Skin, Ear & Teeth Problems

Below is an outline of problems we frequently see in the grooming salon. If you notice a smell, discharge or any discomfort, we recommend to take your dog to a vet.


Dogs exposed regularly to wet environments should have cotton balls or other soft padding placed into their ears to reduce the influx of moisture. If water does enter the ears, they should be dried gently. Topical drying agents can help but should not be used if the eardrum has ruptured.
Routine ear cleaning is not normally required, unless a dog is prone to developing waxy build-up. When cleaning is appropriate, owners should avoid using irritating substances like alcohol, ether or hydrogen peroxide. Owners shouldn’t insert cotton swabs (“Q-Tips”) into their dog’s ears, as this can force debris down the ear canal and contribute to ear infections. It also can cause the ear drum to rupture.

Parasites can cause tremendous ear irritation. Fleas that infest a dog’s ears are particularly disturbing and can cause tissue erosion in addition to intense itchiness, which leads to scratching and self-inflicted wounds. Mange mites, and/or sarcoptic mites, often settle in ears, causing hair loss, itchiness and inflammation. They can also contribute to waxy build up in the ear canal.

Infection usually produces a characteristic dark discharge; in some cases, the ear canal can become entirely obstructed by this coffee ground-like debris.

These mites are highly contagious, ear mites are most common in outdoor cats, who can infect their canine companions. They are most often passed from pet to pet in casual contact at home or outside.


These are the main categories of dermatitis veterinarians consider whenever a dog skin problem is presented. Most skin and coat abnormalities can be defined by or placed in one of these categories:

  • Environmental – commonly problems arising from pollens, grasses, chemicals
  • Nutritional – wheat, wheat husk, corns, preservatives and cereals are the most common reasons for skins conditions in dogs today. Most of these ingredients are cheap to produce and are the main ingredient in dog biscuits. We recommend a diet based on raw food and bones (which are also great for teeth cleaning)
  • Parasitic – fleas, mites, tics
  • Allergic – reaction to introduced aggressor, usually through food or enviroment
  • Neurogenic – brain disorders
  • Infectious – acquired through exposure
  • Allergic Dermatitis caused by wheat intolerance


You may not even know when your dog has oral discomfort. This is part of his ancestry -- in the wild, showing pain would make a dog vulnerable to attack. Today's domestic canines maintain this instinct, so you have to do your best to watch for signs: changes to eating habits or loss of appetite, unusual night awakenings, rubbing the face against things or facial swelling.

Any time you suspect a problem, check with your vet If your dog's problem requires a procedure -- such as a tooth extraction or professional cleaning -- he'll probably be given a general anesthetic to make him more comfortable during the procedure. When he wakes up, he'll be happy to be relieved of that nagging ache in his mouth!

  • Loose teeth and misaligned teeth - can create pain and difficulty chewing
  • Periodontal Disease - Does she leave spots of blood on them after she's enjoyed a chew toy or vigorous playtime? Swollen, bleeding gums are a symptom of periodontal disease, the most commonly diagnosed oral problem in dogs.
  • Tooth Trauma - Keep an eye on what your dog chomps on. A hearty chew is great for his oral hygiene, but chewing the wrong object can leave him in dental distress. Rigid, solid objects can break or crack a tooth. A broken or cracked tooth can also result from an impact injury, tugging games or too-rough play.
  • Tooth Root Abscess - One of the more agonizing oral problems your dog may experience is a tooth root abscess. This occurs if the root of the tooth became exposed to bacteria perhaps from a crack or break, or from advanced gum damage due to periodontal disease and an infection has set in. Signs that may indicate an abscess might be difficulty eating - your dog may be dropping food, tipping her head to one side or may avoid eating at all. As the abscess builds up, you may notice facial swelling. Depending on which tooth is affected, it may look like her eye is infected or inflamed, due to the proximity of the tooth’s root to the eye

** Dental problems - if left too long - can create heart problems.
Attend to the teeth regularly to avoid further complications.

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