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How to clean dog ears

10/09/20 3:58 PM

How to clean dog ears

Just like humans, dogs need to have their ears cleaned regularly for good health. Since they can’t do it themselves, it’s up to you to do it for them! Luckily, it’s not hard. Here’s what you need to know about how to clean a dog’s ears.

How To Tell When a Dog’s Ears Need Cleaning

The general rule of thumb is to clean your dog’s ears anywhere from once a month to once a week as part of a regular hygiene routine, even if they appear clean. But if you notice any of these signs, it could mean your dog’s ears need an extra cleaning:

  • Funky odor
  • Shaking or tilting head
  • Scratching ear with paw
  • Rubbing ear against the furniture or the floor

How to tell when dog ears need cleaning

Dog ear smell and itchy ears can also be signs of an ear infection. Here are other signs to look out for that can indicate an infection:

  • Discharge
  • Crusts or scabs
  • Redness
  • Swollen or hot ears
  • Rarer signs include balance issues and unusual eye movements. If you see any potential signs of infection, skip cleaning your dog’s ears for now and visit the vet instead.

    Dog Ear Cleaning Supplies

    You don’t need many supplies to clean your dog’s ears. In fact, you only need two, with an optional third:

    • Cotton balls or gauze (not cotton buds)
    • Dog ear cleaning solution
    • Optional: dog treats

    You can find many over-the-counter ear cleaning solutions for dogs. If you want to make a DIY dog ear cleaner, ask your vet for advice on what to use, as some advise against using things like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and rubbing alcohol.

    How To Clean Dog Ears

    Step 1.

    Pick a time when your dog is lying down but awake. Have them lie down on your lap if you like.

    Step 2.

    Hold your dog’s ear flap up to expose the ear canal. Gently squeeze the cleaning solution into your dog’s ear according to the package directions.

    Step 3.

    Massage the base of the ear for about 20 seconds, or as long as the package directions say. This helps loosen dog ear wax and allows the cleaning solution to get to work.

    Step 4.

    Take a cotton ball or gauze and wipe away any remaining liquid, wax, and debris. Remember not to go far into the ear canal, and to never use a cotton bud to clean your dog’s ears. Your dog may vigorously shake their head at this point – you could end up with some splatter from their ears, so be prepared!

    Step 5.

    Repeat on the other side.

    Step 6.

    Optional – give them a treat for being such a good dog!

    Cleaning Your Dog's Ears is An Important Part of Dog Health and Hygiene

    Dog’s ears need regular cleaning to remove wax, bacteria, dirt, and other debris that can cause problems down the road if not taken care of. Now you know how to clean your dog’s ears and you see it doesn’t take much time, effort, or equipment, so get to it!