Ear care & treatment
When taking care of a dog the ears are often forgotten. Chihuahua ears are not more sensitive compared to other dogs. But it’s still advised to check Chihuahua ears at least once a week. If the ears are very dirty or contain a lot of ear wax it’s best to clean this. This is best done with a clean piece of cotton. Take the piece of cotton and put in a bit of lukewarm water. This is the best way to clean the ears and remove excess ear wax. It’s better not use cotton pads or swabs because some pieces can stay partly behind in the ears. Never go into the ears with objects! Instead of wter you can always ask your vet to recommend a bottle of ear cleaning solution.
When you skip the cleaning of the ears your Chi has a heightened risk of contracting an ear infection. A Chihuahua with an ear infection can its life miserable. If you see that your Chi is often scratching his/her ears it’s possible that he/she has an ear infection or ear mites. Another indication that your Chihuahua has an ear infection is when they agressively shake their head. Ear infections are typically caused by yeast and/or bacteria that multiply within the ear. Bacteria thrive on hair, mites and other objects that get stuck in the ears. Chihuahuas with floppy ears are two times more likely to develop an ear infection. Due to the fact that the ears folds over the canal, dirt, hairs and other objects get more easily stuck.
Symptoms of an ear infection
If you notice one or more of the following signs you will probably have to visit the vet:
- Aggressive head shaking
- Pus coming from the ear
- Yeast-like odor
- Increased scratching of the ear
- Signs of erratic behaviour (dog seems in pain)
- Pain when the ear is touched
Going to the vet too late can cause serious distress to your Chihuahua and can even cause ruptured eardrums. With ruptured eardrums your dog will not be able to hear you and will most likely go deaf. Depending whether the ear infection originates from a yeast infection or a bacterial infection your vet will go for different treatments. Bacteria are often treated with anti-biotics while yeast is treated with an anti-fungal spray.
Chihuahua Floppy Ears
The American Kennel Club (AKC) prescribes that Chihuahua ears should be ‘Large, erect type ears, held more upright when alert, but flaring to the sides at a 45 degree angle when in repose, giving breadth between the ears’. In other words Chihuahua ears should be upright at rest and even more upright when attentive to noise. Chihuahua puppies are born with floppy ears as the muscles are not (yet) strong enough to hold the ears upright. Chihuahua ears start to stand upright between 8-12 weeks and they should have big ears.
Many owners worry about drooping ears due to the fact that Chihuahua ears may flop and stand upright from one day to another. The underlying for this erratic ear positioning can be found at the teething process. The teething process is very strenuous on the muscles located in the jaw. As these muscles in the jaw are connected to the muscles in the ears, both muscle groups lose strenght. In other words when the teething process puts pressure on the muscles in the jaw the Chihuahua ears go floppy. When the muscles recover the Chihuahua ears stand upright. This means as an owner you will see the Chihuahua ears behave erratically during the teething process which is typically around 4-6 months.
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