Cocker spaniels are well known for their long, pendulous ears covered with hair. While they are a very attractive feature of the dog, they require a lot of care to prevent problems such as ear infections. Ear infections can be quite painful, and without treatment can permanently damage the ears. In this article, we'll take a look at how you can help prevent ear infections and what treatment is available to cure them.
The major cause of ear infections in Cocker spaniels is not enough air circulation around the ear canal, which can make them extremely moist and much easier for an infection to start. You can check for signs of an ear infection by lifting up the ear and checking for red skin, a "cheesy" odor or any sign of discharge.
The best way to prevent ear infections is the trim the hair around the ears to help improve air ventilation. The hair should be trimmed around the entrance to the ear canal, on both sides of the ear, and many even recommend trimming the hair on the outside of the ear flap on the top third of the ear. This air ventilation is vitally important to the health of the ears, reducing the chances of the ear canal becoming so moist that they can turn into a haven for bacteria or parasites.
If you've determined that your Cocker is suffering from an ear infection, you should take him to your veterinarian immediately. Most vets will start a regimen of antibiotics and an ointment or ear drops to help clean the ear canal of infection. Unfortunately, some Cockers, like other breeds that are susceptible to ear infections, these problems can become chronic, leading to expensive veterinary bills and a very pitiful dog.
Some breeders and dog owners use a homemade solution using common household items to help rid the ears of infection and help prevent ear infections from starting. Your vet may even be able to give you advice in this area, or contact your Cocker's breeder, or even other dog owners for advice. These solutions are very inexpensive compared to the vet visits and medication required for treating ear infections, but should not be used in every case. You should always consult your vet before starting a regimen of homemade ear cleaning solution, and be sure that the ears don't have ruptured ear drums, open sores or wounds anywhere in or around the ears. Using a solution in these cases can cause permanent and dangerous results.
A Cocker spaniel's ears are a beautiful sight to behold, but they do require constant care in order to stay healthy. Not taking care of them properly or ignoring a potential ear infection can not only lead to other health problems, but could ultimately result in deafness. If you're not willing to take the time to care for a Cocker spaniel's ears, maybe this isn't the right breed for you. But those that do will be rewarded with not only a healthy Cocker, but a happy one as well.