Hi, I'm Dr. Heindel and I'm going to help you with your question.
Please don't use rubbing alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide in the ear canal. It will disturb the pH of the canal, cause irritation, inflammation and pain, as well as dry out the ear.
what can I use as a home remendy
You can purchase an over the counter ear cleaner - specifically formulated to keep the pH balanced - at any pet store or through your vet. These are very rarely prescription.
Prescription ones must be used based on the organisms identified from an ear swab.
There is no good home remedy - witch hazel and mineral oil aren't a great choice either.
i have be advised that this condition maybe chronic,, what can I do to try to prevent further problems
Just use a tissue and GENTLY wipe out the ear. You can use plain water if it's crusty, but if it's the greasy brown stuff, ceruminous exudate, wiping it out with a tissue will help A LOT!
If your dog has a chronic issue, I cannot stress the need for diligence in cleaning the ears regularly. Get an EAR CLEANING SOLUTION ... again, from a pet store or your vet.
If you dog has a bacterial issue, your vet may recommend a prescription cleaner for that, or if it's yeast, there are prescription cleaners for that.
but how do you clean the lower ear canal
No one cleaner will do it all, but if you don't have a diagnoses of her specific issue, a general ear cleaner is the safest way to go.
Fill the canal with the cleaner - all the way full, until you can see the fluid ...
then, gently massage the entire base of the ear. Dogs usually like this, as they are itchy. You will hear the fluid sloshing.
The massaging action will loosen up the debris you cannot reach.
Then you can start wiping it out with a tissue. I typically recommend no more than 5 or 6 wipes per ear, as the wiping is irritating and you can cause abrasions. Give him a break and try again another time. If you do this daily, you'll eventually flush out the debris deeper in the canal.
You can use a Q-tip only for the crevices that you can see - don't stick it down deep, you can puncture the ear drum, and it's very painful.
Labs are prone to yeasty ears. Try cleaning with an ear cleaner daily for a week, then weekly from then on.
how do you know if the dog is in pain or just uncomfortable
Tilting the head, whining, shaking the head, scratching at ears. It's a sensitive area. I presume most/all are painful. If they are real bad, it's worth getting them diagnosed then getting the antibiotic/antifungal/steroid combo medication to treat them. Sometimes I even prescribe oral pain meds to make the dog more comfortable. If it's real bad, I give injections and do the first cleaning then have them come back in 3 days when the dog is far less painful.
Thank you Dr. Heindel,, you have been very helpfull
I'm glad to hear that :) If I've answered your question to your satisfaction, can you hit ACCEPT to close out the discussion? If you have a follow up question, you can shoot it out, no additional fee, so no worries!