Why Do My Dog’s Ears Stink?

There is nothing worse than settling down on the couch with your pooch after a long day, only to catch a whiff of – eww, what is that? Stinky dog ears, yuck! What is going on?

In most cases, stinky ears can be attributed to an ear infection. Accompanying symptoms may include scratching or head shaking, redness and/or inflammation of the ear flaps and canal, and even goopy, crusty discharge. No wonder they smell!

An infection of the most visible part of the ear canal, considered the “outer ear,” is called otitis externa and is quite common. An infection found deeper down into the inner ear canal is called otitis interna, and, although much less common, can be a lot more serious than an outer ear infection as it can cause nausea and disorientation.

Luckily, almost all ear infections are easily treatable once they have been properly diagnosed. It is important to book an appointment with your veterinarian in order to determine these four things:

  1. What type of ear infection is it?
  2. Has the eardrum experienced any damage?
  3. What is the underlying cause of the infection?
  4. How do we go about treating the infection?

photo 1(11)The doctor will use an otoscope to check the ear canal to see if they are dealing with an outer or an inner ear infection. As long as there isn’t too much discharge or inflammation, they will also be able to see the ear drum and make sure it is fully intact. Next, the doctor will take a sample of material from the ear canal and look at it under a powerful microscope. This is how they figure out what type of organism is the cause of the infection. Based on that diagnosis, they will prescribe the appropriate medication. Antibiotics, either oral or instilled directly into the ear, will be given if the infection appears bacterial, and an anti-fungal medication will be given if the infection appears fungal in nature. Most courses of treatment will last 7-14 days, but sometimes longer if the infection is chronic.

 

So, the next time you notice a foul odor coming from your dog’s ear, you’ll know why!

 

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DYI – Pet Grooming

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Good grooming habits are essential to the health and comfort of your pet.

If you have a new puppy or kitten, now’s the perfect time to get them used to grooming. Take time every day to touch your pet all over the body. Handle the feet and toes, open the mouth and look at the teeth. Examine the ears, brush the fur, carefully trim the nails, lift and handle the tail and gently restrain them in your arms for a few seconds at a time. Right after touching or handling, give your pet their favorite treat or throw a ball for her.

Brushing: Different coat types need different kinds of combs and brush’s. Speak to your veterinarian or professional groomer to find out which ones you’ll need to use and how often you should use them. Be gentle and brush her often enough to prevent tangles that might make brushing hurt.

Start by going to a quiet area with your pet, bring the brush and a handful of treats. Slowly and gently stroke them with the brush, start with the area they seem least sensitive to. After each brush stroke you can give a treat. Spend two or three weeks gradually increasing the length and pressure of your brush strokes, as well as the time you spend brushing your pet. For long hair cats and dogs you want to use a comb to finish getting all the undercoat out and de-tangle all the knots near the skin.

Bathing: Most dogs don’t need to get baths often. If you bathe your dog too much, you can cause their skin to dry out and become irritated. Use a pet friendly shampoo as the PH is different for humans vs cats and dogs.

In cats, they are well equipped to tackle their own hair-care needs, but if they are very dirty or gets into something sticky or smelly, you may need to give them a bath. Schedule baths when your cat’s mellow. Trim the nails before bathing for your own protection. Gently hose your cat thoroughly but take care not to get into the ears, eyes or nose. Lather up and rinse thoroughly making sure to get all the soap out. Dry your cat with a towel then blow dry on a low setting. Dogs need to be dried fully, otherwise they can develop a sore called a ‘hotspot’ caused by excessive moisture being left on the skin.

Eyes and Ears: Keeping your pets eyes and ears clean can prevent discomfort and infection. Gently wipe away any discharge from your pets eyes with a damp, soft cloth. You can wipe away any discharge on the inside flap of the ear but never stick anything into the ears.

Nail trimming: Trimming your pets nails can be stressful. How do you know exactly where to cut the nail? What if you cut the quick? (the blood vessel running through the nail) If your pets nails get too long, they can break, which can cause pain and infection. They can also cause your pets toes to twist painfully, leading to an irregular gait. Sometimes the nails get so long that they grow around the toe and into the pads and cause severe pain and discomfort. In a dog you want to hold the paw in your hand and use either a guillotine or scissor style clipper. If your dog has clear nails, you can see the quick, which looks pink. Cut the nail no closer than about 2 millimeters away from the quick. In dark nails you cut tiny bits off at a time until you see a gray or pink oval start to form, then stop cutting. If you do cut the quick use a clotting powder to stop the bleeding.

Do not punish or yell at your dog if they resist grooming. Doing this will make them feel worse about the activity and will likely worsen the behavior. Do not force your pet to submit to grooming if they are obviously frightened or upset. Contact a professional behavior expert or groomer.

Breed Spotlight: Rhodesian Ridgeback

Troy (3 years) and Heidi (16 weeks)

 

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a very unique hound breed. They were originally bred in South Africa to assist lion hunters, so they are very muscular and strong, weighing in between 60 and 90 pounds. The defining feature of this breed is their ridge, which can be found on their backs, from the shoulder blades down the spine. The ridge is actually a strip of hair that grows upwards, in the opposite direct of the rest of their coat.

Ridgebacks provide the best of both worlds when it comes to their activity levels. They are typically calm and quiet when they are relaxing at home, but can be quite active when they are out and about and require both physical and mental stimulation to stay happy and balanced. While they are an intelligent and even-tempered breed, they can also be very stubborn and strong-willed. It takes a skilled owner to control this breed as they require a gentle yet firm and consistent approach to training. For this reason, they are not necessarily a breed for everyone. They can also be very protective of their owners, which is an issue that should be addressed early on in their training. It is also recommended that they are supervised around children as they can be a little rough when they play, only because they are so large and goofy.

A Ridgeback’s colour can range from a light tan to a deep red, with a darkened muzzle. Their noses are either black or liver. It is not uncommon for them to also have some white on their chest or toes. The coat is short and fairly easy to care for. They require weekly brushing with a stiff bristled brush or a shedding blade, and only the occasional bath on an as-needed basis beyond that.

Because of their deep, barrel chests, one of the main health concerns with the Rhodesian Ridgeback is bloat. They can also develop mast cell tumors, and can also be affected by hip dysplasia. Due to these concerns, it is recommended that they get on a glucosamine supplement early in their lives, or are fed a mobility diet to help support their joints, and that exercise is restricted right after a meal.

We adopted our boy, Troy, from the Brampton Animal Shelter in December of 2014. I have to say, he is an extremely affectionate dog and it breaks my heart to think that he was so mistreated before he was rescued by the shelter and came into our lives. He is also extremely strong-willed, and is constantly testing his boundaries with us. We have to make sure we are consistent with his training, if we give him an inch, he will take full advantage. We adopted a Ridgeback because we have always been fans of the breed. To me, they are so majestic and Troy is most definitely a sweet heart. He has enriched our lives and has made a great addition to our family.

Thanks for reading, Kait

Is My Pet Fat?

ExcusesI’m sure we’ve all either made these excuses ourselves, or heard others make them. Unfortunately, the sad truth is that obesity in our pets is becoming a real problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Weight management is one of the most important factors in your pet’s overall health. In fact, keeping your pet at a healthy weight throughout their life actually increases their life expectancy! It also reduces the risk of many health problems such as diabetes, heart complications, mobility issues, hormonal imbalance and even cancer.

What is a Healthy Weight?

How can you tell if your pet is at a healthy weight? While there is no magic number to indicate the “right” weight for your pet, there is a way to figure out their “optimal” weight. Determining whether or not your pet is at a healthy weight is based on the following criteria:

  1. From above, does your pet have a discernible waist? You want to be able to see a bit of an “hourglass” figure, not an apple!
  2. From the side, does your pet’s belly tuck up nicely? You want to see a slight narrowing of the abdomen, and the absence of a poochy belly!
  3. Are you able to feel the ribs and spine with a light touch? You want to be able to feel them without pressing too firmly, but not actually see them.

mocha lol

What Does This Mean?

If your pet passed each of these tests, congratulations! You pet is at a healthy weight, so keep on doing what you’re doing, it’s obviously working well!

If you are still unsure about your pet’s weight, you are always more than welcome to pay us a visit here at the clinic. Bring your pet in so that we can get a weight on them and assess their body condition ourselves.

If your pet struggled on these tests, they are likely overweight or *gasp* obese. Typically, a pet that is 15% over their optimal weight is considered to be obese, and this should not be taken lightly. The first course of action to get your pet down to a healthy weight is to visit your veterinarian. After a physical exam to make sure there is no underlying cause for the extra weight (such as a thyroid problem), your veterinarian will be able to give you a target weight for your pet and may even recommend a prescription food, such as Hill’s r/d or Purina Veterinary OM, that is both low in calories and high in fibre. Your vet will also discuss with you what the healthiest rate of weight-loss would be for your pet – too much weight-loss too quickly could be just as bad for your pet as being overweight is, especially when it comes to our feline friends!

What Can I Do?

According to Canada’s Pet Wellness Report, the most common mistake that pet owner’s make in regards to their pets’ health is – you guessed it – overfeeding. Simply measuring your pet’s food and restricting their number of treats per day can make a huge difference in the battle against the bulge! Once diet is under control, the next step to a healthier pet is exercise. The Wellness Report also found that on a weekday, the average owner spent only about 1/2 – 1/3 the amount of time playing with and exercising their pets as they did watching T.V. or surfing the ‘net. Imagine what a difference swapping a half-hour sitcom for a walk with your dog could make for both of you!

Weight management can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. When it comes to food and treats, portion control is key. Supplement that with extra playtime and exercise, and getting your pet down to a healthy weight is easy! For additional information regarding weight control, diet and/or tips for exercising your pet, please give us a call today at 905-846-3316. Your pet will thank you for it!

Happy New Year’s Everyone

happy new Years

We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. As of January 3rd we will be returning to normal hours.