Written by Dr Helen Burns
Dog and cat owners often ask vets about caring for their pet’s ears. The truth of the matter is that normal healthy ears are remarkably self sufficient. They are designed with their own self cleaning mechanism. It is only when this fails that we need to intervene.
How do ears stay clean naturally?
Our pets’ ears are lined with skin that is similar to that on their ear flap. This skin contains glands that secrete waxy and oily material that combines with shed skin cells to form what we know as ear wax. Remarkably, for something that seems so simple, ear wax plays two very important roles.
Firstly, it keeps the ear drum soft and moist. Have you ever wondered what happens to all that dirt in your pet’s ears after it rolls around on the ground? Well, ear wax traps foreign material that gets into the ears, such as dust and dirt, then the skin cells lining the ear move the wax up and out of the ear like a conveyor belt. Thanks to this process, ear wax doesn’t build up in normal healthy ears.