Earwax is something that all dogs – and people – produce, and this sticky and rather unpleasant substance performs a number of important roles. However, certain breeds of dog like the English bulldog can be prone to an excessive build-up of earwax, which can in its turn cause a number of problems for the dog in question.
If you already own or are considering buying an English bulldog, it is important to be aware of how you need to check and care for their ears, and be able to spot the signs of problems and deal with an excessive build-up of earwax in your dog.
In this article, we will explain what earwax does for your dog, how to check their ears for problems, and how to tackle an excessive build-up of earwax in the English bulldog. Read on to learn more.
Earwax – or to give it it’s correct name, cerumen – is a substance that is naturally produced by your dog’s body, and which is secreted by the ear canal. It tends to be brownish in colour, but may also be orange, yellowish or even grey, and as the name implies, it has a tacky, waxy and sticky texture.
Earwax is made up of a combination of secretions from the sebaceous and ceruminous glands of the ear canal, as well as shed skin cells and hair.
Earwax can be a problem, but all dogs needs it – as do all humans. Earwax is responsible for helping particles of dust, dirt, debris and shed skin and hair cells to pass out of the ear, so that the ears remain clear and open and don’t begin to clog up with dirt and grime.
Earwax helps to protect the delicate skin of the ear canal, and lubricates the inner ear drum to keep it functioning properly. It also helps to protect the ears from certain types of bacteria and fungi, pollen, and water ingress.
If your dog’s ears produce too much earwax – or if it doesn’t work its way out of their ears in the normal way – this can lead to a range of problems that can be distressing and painful for your dog, as well as potentially affecting their hearing.
Certain breeds of dogs tend to be prone to excessive earwax production, and the English bulldog is one of them.
Producing too much earwax can lead to the wax itself becoming impacted and hard within your dog’s ears, which will lead to pain and pressure as well as occluding their hearing. Many English bulldog owners say that their dogs suffer from selective deafness, but in some cases, excess earwax might be the true cause!
If the earwax that your dog produces doesn’t work its way out of the ear naturally and instead, builds up in the ear canal and folds of the ear, it may well be itchy and irritating as well as potentially blocking the ears and causing pain and compromised hearing. It will also fail to help dirt, bacteria, pollen, and other tiny particles to work their way out of the ear, which can worsen the problem as well as leading to an increased risk of the dog developing an ear infection.
English bulldogs also tend to be sensitive to developing skin conditions and allergies, and these in their turn can lead to excessive earwax production, as well as worsening the problems that it causes. Ear mite infestation in the ears can also increase the amount of muck and dirt in the ears, contributing to a blockage developing.
In a dog with normal earwax production and healthy ears, you won’t normally have to do anything as the ears will largely take care of themselves. However, it is particularly important for English bulldog owners to check their dog’s ears regularly for signs of problems, and clean them if necessary to remove excess wax.
Clean the outer folds of your dog’s ears gently with cotton buds or a soft cloth, but don’t get the inner ear too wet or pour water into it as this can cause problems in itself.
You should never push cotton buds (or anything else) into your dog’s ear canal, as this will be painful and risks causing damage – and will impact the earwax that is present, rather than removing it.
If your English bulldog is prone to excessive earwax production or problems with their ears, your vet may recommend that you use a specific product to clean their ears and remove wax safely – or they might recommend a sedated veterinary procedure to thoroughly clean the ears and remove the excessive wax build-up or an impaction of wax safely and thoroughly.
Your vet will also be able to advise you on how to manage earwax build-up in the English bulldog and keep an eye out for signs of problems such as mites, allergies, or infections, and how to prevent flare-ups from occurring.
Dogs that are prone to producing too much earwax should also be monitored for signs of ear infections, such as inflammation, sore patches, or excessive head shaking or rubbing. Ear infections can cause pain and also trigger excessive wax production, so if you have any concerns, talk to your vet about how to prevent or manage infections and keep your dog’s ears clean and healthy.