There are several main factors we address in our veterinary hospital when a dog presents with an ear infection or chronic and recurrent ear conditions. Diet is definitely first on the list. Many dogs these days are eating processed foods, and foods that are not considered to be "species appropriate" for a dog. This means that there are many grains and other items contained within the food, that are just not that healthy for a dog to eat. Among these things are grains like corn, soy, and wheat. Not only can a dog be truly allergic to these items, but they also tend to be "pro-inflammatory" - meaning that they actually contribute to general inflammation throughout the dog's entire body system. This inflammation, puts stress on the entire immune system, and can greatly depress the overall health of a dog. Since we feed our dogs daily, this is the most important aspect we can control - that has enormous benefits.
Where diet is concerned, there is no "perfect recommendation" unfortunately. There are many opinions, and many options available to you. However, there are a few rules that hold true for our veterinary patients. In general, looking for a Grain Free diet is a huge benefit. Dogs are generally not designed to consume grains, and they generally do much better when grains are eliminated. However, I have met the occasional dog, who does not thrive on a grain free diet! Of course, there always has to be attention paid to what an individual may need. So, just be aware that there will never be one recommendation that will be perfect for every dog.
Raw and home cooked diets can be a wonderful thing. But, they can also be done very poorly. Having a very well balanced diet, following exact and tested recipes, and not making your own substitutions are very important factors when selecting to do this feeding approach. A very excellent reference for you if you would like to feed your dog in this manner - is a book by Dr. Karen Becker - called "Real Food for Healthy Dogs & Cats."
With any diet improvement, I have a few rules that I always follow for my patients. I avoid ALL Corn, Soy, Wheat, Egg, and Dairy. With many great diets out there, egg product is often included. Even in homemade and raw diets, eggs and dairy foods tend to be included. It has been my experience that while trying to eliminate chronic skin and ear conditions, all of these items need to be avoided. It may not be "forever" - but it does seem to be an important aspect to getting the body free of inflammation and infection. I also never feed a purely dry diet - and always add additional moisture to foods. Hydration is an important factor in total health and healing, and by feeding our dogs a dry diet every day, we contribute greatly to their chronic dehydration.
The next aspect that is very important in our veterinary practice is providing supplements. When the body has been struggling with a chronic condition, any chronic condition, many vitamins and nutrients are used up in the process. Combine this with the fact that for generations, we have been feeding "dead", processed, and diets that are less-than-ideal to our dogs. Dogs are basically born in a state of deficiency. Consider this, if a bag of dog food can sit around for 6 months or more, without rotting...what does that say about the "life" of the food. We know as humans, that the healthiest foods for us, are those that actually spoil. If a food does not grow mold or bacteria - how is it expected to grow a healthy body and life? But, in the effort of convenience, we have fallen into the trap of feeding dead dry foods, that may maintain life, but certainly are not lively!
But, kibble is a fact of life for many people, including myself. My busy schedule and intense traveling, can make it difficult to provide live foods to my dogs. As a correction to this flaw in my dogs' feeding plan, I supplement, supplement, and supplement. Did I mention that I give supplements? Some of these supplements include raw and cooked organic foods that my family eats and my kids' left overs. Table scraps are NOT a problem for dogs, unless your dog is obese - but then food in general is the problem - not usually the table scraps. But, healthy table scraps can be a great way to supplement your dogs diet. When hydrating my dogs' kibble, I will also use things like reconstituted freeze dried raw diets or powders, or even the rinse water from my Vitamix after I have made myself a smoothie (if the ingredients were appropriate for my dog). This adds extra "real food" (in a convenient way) to their processed meals, and most people can easily incorporate these things into their lifestyle.
Next I also provide a variety of "packaged" supplements. As with almost every product I have used, I usually find I like a certain brand or several brands over another. For supplements, Standard Process wins hands down for my patients. The supplements are derived from whole foods, organic whenever possible, and are "processed" in such a way that the structure and complete nutrient profile of the food is not damaged. They actually have a "process" in which the food nutrients are extracted within a vacuum - making it possible to create the product without excessive heat. It is actually possible to boil water at room temperature, within a vacuum... Wow - I seem to remember that weird fact from all of my veterinary chemistry courses in college! Never thought I would need that information again! For ear infections - I always feel it is important for dogs to be on Tuna Omegas, Canine Whole Body Support, and Canine Dermal Support. This extra supplementation, gives the body the tools that it needs for healing and health.
I like to explain healing in this way. When you experience a symptom, or illness - your body is like a glass that is not full. Full would be healthy or at least no symptoms. And, the tricky part is that HEALING requires an over-flowing glass! So, no matter what diet you feed, supplements will always be a mandatory part of correcting an issue in my eyes. It is also important to recognize, that if your dog or animal got better from a traditional or even holistic treatment, but then relapsed at a later date - this shows that your dog was deficient in nutrients to "keep the healed state". So, often times, supplements should be continued, long after the symptoms have resolved, to keep things in tip top shape.
With any health concern - I recommend completing the Foundation of Health. (You can read more about this through the link - with more coming soon!) Another critical part of correcting health issues is the use of digestive enzymes. If you cannot digest your food properly - you certainly cannot absorb the proper nutrients required for health and healing. Digestive enzymes are another mandatory item for me. Many of my patients use Prozyme Powder with much success, or we have many using Dr. Karen Becker's digestive enzyme product now. Dr. Becker also has an excellent video and article on digestive enzymes - SEE MORE HERE.
So, if your dog is dealing with an ear infection... your first step is to get a veterinary exam and ear smear. Ears must be "scoped" to make sure that there are not any abnormalities within the ear, and the ear smear should reveal if the infection is bacterial, fungal (yeast), ear mites, or one or more of these. Ear mites in dogs is relatively uncommon, and many people falsely think that their dog has them. It is far less common than ear mites in cats, and although it happens, it is most wise to know exactly what you are dealing with.
And, after all of the other aspects I have discussed are addressed, using the Canine Ear Spray is WONDERFUL!!!
Chronic Ear Infections in dogs are a very common problem. Owners and veterinarians alike, struggle with this problem daily. There are several issues that need to be addressed, so that you can have the greatest benefit when treating ear infections. Although animalEO Canine Ear Spray is amazing, if you do not address the underlying reasons for your dogs' ear condition - it will likely not improve as dramatically as you would prefer. We want you to be as successful as possible, for your dogs' sake!