McNeil Labradors

Ear Care

The canine has a two-directional ear canal system, beneficial because it decreases the vulnerability to injury.   The detriment is that gravity encourages wax, dirt, debris and water to collect at the base of the ear canal.  The anatomy of the Labrador ear creates a predisposition for ear infections due to moisture accumulation diminishing exposure to air, creating a hiding place for debris, all of which create an ideal environment for infection or “otitis”.

Some of the following are important clinical signs that may indicate ear problems are present:

*  Shaking the head and ears

*  Scratching at one or both ears

*  A foul odor from an ear

*  Discharge from an ear

*  Inflammation such as redness of the earflap or opening to the ear canal

*  Pain when touched around or on the ears

*  Tilting the head to one side

*  Lethargy, depression or apparent loss of hearing

*  Marked swelling of one or both earflaps

*  Stumbling or circling to one side

Check the ears daily, especially after swimming.  Ears kept dry and clean should stay healthy.  To clean your dog or puppy’s ears, mix a solution of equal parts of white vinegar, peroxide, and water, and store mixture in a jar in a cool dry place.  With a baby bulb syringe, volumes flush the ears twice a week.  Put your puppy or dog in the empty bathtub, and completely flush his ears out.  Wrap gauze or tissue around your finger and wipe the inner surfaces clean.  Do not make a packing motion inside the ear, as this will only push the debris further in the ear canal.   There are a number of ear cleaning solutions on the market.  This solution works well, is easy to make, gentle on the ear, and inexpensive.   

Teeth Care 

Brush my dog’s teeth?  You must be kidding!!  Think about it for a minute.  Dogs no longer use their teeth as they did many years ago, nor is their diet the same.  The evolution of domestication has resulted in a greater awareness of dental hygiene for our canine friends.  Generations of line breeding have created and refined the shape of the head, however the dog still has 42 permanent teeth. 

Regular teeth cleaning can prevent plaque buildup, which causes gum disease and tooth loss, not to mention infection.  Bi-weekly, or at least weekly cleaning sessions can prevent this.  There are toothbrushes and toothpaste made especially for dogs, available from your veterinarian.  A piece of cotton gauze wrapped around your finger will also work well.  If you choose to use the gauze, you can rub instead of brush.  Be sure to clean inner and outer surfaces, and pay special attention to the molars, as this is where food tends to accumulate. 

Dogs are no different than humans.  Some dogs keep beautiful, shiny, white teeth, while others have a greater accumulation of plaque buildup.  A dry kibble diet will aid in the prevention of plaque buildup, as well as dentabones, nylabones, and an occasional dry biscuit treat.   

Make sure your veterinarian checks your dog’s teeth annually.

Eye Care 

Never allow your puppy to ride with his head out of the car window.  Bits of dust and dirt can be a disaster to the eye! 

Make sure to check your puppy’s or dog’s eyes for dirt and other irritants.  A good time to do this is when you clean teeth and check ears. 

Face your dog or puppy, and hold his head between your hands while pulling down gently on the lower lid to look, then raise the upper lid and check the upper eyelid as well.  The eye may be slightly pink in color, but should never be red.  A red eye indicates inflammation or infection and should be checked by your veterinarian immediately. 

You may remove dirt particles using sterile saline eyewash available from a drugstore or Wal-Mart.  Equate is the Wal-Mart brand of Contact Lense Saline Eyewash, and this works fine.  It’s a good idea to keep a bottle on hand for emergencies.  Gently wash or flush the eye or lower lid with large amounts of the eyewash.  If you are unable to free the eye of dirt or other objects, consult your veterinarian immediately.

McNeil Labradors
Statesville, NC 28677

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Last Updated:  January 29, 2008

© Copyright 2001 - 2008 by Margo Carter, McNeil Labradors, All Rights Reserved.
Page Created By:  Margo Carter, McNeil Labradors

  Thought For The Day:

"We give dogs time we can spare, space we can
spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. It's
the best deal man has ever made." - M. Facklam