Prevent Nasty Infections With These Tips for Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears


Let’s face it, your dog probably doesn’t like to get their ears cleaned. And it’s easy to see why. So for many owners, this is one of those tasks we may forget about when it comes to grooming our dog. After all, it’s not like you can forget to bathe them once they start smelling or roll in something they shouldn’t. But ears? There’s a good chance you don’t ever look into your dog’s ears, so it’s easy to forget that they too get dirty.

But not only do they get dirty, ears are also a breeding ground for bacteria and fungal infections. Especially if you have a floppy eared dog who likes going swimming, ear infections are something you need to be concerned about. But even if your dog doesn’t have floppy ears and they despise the water, they can still do with a little cleaning.

How often will I need to clean my dog’s ears?

This depends on your dog of course. Factors that affect how often you clean your dog’s ears include their breed, age, activity level and their coat. But for most dogs, once a month should be good. However, after swimming or getting water in the ears, you will want to clean them out too, even if it’s more than once a month. For that reason, find a gentle cleaner that allows for frequent use.

What items should I use to clean my dog’s ears?

Just like with human ears, avoid using cotton swabs. There’s too much potential for damage to the ear, and it’s best to avoid sticking anything in a dog’s ear, especially if they’re squirming around trying to fight you. Instead, use cotton balls or even wrap your finger in gauze to wipe them clean.

What products should I use and how should I use them?

Chances are, your dog isn’t going to like having their ears cleaned. So it’s best to limit the amount of steps you take in order to get it done. Which is why you may want to forgo the cotton balls altogether and use a wipe instead, like these ear wipes that are all-natural, gentle and alcohol free. They make it easy to wipe down your dog’s ears without too many products, and it’s just one easy step.

The wipes are perfect for normal dog’s ears. If your dog doesn’t seem to get dirty, itchy, infected ears often or they’re not swimmers, go for the wipes.


But if your dog is prone to ear infections and tend to get water build up in the ear (from swimming), you will want to use a product that helps dry out the liquid.

Even more so than the wipes, you need to pick a quality cleanser that will dry out the water without drying out the skin in their sensitive ears. This cleanser will do just that. This formula softens earwax and helps dry out the ear, which is important after swimming. But thanks to essential oils, it won’t be too drying either, making it safe to use daily or several times a week.

How do I clean the ear?

As mentioned above, don’t stick anything down into the ear canal. Also, their ears are sensitive, so don’t stick any harsh materials into the ear or anything that can scratch it. This allows for bacteria to get into the skin, causing a higher chance of infection.

With the wipes

1) Just use the wipe to clean the inside of the ear, being careful not to poke too far down into it. If your dog is the squirmy type, get a friend to help you hold them steady and bribe them with treats and praise.

2) Repeat on the other ear.

3) Marvel at how easy that was.

4) Give your dog even more treats and plenty of praise. Turn this into a rewarding experience!

With the cleanser

1) If your dog isn’t easy to control, you may want to get some help to keep them still for the few seconds it takes to get the job done.

2) Once you have the dog in position, squirt a few drops into the ear, making sure it goes into the ear canal.

3) Rub around the base of the ear to get the cleanser deep in there.

4) Allow your dog to shake his head, or wait until the end if they are the type to run off at this time.

5) Move on to the other ear, squirting a few drops in.

6) Let your dog shake, shake it off. This loosens the gunk inside there and forces most of it out.

7) Wipe down the outer parts of the ear, as needed, with a cotton ball.

8) Don’t forget… Praise and treats!

9) For very dirty ears, you may want to repeat this 2-3 times a day for a few days until all of the gunk is out of there. From there, you can do it weekly, monthly or after they swim.

Make cleaning your dog’s ears part of your regular grooming routine and before long, they will treat it just as they do a bath or anything else. Sure, some dogs may fight it, but in the end, it’s worth it. Ear infections require antibiotics and costly trips to the vet, and they can easily be prevented by simply cleaning your dog’s ears regularly.

Question: Do you clean your dog’s ears regularly? If so, how does your dog respond to it? Any tips to help those with dogs who resist? We’d love to hear from you!

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1 Comment

  1. Another tip is for small hairy breeds (like Poodles, Yorkies etc.) they often have a lot of hair in their ears. Thinning that out can greatly limit problems. There is a powder sold in most pet stores to help you do it by hand. My two Poodles never minded, the Yorky did, but he enjoyed complaining.

    My Lab had wonderful ears and I found the simplest way to keep them clean was after grooming (brushing combing and another brushing) was to run a damp cloth all over her, from head to tale, down legs over paws and belly, but first wiped her face and gently cleaned the inside of each ear. As long as I groomed her regularly her ears were Perfect.

    My Shepherd has problem ears, with regular cleansing and drops they don’t get infected but they need a lot of care. The daily drops keep them healthy, the wax and build up soft and easy to clean, and ease the itching that can seriously bother him. The damp cloth at the end of grooming is good for him too, but with his chronic ear problems it isn’t sufficient. He still riggles and is a problem for the cleaning, but will sit still for the drops. He knows both are to help him and if I have had to miss a day (if I was unwell for example) then he asks (repeatedly and very firmly) to have his ears done. The cat likes it too, the dog’s ears get done, and then he (the cat) gets a treat, … what a great deal!

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