Cleaning your dog’s ears is just part of being a pup parent. It doesn’t have to be scary for you or your dog. Getting into an ear cleaning routine can go a long way toward avoiding vet visits. Click here for more information about ear infections. Aim for weekly cleaning. At a minimum, give a good cleaning after every bath and every time your pup goes for a swim. So, let’s learn how to clean your dog’s ears properly.
Pull up on the flap of your dog’s ear. A dog’s ear canal is actually quite long and L shaped. Pulling up on the ear will straighten the canal for more efficient cleaning.
Fill the canal with cleaner. This is one time where more IS better. It can be more comfortable for the dog to let the cleaner slowly run down the ear flap into the ear. Squirting it directly into the ear can be more offensive for a lot of dogs. Warming the cleaner bottle slightly in warm water before hand can make your pup more comfortable also. If your pup won’t tolerate having his ear filled with cleaner, you can use a cotton ball soaked in cleaner to squeeze some in the ear.
When the ear canal is full of cleaner, start massaging. You want to massage the base of the ear. Below the hole in the ear you can feel the cartilage and canal under the skin. As you massage the canal you can hear and feel the cleaner swooshing. That’s how you know you’ve got the right spot. Massaging the canal will help break up any debris in the ear. This can take several minutes. Follow the directions on your cleaner bottle. Some prescription ear cleaners are designed to soak in the ear for a period of time. Most debris is way down by the ear drum. You want to break it up so your pup can shake it out.
Once feel you’ve massaged enough, let your dog shake his head. If a lot of debris comes out, repeat the filling and massaging. Then, wipe the outside of the ear with cotton balls to remove any gunk left on the outside of the ear. If your pup let’s you, you can use cotton swabs to clean any grooves in the ear that you can see. Be careful not to stick any cotton swabs into the ear where you can’t see. If your dog is over it after the shake, that’s perfectly fine. Cotton can be irritating to the skin if it is inflamed. If your dog acts painful at any point a doctor visit is in order.
Repeat with the other ear. Once you get the hang of it, if you have a cooperative dog, you can do both ears at the same time.
Give lots of praise and treats!