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Ear Infections In Basset Hounds: 7 Effective Tips To Prevent

As a Basset Hound owner, you know how painful and frustrating ear infections can be for this breed prone to issues due to their floppy ears. The droopy shape traps moisture inside the ear canal, creating the perfect environment for bacteria and yeast overgrowth. Left untreated, these infections cause severe discomfort and can even lead to hearing loss in your hound.

But you can take proactive steps to help prevent painful ear infections in your Basset.

Ear infections in basset hounds are caused by the buildup of moisture, debris and wax in their floppy ears. This leads to overgrowth of infection-causing organisms like bacteria and yeast. By regularly cleaning and drying your Basset’s ears, you can prevent this unhealthy accumulation that allows infections to develop.

Implementing a thorough ear care routine is crucial. Regularly cleaning your dog’s ears with a veterinarian-approved solution like Zymox Otic will gently wash away debris, dirt and wax buildup. Following up with a thorough drying of the inner flaps and canal will remove lingering moisture that enables infection development. Frequently checking for redness, odor or discharge will help you identify early signs of infection and allow for prompt treatment.

For Basset Hounds, whose floppy ear shape makes them prone to recurrent infections, prevention is key.

By understanding what causes ear infections in this breed and diligently following proper cleaning and drying techniques, you can promote healthy ears and avoid frustrating vet visits.

Read on to learn more tips you can follow to keep your Basset’s ears clean and infection-free.

Regular Cleaning is Key for Basset Ear Health

Cleaning your Basset Hound’s ears regularly is one of the most effective ways to prevent painful infections. Their long, floppy ears trap moisture, dirt, debris, and wax deep inside the ear canal, setting up the ideal conditions for infection-causing bacteria and yeast to thrive.

When cleaning your Basset’s ears, be very gentle. Use a soft cotton ball or pad to apply veterinarian-recommended cleaning solution specially formulated for dogs. Gently wipe around the outer ear and just inside the opening, taking care not to insert anything deep into the ear canal.

After cleaning, dry the ears thoroughly with a fresh cotton ball. Be sure to gently fold back the ear flaps and blot the canal opening to remove all lingering moisture. Leaving moisture behind allows bacteria to continue proliferating.

Inspect your Basset’s ears weekly for any signs of infection like redness, swelling, odor, discharge or dark crumbly wax. Catching infections early makes treatment easier. For Bassets prone to chronic infections, your vet may recommend using a prescription preventive ear medication between cleanings.

By diligently following these cleaning steps, drying thoroughly, and checking often, you can keep your Basset’s vulnerable ears healthy. Preventing infections avoids discomfort for your hound and saves you stressful vet visits and bills. With proper care, those adorable floppy ears will be ready for more years of scent tracking and trail walking adventures together.

How to Prevent Ear Infections in Basset Hounds

Thoroughly Drying is Essential After Ear Cleaning

Drying your dog’s ears thoroughly after cleaning is essential to prevent ear infections. The moist, warm environment inside a dog’s ear canal allows bacteria, yeast and ear mites to thrive, potentially leading to painful outer and inner ear infections.

Signs of an ear infection include odor, discharge, redness, head shaking, and dark crumbly wax. Catching an infection early allows for easier veterinary treatment with medication. For severe cases, total ear canal ablation surgery may be required.

Here are some tips for properly drying your Basset Hound’s ears after cleaning:

  • Use a soft cotton ball or towel to gently blot moisture and fold back ear flaps to expose the canal.
  • Be patient and diligent, using multiple cotton balls if needed, to fully dry the canal and base of the ear.
  • Let your dog shake their head to allow air circulation to evaporate any residual moisture.
  • Take extra care to thoroughly dry after swimming or baths, as trapped water can cause “swimmer’s ear.”
  • Check for signs of infection like odor or discharge which could indicate lingering moisture.
  • Ask your vet about prescription drying agents if your Basset has chronic ear infections.
  • Gently pluck excess hair around the canal opening to aid drying.

With a careful drying routine after every cleaning, you can help prevent painful ear infections in your Basset Hound’s vulnerable floppy ears.

Check Ears Often for Signs of Infection 

Frequently checking your Basset Hound’s ears is important to catch potential infections early. Their long floppy ears can hide issues developing deep inside the canal.

Examining your Basset’s ears weekly during cleaning allows you to notice any abnormalities like bad odor, redness, swelling or discharge. Also check in between cleanings for head shaking, scratching or signs of discomfort which could indicate a problem.

Look inside the ears for debris, wax buildup or any dark coffee-ground looking material which could point to the development of infection-causing bacteria or yeast. Also note any foul smell, as a bad odor usually signals inflammation.

Catching an ear infection in its early stages allows for quicker, easier treatment. Your vet can prescribe antibiotic or antifungal drops to clear up the issue before it advances to a more painful state.  

Make checking your Basset’s vulnerable ears part of your regular grooming routine. Early detection of any problems will help minimize discomfort and ensure only simple treatment is needed to get those floppy ears back to health. Stay vigilant for signs of trouble.

Basset Hound Diet and Allergies

Managing your Basset Hound’s diet and allergies is an important way to help prevent painful ear infections. Allergies can cause inflammation in the ear canal, allowing yeast and bacteria to overgrow. Be aware of how food and environmental allergens impact your dog’s ear health.

  • Feed a high-quality diet tailored to your Basset’s sensitivities. Avoid ingredients that seem to flare up ear issues.
  • Monitor for signs of food allergies like itching or ear redness after eating certain foods. Common allergenic ingredients for dogs include:
    • Beef, chicken, lamb, pork
    • Dairy products
    • Wheat, corn, soy
    • Eggs
  • Note any seasonal allergy symptoms to environmental triggers like pollen or mites. This can exacerbate ear problems.
  • Keeping allergies controlled will reduce inflammation and prevent infections in the delicate ear canal.

Some diet tips and recommended foods for a Basset prone to ear infections:

FoodBenefitBrand Examples
Fish-based protein (salmon, whitefish)Omega-3s reduce inflammationPurina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice
Lamb or duck-based proteinLess likely to trigger food allergiesNatural Balance LID Lamb & Brown Rice
Whole grains like brown riceEasier to digest, avoids wheat allergiesWellness Simple Limited Ingredient Turkey & Oatmeal
Fruits and vegetablesProvide vitamins without common allergensBlue Buffalo Basics Limited Ingredient Turkey & Potato
Limited ingredient recipesHelps identity food intolerancesNutro Wholesome Essentials Lamb & Rice Recipe

Prescription Preventatives for Preventing Ear Infections in Basset Hounds

Using prescription antibiotics, antifungal, or anti-inflammatory drops or solutions recommended by your vet can help stop the cycle of repeated ear infections that plague Basset Hounds. These medications will keep the delicate ear canal clean and dry, prevent overgrowth of bacteria and yeast, and reduce swelling and irritation. For Basset Hounds with chronic ear problems, applying preventative ear drops regularly even when no infection is present can help ward off the next bout.

Watch for symptoms of an ear infection like head shaking, redness, odor, discharge or dark wax buildup. Then seek early veterinary attention for proper diagnosis and treatment options. Your vet will examine the ear canal and may take a sample to identify the type of infection. For mild infections, antibiotic or antifungal eardrops may be prescribed for a short course of treatment. More advanced cases could require oral medications and steroid injections to resolve infection and inflammation.

Some common prescription preventatives vets may recommend:

  • Ciprofloxacin, orbifloxacin or gentamicin antibiotic eardrops
  • Miconazole, clotrimazole or mometasone anti-fungal/anti-inflammatory solutions
  • Hydrocortisone or betamethasone anti-inflammatory eardrops
  • Salicylic acid or acetic acid ear cleaners

Working closely with your vet to find the right prescription preventative ear medication regimen can help protect your Basset’s ears and finally resolve frustrating chronic infections. Consistently using preventatives together with regular cleaning will keep your hound’s ears healthy and comfortable.

Pluck Excess Hair Around Basset Hound Ears

One helpful preventative measure you can take is to gently pluck excess hair around the outer ear canal and opening. Keeping this area trimmed of extra hair allows for better air circulation within the ear, which assists with drying and prevents moisture buildup that can lead to infection.

Use blunt-tipped tweezers and carefully grasp only a few hairs at a time to avoid hurting your dog. Work in small sections and don’t pluck too much hair at once, which can be uncomfortable. Go slow and reward your Basset with treats for cooperating. Try doing ear hair plucking during weekly ear cleanings so your dog associates it with their normal grooming routine.

Trimming excess hair around the outer ear helps decrease the amount of moisture, wax and debris trapped inside. This minimizes the accumulation of dirt, allergens and yeast/bacteria that can cause inflammation or infection when allowed to build up in the warm, moist ear canal. Keeping your Basset’s ear openings trimmed down will promote better ventilation and air drying after ear cleaning or swimming.

Some tips for plucking ear hair:

  • Use blunt, Safety-Tip tweezers to avoid injuring the sensitive ear skin
  • Work carefully in small sections of hair rather than large tufts
  • Give lots of praise and treats to keep the process positive
  • Pair with weekly ear cleanings to establish a routine
  • Stop immediately if your dog seems distressed

With regular gentle plucking along with thorough ear cleaning and drying, you can help prevent accumulated gunk in the ears that leads to painful infections. Keeping the ears trimmed will allow air to better penetrate the canal and keep your Basset’s ears healthy. Do speak with your vet first to ensure plucking is appropriate for your dog’s ears. With some patience and positive reinforcement, regular plucking can become an essential part of protecting your best friend’s hearing and comfort.

Make Regular Ear Checks Part of Your Routine

As a dedicated Basset parent, making frequent ear checks part of your routine is crucial for identifying potential infections early. Catching problems when they first arise allows for easier, faster treatment.

  • Schedule weekly ear cleaning sessions to remove buildup of dirt, wax and debris using a veterinarian-approved cleanser. Always completely dry ears afterwards.
  • New Tip: Be alert for sudden head shaking or scratching at the ears. This likely signals discomfort or irritation. Check the ears for any abnormalities and call your vet promptly.
  • Keep sessions relaxed with positive reinforcement so your dog is comfortable with handling of their ears during exams and cleanings.
  • Consistent checks and cleanings will help you spot issues when treatment is simplest. Don’t wait until advanced symptoms appear.
  • Make ear health a priority through proactive care as part of your Basset’s regular grooming and healthcare routine.

Let me know if you would like me to modify or expand this section further to avoid redundancy and highlight the importance of routine ear checks and being alert for scratching/head shaking. I can also add another new tip if needed.

FAQs About Basset Hound Ear Infections

What are the most common symptoms of an ear infection in basset hounds?

Signs like head shaking, scratching at the ears, redness, swelling, odor, discharge, and dark brown wax buildup can indicate an outer, middle, or inner ear infection. Discomfort and irritation are common. Be on the lookout for these symptoms and inspect inside the ear flap and canal opening for any abnormalities. It’s important to identify an infection early when treatment is easiest. You know your dog best – don’t ignore any behavior that seems to indicate they are in pain or bothered by their ears.

My basset hound gets ear infections frequently. What can I do to help prevent them?

For dogs prone to chronic ear infections, be diligent about a thorough ear care routine. Regularly clean inside the ears using a veterinarian-recommended cleanser to remove wax, debris and allergens. Always completely dry the ears after – moisture left inside can allow bacterial overgrowth. Discuss prescription preventative medications with your vet that can be used routinely to keep the ears clean when no infection is present. Identify and manage any allergies, which are a common cause of inflammation and infection. Pluck excess hair around the outer ear occasionally with blunt tweezers to improve air circulation. And stay on top of visits with your vet to catch any problems before they worsen.

Are ear infections in basset hounds caused by their floppy ears?

Yes, the long droopy ear shape that bassets have tends to trap moisture, wax, dirt, and allergens inside the ear canal, leading to infection. The warm dark environment gives bacteria and yeast a place to thrive if debris builds up. That’s why regular cleaning and drying of the vulnerable ears is so important for these breeds. Work against their ear shape by keeping the canals clean and dry.

How can I make ear cleaning easier for my basset?

Make it a positive experience by giving praise and treats during and after cleaning. Always be gentle. Doing ear care along with brushing or nail trimming helps establish a regular routine. Take it slow and keep sessions short in the beginning if your dog is anxious. Use cotton balls soaked in cleaning solution to gradually get them used to having their ears handled. With patience and consistency, your basset will get more comfortable with the process.

When should I take my basset to the vet for an ear infection?

Schedule an appointment right away if you see head shaking, scratching, bad odor, discharge or other symptoms. Don’t try to wait it out. Getting an evaluation and treatment plan early is crucial to easing discomfort and curing the infection as quickly as possible. The longer an infection goes untreated, the worse it can get. Be proactive about your basset’s ear health.


Ear infection in dogs is a very common condition, with 20 percent of dogs experiencing some form of ear disease during their lifetime. For breeds like basset hounds and cocker spaniels with long, floppy ears that trap moisture and debris, painful outer and middle ear infections are unfortunately quite common.

As a dedicated dog parent, you can help prevent frustrating ear infections in your vulnerable floppy-eared pup. Be diligent about regularly cleaning your dog’s ears to keep their ear canals free of wax buildup and allergens. Always thoroughly dry their ears after to remove lingering moisture that may lead to ear infections. Monitor for any signs of ear infections like odor, discharge or head shaking and seek prompt veterinary attention. Work with your vet to explore prescription preventatives if your hound is prone to chronic or recurrent ear infections. Stay vigilant with regular ear checks during cleaning and grooming sessions to catch any problems early before they become severe.

With a diligent prevention-focused ear care routine, you can help your basset hound avoid recurring painful infections. Keeping their vulnerable ears clean, dry and healthy takes dedication, but is well worth it to save your dog discomfort and keep them happy. Be your canine companion’s ear ally.

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