Sara Lippincott, Manager, Shelter Outreach, Petfinder
Whether they are pointy or floppy, long or short, dogs’ ears are a sensitive part of their bodies. Unattended ear infections can lead to serious problems and possible hearing loss. If the ears smell bad, your dog is scratching at them or shaking his head, or if he acts in pain when you touch them, it could be a sign of an infection and the time to call your veterinarian. Also, just like the warnings for human ears, dogs’ ears are no place for cotton swabs.
Dogs have no interest in having their ears cleaned. You’ll want to have all your supplies handy so you can devote your full attention to the dog and not get distracted looking for the wayward cotton balls. Your vet’s office can provide you with a safe ear cleaner, and you’ll want several cotton balls close at hand. Clean hands (so as not to cause additional problems) or gloves and treats are a must. If your dog is squirmy, a second person is a huge help. One person or two, you’ll want to close the dog into a small room like the bathroom.
Starting from the outside and working in, you’ll clean out all areas of the ear that you can reach. Wet the cotton ball with the cleaner and wipe down the inside surface of the dog’s ear flap (the part that you can easily see). Once that is clean, get a new cotton ball wet with the cleanser and clean the inside part stopping when you feel resistance. Pushing further than the ear wants you to go can cause damage. If the cotton balls are very dirty, it may be time to schedule a check up with your veterinarian. When you’re finished cleaning, it is time for lots of treats and praise!