Most owners know that they need to groom their pet regularly to ensure they have a glowing coat, feed premium dog food to help create a healthy digestive system and brush their canine companion's teeth for a set of shining gnashers.

But what about the ears? Unfortunately, many owners unwittingly neglect this part of their pooch's anatomy, as they are unaware of just how important ear care is.

However, ear infections are actually rather common in canines, so it's a good idea for all owners to make the effort to clean their pet's ears and to know what to do should something go wrong.

Every dog's ears should always be clear of any thick brown or green waxy discharge, and without redness, itchiness or unpleasant smells. What's more, it's also worth looking out for symptoms of ear problems, such as frequent scratching of the ears, shaking the head, holding it to one side or rubbing one side of their face along the floor.

In this case it is best to take your dog to the vet, who will be able to investigate to see if there is a medical problem and advise you on the best course of action.

In general, the best way to avoid ear infections is to clean your pet's ears regularly and check them for odour or discharge. Cleaning should be done using cotton balls and a special ear cleaner, which your vet can advise you on.

It's important to remember that dogs' ears are very delicate and rough cleaning can damage them or even perforate the ear drum. Cotton buds should, therefore, never be used for cleaning the ears and owners should always be very gentle.

Finally, if your dog is light coloured and has thin hair it might be worth applying sun cream to the ears during the summertime, as sunburn can lead to skin cancer in canines.

Written by: Hannah