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Cleaning a Dog's Ears - Dog Grooming

An important part of owning a dog is knowing how to take care of him. That is not just feeding and walking, it is also caring for him and grooming him. One of these tasks is routinely checking and cleaning their ears. Ears are a place where infections can occur because they are a prime breeding place for fungi and germs and bacteria is not looked after. While some dogs may not like their ears being cleaned it is something that has to be done so you need to get them used to it. Most dogs can get by with an ear clean once a week, but some need it more often.

Cleaning the ears effectively can be hard especially in dogs with flappy and bulky ears who need a clean there more often than those with prick ears. Have a good quality cleaner, a helper if possible and lots of cotton balls. If you would prefer not to use commercially made cleaners you can make your own with a solution of two parts water and one part vinegar. Here is a look at how to successfully clean your dog's ears.


Keep it Positive

When touching and cleaning his ears you need to do so gently while keeping it positive for him. As you massage the outside offer a favorite treat and then move to the inside while offering praise and another treat. The aim is to teach him that ear cleaning may not be the best time but he will get lots of love, treats and maybe some play time at the end of it. Go slowly with your dog to acclimatize him to the process otherwise he may get squirmy. Each time your dog cooperates with something offer a treat, so he learns the more he goes along with it the more treats he gets!

Have the Right Tools Ready

There are some things you should not use when cleaning your dog's ears. Just as with human ears, cotton swabs are not safe. You need a bag of cotton balls or you can use gauze wrapped around your finger. You can use gloves if you prefer but it is okay not to if you don't want to, just wash your hands after cleaning. You also need a good ear rinse tool that is safe to use like the Vetericyn Ear Rinse. It is non toxic, and has no alcohol, steroids or antibiotics. Having everything ready before you get started makes sense so that you are not scrambling to reach or find something when you are in the middle of cleaning.

How to Clean the Ears

To avoid causing harm when you are cleaning the ears start from the outside and then slowly work your way in making sure you stop as soon as resistance can be felt. If you push too hard this is when damage can happen. Start by wetting a cotton ball with the ear rinse and then wipe the areas that you can see. Use a new cotton ball when you start working inwards.

If while cleaning you notice any of the following you need to take your dog to the vet;

Bad odor


Loss of hair

Crusty skin



Black or brown ear wax or wax that is dark and dry looking like coffee grounds are an indication of ear mites.

Starting a Good Routine

Regular grooming and maintenance of your dog that includes checking his ears should be a part of your routine. Some dogs are more prone to having excessive ear wax or a lot of ear hair inside the ear and these breeds should be especially monitored. If the ears appear especially dirty clean them as outlined in the previous paragraph using either a solution you have bought or one you have made. The inner ear is a delicate place so if you are unsure or worried you can always ask your vet to show you how to clean them in a safe but effective manner. Most vets are happy to do so and can also talk with you about solutions they might be able to recommend.

When cleaning remember no inserting anything into the ear canal, and do not clean them too often as that can also cause irritation. For dogs that have ear hair it may be necessary to tweeze it every few weeks to stop tangles and mats from happening and causing problems. Talk to your vet to check whether this is something your dog may have problems with, and if you have a groomer it may be something they can do for you if that makes you more comfortable.


Swimming and Bathing

For dogs getting too much water in the ears can lead to infection or irritation so things like bathing and swimming need to be monitored. To stop this being a problem for you and your dog you could try to put cotton balls in his ears before the swim or bath. Also make sure you dry his ears well after they get wet. For dogs that are prone to ear infections there is an ear drying solution you can use made for such issues. Just pour into the dog's ears and it will help to evaporate any trapped water. These solutions are often witch hazel-based and you can get them from most pet stores.

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Nail Trimming

Ear Cleaning of Dogs

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