Cleaning Dog’s Ears At Home with 9 Easy Steps & Helpful Tips

Cleaning Dog'S Ears At Home
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Dogs, like humans, require regular grooming to maintain their happiness and overall well-being. If you and your furry friend are comfortable with it, cleaning a dog’s ears at home is a simple task that can be easily done, even without professional help. If you’ve never done it before, you may be unsure of where to start. That’s why Canvas Personalized has created this helpful guide to show you how to properly clean your dog’s ears.

How Often Should You Clean Your Dog’s Ears?

Frequency Of Cleaning Dog'S Ears At Home
Frequency of Cleaning dog’s ears at home (Source: Scenthound)

The frequency of ear cleaning depends on several factors unique to your dog. Some dog breeds with droopy ears, like Cocker Spaniels and Basset Hounds, may need more frequent ear cleaning to prevent ear infections. The reason for this is that longer, droopy ears restrict air flow, making it easier for debris and moisture to get trapped in the ear canal. This can lead to the development of a yeast infection.

Water lovers have extra moisture in their ears, making them more prone to infections. Regular cleaning after swimming helps remove excess water and prevent problems. Keep an eye out for ear mites too, as these tiny parasites can also cause infections and spread between pets.

In general, maintain regular ear cleaning for your dog to prevent infections. However, be cautious not to clean too frequently, as it may lead to canal damage or irritation, which can exacerbate the issue. If you’re unsure, consulting with your vet is always a good idea. They have the expertise to suggest a cleaning schedule tailored to your dog’s specific requirements.

Signs Your Dog’s Ears Need Cleaning

Sign You Should Clean Your Dog'S Ears
Sign you should clean your dog’s ears (Source: Scenthound)

Before using a dog ear cleaner, check if your dog truly needs it. A healthy ear should be pink, odorless, and free from dirt or inflammation. Only clean the ear with a cleanser when you observe any changes.

If you observe a slight smell or notice your dog shaking their head frequently, it may be time for an ear cleaning. But if the ear appears red, inflamed, yeasty-smelling, or your dog seems in pain, skip the cleaning and head to your vet. These symptoms could indicate an ear infection, parasites like fleas or mites, or allergies, all requiring professional attention. Cleaning an infected ear can actually worsen the problem.

What You’ll Need When Cleaning Dog’s Ears at Home

Supplies To Successfully Clean Your Dog'S Ears
Supplies to successfully clean your dog’s ears (Source: Pupford)

Make sure you have the following on hand before you begin cleaning a dog’s ears at home:

  • Wet cotton wool or cotton wool pads.
  • A cleanser for the dog’s ears (never use human goods on a dog).
  • A clean, dry towel.
  • A pair of hands, particularly if your dog is uncomfortable having its ears touched.
  • Some treats for your dog to enjoy during and after the ear cleaning.

Cotton swabs or anything pointy are a big no-no for dog ears. These tools can shove dirt deeper into the ear canal, increasing infection risk and potentially injuring delicate inner structures.

Pro Tip: While cleaning your dog’s ears is a simple process, it may still be a bit of a mess. If your dog tends to move its head a lot while you’re cleaning its ears, you should do it in a place that’s easy to wipe down, like the restroom.

How To Clean a Dog’s Ears in 8 Steps

How To Clean A Dog'S Ears In 8 Steps
The best way to clean a dog’s ears at home (Source: Business Insider)

Step 1: Make sure your dog feels relaxed. Then, gently lift their ear flap and hold it between your thumb and forefinger for a clear view inside the ear canal.

Step 2: With the ear flap lifted, take a moment to examine the inside. It is common to observe a small amount of light-colored wax. Suppose there is a significant quantity, noticeable redness in the ears, pus, or a foul odor. In that case, it indicates a potential issue that should be addressed by a veterinarian.

Step 3: Place the tip of the dog-friendly ear cleaner into the ear canal, being careful not to insert it too deeply. Then, gently squeeze the solution onto the inner surface of the ear flap.

Step 4: Gently massage the base of the ear where the ear meets the head for about 30 seconds. This helps loosen wax debris and facilitate the passage of the cleaner into the ear. You might hear a squelching sound, which is normal (This is when the solution dislodges and dissolves any debris and buildup.)

Step 5: Allow your dog to shake their head freely. This helps dislodge loosened dirt and debris.

Step 6: After your dog has stopped shaking, use damp gauze pads or cotton balls to gently wipe away any excess solution, debris, or discharge from the outer ear and ear flap. Do not insert anything deeper than one knuckle into the ear canal.

Step 7: Follow the same steps for the other ear.

Step 8: Offer praise and a treat to your dog for being a good sport!

>>> Read more: Say Goodbye to Dog Hair Everywhere: 15 Best Anti-Shedding Dog Shampoo Ideas

Tips for Safely Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears At Home

  • Go slow and be gentle.

The key to successful ear cleaning is a relaxed dog. Ideally, get your pup used to ear handling from a young age. However, this isn’t always the case with rescues or older dogs. Always start by gently touching and stroking their ears to see their reaction. If they seem tense or resist, don’t force it! A stressed dog can make cleaning difficult and potentially harmful. In these cases, your vet can handle the cleaning calmly and professionally.

  • Consider using a helper.

If your dog is large or restless, having someone hold them while you clean their ears can be helpful.

  • Only use veterinary dog ear-cleaning solutions:

Homemade dog ear cleaners can be risky, containing ingredients irritating your dog’s ears or simply being ineffective. Instead, opt for safe and effective solutions formulated specifically for dogs. Most veterinary clinics carry ear cleaners, and your vet can recommend the best one for your dog’s unique needs. Some solutions might be better suited for specific situations like yeast infections or excess wax buildup.

Veterinary Dog Ear-Cleaning Solutions
Veterinary dog ear cleaner (Source: Amazon)

>>Further reading:

By following these steps and consulting with your veterinarian for personalized advice, you can become a pro at cleaning your dog’s ears at home. Remember, regular ear cleaning is a key part of your dog’s overall health and well-being. Not only will it prevent uncomfortable infections, but it also allows you to regularly monitor their ears for any potential issues. Canvas Personalized hopes that our guide can help you confidently tackle ear cleaning and enjoy a healthy, happy pup with wagging ears!