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.
Quick Tips for How to Clean Your Dog’s Ears
- 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.
Step 1. Should I clean my dog’s ears?
Be careful! If the dog’s ears have an offensive odor, or if he has been scratching them repeatedly, you should not remove the icky stuff that might have accumulated; whatever’s there can help your vet determine the cause of the “ear-itation” and figure out how to treat it. So if he’s scratching, or if you’re tempted to plug your nose while cleaning his ears, you should turn the task over to your veterinarian or veterinary technician first; she can take swabs of the substance for examination.
Step 2. Have Your Dog Ear Cleaning Supplies Ready
Before you start your scrubbing, make sure you’ve set the table. You should have your supplies set out and ready to go. Put out your cotton balls and cleaner. A commercially prepared ear cleaner with a low alcohol content is best. Wash your hands thoroughly so you don’t introduce any infectious particles to the dog’s ears. You may want to work with a buddy; your friend can provide distracting pats while the ear cleaning takes place.
Step 3. Wipe Out Your Dog’s Ear
Once you’ve determined that your dog’s ears are merely dirty and not full of mites or infection, you can remove the dirt.
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.
Step 4. Ears to You!
When you’re finished cleaning, it is time for lots of treats and praise! Give your furry friend a pat, give your helper a high-five, and send your little buddy on his way. Now he’ll be well-prepared to hear those wonderful words: “Look, honey, he’s beautiful! He’d be a wonderful new member of our family.”