How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears

yorkshire-terrier-with-bowAdopting a weekly routine of examining and cleaning your dog’s ears is a good habit to get into because you’ll be able to identify and treat signs of dog ear infection as soon as they become apparent.

I’ve set out below the method I use for [tag-tec]cleaning dog ears[/tag-tec] and which has been effective in keeping Zoe and Fritz free from ear infections.

If your vet prescribes medication for an existing [tag-tec]dog ear infection[/tag-tec], you should clean your dog’s ears before applying it – the medication will be much more effective if it is put in a clean ear.


Your weekly routine should comprise:

Examining the ears

  • Look at the outer ear flap – check to see if there has been any hair loss and if the ear is red, swollen and/or painful.
  • Examine the inner ear flap – it should be pink in color and there may be a small amount of discharge, this is normal. Abnormalities include: redness of the ear flap; excessive discharge from the ear, particularly yellow or brown in color; a smell coming from your dog’s ear; and/or your dog shaking his head as you examine his ears.

If there are any signs of abnormalities, you should make an appointment to see your vet so he can diagnose the cause.

Do not proceed with cleaning your dog’s ears because the products you use may irritate your dog’s ears and actually do more harm than good.

Cleaning the ears

Cleaning your dog’s ears can get messy – it’s a shock for your dog when you put liquid into his ear so his natural reaction is to jerk his head away, leaving most of the ear cleaner on you. If the ear cleaner is at room temperature or above before you use it will reduce the shock for your dog.

Some dogs will happily stand whilst you clean their ears, others will always be fidgets and need some restraining; however try not to hold your dog too tightly as this will stress him and make him more determined to pull away from you.

To begin with squirt a few drops of ear cleaning solution over the inside of the ear flap, and then put the nozzle of the bottle a couple of millimeters into the ear canal letting a few drops of the solution go into the ear canal.

Do not squeeze the bottle when the nozzle is in the ear canal because the pressure of the liquid being squirted into the ear can rupture your dog’s eardrum.

Try and keep the nozzle from scratching the inside of your dog’s ear because this can damage the skin and can lead an ear infection.

Your dog is likely to shake his head as soon as the ear cleaner is put into his ear – a lot of the ear cleaner will come out, and hopefully some debris too. If you can see any debris on the ear flap, remove it with a dry cotton ball.

Settle your dog and then massage the bottom of his ear between your thumb and forefinger for 20 seconds or so to ensure the remaining ear cleaning solution is well distributed in the ear canal. After you’ve done this, it will be natural for your dog to want to shake his head again.

This shake of the head should remove most of the remaining wax and debris from the ear canal. Take some cotton balls and wipe the ear flap clean – you’ll be surprised at the amount of wax and debris that comes out! You can clean around the nooks and crannies with a Q-Tip but never insert the end of Q-Tip into the ear canal – only clean as much of the ear as you can see.

Pushing a Q-Tip into your dog’s ear canal can rupture the ear drum and/or push any debris further into the ear thereby compacting it and making it difficult to remove at a later date.

Zoe and Fritz have hairy ears, which makes them predisposed to ear infections. Once I’ve cleaned their ears, I make sure they are really dry by wiping the hair in their ears with cotton balls and gently holding their ear flaps back for a couple of minutes to make sure the ear dries out. When they are groomed, their groomer pulls out most of their ear hair for me.

If you find that your dog’s ears don’t accumulate too much wax and debris, you do not need to wash the ear canal with ear cleaner each week; once a month should be sufficient. In between ear washes just wipe as much of the ear as you can see with a cotton ball soaked in ear cleaner solution to remove any wax and debris that has been expelled from the ear canal.

Be Sociable, Share!

Speak Your Mind

*