By Nan Talleno

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Canine ear problems are not uncommon. There can be various reasons why these problems occur including allergies, foreign material, ear mites or possibly an ear infection, a tumor or immune condition. Some breeds may be more prone to ear problems than others. With an ear infection, antibiotics would need to be prescribed by your veterinarian.

Symptoms of ear-related problems might include one or more of the following: excessive scratching, discoloration, redness, possible odor, excessive head shaking, discharge, changes in behavior, irritability, sensitivity to touch, and rubbing of the ears against different surfaces.

Prevention is always the best cure. Take your dog to your veterinarian for periodic check-ups. Ask your vet to check for excessive wax build-up. One way to prevent ear problems in your dog is to keep the ears clean and clear of any blockages.

Make sure to ask your vet to show you the safe and correct way to clean your dog’s ears. You want to make sure not to damage any sensitive areas of the ear. Let your vet demonstrate the procedure for you. Use gauze pads instead of cotton balls as they can break apart and leave some remaining cotton in your dog’s ears. If you’re not comfortable cleaning them yourself, your vet can do it for you.

If you notice any symptoms of ear problems in your dog, take a trip to your vet right away.

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