How to Clean Dog Ears - Grooming Made Easier
How to clean dog ears is one grooming skill that many dog owners wish to get right.
We hear these daily:
- My dog is too scared of the ear cleaning process
- I don’t know how to do it
- Mine won’t let me close to its ear flap; it will react violently
- What if I hurt him in the process? What if the ear cleaners end up being harmful to him?
- And, am I a terrible pet parent if I don’t clean my dog’s ears regularly?
If any of these is your concern, you are in the right place. This article has all you need to know about cleaning dog ears. This will not only help your fur baby to have clean but also healthy ears.
Shall we get started?
Why is it Important to Clean Dogs Ears
Cleaning dog ears is not something so familiar to many dog owners. In fact, many dog parents do not do it (1). Many people would not see the need to clean the ears of their fur babies.
However, it is essential for the hygiene and health of your dog.
It is essential to clean the dogs’ ears to prevent:
- Ear infections. Dogs have a high risk of getting an ear infection in the ear canal. The infections caused by yeast and bacteria can be painful and irritating to the dog. Infections can also create further health complications.
- Accumulation of wax and oils
- Inflammation from hair, dirt, dust and plant materials. This can lead to ear infections. Dogs have a vertical canal, which tends to trap more items.
- Endocrine diseases like canine’s ear infection
Pet owners whose pets have allergies will notice their pets are more prone to ear infections. Hence require regular cleaning.
How to tell when your Dog’s Ears Need Cleaning
Your fur baby does not talk. Or does it? Yes, but in a language you don’t understand well.
It is essential to know when the dog’s ears require cleaning. It will communicate to you when it is time for ear cleaning.
Watch out for these signs:
- The dog shakes his head frequently
- Hair loss around the ears
- A mild odor from the dog ears. A foul smell from the ear canal may be a sign of an infected eardrum
- The dog appears to repetitively scratch or pawns his ears
- Swelling, scabbing or crusting around the ear
- Pus or grime coming from the ears
It is also advisable to take the dog to a vet as it can have an ear infection.
Important: Sniff your dog’s ears. If there is no problem, there will be no smell. Regularly sniff and look through the outer ear canal. If you smell it regularly, you will learn to detect a funny odor, which may mean a yeast infection is brewing.
Ear Cleaning Supplies
What do you use to clean your dog’s ears? You want to use something gentle on the dog and something that would get the work done.
You can use the following to clean your dog’s ear:
- ear cleaning solution
- cotton ball or gauze
- distilled water
- white vinegar
- apple cider vinegar
- general lubricants for cleaning aged dog’s ears
These supplies are more advisable as they can clean ears, balance skin pH and dry out ears. This is a sure way to keep yeast and bacterial infections at bay. Combating yeast and bacterial infection.
How to Clean Dog Ears in 4 Easy Steps
Follow this procedure to clean your dog’s ears.
- Assemble all supplies needed in cleaning your dog’s ears. You do not want to start cleaning; stand to find a supply in the next room before resuming the cleaning. Your dog may lose patience in the process. Have all the items assembled.
- Fill the ear canal with an ear cleaner. Use the ear cleaner recommended by a veterinary medicine professional. Hold the ear flap and pour the ear cleaner until you see it fill to the outer canal.
- Massage the ear. Gently massage the base of the ear. This helps the cleanser to enter into the ridges in the canal and loosen ear debris. This also will enable the cleanser to reach every part of the ear canal. This allows the cleaner to clear anything that might cause a bacterial infection in the ear canal.
- Let your dog shake out the ear cleaner. After massaging for a few seconds, allow your dog to shake the ear cleanser out. You can use a towel to prevent the dog from creating a mess when shaking out the ear cleanser.
- Soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar, and gently insert in the outer canal. Wipe repeatedly until there is no more gunk.
- Wipe the ear canal dry and clean. Use cotton balls or gauze to remove all the debris and remaining cleaning solution from the ear canal. Insert your fingers into the ear canal as far as your fingers can reach. If you force your fingers into the dog’s ear canal, it can result in injuring the dog. Be soft and gentle; you do not want to scare your little buddy.
Disclaimer: Keep cotton swabs out of this. They may injure your dog’s eardrums. And if worse comes to worst, cotton swabs may cause deafness.
Should you use Hydrogen Peroxide to Clean Dog Ears?
Don't. It is not recommended to use hydrogen peroxide on your dog’s ears. It can irritate healthy skin cells. Ears have tissues and cells that are very sensitive. Continuous or repeated use of hydrogen peroxide can damage these cells. Or worse result in deafness.
Do all Dogs Need to have their Ears Cleaned?
Your neighbor just told you about his experience cleaning the ears of his adorable fur baby. Or you just saw a guy cleaning his dog’s ears at the park. Does it mean that you should clean your dogs’ ears too?
Not at all.
Not all dogs require regular ear cleaning. It is essential to keep the dog’s ears clean, but doing it constantly can also lead to irritation and infection. Some dog breeds have healthy and clean ears which may not require regular cleaning.
How do you know if your fur baby is the breed that needs regular cleaning? Your vet should help you figure this out depending on your dog’s ear health.
However, breeds with long floppy ears and a lot of hair around the ear are prone to ear infections and may require cleaning regularly. Most breeds that have less floppy ears and less hair around require less ear cleaning.
Tips and Tricks to Make the Ear Cleaning Process Easier
You already know that it may not be a straightforward process, especially if it’s your first time cleaning their ears. They are not used to it yet. And even after they are used to it, some dogs won’t give you an easy time cleaning their ears. (2)
Here are some tricks to help make this dog grooming process easier
- Secure your pet on your lap. Massage gently on his back before moving closer to pooch’s ears. Make him feel secure with the equipment and ear cleaning solution you will be using. This will make it feel secure and loved. Get your dog to be familiar with what you will be using for cleaning their ears.
- Give them a lot of praise while petting and cuddling. This is where your dog’s favorite treat comes in. Using treats to help him stay still. Not long after, the dog will learn to associate cleaning of the ear canals with something positive(the treats). If your dog loves going to the park, why not do the ear cleaning at the park?
- Stop when it becomes too much or painful for the dog and visit a veterinarian. You can play relaxing music or familiar sounds to the dog to help it calm down. Playing some soothing music over cleaning may help through the process.
Note: Cleaning dog ears will not be the same for all dogs. Other dogs will take it easy, and others will almost ever give you a hard time. It largely depends on their personality and training. Most dogs will adapt after a few cleaning sessions, though.
Also, you may be having a difficult time because of painful ears. Always seek veterinary help in such cases.
Cleaning dog ears may come off as something regular, but it frustrates many dogs and dog owners. But you may have to do it anyway. The procedure and tricks we have discussed above would help you through your routine cleaning.
To finish up, we advise you to involve your vet if you are not sure or if your dog shows signs of ear infections.
Good luck with the grooming!
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