January 31, 2024

Why humidity causes havoc in the ears

Dog laying on grass
Dr. Chris Brown

Oh boy it’s sticky out there. It feels like lounge rooms have become steam rooms. But away from our sleepless nights and frizzy hair, that humidity is having a profound effect on one part of our furry family; their ears. Here’s why…

You see, while those fluffy ears might look adorable, they’re not exactly designed with an Aussie summer in mind. In fact, most long and furry eared dogs are originally from much colder climates than ours where hot and humid days just don’t happen.

The challenge is that not only do they have an L-shaped ear canal that traps water from a swim or bath, the cute ear flaps then seal it off.

Add some heat and humidity (like we’ve been experiencing) and those ears transform into little incubators.

This then allows their own bacteria and yeast to feed on their own ear wax and create painful and smelly ear infections. Often overnight.

Dog sleeping

So how do you tame those furry little steam ovens?

Well, it’s all about removing the driving force behind the ear trouble with this simple two step ear soothing (TSES) program. Here goes….

  1. Remove the extra ear wax (the food for the bugs) with an ear cleaner like my Ear De-Gunker. That thick, smelly and tarry gunk is home (and dinner….yuck) to literally millions of bacteria and yeast. Flushing it out creates a clean ear canal.

  2. Dry the ear canal. Now I know this freaks a lot of people out when you’re worried you might damage the ear drum but this is the one situation where the L-shape works to your advantage. If you’re using a soft cloth, your finger simply can’t reach the ear drum. So dry away.

The Ear De-Gunker
The Ear De-Gunker

P.S. Just remember they will still shake their head for a few hours after ear cleaning and drying. This is normal. Ears are sensitive so the cleaning action will cause them to react in this way. The next day you should notice they’re more comfortable.

If their ears already have a significant ear infection present then you may need medicated drops from your vet to bring them under control before you can start on the two step ear soothing program.


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