Picture of Vet looking inside a dogs ear
How To Clean a Dogs Ears in 5 Easy Steps

How to Clean a Dog’s Ears in 5 Easy Steps

Is it possible to clean a dog’s ears from home?

From clipping a dog’s nails to grooming them, there are a number of things that can be done safely and efficiently at home. One of the things that many people worry about is cleaning their pet’s ears – but most individuals find that, by following the steps used by specialists, they’ll be able to clear out each ear without the stress and hassle of visiting an expert.

Whilst it’s often crucial to ensure that their ears are completely clean (to prevent infections, remove anything that could reduce their hearing and more), it’s not always a necessity to make a trip to the vets when it comes to clearing out the wax and debris that builds up in them.

Want to know how to clean dogs’ ears from home? It may be simple, but to ensure that a dog (whether they’re a puppy or an adult) is as healthy and happy as possible, it’s always a wise idea to first find out how to do it properly.

How to clean dog ears from home

Step 1: Getting everything that’s needed

There are a few things that are needed to clear within canine hearing organs – but fortunately, these aren’t usually too hard to get a hold of. In general, the two main things to get are cotton balls (although gauze will work just fine) and a dog ear cleaner. Typically, these are available from veterinaries, good pet supply shops, or even online – but it’s often a good idea to make sure that the cleaner is perfectly safe for use on dogs.

The last thing that should be done is asking the vet if the products are safe to use and if it’s possible to clean ears at home. There may be some cases where it’s better to allow the expert to take care of this responsibility (for example, if there are any issues that need professional medical attention), but in general, a veterinarian’s help won’t be necessary for ear cleaning every single time.

Step 2: Keeping things clean

Sometimes, these kinds of tasks can be messy (more so with some dogs than others) – which is why it can be important to make sure that nothing gets stuck onto their fur and anything in the house.

Some people wash their dog’s ears whilst giving them a bath, so that they can scrub the muck off their fur (it’s often best to use a natural cleaning solution), whilst others prefer to do it at a separate time. In these cases, wrapping a towel around their neck and chest is often one of the best ways to keep their fur nice and fresh.

It doesn’t matter when or how it’s done – just pick the one that’s the most convenient (and/or comfortable for the pet, of course).

Step 3: How to use dog ear cleaners

This is where the process of clearing out the wax, debris and gunk begins. Luckily, using a ear cleaner is often a simple task – drip a little bit of the liquid inside both of their ears and wait for it to go down to their ear canal.

Then, gently massage the bottom of their ear to help the cleaner to break down everything that’s built up in there. When that’s done, it’s okay to let the canine shake their head – although it may be a wise idea to put a towel over their head to prevent any wax from flying out and making a mess.

Step 4: Wiping around and inside the dog’s ear

Once step 3 has been completed, the next thing to do is gently wipe their outer ear flaps and the skin inside the ears with a cotton ball. Using a finger and the cotton ball, go down into their ears as far as possible. Continue to wipe until the cotton comes out clean.

There’s no need to worry about getting rid of the small amounts of the pet cleaner left behind, as these types of liquids contain drying agents that help them to dry on their own.

It’s also important to note that most people choose not to use Q-tips when cleaning dogs’ ears, as they often push stuff down – and since the whole purpose of washing them is to get it all out, they’re not usually the most practical of solutions.

Step 5: Applying medication for infections

If a dog has an ear infection, then it’s often a good idea to use the medication, if any is needed, after everything else has been done (unless specified otherwise by the vet or the label on the ointment). When it comes to a dog’s health, it‘s crucial to follow the instructions carefully to make sure that they’re safe and happy. It can be a good idea to hold the ointment higher up, so that each drop can be clearly seen.

When that’s all done, give the dog a treat for good behaviour, as this will help them to positively associate ear cleaning (which makes the process much better for everyone).

Things to consider before cleaning dog ears

There are so many different kinds of dogs out there – and since each one is different, it can be important to learn more about them.

For example, dog ear infections are more common in some breeds than others; for example, debris can easily get trapped in the ear canals of a poodle because their fur often traps it inside. This is the main reason why dogs tend to need more attention and washing than other types of pets.

A dog ear infection can affect more than just the way a dog feels (as they can often be incredibly painful), so it’s important to correctly undertake the task. Luckily, infections of any kind can be beaten if the right medication is used (in the right amounts) and if they get cleaned efficiently.

A few common signs of an infection are:

  • A red ear flap (or both)
  • A yeast like odour
  • Ears that feel dry
  • If they’re scratching a lot

However, too much cleaning can irritate their ears, which is why it can often be a wise idea to ask a vet how often their ears should be cleared out. While some dogs may need an ear wash once a month, others may need it weekly – and in the case of infections or other kinds of problems, possibly even daily.

Although the breed of the animal is important, the age of the dog can also make a difference to how often their ears will need to be cleared out, too. Sometimes, cleaning more often can be better for a young puppy, or less for an adult.

However, whether they’re fully grown or new born puppies, it’s always best to check with a dog health expert before starting to clean dogs’ ears to avoid causing any problems (as their experience and training can often make a big difference).


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