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Simple Tips On Caring For Your Newfoundland’s Ears

One of the most common medical conditions seen in Newfoundland dogs is ear infections.

I’ve never had a Newfie that didn’t have at least a few ear problems during their life. 

Most of them were mild, run-of-the-mill otitis externa, or outer ear infections, but one very unforgettable brown Newfie had chronic ear infections.  

Chronic ear infections in any dog are difficult and expensive but many of them also have an underlying condition like allergies or chronic GI issues. 

No matter what we did, Leroy’s chronic ear infections always came back and after a few years it turned out that the infections were a direct effect of his IBD once we treated and got that condition under control, his ears also calmed down. 

In this article, we’re going to go over some basic ear care tips for Newfoundlands including understanding the anatomy of a Newfie’s ears, tips on cleaning and medicating ears and simple ear infection prevention steps that you can try. 

Simple Tips On Caring For Newfoundlands Ears

Are Newfoundlands Prone To Ear Infections?

Yes, among a list of other medical conditions, Newfoundlands are prone to ear infections. 

When you look at the anatomy of a Newfie’s ear, you see a huge hairy ear and that’s exactly why they’re prone to infections.

Despite the size of their massive ears, the canals inside of them are long and thin. 

When that heavy ear is laying flat against their head, the canal gets even smaller plus there’s minimal air flow getting through so moisture gets trapped inside which creates a breeding ground for yeast and bacteria. 

Factor in their love for water and you just have very moist environment.

But, thankfully there are some easy ways that you can try to cut down on frequent ear infections.

how to check your dog for ear infections

Simple Tips On Caring For Your Newfoundland’s Ears

Regular Inspection

It’s important to establish a routine for inspecting your Newfoundland’s ears and if you have a puppy, start handling their ears right away.

Check the ears for any signs of redness, swelling, discharge, or foul odor.

Regular inspection allows you to catch any issues early, preventing them from escalating into more serious problems.

Positive Reinforcement

A lot of dogs don’t like their ears touched so it’s important to make any type of ear care a positive experience for your Newfoundland. 

Building trust and cooperation will make the process more enjoyable for both you and your dog.

Trimming Your Dogs Ears At Home 

Newfoundland dogs have long, dense hair around their ears, which can trap moisture and debris, predisposing them to ear infections.

Make sure to regularly trim the hair around and under the ears to improve airflow and reduce the risk of infections.

You want to make sure that you’re trimming out any of that greasy hair. 

trim greasy ear hair on dog

Always be cautious while trimming your Newfie’s ears to avoid nicking the skin or causing injuries.

If you’re not comfortable with using scissors to do a full ear trim, a deshedding tool works well too. 

I have a video on YouTube where I’m using an Andis Deshedding Tool on Odin’s ears. 

Check out Tips On Trimming Your Newfoundland’s Ears.

Proper Drying

After bathing your Newfoundland or if their ears get wet during drinking or playing, make sure to dry them.

Moisture trapped in the ears creates an ideal environment for bacterial or yeast growth, increasing the risk of infections.

tips on cleaning your Newfoundland's ears

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Gently dry the ears with a clean towel or cotton cloth, being careful not to insert anything into the ear canal.

Our vet recommended for us to use an ear cleaner that has a drying agent in it like Epi-Otic Advanced Ear Cleaning Solution after swimming or bathing. 

Clean Properly

I feel like most Newfie owners aren’t shown how to properly clean or medicate their dog’s ears.

It’s more then just squeezing the cleaner or medication in the ear and walking away.

There’s an entire process but the first part of that process is understanding the anatomy of a dog’s ear.

A dog’s ear canal is shaped like a capital L so it’s straight and then there’s a 90 degree angle.

dog ear anatomy. A dog's ear canal is shaped like a capital L

Plus your Newfie’s ear is heavy and has a LONG canal so if you put cleaner or medication in your dog’s ear and then close the ear, that medication most likely didn’t make it past the angle so it’s just sitting there doing nothing.

In order to get the medication or cleaner where it needs to go, you have to lend it a helping hand. 

Make sure to gently hold the ear straight up and squirt in the medicine or cleaner.

If you’re just doing a routine cleaning and not flushing the ear, you can squirt the ear solution onto a cotton ball instead of dumping it into the ear. 

how to apply ear medication to a dog's ear

While still holding the ear up, gently massage at the base of the ear with your thumb.

You should try to massage it for a good 20-30 seconds or even a minute if you can!

Then let the dog shake. 

Use cotton balls or cotton pads to wipe the outer ear. 

Avoid Over-Cleaning

While regular cleaning is crucial, overdoing it can disrupt the natural balance of the ear and lead to irritation.

Clean your dog’s ears only when necessary, such as when you notice dirt or wax buildup.

Consult your veterinarian for guidance on how often you should clean your Newfoundland’s ears based on their individual needs.

Simple Tips On Caring For Newfoundlands Ears

Healthy Diet

A balanced diet plays an important part in maintaining overall health, including ear health.

Ensure your Newfoundland receives a high-quality diet rich in essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. 

Regular Vet Check-ups

Schedule regular veterinary check-ups for your Newfoundland, including thorough ear examinations.

Your veterinarian can detect early signs of ear problems and provide appropriate treatment or preventive care measures.

Additionally, they can recommend suitable ear cleaning products and techniques tailored to your dog’s specific needs.

putting ear medicine into a dog's ear

Prompt Veterinary Care

If you notice any concerning symptoms such as persistent scratching, head shaking, discharge, or foul odor from your Newfoundland’s ears, seek veterinary attention promptly.

Early intervention can prevent minor issues from escalating into more severe conditions, ensuring your dog’s continued comfort and well-being.

What About DIY Ear Treatments?

I’ve been there. 

I was desperate with Leroy to try and find something to help his inflamed years and I did find one that helped but please be cautious when doing this. 

I’ve seen so many homemade ear treatments that would burn an inflamed ear.

If your dog’s ear is red, has cuts or is swollen, please consult with your veterinarian before trying any home remedies. 

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