Your dog’s big, smart ears can be an avenue for health problems. Once you’re in the habit of a proper schedule and method for dog ear cleaning, your dog will be safer, and feel better too.
Why is Dog Ear Cleaning Important?
There’s a lot of room in a dog’s ear canal for things that shouldn’t be there. Pollen and other allergens, dust and mites – your dog’s ears fight these things to an extent, but they must be removed. Your dog’s inner ear has oils and waxes that trap foreign objects, but without regular cleaning, it all builds up and can become harmful.
Once a dog’s ears are infected, the infection can travel anywhere in the body through the blood. Dogs can lose their hearing from a bad ear infection, or it could even lead to a problem in a completely different part of the body, like arthritis. Dog ear cleanings on a regular basis can prevent all that.
Dog Ear Cleaning – A “How To” Guide
First, I’ll start with the don’ts. Don’t use cotton swabs to clean a dog’s ear canal – you can’t guarantee they’ll keep their head still, and it’s all too easy to do damage. Only your veterinarian should ever use a swab for dog ear cleaning.
As a rule when cleaning a dog’s ears: If you can’t see it, you shouldn’t try to touch it with anything.
Avoid using alcohol to clean your dog’s ears – if there’s any skin problem, even a mild one, alcohol will burn. Instead, try a commercial cleaner made for dog ears that evaporates quickly without using an alcohol base.
Dog Ear Cleaning – Step By Step Instructions
Get your cleaner into a squirt bottle, get some cotton balls or makeup remover pads, and a towel.
- If you need help keeping your dog in place, have that help ready.
- Shoot a small squirt of dog ear cleaner into one ear.
- Pinch the ear shut to keep the cleaner in.
- Massage the ear’s base to churn the cleaner.
- After a few seconds, hold the towel up to cover yourself and let go of the ear. The towel will catch debris as your dog shakes out the cleaner. Let your dog shake his head for a couple of minutes, but keep him in place.
- Use cotton balls, paper towels or makeup removers to clean the debris and dirt you can see. Continue until the ear is dry and clean.
- Repeat with the other ear.
Dog Ear Cleaning – Safety!
Never push a cotton swab, your finger, or any other object further into a dog’s ear than you can see.
Dog Ear Cleaning Schedule
You should clean your dog’s ears about once a week on average. You should do it twice a week for all the following: Bigger dogs, dogs whose ears tend to rest down, dogs who swim, and dogs who spend a lot of time outdoors.
Other Dog Ear Cleaning Notes
Down-eared dogs and dogs with a history of ear infection may have their ear hairs plucked to make cleaning easier. Always pluck, never use scissors or any cutting tool to remove dog ear hair.
Aside from visual inspections of your dog’s ears, pay attention to the smell. Dogs ears have different odors for different ear problems. If you notice a nasty smell during a dog ear cleaning, read about ear problems or call your vet.