Helpful Tips: Cleaning Your Dog's Ears

Failing to clean your dog's ears on a regular basis can lead to infection, discomfort, and hearing loss.

Many dog owners don't clean their dog's ears on a regular basis, leading to a dog with ear infections, discomfort and sometimes even hearing loss. Many pet owners simply don't understand the importance of weekly ear cleanings for a dog, while other dog owners procrastinate when a dog struggles and resists ear cleaning efforts. Some owners do try to clean their dog's ears on a regular basis, but they aren't cleaning the dog's ears properly, therefore missing out on the benefits of regular ear cleanings.

Follow these steps to clean a dog's ears effectively, while minimizing discomfort and struggling:

1. Begin by setting out the materials that will be needed to clean the dog's ears:

  • Ear cleaner
  • Cotton balls or cotton pads
  • Cotton Swabs
  • Dog treats

2. Use an ear wash formulated for ear cleaning. It's important to never use undiluted peroxide on your pet's ears as it may cause burning.

3. Place the bottle of ear cleaner in a bowl of hot water. Shake the bottle occasionally and replace the water with new hot water as it cools. Let the bottle sit in the hot water for five to seven minutes. This will warm the dog's ear cleaning solution, making the process more comfortable for the dog. Many dogs who resist and struggle during ear cleanings object to the sensation of the cold cleaning solution in their ears.

4. Sit the dog in the corner of the chair or couch and sit right next to him. This will keep the dog in a comfortable setting, while preventing him from backing up and squirming away.

5. Dampen a large cotton ball or cotton pad with the canine ear cleaning solution. Squeeze out excess ear wash.

6. Place the cotton ball in your dog's ear and gently rub up and down. This part of the ear cleaning process will remove a significant portion of the ear wax from the ear.

7. Repeat as needed and then move on to the next ear.

Allow your dog to shake off excess moisture. This is important for preventing ear infections.

8. Soak the tip of a cotton swab in the ear wash and run it along the nooks and crannies of your dog's ears and along the outer portion of the ear canal to remove excess ear wax.

9. Avoid putting the swab down your dog's ear canal; leaving this type of cleaning to veterinary medical staff. The best rule of thumb for safely cleaning a dog's ears is to only clean the portions of ear that are visible.

10. During the ear cleaning process, offer praise and treats to the dog and keep the tone upbeat and happy. This will help to ease some of the dog's fears concerning ear cleaning.

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Tips & Warnings

1. Never use pure undiluted peroxide on your pet. The peroxide can harm your dog!

2. If your dog has chronic ear infections, make sure you consult a veterinarian. Chronic ear infections could be a sign of allergies or other more serious problems.

3. If the ear canal looks abnormal, clean only the outside and consult your veterinarian to make sure there is not a problem.

4. Some dogs have fur inside their ear canal. This will make ear cleaning more difficult and it also makes the dog's ear more prone to bacteria growth. Remove the hair from the dog's ears by plucking the hairs (it's not painful when small chunks of hair are plucked at once) or trim the dog's ear hairs.

Regular ear cleaning for dogs is best when started at a young age. However, even older dogs can be introduced to a regular ear cleaning schedule when the dog owner goes about the dog's ear cleaning process in a gentle and encouraging manner. Dog owners should always be on the look-out for signs of a dog with an ear infection. Symptoms of a dog with an ear infection include redness, swelling, pain, head shaking, frequent ear scratching, thick ear discharge and ear odor.

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