How to Clean Dog Ears in 7 Simple Steps

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Learning how to clean dog ears takes patience and practice. Depending on your dog, some don’t mind this task, while it’s safe to say that others don’t particularly like it. Either way, you need to learn what you should and shouldn’t do to get the 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 later problems, such as ear infections. Once cleaned up, your pup can return to any of the best dog bedshappy and healthy.

How to Clean a Dog’s Ears

What you will need

dog ear cleaning solution

cotton balls

Treats

Towel

Before attempting to clean your dog’s ears, you need to understand how comfortable your dog is with this task.

Try gently stroking your dog’s ears and see how he reacts when you handle him. If they seem uncomfortable, don’t try to clean them. In this case, the chore is best handled by the veterinarian. If your dog shows no signs of discomfort, proceed to the next steps. If they seem nervous, you can always motivate them with a few treats and hugs.

Dog ear cleaner next to cotton swabs and a towel

(Image credit: future)

1. Get ready – You must purchase a dedicated dog ear cleaning solution, such as Pro Pooch Dog Ear Cleaner Solution ($7.99, Amazon).

Don’t use anything else, including cleansers containing hydrogen peroxide, as it can irritate your dog’s skin, which is especially sensitive around the ears. You should also prepare a towel at this point for later.

2. Get the best position — Ideally, you want your dog to be calm and you want to put yourself in a position where you can help him stay still. Sit on the floor with your dog’s bottom tucked between your legs. If your dog is too big to do this, you’re better off sitting on one side with the other side against a wall.

Dog ear cleaning solution applied to a dog's ear canal

(Image credit: future)

3. Apply Ear Cleaner — Follow the dosage instructions on your ear cleaning solution and apply it to your dog’s ear canal. If your dog has floppy ears, you may need to keep the flap straight until step 6.

Try not to let the tip of the applicator touch the inside of the ear as this can spread bacteria. If so, dip a cotton ball in alcohol and wipe the tip. Don’t worry if some of the solution leaks from the ear.

4. Massage it — Massage the solution for about 20-30 seconds from the base of the ear. You might hear crushing and crushing as the wax is dislodged.

A cotton swab drying excess ear cleaning solution from a dog's ear

(Image credit: future)

5. Dry off the excess — Now, using a cotton ball, wipe the solution from the ear canal, but don’t go deeper than an inch deep.

Do not use cotton-tipped applicators at this stage or you risk perforating the eardrum. You might also end up pushing the wax further into the ear.

6. Let your dog shake his head — Now, with your towel handy, let your dog shake his head to get rid of any excess (you may want to protect yourself with the towel at this point). Then, immediately wipe your dog’s face, outer ear, and any other places he might have thrown the solution.

7. Dry the residue — Now, using a cotton ball, wipe off any final residual solution by repeating step 5.

If your dog seems to be in pain at any stage of this process, err on the side of caution and take him to the vet immediately. When done, repeat with the other ear and you’re done!

Be sure to give your pooch plenty of treats as a reward.

A dog receiving a treat after cleaning his ears

(Image credit: future)

When should I clean my dog’s ears?

Not all dogs need their ears cleaned, and over-cleaning can actually lead to more problems, such as infections. For this reason, you should only clean your dog’s ears when necessary.

If you notice your dog’s ears starting to smell bad or your pooch constantly shaking his head, it’s a sign that it’s time to get his ears cleaned. Healthy ears will generally be pink and odorless. Do not clean the ears if they appear infected – take your dog to the vet for a checkup.

It should be noted that dogs that spend a lot of time in water may need to clean their ears more often.


For more cleaning tips, tricks and how-to’s, check out our guides to walking dogs in the snow – 6 essential safety tips, these 10 common houseplants are toxic to cats and dogs and the best robot vacuum cleaners for animal hair.


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