How to Clean Dog’s Ears at Home: 5 Steps

An important part of caring for your dog is cleaning the ears. Ear-cleaning is a part of your pet’s grooming too. Keeping your pups’ ears clean prevents bacteria, parasites, and painful ear infections.

The schedule of cleaning the ears of your dog depends on the breed or type of dog. Some dogs DO NOT require frequent cleaning of their ears. Breeds such as Shih Tzu, poodles, and dachshunds are more prone or at high risk to ear infections and problems. Breeds like these often need ear-cleaning to reduce any ear infections. Also, dogs who spend a lot of time in the water need frequent cleaning too.

But any other dogs or any kind of breeds can build or are open to these infections. Having it cleaned regularly is quite challenging, but with proper assessment and methods will help you make it easier.

So here’s a know-how-to guide on how to clean dog’s ears.

How to Know When Its Time to Clean Your Dog’s Ears

Before doing the necessary cleaning, it is important to check first if your dog needs ear cleaning. Because over-cleaning can cause irritation that can lead to infection or other problems. So, how can we make sure when its time for an ear cleaning.?

It is recommended to have your dog ears clean when you notice that there is a discharge or you see wax or when the ears have a mild odor.

To assess your dog’s ears, simply flip up the pinna of the ears and take a look, touch and smell the ears. If you see a wax, and it has an odor, but make sure that this is odor is not stinky (it’s a sign of infected ear) and your dog keeps on wiggling his head, these calls for an ear-cleaning session.

When Not to Clean Your Dog’s Ears

In some cases, there were situations that you should NOT clean your dog’s ears. The following are symptoms of infected ears if you notice these symptoms, do not hesitate to consult your vet right away.

  • Strong odor in the ears
  • Redness or swelling of the ear canals
  • Excessive scratching or rubbing at the ears
  • Have sensitivity or in pain when ears are touched
  • Frequently ear snapping

Remember, when in doubt, the wisest decision you could do is to consult your vet, trust them they know best.

Important Facts You Need to Know About Your Dog’s Ears

  1. Dogs’ ears are sensitive.
  2. Dogs’ do not like the idea of getting their ears cleaned.
  3. Improper cleaning of dogs’ ears can possibly cause serious damage to dogs’ ears and to the overall health of dogs.

Cleaning your dog’s ears at home is easy. So here is a list of the proper things and procedures you should do in cleaning your dog’s ears.

What You’ll Need

  • Ear cleaning solution (must be veterinarian-approved )
  • Cotton balls/pads or gauze
  • Towels 

*** DO NOT use anything that has a pointed tip, like cotton Q-tips in cleaning your dog’s ears. Using cotton tip applicator pushes the debris inner and deeper down the ear canal.

*** DO NOT use solutions with hydrogen peroxide or alcohol this can cause irritation to your dog’s ear canals.

Note: The ear-cleaning process may get messy, so best to do it outside or in the bathroom.

Both you and your dog should be prepared before cleaning. Make your dog comfortable. Touch your dog’s ears, massage it, touch it over and over around its ears to ensure that your dog is comfortable with the process of cleaning. 

Step-By-Step on How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears at Home

1. Begin with one side, hold the ear flap up and squeeze your veterinarian-approved solution on the flap near the opening.

Tip: You can also soak a cotton ball with the ear solution then place it in their ear(just on the opening or top of the flap).

2. Massage the ear base gently for a couple of seconds, this will help the solution fill or drip in the solution to your dog’s ear canal. 

You’ll be able to hear a squishing sound while massaging as the solution drips in the ridges of the canal as it dislodges buildup and debris.

Tip: Give your dog a treat while doing this step to keep it distracted and stays in its place.

3. After removing the cotton balls,(if you did my tip on step 1) Give your dog an opportunity to shake his head. This will allow the debris to fall out or come out. Then use the towels to wipe his face and yourself too.

Tip: You may want to wear its collar and leash at the whole process to keep the dog stay in its place and to keep him close to you and not to make the mess scattered around the place. 

4. Once your dog did a great job of shaking, wipe away any loose dirt or earwax using cotton balls or gauze. Then repeat the whole process on the other side.

5. Once you’re done, be sure to reward your dog with praises and its favorite treats.

Note: If you notice that your dog seems to be sick or in pain during or after the cleaning process, this calls for special attention. Check if the dog keeps shaking his head irritable, its ears looked reddish or looked inflamed seek to your veterinary immediately. These symptoms may indicate infections or any other problem so, better consult your vet right away.

Easy to Remember Steps:

  1. Squeeze ear-cleaning solution
  2. Massage the base
  3. Let them shake
  4. Wipe the ears
  5. Reward your dog with its fave treat

FAQ: MY dog has a lot of hair in its ear canal, should I pluck it?

If your dog’s ear has a lot of hairs near the ear canal, it is a must to pluck it out or trim it prior to ear cleaning. Most pet owners use tweezer or hemostat (a nose blunt-tweezers) to take the hair out in the ear canal.

To pluck or remove the hair in the ears, simply pluck a small amount of hair using your finger or tweezers or hemostat. This shouldn’t be painful for your dog. After plucking wipe out the ears with cotton pads or clean cloth to remove the excess hair in the ears. After this, do not forget to give your dog a lot of praise and treats as well. This will help your dog get used and enjoy this routine.

But if you’re afraid to do this, simply ask your vet or the pet groomer to the job for you.

Now you’re all done and your dog’s ears are all cleaned and healthy! Good job buddy!

Inspect your dog’s ears regularly. Clean the ears more routinely to prevent future infections and other problems that can affect the well being of your pet. Thorough and appropriate cleaning is a must routine. And keep in mind that cleaning your dog’s ear is a part of their grooming. Cleaning should always be done calmly. Just love what your doing and everything will fall into your hands easily and can fun. All cleaned ears mean a healthy life for your dog and for yourself as well. Nurture yourself having a good bond with your pet!

Step-By-Step on How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears

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