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How to Clean a Dog’s Ears

Picture of a dog with big ears

Dogs’ ears can get dirty every once in a while, just like people’s and other animals’ ears, too. This can happen because of the activities that the dog engages in during the day or night, such as playing in the dirt, for instance, or because of the environment that the pet is living in.

In this post, we’ll look at how you can safely and conveniently clean your dog’s ears without causing any pain or worse, a medical complication.

When do you have to clean your dog’s ears?

How can you know if your dog’s ears actually need any cleaning? Well, there are some signs that you can base your decision on. A clean ear looks a little pink, it doesn’t have any odor, and it doesn’t look like it’s swollen or dirty in any way.

Cleaning your dogs’ ears when it’s completely unnecessary can actually cause health problems, so knowing when to do it can save you a lot of hassle and your dog some pain, too.

Dogs that have an ear problem will most likely shake their heads more often than not. If you notice any dirt or if your pooch’s ears seem to smell differently than what they usually do, it’s probably time to clean them.

However, if you also see that your dog is constantly scratching his or her ears, you see that the skin on the inside of the ear is bright pink or reddish, and there’s a secretion leaking from your pooch’s ears, the issue might call for veterinary assistance rather than cleaning on your behalf.

Ear infections can be quite painful for pets, so if you notice any of the behaviors that we have mentioned, take your pooch to the vet.

What’s the right way to do it?

First of all, you should avoid cleaning your canine friend’s ears with Q-tips as they can make matters worse by pushing the debris even deeper into your Fido’s ears. Also, if you accidentally don’t pay attention, you might insert the Q-tip too deep into your dog’s ears, in which case you could perforate the ear drum or just cause unnecessary trauma to the pet’s ear canal.

The process doesn’t call for any type of special gear. In fact, you can use some gauze or a couple of cotton balls, along with the pet ear cleaning solution of your choice.

Fortunately, most dogs’ ear canals resemble a shallow ‘L’ so it would take a bit of effort on your end to reach the ear drum or the inner ear.

Here are some steps on how to clean your dog’s ears:

  1. Make sure that your dog is calm and that you have your cleaning supplies at hand.
  2. Squeeze the ear-cleaning product into your dog’s ear canal and massage the ear base for 20-30 seconds. As the solution dislodges any wax buildup or debris that might be present in the pet’s ears, you’ll start to hear squishing sounds.
  3. Avoid inserting the tip of the solution applicator into your dog’s ears as you can accidentally push bacteria into the ear, too (from the previous cleaning routines)
  4. Most dogs will shake their heads once you have filled up their ear canals with the solution, so you should let your pet do that.
  5. After the dog has calmed down, use a towel or several cotton balls to wipe the surface of the ear canal, while making sure that you don’t go deeper than the depth of a knuckle.

Ear-cleaning products

While the market is packed with products marketed for cleaning pets’ ears, the truth is that not all of them are safe or the best. Veterinarian-approved ear cleaning supplies are always to be preferred over others.

Keep in mind that cleaning your dog’s ears with vinegar or other homemade solutions can be dangerous. Vinegar is acidic, and if there’s an infection or an irritation inside your pooch’s ears, it can make matters a lot worse and cause your pet pain.

A good idea would be to ask your veterinarian what ear cleaning solutions they recommend so that you have one in your home whenever it might be necessary.

When should you take Fido to the vet?

First of all, taking your dog to the vet clinic for at least one yearly checkup is necessary to prevent any type of health problem, including ear infections. This is even more important as your canine buddy begins to age, especially if they are over the age of 8.

Some dogs have clean ears, and if they’re properly ventilated (which wouldn’t happen in breeds that have floppy years, such as the Cocker Spaniel, for instance), they might never need to have their ears cleaned at home.

If your dogs’ ears are inflamed, red, or if you see that your dog’s in pain whenever you touch them, go to the veterinary clinic as soon as possible. Chronic ear infections can have a negative impact on your pet’s hearing if they aren’t treated in due time, and they can affect both ears even if it started in just one of them.

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