Category Archives: DIY

Ear Meds- How To

How to Administer Ear Medication
By Dr. Karen Burgess


Understanding the Ear

  • Always remember that the ear is a delicate structure. When inflamed or infected it may be very painful.ear pinna
  • The ear is really just a canal or tube lined by skin. If a pet has underlying skin disease it is common to also have ear issues and it is fairly uncommon for a pet to just “get an ear infection”. Instead it is often a sign of underlying skin disease or systemic allergies.
  • The anatomy of some breeds can affect the ear’s ability to stay healthy. Whether it is a too narrow passage or an ear with excessive secretions these are typically lifelong issues.
  • The ear canal is L-shaped with a vertical and horizontal portion. The vertical portion is visible to the naked eye, the horizontal portion is visible only via a veterinarian’s otoscope. The tympanic membrane (TM) lies at the end of the horizontal canal.  Often a pet owner may see a normal appearing vertical canal while the otoscope may reveal a completely occluded horizontal canal.  To address ear disease both the vertical and horizontal portion of the ear must be treated while protecting the TM.  The TM or eardrum can be damaged by disease, medications, or objects placed into the ear (i.e. Qtips).  While the eardrum can heal, damage can also potentially affect hearing longterm.

Medicating 101

  • If you feel you are not able to safely treat your pet’s ears, do not proceed. Ear cleaning can be scary and painful which could potentially make a normally docile animal become aggressive.
  • Before starting, gather supplies: ear medication, towels, treats, old clothing.
  • Location, location, location-find an area where your pet can be confined. An elevated surface or corner of a room often works well. Having an extra pair of hands is often helpful.  For smaller animals a towel can be used to “burrito” wrap and better control the process.


  • Find an appropriate area to work in. Flooring with good grip or the ability to have your pet sit with their bottom against a corner or wall may be helpful.
  • Hold the ear flap up vertically with your non-dominant had allowing visualization of the ear canal.

ear 1

  • Holding medication in dominant hand, place the opening of the ear medication (often a spigot or long slender dropper) over the opening into the ear canal and gently squeeze instilling ointment or liquid into canal.

ear 2

  • Hold the ear flap (also called the pinna) closed like a resealable bag. Massage the base of the ear briefly as long as not too uncomfortable for pet.
  • Allow pet to shake head, medication may come out but some will stay in. Wipe inner ear flap if necessary to clean off any residual debris.
  • Give treats and verbal praise throughout process.


Skunk Bath Remedy

Skunk Bath Remedy
By Dr. Karen Burgess


  • 1 quart 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
  • ¼ cup Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon liquid soap (Dawn Dishwashing Detergent is often recommended, but any dish soap will work)
  • Rubber Latex Gloves

Mix ingredients in an open container (bucket or bowl); it will be fizzy-  a clue that you should not  try to mix it or store it in a bottle or other closed container.

Thoroughly wet your dog with warm water and then with the solution while it is still bubbling.  Knead it well into his coat, to chemically alter every bit of the oils on his hair.  Be careful to keep the formula out of the dog’s eyes, nose, and mouth; you can use a sponge to carefully wipe it onto his face.  Let the solution stand for 10 minutes before rinsing.  Follow the bath with a thorough rinse.  Be sure to protect the eyes when rinsing the head.  Chances are you will not get all of the smell off of the face and may have to wait for it to ear off.  You can try Tricotine Liquid Douche Concentrate or any over-the-counter douche.

After bathing, check your dog’s eyes.  If they are red and watering, your dog may have taken a direct hit in the face.  Skunk spray will not blind the dog, but it is very painful.  Contact a vet.