Can I stop the build-up of wax in my dog's ears?

(Q) Odie, our Basset Hound, has terrible trouble with wax in his ears. He's three years old and won't let me near his ears unless I have treats for him.

We send him to a dog groomer who manages to get them clean, but I was wondering if there is anything we can do to help stop the build-up? His ears are tied up when he eats.

(A) Vet Roberta Baxter says: It may just be that Odie needs to have his ears cleaned out on a regular basis, say once or twice weekly, with a gentle cleanser to prevent wax building up, making him uncomfortable and predisposing him to ear infections.

A few drops of cleanser can be instilled into the ear, the ear is then massaged, any discharge wiped away with clean cotton wool, and the process repeated. Without regular cleaning some dogs do build up wax in their ears.

It is also worth pointing out that wax build-up may be stimulated by low-grade infections, allergies, or conformational problems (such as having narrow ear canals) and it may also be worth having Odie's ears checked out by your vet to find out if there is an underlying problem that needs addressing.