior that may indicate an issue with your Shih Tzu’s ears. One common sign of ear problems in Shih Tzus is excessive scratching or rubbing of the ears. This behavior may occur due to the discomfort and irritation caused by ear infections, allergies, or other ear-related issues. To better understand the potential causes of scratching or rubbing, refer to the following table:
|Possible Causes of Scratching or Rubbing||Description|
|Ear Infection||An ear infection can cause redness, discharge, and itching in the ear. If left untreated, the infection can become more severe and may cause hearing loss.|
|Allergies||Shih Tzus with allergies may scratch their ears due to skin irritation or inflammation caused by food, pollen, or flea bites.|
|Ear Mites||Ear mites are tiny parasites that live in the ear canal and feed on earwax and skin oils. These parasites can cause intense itching, shaking of the head, and a brown, coffee ground-like discharge in the ear.|
|Foreign Object||Objects like grass, seeds, or foxtails may become lodged inside the ear canal, causing discomfort and scratching. In severe cases, the object may pierce the eardrum and cause hearing loss.|
If you notice your Shih Tzu scratching or rubbing their ears more than usual, it’s crucial to identify the underlying cause and seek treatment. A veterinarian will be able to provide a proper diagnosis and recommend the best course of action to alleviate your dog’s discomfort.
One of the signs that indicate something may be wrong with your Shih Tzu’s ears is when you notice them shaking their head frequently. This is one of the most common indications of an ear problem in dogs, including Shih Tzus, and it should not be ignored.
Why do Shih Tzus shake their heads?
There are various reasons why Shih Tzus shake their heads. Some of the most common include:
|Reasons for Head Shaking||Description|
|Ear Infections||When the ear canal is infected, it can cause intense itching and pain. As a result, your Shih Tzu might shake their head frequently in an attempt to relieve the discomfort. Ear infections in Shih Tzus are common due to their floppy ears, which can harbor moisture that encourages the growth of bacteria and yeast.|
|Foreign Objects||Shih Tzus are curious dogs and love to explore their surroundings. Unfortunately, this curiosity can sometimes lead them to explore with their nose and end up getting something stuck in their ear canal. The presence of a foreign object in the ear can cause irritation and discomfort, leading to head shaking.|
|Ear Mites||Ear mites are tiny parasites that can infest a dog’s ear canal, causing severe irritation and itching. Shih Tzus are particularly susceptible to these pesky critters, and a mite infestation can cause frequent head shaking, scratching, and rubbing of the ears.|
|Allergies||Shih Tzus can be prone to allergies, which can cause them to shake their heads to relieve itching and discomfort. Common allergens that can affect dogs include pollen, dust mites, and certain foods.|
What should you do if your Shih Tzu is shaking their head?
If you notice your Shih Tzu shaking their head frequently, it’s essential to check their ears for signs of infection, mites, or other issues. Here are some steps to follow:
1. Examine their ears: Look inside your Shih Tzu’s ears for any signs of redness, swelling, discharge, or foul odor.
2. Clean their ears: Follow the dos and don’ts of Shih Tzu ear cleaning to remove any excess wax or debris that might be causing discomfort.
3. Take them to the vet: If you notice any signs of infection, foreign objects, or persistent head shaking, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. Your vet will conduct a thorough examination and recommend the appropriate treatment.
Head shaking is a common indication of an ear problem in Shih Tzus, and it should not be ignored. By knowing the possible reasons behind this behavior and taking the necessary steps to address it, you can help your furry friend feel more comfortable and avoid further complications.
Redness or swelling
Observing redness or swelling in your Shih Tzu’s ears is an indication of a possible infection or irritation. This could be caused by a variety of factors, including allergies, ear mites or overproduction of wax. Redness or swelling could also be the result of a foreign object getting stuck in the ear, causing inflammation. In order to determine the exact cause, it’s important to examine the ear closely.
|Possible causes of redness or swelling in Shih Tzu ears|
|Allergies: Shih Tzus are prone to skin allergies, which can manifest in the ears, causing inflammation and irritation.|
|Ear mites: These highly contagious parasites live in the ear and feed on the wax and oils produced by the ear canal. Infestations can cause irritation and inflammation.|
|Overproduction of wax: If the ear canal produces too much wax, it can cause blockages and inflammation.|
|Foreign objects: If your Shih Tzu has gotten something lodged in their ear, it can cause swelling and discomfort.|
If you notice redness or swelling in your Shih Tzu’s ears, it’s important to address it promptly. Ignoring the issue could lead to further infection or even hearing loss. Consulting with a veterinarian is the best course of action, as they will be able to provide a proper diagnosis and prescribe the necessary treatment. Depending on the cause of the redness or swelling, your vet may recommend antibiotics, ear drops or a change in diet.
In addition to seeking professional help, there are a few things you can do at home to alleviate your Shih Tzu’s discomfort. Keeping their ears clean and dry can help prevent further infection, and providing relief for itching or discomfort through anti-itch sprays or creams can provide immediate relief. It’s important to be gentle when administering these treatments, as any further irritation could exacerbate the issue.
Noticing redness or swelling in your Shih Tzu’s ears can be concerning, but with proper care and attention, it’s usually treatable. By staying vigilant for any signs of discomfort or behavioral changes, you can help ensure your furry friend’s health and happiness.
Odor or discharge from the ear
One sign that your Shih Tzu may be experiencing ear problems is odor or discharge from the ear. This could indicate an infection or other issue that requires attention. To better understand this symptom, here are some possible causes of odor or discharge from the ear:
- Ear infections: A common cause of ear discharge is an ear infection, which can be caused by bacteria, yeast, or parasites. If left untreated, the infection can worsen and lead to more severe symptoms.
- Ear mites: Another cause of ear discharge is ear mites, which can infect your dog’s ears and cause irritation and itching. This can lead to excessive scratching and ultimately result in discharge.
- Foreign objects: Sometimes foreign objects, such as grass seeds or small insects, can become lodged in your dog’s ear and cause irritation, resulting in discharge and odor.
If you notice odor or discharge from your Shih Tzu’s ear, it is important to take action right away. Ignoring the problem can lead to further discomfort and even permanent damage to the ear. You should schedule an appointment with your vet to have the issue evaluated and treated properly.
Behavior changes in Shih Tzus may be indicative of ear problems. If you notice any of the following signs in your Shih Tzu’s behavior, it may be time to check their ears:
|Signs to Look for:||Possible Causes:|
|Your Shih Tzu is agitated or restless||Ear pain or discomfort, itching or irritation due to debris or wax buildup|
|Your Shih Tzu is more tired or lethargic than usual||Chronic ear infections, which cause fatigue and discomfort|
|Your Shih Tzu seems disoriented or off-balance||Inner ear infection or injury, which can affect coordination and balance|
|Your Shih Tzu is vocalizing more or appears to be in pain||Ear infections or injury can cause pain, leading to more vocalization and discomfort|
|Your Shih Tzu is experiencing mood changes or acting out of character||Ear infections can affect the nervous system and lead to changes in mood or behavior|
If your Shih Tzu displays any of these behaviors, it’s important to examine their ears and schedule a veterinary appointment if necessary. Proper ear cleaning and regular maintenance can help prevent these behavior changes and ensure your Shih Tzu stays healthy and happy.
When to see a vet
As much as we love our furry friends, it can be concerning when something doesn’t seem quite right. When it comes to ear problems in Shih Tzus, it’s important to know when it’s time to seek professional help. While regular cleaning and care can prevent many issues from arising, there are certain situations where a visit to the vet is necessary. Below are some key warning signs to watch for and information on when it’s time to seek medical attention for your beloved Shih Tzu.
Chronic ear problems
Chronic ear problems in Shih Tzus can be difficult to manage and should always be taken seriously. If your dog is experiencing ongoing ear issues, it’s important to seek veterinary care. Here are some signs that your Shih Tzu may be suffering from chronic ear problems:
- Foul odor: Chronic ear infections can cause a strong, unpleasant smell to emanate from your dog’s ears. This can be a sign of a more serious problem and should be addressed by a vet.
- Excessive scratching: If your Shih Tzu is constantly scratching at their ears, it could be a sign of chronic ear issues. This can lead to secondary problems such as bald spots from hair loss, ear flaps becoming thickened, and even infections.
- Ear discharge: If you notice any discharge coming from your dog’s ears, it could be a sign of chronic ear problems. This discharge could be pus, wax, or even blood.
- Redness and swelling: Chronic ear infections can cause the ear flap and surrounding tissues to become red and swollen. This can indicate a more serious problem than regular ear wax buildup.
It’s important to note that chronic ear problems in Shih Tzus can sometimes be caused by underlying health conditions such as allergies, hormonal imbalances, or immune system disorders. Your vet will perform a thorough examination to rule out any underlying causes and determine the best course of treatment. In some cases, your vet may refer you to a veterinary dermatologist for further evaluation and treatment.
If you suspect that your Shih Tzu is suffering from chronic ear problems, it’s important to seek veterinary care sooner rather than later. Left untreated, these issues can lead to hearing loss, painful infections, and permanent damage to the ears.
Ear injuries in Shih Tzu dogs can be painful and may require prompt medical attention. It’s important to watch for any signs of injury and act quickly to prevent further damage. The following table outlines some common ear injuries in Shih Tzus and what to do if your furry friend experiences them.
|Ear Hematoma||– Swollen, fluid-filled ear flap|
– Pain or discomfort
– Head shaking or scratching ear
– Tilted head
|Contact your vet as soon as possible. Treatment options may include draining the fluid, using medication to reduce inflammation, and applying a bandage to the ear. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.|
|Cuts or Scratches||– Visible cuts or scratches on the ear flap or inside the ear|
– Possible signs of infection (redness, swelling, discharge)
|Clean the area gently with a damp cloth or sterile saline solution. Apply pressure to any bleeding areas to help stop the flow of blood. Contact your vet for further instructions and to determine if antibiotics are necessary.|
|Burns or Scalds||– Redness or swelling in the ear or surrounding area|
– Blistering, peeling, or crusting
– Pain or discomfort
|Contact your vet immediately. First aid for burns and scalds may involve cooling the affected area with cool water, applying aloe vera or other soothing creams, and preventing your Shih Tzu from scratching or licking the area. Your vet may need to prescribe medication to manage pain and prevent infection.|
|Foreign Object in the Ear||– Head shaking or tilting|
– Pawing at the affected ear
– Scratching around the ear
– Signs of discomfort or pain
– Possible discharge or odor from the ear
|Do not attempt to remove the object yourself, as you may push it further into the ear canal. Instead, contact your vet for guidance. Treatment may involve flushing the ear to dislodge the object, manually removing it with specialized tools, or in some cases, surgical intervention.|
If your Shih Tzu experiences an ear injury, it’s important to seek professional help promptly to avoid complications and ensure a speedy recovery. In the meantime, comfort your furry friend with gentle pets and reassurance.
Foreign objects in the ear
Finding foreign objects in your Shih Tzu’s ear can be quite alarming. It’s essential to take quick action to remove them to prevent any potential harm. Some common foreign objects that may enter a dog’s ear include insects, grass seeds, and small toys.
Dangers of foreign objects in the ear:
Foreign objects in the ear can cause discomfort, pain, and even lead to hearing loss if left untreated. They can also cause severe infections and other complications.
If you suspect that your Shih Tzu has a foreign object in their ear, it’s important to seek immediate veterinary attention. Your vet will inspect the ear with an otoscope to identify and remove any foreign objects present.
Symptoms of a foreign object in the ear:
If your Shih Tzu is pawing at their ears, shaking their head repeatedly, or tilting their head to one side, they may be experiencing discomfort caused by a foreign object in their ear. Other signs to watch for include:
|Scratching at the affected ear||Your Shih Tzu may scratch at their ear excessively, trying to remove the object.|
|Whimpering or crying||If your dog is in severe pain, they may whimper or cry.|
|Foul odor from ear||A foreign object in the ear can cause a bad smell that is noticeable.|
|Discharge from ear||If there is any pus or discharge coming from the ear, this may indicate an infection caused by a foreign object in the ear.|
|Head tilting||If your dog keeps tilting their head to one side, this is a strong indication of discomfort in the affected ear.|
Preventing foreign objects in the ear:
To avoid foreign objects from entering your Shih Tzu’s ear, you should keep an eye on them when they’re playing in the grass and avoid giving them small toys or objects that can fit into their ears. Regular ear cleaning can also help remove dirt and debris, reducing the chances of an object getting lodged inside the ear.
Foreign objects in the ear of your Shih Tzu can cause harm and complications if left untreated. It’s always best to seek veterinary attention if your dog is exhibiting symptoms of discomfort, pain, or any unusual behavior.
Signs of infection
One of the most concerning issues that can affect your Shih Tzu’s ears is an infection. If left untreated, it can lead to serious health problems or even hearing loss. It is important to recognize the signs of infection early so that you can seek help from a vet as soon as possible.
Here are some signs of an ear infection to watch out for:
- Unusual odor: If you notice a strong or unpleasant smell emanating from your Shih Tzu’s ear, this could be a sign of infection. The odor can be caused by the buildup of bacteria or yeast in the ear canal.
- Discharge: Another sign of infection is the presence of discharge or pus inside the ear. It may range in color from light brown to dark yellow, and can sometimes be accompanied by blood.
- Scratching or rubbing: Your Shih Tzu may show signs of discomfort or pain by scratching or rubbing their ear frequently. This may be caused by the inflammation or irritation of the ear tissue.
- Redness and swelling: If your dog’s ear appears red, swollen, and inflamed, this could indicate an infection. It may also be painful to the touch.
- Head tilt: In some cases, your Shih Tzu may start tilting their head to one side or the other. This could indicate a middle ear infection, which affects the balance of the dog.
If you notice any of these signs in your Shih Tzu, it’s important to take them to the vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Remember, the earlier you catch an infection, the easier it is to treat.
After reading this comprehensive guide on the dos and don’ts of Shih Tzu ear cleaning, you should now understand how to properly maintain the health of your Shih Tzu’s ears. By following the dos of ear cleaning, you can prevent ear infections, remove debris and excess wax, and improve your dog’s hearing. On the flip side, avoiding the don’ts of ear cleaning is just as important. Q-tips, cotton swabs, water, and homemade solutions should all be avoided when cleaning your dog’s ears. Cleaning too often and forcing anything into the ear canal can also lead to serious problems.
It is essential to remember to only clean the outer ear and to be gentle when cleaning. Always use a veterinarian-approved ear cleaner and reward your dog after the cleaning process is complete. By following these basic steps and understanding how often to clean your Shih Tzu’s ears, you can keep your dog’s ears healthy and free of infection.
If you notice any signs of ear problems, such as scratching or rubbing of the ears, head shaking, redness, swelling, or odor and discharge from the ear, seek the advice of a veterinarian. Chronic ear problems, ear injuries, foreign objects in the ear, and signs of infection are all situations where you should see a vet.
Overall, routine ear cleaning and monitoring is essential for maintaining the overall health and well-being of your Shih Tzu. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can ensure that your dog’s ears stay healthy and happy for years to come. Remember, a little bit of prevention goes a long way.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How often should I clean my Shih Tzu’s ears?
This varies depending on the individual dog, but typically once a week is sufficient for regular ear maintenance.
2. Can I use a homemade solution to clean my dog’s ears?
No, it is not recommended to use homemade solutions as they can be harsh and cause irritation or further complications.
3. Can I use Q-tips or cotton swabs to clean my dog’s ears?
No, it is not recommended to use cotton swabs in a dog’s ear as they can push debris further into the ear canal or even cause damage.
4. Can I use a human ear cleaner on my dog?
No, it is recommended to use a vet-approved ear cleaner specifically designed for dogs.
5. What supplies do I need to clean my Shih Tzu’s ears?
You will need vet-approved ear cleaner, cotton balls or gauze, and treats for positive reinforcement.
6. Can ear cleaning prevent ear infections?
Yes, regular ear cleaning can help prevent ear infections by removing debris and excess wax from the ear canal.
7. What are the signs of an ear infection in Shih Tzus?
Signs of an ear infection can include scratching or rubbing at the ears, head shaking, redness or swelling, odor, and discharge from the ear.
8. Can I clean my Shih Tzu’s ears too often?
Yes, it is possible to over-clean your dog’s ears, causing irritation or dryness. Once a week is typically sufficient for regular ear maintenance.
9. Can I clean my dog’s ears myself or should I take them to a vet?
You can clean your dog’s ears yourself, but if you notice any signs of infection or injury, it’s best to consult with a vet.
10. Can Shih Tzus be more prone to ear problems than other dog breeds?
Yes, Shih Tzus are known to be more prone to ear problems due to their floppy ears and hair growth in the ear canal, which can trap moisture and debris.