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How To Clean A Dog’s Ears In 5 Simple Steps

I know you love your dog, and he needs a hand with his ears. Part of being a great dog owner is definitely proper pet care. You’re responsible for helping your dog out with some basic maintenance tasks to keep him healthy. Today, I'm going to teach you how to clean a dog’s ears in 5 simple steps.

I think you’ll appreciate this step-by-step guide to cleaning your dog’s ears because I’ve kept things simple. We’re all busy and let’s face it, we’d rather play with or cuddle our dogs than groom them.

Before we get into the steps, let’s have a little background on why it’s important to keep your dog’s ears clean. If you’re in a rush, scroll to the end for my recap. I recommend that you read the whole post, however, since you never know what you don’t know until you suddenly know it.

Why Dog Ear Health Is Important

Dogs get debris, dirt, fungus, and bacteria in their ears easier than you think. Many dogs take this in stride and their body traps any nastiness and continue on as usual. Some dogs, however, aren’t that lucky.

Even if your dog never struggles with ear infections or inflammation, it’s a good idea to clean his ears now and again. Dogs with sensitive ears or who are prone to infection benefit greatly from a little ear related TLC.

Some sources suggest a weekly ear cleaning. Other sources say once a month is sufficient. The right choice for you depends on you and your dog.

If your dog is mostly problem free when it comes to his ears, a monthly check and clean is probably enough. However, if your dog has frequent problems with ear infections or lots of scratching, belongs to one of the breeds below, or loves the water, a weekly checkup is probably best.

Dog Breeds With Ear Problems

As a general rule, dogs with floppy ears, very hairy ears, or dogs who can’t stay out of the water need more frequent cleanings. These pups are best on a weekly examination schedule.

Prevention takes only moments and can save a lot of pain and trouble later.

Dogs will allergies or an abundance of ear wax are also good candidates for weekly ear checks.

Additionally, there are a few particular dog breeds known for sensitive or fussy ears.​

  • German Shepherds
  • Basset Hounds
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Bloodhounds
  • Bichon Frise
  • Poodles
  • Beagles
  • Schnauzers
  • Lhasa Apsos
  • Irish Setters
  • Cocker Spaniels.

If your dog is on this list or meets the criteria in this section, make a weekly ear exam date. If you don’t like what you see during the exam, you can continue with a quick cleaning

This is also a good time to mention another thing to consider. Pay attention to the color of the cleaning solution that comes out of your dog’s ears after cleaning. If it’s particularly dirty, you should give your vet a call.​

How To Clean A Dog’s Ears In 5 Simple Steps

Now , I’ll explain the methods and materials you need to clean your dog’s ears at home. Are you ready to learn how to clean a dog’s ears?

1. Gather Your Materials

Here are a few essential items you’ll need nearby in order to clean your dog’s ears:

  • Cotton balls or gauze
  • Cleaning solution
  • A towel
  •  A treat

Some other items that can help you clean your dog’s ears are:

  • Cotton swabs, but not inside the ear
  • A small flashlight
  • Rescue Remedy

Keep these supplies close at hand so you can accomplish the clean up efficiently.

2. Prepare And Settle Your Dog

You want this process to go smoothly and I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but your dog isn’t going to like it. Do what you can to make regular ear checks fun for your dog. Here are a few tips that help some dogs settle in.

Place a towel on the floor before you begin and always use the same towel. This sets the stage and is familiar to your dog. It will help him know what to expect and that should keep him calmer.

Make a big, fun show of all of your grooming tasks. One of my closest friends makes a point to pamper her chihuahua and make him feel special. When they come in from outside, she cleans his paws (whether they need it or not), wipes his eyes, and his butt.

The dog loves it and actually stops to be tended to at the door. This is the kind of thing you’re aiming for, so make it fun.

If you’re going to use a solution in your dog’s ears, warm it up a little. Imagine how you’d feel if someone poured cold water into your ears.

3. Wipe Away Debris

Now , it’s time to get to the task of how to clear a dog’s ears. If you want a better view before you begin, use your flashlight to shine a little light on the subject.

Focus on the outer, visible part of your dog’s ear first. Dampen your cotton ball or gauze and wipe the area well. Make sure to also get into the many crevices in your dog’s ear.

Be gentle and speak soothingly to your dog while you clean.

4. Cleaning The Ear Canal

Next , it’s time to get all up in your dog’s ears! Be careful, don’t jab a cotton swab in there, and remember your dog is probably a little scared of this too. Time to act strong and reassuring

​Use the ear solution of your choice, but be sure it doesn’t contain any unsafe chemicals or substances that can harm your dog. If you have questions, give your vet a call for their opinion.

Some online sources encourage a hydrogen peroxide solution for ear cleaning. This is problematic, however. If there is a rupture in your dog’s eardrum, peroxide can be extremely painful and dangerous.

​This may be of more concern to owners whose dogs have ear infections, but being cautious is always best.

  • Gently pour a few drops of the solution into your dog’s ear.
  • Next, hold your gauze or cotton ball against the ear opening to trap any fluid inside, temporarily.
  • Then, massage the base of your dog’s ear, letting the solution loosen wax and debris. When you are satisfied, let your dog go, but try to keep him on the towel.

In fact, if you have a secure backyard or garage, it is best to do this task outside. Your dog is going to shake his head vigorously once you let go and dirty ear water is going to go everywhere. Just remember you love him while this is happening.

5. Offer A Treat

Your squirmy, anxious dog is going to be ready for a treat by now. Hand it over!

Additionally, you should also praise your dog for his good behavior. Let him know you appreciate his help and that you have his best interests at heart. He may not understand every word you say, but he’ll pick up on your sentiment.

How To Clean a Dog’s Ears- A Quick Guide

Let’s have a quick recap on how to clean a dog’s ears. Repeat this procedure regularly, between once a week and once a month.

  • 1. Gather some gauze or cotton balls, safe cleaning solution, a towel, and a treat.
  • 2. Speak softly to your dog and reassure him so he calms down, ready for the task at hand.
  • 3. Clean the outside of the ear first, with a damp cotton ball or gauze. Wipe gently inside with special attention to nooks and crannies.
  • 4. Drop a very small amount of cleaning solution into your dog’s ears and massage the ear base. When you’re happy with your work, let go and let him shake it off.

That’s it! Ear infections avoided! Greater bond with dog also achieved.

Great work.

Wanna Hang Out Some More?

You know how much I love it when you stop by, so thanks for coming! I hope this cleared up some questions you have about how to clean a dog’s ears. It isn’t that difficult, but it can be intimidating if it’s your first time.

Also remember that your vet will be happy to show you exactly how they recommend you perform an ear cleaning on your dog. Their advice is invaluable.

If you’d like to learn more about dog care, check out my recent article What Do Flea Eggs Look Like On My Dog. It’s not a fun subject, but it’s a necessary thing to know.

One more thing before you go. I’d love to hear from you with questions you have about dog care! Share your own tips and tricks in the comments section or reach out to me on social media to ask me anything.

Thanks again and see you back here soon for more dog news, tips, and tricks!

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Lauren is a young woman with a true passion for animals. She has kept many pets over the years and has intimate knowledge of their needs both emotionally and physically. She loves that her dogs keep her so active and satisfy her desire to spend lots of time in nature.

One thought on “How To Clean A Dog’s Ears In 5 Simple Steps

  1. Cleaning dog’s ears is an important thing which dog lovers have to know. The eardrum can weaken and rupture, causing pain, hearing loss, and potentially serious middle ear complications if an infection develops. Thank you for sharing the post.

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