How to Clean a Dog's Ears

Your dog's ear hygiene is important because it's very easy for him to get them dirty and infected. 
How to Clean a Dog's Ears

Last update: 19 August, 2018

The ear is one of the most sensitive parts of an animal’s body. At the same time, it can easily get dirty and develop infections right away. Therefore, you must learn how to clean your dog’s ears and prevent bad odors, redness, and bacteria from building up. Continue reading this article to find out how.

How to clean a dog’s ears

Sometimes dog owners forget to keep this part of the body clean because they spend most of their energy focusing on a dog’s fur, legs, and mouth. However, cleaning a dog’s ears is very important because this part of the body is very sensitive and prone to infections.

You should check your pet’s ears once a week or at least twice a month. How often will depend on the size and shape of his ears (a Cocker Spaniel’s aren’t the same as a Doberman’s).

Some dog breeds are more likely to have ear infections because their ears are “capped”, like the Basset Hound’s droopy ears. 

You should also clean your pet’s ears if rain water gets caught inside or if your dog has been immersed in the ocean or a swimming pool. Other external factors to take into consideration are the activities he does and the places he goes to. For example, if he has been to the beach, has gotten dirty in the park, or has rolled in mud.

Dog getting his ears checked

Tips for cleaning a dog’s ears

You should clean your dog’s ears at least once a month to prevent infections, and any germs and bacteria from building up. You can take advantage of bath time to do it, as long as you dry his ears well afterward. Pay attention to the following advice:

1. Examine your dog’s ears

Stoop down to your animal’s height and lift up his ears. Inspect them to see if there is only wax or dirt and no soil or sand. If that’s the case, you can clean his ears yourself.

However, take your dog to the vet immediately if you see any liquid draining the area, redness, or any brown, gray, or yellowish thick wax or even blood. The same goes if there is a strong odor, which may indicate infection.

2. Check for ticks or foreign objects

Dogs can host different organisms in their ears…ticks love them! It’s more likely for some foreign object to get inside your pet’s ears if he frequently goes into grassy and earthy areas.

If he has ticks, moisten a cotton swab with alcohol and press it on top of the parasite. Hold it there for a few seconds until it detaches itself from the skin. If you try to rip it out by force, you may end up hurting your dog.

how to clean a dog's ears

3. Buy a special solution

Pet stores sell specific products to clean your dog’s ears. Many use alcohol, but you should only use them on the outer part of the ears. For the inside, use a solution that won’t have any adverse effects.

4. Use a cotton ball

Take a cotton ball and moisten it with the cleaning solution. Carefully rub it in the dog’s ear. Keep in mind that you can only clean superficially, to keep cotton from lodging in the eardrum.

Remove all the dirt and debris you see. You might need to repeat the steps several times until everything is completely gone. Be gentle so you don’t injure the animal’s skin, and so he remains as still as possible.

5. Flush out his ears

Using the same solution as above, and if the veterinarian says it’s fine, you can flush out his ears and remove wax and dirt that are lodged deep down inside his ear canal. It’s easy: place the bottle tip in the ear and squeeze the bottle so the liquid comes out. Massage carefully and turn the dog’s head to the side so the mixture with wax and other elements drains out.

Finally, back away from your dog’s ears once you’re finished cleaning them. His first reaction will be to shake his head back and forth. Don’t worry, it’s normal.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.