How to Clean My Dog’s Ears at Home

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When grooming your dog, make sure you never forget about their ears. This part of the body can be home to parasites, fleas, specs of dirt, and more. No matter how hard it is to keep them still or how expensive professional dog ear cleaning is, you must always find a way to get it done.

Dog ear cleaning doesn’t have to feel like a punishment for your pup. Instead, use it as a time to show your love and affection to your fur baby. We will show you how to easily clean your dog’s ears at home, from proper positioning, the right equipment, and procedure!

Read to the end to find a simple tip for a homemade dog ear cleaner!

When and Where to Clean Your Dog’s Ears

cleaning dog ears

Keeping your dog safe and healthy also entails examining their ears once in a while. Inspect for signs of dirt, irritation, infections, or parasites at least once a week. 

However, if your dog has an ear infection, your vet might instruct you to clean their ears every other day while they take medication.

This means the frequency of cleaning their ears depends on your dog. The goal is to clean them often to avoid or reduce infection, but not so often that you irritate their ears.  

You can always clean your dog’s ears at home with the right supplies. 

If you’re too nervous to do it on your own, professional groomers and vet technicians are always available to get the job done. Despite the expense, you’ll be guaranteed that your dog’s ears are in safe hands.

Dog Ear Discharge 

Don’t panic right away if you see discharge from your dog’s ears. This can be as simple as ear wax or as serious as mites or infection. 

Dogs with drooping ears such as Basset Hounds, Irish Setters, Spaniels, and many more are susceptible to ear problems. But this does not mean that your little-eared friend is safe from the issue. 

Any dog can have ear mites, develop an infection, or get irritated with burrs or seeds stuck in their ears.

One sign that the discharge is something to worry about is if your dog seems to be in pain when they’re touched. This can be manifested in:

  • Stumbling or circling to one side
  • Pawing or scratching the ears
  • Shaking the head
  • Swelling ears
  • Ear odor

Here are some of the more common ear problems for dogs:

Ear Mites

An additional sign of ear mites, which is common in puppies, includes crusty, dark-colored discharge. Ask your vet for a prescription in order to treat your dog’s ear mites. 

Some medications only kill adult mites but new ones can now kill eggs and immature forms.

Outer Ear Infection

A waxy, yellow, or reddish ear discharge can be a sign of outer ear infection or otitis externa. This can be caused by allergies, mites polyps, overproduction of earwax, and excessive bathing.

Other signs include a bad odor, pain, scratching, and swelling. Treating this may require antibiotics as well as antifungal lotion. However, some dogs may require surgery.

Inner Ear Infection

Inner ear infection or otitis interna is a result of untreated external ear infection that is extremely painful in the middle and inner ear. One distinct symptom of this is the reluctance to open the mouth or problems with balance. 

How to Clean My Dog's Ear

How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears at Home

Cleaning your dog’s ears can be quite a challenge. You’ll need the right supplies and techniques, and we’re here to spill the deets. 

Preparing the Supplies

To get you started, you will need cotton balls or gauze, and a vet-approved pet ear cleaner. Be sure to consult with your vet if you are unsure about trying it out yourself.

Positioning Your Dog

Dog ear cleaning is best done on a flat surface like a table that is easy to clean. Since most dogs don’t like having their ears cleaned, the activity can be quite tricky. 

Place your pooch on the table. Stand on the side of the table opposite to the ear you are cleaning. Then, place one arm over their shoulders while you wrap the other arm around the neck while holding the ear flap back to expose the inner part. 

If your dog tries to stand up, lean your upper body over their shoulders to stop them. Lay them on the side if they move too much. Reach over the neck and hold the leg to the table. 

Keep your elbow at his neck and use the fingers of your other hand to pull back the ears. 

It can help to have another person with you to hold your pup down. Another option is to clean their ears during bath time. 

Cleaning the Ears

To clean the ears, squeeze a tiny amount of ear cleaner into the ear and let it drip down into the ear canal. Then, massage the base of the ear to help the cleaner break down the wax and debris. 

Wipe the outer ear flap and inside the ear with a cotton ball or gauze square. Wipe as far down as you can until the cotton balls come back clean. Pet ear cleaners will dry on their own inside the ear. 

If your dog has an ear infection, apply the medication after the ears are cleaned.

For a visual guide, watch this informative video!

Homemade Dog Ear Cleaner

You can always use safe ingredients for making your own solution for dog ear cleaning. But before doing so, make sure to consult your vet to ensure they are suitable for your dog!

A simple homemade dog ear cleaner only requires a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of clean water mixed together. You can use it to clean dog ears that are infected and also to adjust the pH level within the ears to help avoid yeast and fungus.

You can also use a teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide instead of ACV. This is a natural disinfectant that destroys cell walls of bacteria. However, make sure to limit its use since too much can damage your dog’s ear tissue. 

The internal part of your dog’s ears may not be as visible as the other body parts, but it is essential not to overlook them when grooming your dog. Cleaning their ears is a crucial part of their good hygiene, optimal health, and maximum well-being. 

Taking care of your dog goes beyond keeping their fur smooth and their dog food topped up. Make sure to always consult your vet for the proper methods and supplies for ear care. Always remember that a clean and healthy dog is also a happy one! 

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