Q: I have two Dalmatians--a mother and a son--who are constantly licking the insides of each other's ears, the son in particular . She also does it to him, but not to the same extent. I am always having to clean out the saliva, which neither of them likes, but they still don't stop. Have you any suggestions?--D.D. A: Licking of the ears is a natural grooming behavior among dogs. However, certain ear infections create odors that will promote excessive licking. In your case, it may be that the mother is grooming, but that she's got an infection. Common causes of inflammation of the external ear canal, called otitis externa, may be foreign bodies such as foxtails, dirt, sand, matted hair or dried medications; parasitic ear infections, for the most part caused by ear mites; hormonal imbalances; allergies; fungi, yeasts, and a wide range of bacteria.