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How to clean your dog’s ears

Approx. 3 minutes read

Whether your dog has long, floppy, pointy, big or small ears, any dog ears can get infected. Your pet’s ears need to be cleaned regularly to ensure they are dry and gunk-free, making them less susceptible to infection. Pets that like to swim and wander around are more prone to infection, but just because your pet is an inside pet doesn’t mean they won’t ever get an infection.

Pets with upright ears don’t need their ears cleaned as often as pets with floppy ears do – generally, every second week should suffice. Pets with long, floppy ears need more regular cleaning, perhaps once a week, because they are not as easily ventilated as upright, open ears. If your dog’s ears are really gunky, treat them daily until they’re clean, then weekly thereafter. Some dogs collect a lot of debris in their ears and will need more regular cleaning.

What’s that brown stuff in my dog’s ears?

Before you clean your pet’s ears, always give them a quick inspection to ensure you are not going to do more damage than good. The skin inside should be light pink, dry and should not have a significant odour. A light brown substance in your dog’s ears is his natural ear wax just doing its job.

If you see redness, inflammation, heavy black or yellow discharge, or if the ears have a very distinctive odour, parasites or foreign bodies (like mites, ticks or fleas that hide in relatively hidden spots in and around the ears), don’t clean them yourself. Call your veterinarian and schedule an appointment as your pet may have an ear infection. This infection will need to be treated before you can clean your dog’s ears at home by yourself. Some ear cleaning solutions can cause ototoxicity or incite inflammation in the middle ear. If you really do have to clean the ears, use water or saline solution.

Steps to clean your dog’s ears

So, to get started: gather all your supplies to clean your pup’s ears. What can I use to clean my dog’s ears at home? If you do not have a recommended ear cleaner for dogs, Pet Hero has a range of ear care products you can try.

You will need

  1. Ear cleanser (vet-approved)
  2. Cotton wool/cotton balls

How to clean your dog’s ears

  1. Go outside as this can be a messy job!
  2. Gently swab the inside of your dog’s ear flap. Make sure you gently clean out the crevices, as this is where dirt and wax build up. Clean both sides of the ears.
  3. When applying ear cleaner, hold your pet’s ear flap in your hand and tilt the head slightly to the side. Squirt a small amount into the ear and massage the base of the ear to loosen up any material that may be down the ear canal. This should remove much of the sticky, thick material from the ear canal. Your dog will love getting his ears rubbed!
  4. Let your dog clear out his ears after you’ve done the cleaning. It’s natural for your dog to want to shake his head after cleaning, so let him! This will help to clear any excess cleaning fluid from the ear canal.
  5. Give the ears another wipe with the cotton wool or cotton balls, to remove any of the excess liquid your dog has shaken out.
  6. Clean your dog’s ears regularly after this. Dirt accumulates rather fast and can lead to an infection, especially with floppy-eared canines.

If at any time during this process your dog seems to be in pain, or a large amount of debris or even blood comes out of his ears, he will need to go to the vet. With proper maintenance you can help prevent very painful infections and help to keep your dog’s ears clean and odour free.

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