One of the characteristics that makes the Beagle, and many other hound breeds for that matter, so appealing are those long, floppy ears. Combine them with that soulful expression and you have a weapon of mass cuteness almost unparalleled in the natural world. Those long, floppy ears were not merely created for their cuteness factor, however. Indeed, you'll notice that almost all scent hounds, like Beagles, have those long floppy ears; these ears are perfect for stirring up odor molecules that make up a scent trail, trapping those molecules and getting them to that incredibly sensitive nose.
Unfortunately for Beagles and their scent hound cousins, those ears also impede the adequate flow of air within the inner ear; furthermore, they tend to be very good trappers of moisture within the ear. Add these conditions together and you have a prolific breeding ground for ear infections. Some of the most common infection causers that take up residence in a Beagle ear are mites, bacteria and yeasts. Beagles are particularly prone to ear mites, which are very tiny parasites that love to make a home out of the ears of a pet; the ears of a pet whose owners aren't careful about ear hygiene are especially appealing. Mites can cause extreme itching and inflammation, making a Beagle feel incredibly uncomfortable. These mites are extremely contagious and will quickly be spread from one pet to another in the same living environment; even humans can become infected. Mites are usually the first pests to infect the ears of a Beagle, with yeast and bacterial infections quickly following suit.
You need to regularly check your Beagle's ears, cleaning them at least once every week, or even more often if you see your Beagle is especially prone to ear infections. Beagles that are often in the water need to be especially checked for the buildup of moisture; make sure you thoroughly clean and dry your Beagle's ears immediately after he comes out of the water, even after a bath, to make sure water doesn't get trapped. Make sure you take your dog to the vet if you notice your dog displaying any of the typical signs common to an ear infection, such as him rubbing and scratching his ears and face, sensitivity to his ears being touched, shaking his head and ears constantly, irritability, yellow or brown discharge and/or bleeding coming from his ears and especially a foul smell emanating from his ears.
Your veterinarian will recommend some kind of ear cleaning solution which you will use for preventive ear cleaning. After you fill your Beagle's ear well with the solution, you'll need to massage the ear area, so the solution penetrates well; make sure you keep the ear flap open so the ear canal gets the maximum amount of air flow possible. Use cotton balls to clean the visible parts of the ear gently; make sure you don't stick anything deep into the dog's ears as you can both damage the delicate inner ear structures and push the infection deeper down, where it will be harder to treat. If you don't take care of your Beagle's ears, he will eventually develop an infection and experience quite a bit of pain, making him irritable.