Maltese Ear Care – Why do my Maltese Ears Smell?

As a dog breed, Maltese dogs have small drop shaped ears. Drop shaped ears on dogs are ears which hang down and in Maltese dogs these drop ears hang very close to the dogs face. But you want to know why your Maltese puppy’s ears are smelling weird. Well we may have the answer.

The most likely cause of a Maltese with a funny or weird smell in their ears is that your dog has an ear infection. All dogs need regular ear care which includes cleaning so that they do not develop ear infections. Ear infections are more common in dogs which have the drop ears like the Maltese does.

This is because drop ears are restricted in the airflow they receive which unfortunately makes it very easy for infections to develop. Infections can develop because any moisture that occurs in the ears are likely to remain in the ears and not be released. As the moisture sits in the ears the ears then become a breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria and are also susceptible to the growth of yeast and fungi.

This article will cover all the details about Maltese dog ear cleaning including how often you should clean them and how to clean them. It will also address ear infection signs, prevention and treatment so that your dog doesn’t have to suffer through ear infections.

Maltese ear infections can be painful

Maltese Ear Care – How Often ?

Your Maltese should have their ears cleaned at least once and month as recommended by most veterinarians. Any more often then this frequency is not recommended as it can cause dry ear canals. There are exceptions to this and if you are instructed by your pets veterinarian to do it more often then take their advice as they know your Maltese more intimately than a general guideline. to do so. Some dogs can have issues with ear wax build up and may need their ears to be cleaned more often. If you think your dog has a problem in relation to too much ear wax generation then it is recommended to seek medical advice from your local vet.

Maltese Ear Care – Why is it Needed ?

The Maltese’s ear will hold a substantial amount of ear wax. Ear wax is a necessary component of the dogs ear as it traps any small particles or debris which flies in the air and is trying to enter the ear canal. Because the ear wax grabs onto this debris and particles it will need to be cleaned to remove these debris and particles, but the cleaning is also required to remove any excess ear wax build up. It is also important to do clean the Maltese’s ear to help remove any moisture which has entered the ears. If moisture enters the dogs ears and stays there for a long period of time then an infection is likely to develop. If you clean your Maltese ears on a regular basis as recommended, which was once a month, then you should be able to avoid ear infections from occurring and this will save your Maltese a lot of ear pain.

Water buildup in ears can cause ear infections

Maltese Ear Care – How to clean a Maltese’s Ear ?

You can clean your Maltese ears easily at home. If you do not feel confident to do an ear cleaning then you can seek the services of a dog groomer or even your veterinarian. Keep it mind it is very easy to do and once you have attempted it yourself, you will see it is something you can achieve at home provided you have the correct supplies and know the process (which is outlines below) to follow for ear care.

Equipment Needed:

  • Ear Cleaner Solution
  • Cotton Balls or Sterile Gauze

The first of the two items which you will need to perform your Maltese ear cleaning is an ear cleaning solution which will come in a bottle which has a tapered tip. This tapered tip is important as the tapered tip will allow you to get the ear cleaner into the Maltese ear more easily.

You will also need cotton balls or sterile gauze type pads. It is important to use a sterile wiping technique when cleaning your dogs ears as you want to be sure to keep all the germs and bacteria from re entering your dogs ears. When using cotton balls you may find you have to tear it into a smaller piece, this is because Maltese ears are very small and a full size cotton ball may be too big to wipe with.

The steps to clean the Maltese ears are as follows:

  1. Find a quite and comfortable space for your dog, you want to have them as relaxed as possible. It is also a good idea to have your ear care supplies ready to begin and within reach.
  2. Lift your dogs ear flap, and using the tapered tip, squirt a small amount of ear cleaner into your dogs ear canal. Your dog may try and shake its head at this time but that is a completely normal reaction to water in its ears and is actually beneficial as it will help to move the ear cleaning solution further into the ear and around the ear canal.
  3. To move the solution around further massage the base of your dogs ear for 2 to 4 minutes. If you hear any swishing or water movement sounds this is very normal and expected so there is not a cause for concern.
  4. Using your cotton or gauze wipe out the ear canal as far down as it is comfortable for you to go. Do not try and go too far down as this can be painful for your dog. The liquid that you are wiping out of the Maltese ears may have some black, brown or grey debris but this is completely normal as this is what you are cleaning out. Keep wiping the ear until there is no longer any debris and the ear appears to be clean.

If you wish, in between the monthly ear cleaning ,you can use an ear wipe to clean the ear flap so that you can remove any obvious debris . Because the Maltese ears can sometimes be more sensitive then other breeds it is recommended to use a wipe that is gentle and not overly drying.

Maltese Ear Care – Ear Infections

Ear infections are a common issue with the Maltese dog breed and are cited as the number 1 reason for dog illness visits to the vets. Most dogs will have at least one ear infection it their lifetime so it is a very common issue that owners will need to deal with and can prevent.

Even though ear infections in Maltese are common it should be noted that just as in humans an ear infection in dogs can be very painful. This is why it is important to recognize the symptoms and occurrence of an infection as quickly as possible. This will allow for a fast diagnosis and for treatment to begin as soon as possible for your Maltese puppy.

There are a few different types of ear infections found in dogs. These infections can include yeast infections, fungi infections and bacterial infections. There is also the possibility of ear mites, ticks and also foreign bodies in the ear which can cause pain. On the extreme level, and keep in mind it is very rare, but there is also the possibilities of tumors or a hematoma.

There are signs and symptoms which you can watch out for that can point to your dog having an ear infection and these include:

  • Tilting of the head. If you see your dog tilting their head often this could be an ear infection.
  • Shaking of the head . Your dog may feel pressure in the ears and try to shake it out.
  • Pawing at the ears . Your Maltese will rub their ears if they are in pain or discomfort.
  • Rubbing ears against hard surfaces like carpet or grass. Just like pawing at their ears your Maltese will rub against objects if they feel discomfort and pain to try and find some relief.
  • Discharge from the ear . This discharge can be any color but is commonly yellow or brown.
  • Bad odor coming from the ears. Infections tend to have a smell associated with them and it will be noticeable.
  • Small black specks in the ears. If you look inside your Maltese ears you may see small black specks which are not dirt. If there is a worrying amount see a vet.
  • Crusting on the ear canal. Infections can cause a crust to form within the ear.
  • Signs of being in pain if the ear is touched. Infections cause pain so this is an obvious sign you should take your Maltese companion to the veterinarian.

To diagnose an ear infection in your dog it is important to take your dog to a veterinarian. While it may be tempting to simply treat the ear infection yourself at home this is not advised. This is because you are not an expert in ear infections and also there are a few types of ear infections and each one is treated differently. There will be no relief for your dog if you are treating it for a yeast infection when it is a bacterial infection and so on. Using the right treatment is paramount to a quick remedy for your pet.

Once the type of infection is diagnosed by the vet you should be able to treat the infection in your Maltese ear at home. Usually once diagnosed the veterinarian will flush the dogs ears and then apply some medicated ear drops. You will then typically be sent home with some anti – inflammatory medicine, some antibiotics and instructions on how to treat the infection and signs to keep an eye on which may require further veterinary attention. Most ear infections take 7 to 10 days to completely clear up but your Maltese should show signs of improvement much sooner such as 2 to 3 days.

Maltese Ear Care
Maltese Ear Care

Maltese Ear Care – Preventing Maltese Ear Infections

Prevention is always the best option when it comes to Maltese ear infections. Some dogs will be more prone to ear infections than others and sadly some dogs will suffer from chronic problems with ear infections all throughout their lives. Whatever the case , ear infections can be avoided or at least lessened if you are strict in relation the the maintenance of your dogs ear cleaning and do a thorough job when you do clean the dogs ears.

Some handy tips to prevent ear infections in your Maltese include:

  • Making sure that your Maltese always has cotton balls placed in their outer ear canal when you are bathing them. Doing this step is extremely important in lessening or eliminating ear infections in your Maltese. This is because the cotton ball creates a barrier so that water cannot get into the ear and create a moisture build up. Any moisture build up can quickly develop into an ear infection as was noted earlier in the article.
  • If your dog gets its ears wet in any water activity like swimming it is advisable to clean their ears straight after that activity. Sometimes your dog will get wet when you do not expect it. Inquisitive dogs may explore in a lake or river or may jump in front of the garden hose or sprinkler. By cleaning their ears straight away you are helping stop an ear infection developing. This works because cleaning the ear as soon as possible will help to remove any water that may have penetrated into the dogs ear canal and stop a moisture lock from occurring in the dogs ear canal.
  • Make sure you are vigilant about cleaning your Maltese ears. By making sure you clean your dogs ears once a month (unless specified more frequently by a veterinarian) this will ensure that the ears are free from debris and particles which could cause an infection and give the ears the best chance at staying healthy. To ensure you follow the schedule and keep yourself accountable it is a good idea to make a note of when a cleaning session for your Maltese ears is due. Simply setting a reminder on your phone or jotting it on a calendar or planner is a great way to remember. Another tip for setting yourself up for good care of your Maltese ears is to make sure you always have the supplies of ear cleaner and gauze and/or cotton balls on hand and replenish the supplies as needed.

Wrapping it up

Hopefully this article was useful and provided the best advice possible on ear care for your Maltese puppy. If you have any more tips or suggestions or there was a question which you still had unanswered after reading the article why not let us know in the comments and we will update the article with the answers for others. We strive to provide the best advice for your Maltese possible.