Learning how to clean dog ears takes patience and practice. Depending on your dog, some may not mind this task, while it’s safe to say others aren’t particularly fond of it. In either case, you need to learn the dos and don’ts to get this job done.
Here we’ll outline the best method for cleaning your dog’s ears, including tips on how often you should do it. It is essential that you take the time to check your dog’s ears and clean them if necessary; otherwise, it can lead to problems over time, such as ear infections. Once cleaned, your pup can return to one of the best dog bedshappy and healthy.
How to clean dog ears
What you need
Dog Ear Cleaning Solution
Before attempting to clean your dog’s ears, understand how comfortable your dog is with this task.
Try gently petting your dog’s ears and see how they react as you handle it. If they seem uncomfortable, don’t try to clean them. In this case, the chore is best handled by the vet. If your dog shows no signs of discomfort, continue with the following steps. If they seem nervous, you can always motivate them with some treats and hugs.
1. Prepare yourself – You will need to purchase a special dog ear cleaning solution such as Pro Pooch Dog Ear Cleaner Solution ($7.99, Amazon†
Do not use anything else, including cleaners containing hydrogen peroxide – this can irritate your dog’s skin, which is particularly sensitive around the ears. You should also have a towel ready for later at this stage.
2. Get in the best position — Ideally, you want your dog to be calm and for you to be in a position where you can help keep him still. Sit on the floor with your dog’s back between your legs. If your dog is too big to do this, it’s best to sit on one side with the other against a wall.
3. Apply the ear cleaner — Follow the dosage instructions on your ear cleaning solution and apply to your dog’s ear canal. If your dog has floppy ears, you may need to hold the flap upright while doing this up to step 6.
Try not to let the tip of the applicator touch the inside of the ear as this can spread bacteria. If so, soak a cotton ball in alcohol and wipe the tip clean. Don’t worry if some of the solution leaks out of the ear.
4. Massage it in – Massage the solution from the base of the ear for about 20-30 seconds. You may hear some squishing and squelching as the wax loosens.
5. Dry the excess – Now wipe the solution away from the ear canal with a cotton ball, but do not go more than an inch deep.
Do not use cotton swab applicators at this stage or you risk perforating the eardrum. You could also push any earwax further into the ear.
6. Make your dog shake his head – Now, with your towel at the ready, let your dog shake his head to get rid of excess water (at this stage, you may want to protect yourself with the towel). Then immediately wipe your dog’s face, outer ear, and anywhere he’s spilled the solution.
7. Dry the Residue — Now wipe off the last remaining solution with a cotton ball and repeat step 5.
If your dog appears to be in pain at any step of this process, relieve yourself gently and take him to the vet immediately. When you’re done, repeat with the other ear and you’re done!
Make sure you give your dog lots of treats as a reward.
When should I clean my dog’s ears?
Not all dogs need to clean their ears, and too much cleaning can actually lead to more problems, such as infections. Therefore, you should only clean your dog’s ears when necessary.
If you notice that your dog’s ears are starting to smell bad, or if your dog is constantly shaking his head, it’s a sign that it’s time to clean the ears. Healthy ears will generally be pink and odorless. Do not clean the ears if they appear infected – take your dog to the vet for an examination.
It’s worth noting that dogs that spend a lot of time in the water may need to have their ears cleaned more often.
For more cleaning tips, tricks and how-tos, check out our guides to walking dogs in the snow – 6 essential safety tips, these 10 common houseplants that are toxic to cats and dogs and the best robot vacuums for pet hair.