Spring is here! Flowers are blooming, pollen is blowing, dogs are scratching.

It's that time of year again. Pollen season. And for those of us living in the south east, it has also been a pretty wet spring. The combination of pollen and warm, damp weather can easily lead to ear and skin inflammation and infections for our furry friends. If you haven't started a regular ear cleaning routine yet, this is a great time to start! A quick wipe of the inside of the ear with a cotton ball lightly dampened with either a mixture of equal parts organic apple cider vinegar (I like Bragg's) and filtered water, or witch hazel once a week before problems start can go a long way to keep them itch free.

Is your dog starting to develop itchy ears? Here's 3 signs there may be a problem:

1. Scratching- As soon as you notice your dog starting to scratch at his ears, take action. You may also notice them scratching at their neck or face.

2. Head shaking- When a dog is developing an ear infection, he will often shake his head, or tilt it to one side. You may also notice him holding an ear in a different position than normal.

3. Odor- If you notice an unpleasant, sickly sweet smell coming from your pet, it is a good clue they have a yeast infection. Malassezia is a type of yeast that grows normally in small amount on the skin and ears, but an overgrowth needs to be treated.

The sooner you you start treating your pet's ears the better. You can often keep irritation from becoming a full blown infection if you start early. But please, if your pet has an infection, or you aren't sure, take them to a Veterinarian, preferably a holistic or Integrative practitioner.