Our small and adorable sausage dog friends may have many positive traits that we all know and love, but unfortunately, they are also prone to a few health issues in their life and their ears is one of them.
It is important to get your dachshund checked by a vet as soon as possible if you suspect an ear issue, as some infections can lead to deafness in the dog.
What makes dachshund ears so special?
First of all, let’s point out their oh-so-cute factor – their very long ears. Dachshund’s ears flap around, especially when they are running and it is delightful to witness.
However, these ears are also prone to a list of health problems due to their physiology.
Because their ears hang, it doesn’t allow a lot of air to circulate inside the air canal. This can lead to a moist environment which can further lead to fungal and bacterial infections.
Low hanging ears are also a friendly environment for fleas and ticks who like to make their home in your dachshund’s ears while they are playing in long grass or bushes.
It is not just the bites from these critters that will inflame your dog’s ears, but their faeces build up inside the ear, leading to even more problems.
Common dachshund ear problems
As mentioned above, dachshund’s can be prone to many ear problems. Some of these include:
Ear mites can affect all dachshund’s. They are very small parasites that live on the lining of the ear canal.
To feed, they pierce the skin and this can cause inflammation in the ear lining and discomfort to your dachshund.
You will be able to see a dry, black discharge and there may be a foul smell coming from the ear.
Because of the large, floppy ears on a dachshund, the air circulation within the ear canal is poor.
This can lead to the canal becoming moist and warm which is the perfect breeding ground for yeast infections.
You will be able to see a light brown discharge with a musty smell.
Bacterial infections are also common in dachshunds due to the physiology of the ears.
This can cause your dog pain and redness and you will most likely be able to see a pussy discharge.
If a dachshund plays too rough or has a fall, they can develop a haematoma in their ear. You will be able to see a large fluid swelling in the ear flap.
This is caused by blood leaking into the flap between the ear cartilage and skin.
Fly bite dermatitis
This is usually more prevalent in dachshunds living in warm climates where are a lot of flies are present.
The flies can bite the tips of the ears and if this is happening, you will be able to see dried, crusty blood.
Dachshunds with long hair are especially prone to getting small twigs, grass seeds and other tiny objects stuck in their ears. This usually causes a secondary infection.
Signs and symptoms of an ear problem
Depending on the type of ear issue, a dachshund will usually display one or more of the symptoms below:Scratching of the ears
-Shaking of the head
-Odour from the ears
-Continually tilts head
-Restless – when you try and touch the ears, they are painful to touch
Maintaining the health of your dachshunds ears
You should have a maintenance check and routine that you do with your dachshund at least every week.
Basically, every time you take your dog out for a walk in long grasses, the bush or in a forest, you should check their ears afterwards.
First, actually inspect the inside of your dog’s ears visually. They should be soft and pink in colour and should smell clean.
Have a close look for any ticks, fleas or mites in or around the ears. Also check for tiny brown specks or poppy seeds as they can be the faeces from the insects.
Pin-prick sized red dots may indicate bites.
When you first clean your dachshund’s ears, you might see dark wax. That is normal and should reduce the more you clean them.
Secondly, whenever you wash your dachshund, make sure you don’t get water into their ears.
To wash their ears, use a clean washcloth to soap up their face and the outside ear flap. Use your hands to rinse the soap off with water.
Either use the washcloth (completely wring out) or moist sterile cotton balls (never use a Q-tip) to wipe the inside of your dog’s ears.
Turning your dachshund’s ear inside out will not hurt them and it is better to do it as you clean so you can clean their ears properly.
Once the ears are completely clean, paper towel try the ears completely, making sure no water or moisture is lurking behind.
Chronic ear infections in dachshunds
Hopefully, if your dachshund experiences an ear infection, it is a one-off occurrence. However, some dachshund’s can experience recurring ear infections.
This is not only uncomfortable for the dog, but also costly for you as the owner.
Usually, if a dog has an ear infection, your vet will treat it with a course of oral antibiotics, topical creams or if it is really bad, occasionally surgery.
Unfortunately, these infections can come back, even after these measures have been taken.
It is important not to ignore recurring ear infections in your dachshund, as they can be a symptom of a bigger problem happening inside the body.
Recurring ear infections also highlight the even bigger importance of properly cleaning your dog’s ears and making sure to do it regularly.
There have been studies that recommend visiting a holistic vet for more natural remedies if the everyday remedies haven’t been working.