How To Clean Dog Ears – Step By Step Guide

Does your dog repeatedly shake his head or scratch his ears? The ear infections in dogs are much more common than you might think. That’s why regular ear cleaning can make a real difference. How to clean your dog’s ears? Continue reading to find out.

Why you should clean your dog’s ears

Regular ear cleanings could be made once or twice a month, depending on the dog breed and his lifestyle. If you are using a cleanser containing chlorhexidine, then it is better to consult your veterinarian as the concentration could be harmful to your dog’s eardrum. However, conventional saline solutions can be used without any problem, especially those with low pH and alcohol-free.

If your dog has an ear infection, then you might need other types of solution depending on the symptoms. If you notice any discharge, swelling or redness, do not attempt to give him an over-the-counter medication, consult with your vet. In case the cause of infection was ear mites, then also a particular treatment should be prescribed. You can get more information about ear mites here.

Common ear problems in dogs

Acute otitis media (middle ear infection), and otitis interna (inner ear infection) are also common in dogs. Symptoms for these conditions include pain when he opens his mouth, scratching his head, tilting his head to one side, or trouble with balance.

Regular ear cleaning not only reduces the risk of infection but can also help you spot if something is wrong with your dog’s ears. Read more about ear infections in dogs here.

How to clean your dog’s ears: step by step guide

Note that regular ear cleanings performed by pet owners should focus on the external ear canal.  

  1. Gently place the tip of the bottle into the opening of your pet’s ear or soak cotton balls in the cleanser (an easier method). Gently squeeze the cleanser bottle (or cotton balls) until the liquid flows into the opening of the ear canal. 
  2. Massage the ear while keeping the pinna vertical. This massage helps break down debris and will also release the secretions from the lining of the ear.
  3. Stand back and let the dog shakes his head and ears to bring the most deep-seated dirt to the surface. Be careful; it is better to clean your dog’s ears outside to avoid any projections on the walls or your furniture.
  4. Gently wipe your dog’s ear with dry cotton balls and pick up some of the debris by wiping the ear canal. Wipes are also handy for quick cleaning. 
  5. Repeat until all debris is gone.
  6. Insert your index finger covered with a soft and absorbent paper tissue, compressions or a make-up removing discs, into your dog’s duct to wipe off the excess liquid present. With circular movements collect the dirt and repeat these gestures several times until the cotton comes out clean.

Avoid doing the following:

  • Clean your dog’s ears excessively: every 15 days is enough.
  • Use a cotton swab: this may compact the impurities at the bottom of the duct
  •  Do not pour baby oil into the duct: it can cause ear infections.
  • Do not use alcohol as it irritates the skin.

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