Cleaning Dog's Ears

Many dogs require regular cleaning of their ear canals, especially those who frequently get ear infections or those that have narrow canals.  It is important to be gentle and careful when cleaning dog's ears, and use an appropriate solution.  Dogs that are prone to ear infections should have their ears cleaned weekly to fortnightly as well as after swimming or baths.

Here's how to clean a dog's ears:

  • Ideally, you should use a good quality ear cleaner from your vet or pet store.  Products with drying agents like salicylic acid are excellent for healthy ears or those with mild infections.  In severe infections, the acid may cause stinging if the canals are very inflamed.
  • If you want to use a homemade dog ear cleaning solution, you can make one by mixing equal parts distilled water and white vinegar.  Store it in a dropper or oil dispensing bottle to allow dispensing of small amounts into the ear.
  • Hold up the ear flap (pinna) and drop a few drops of ear cleaner into the ear canal.
  • Massage the ear canal through the skin.  The ear canal feels like a firm tube of cartilage under the skin.
  • After you have massaged, let the dog have a shake if he/she wants to.  This will help loosen up the wax or discharge in the ear.
  • Wear gloves and use cotton wool spread over your index finger.  Make up remover pads are also ok to use. Wipe out the canal gently with a cotton wool covered finger.  In most dogs, you can insert your finger between 1 and 2 centimeters (about 1/2 inch) into the ear canal but you must BE GENTLE!!  Continue wiping out the canal until you get no more discharge or fluid on the cotton wool.
  • Do not use cotton buds or tissues.
  • In cats, do not put the ear cleaner into the canal. Rather, moisten the cotton wool with ear cleaner and wipe out the canal very gently.
  • Finally, give your pet a little treat after ear cleaning- this will hopefully make them less likely to run away from you every time you pull out the ear cleaner and gloves!

Do you regularly clean your dog's ears? Share tips with us in the comments!

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