How to Clean and Care for Your Dog’s Ears at Home

Canine ears need regular monitoring to ensure that they are healthy, but a little basic maintenance is usually all that is then required. It is often better to leave healthy ears alone, as cleaning for the sake of it can disturb the natural pH balance of your dog’s ears.

It is important to remember, however, that with ear cleaning all dogs are different. You should therefore consult your vet or professional groomer to determine how often you should examine and clean your dog’s ears, as each breed and indeed individual dog will have different needs. Generally however, dogs with floppy ears, such as Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds and Beddlington Terriers, are more prone to ear problems, and should have their ears checked and cleaned on a regular basis.

Groomers Step-by-Step Guide to Canine Ear Cleaning

  1. Wash your hands before you start to remove any potential for cross contamination.
  2. Place a towel on your lap, then position the dog’s head over the towel and hold gently in place.
  3. Pull the ear flap back to reveal the inside of the ear. Check first for any signs of infection – if present, do not continue to clean the ears, instead seek a vet as soon as possible.
  4. If your dog has any excess hair growing inside the ear canal, this will need removing. The excess ear hair that some breeds experience can cause irritation and problems with airflow, making the dog more prone to infections. You should pluck out the hair with tweezers, along with some plucking powder to absorb any moisture. Ask your professional groomer to show you how to complete this task if you are unsure.
  5. Wipe around the outside of the ear with ear cleaner to remove any collected dirt and debris. Remember to be gentle as canine ears are often very sensitive.
  6. Squeeze a small amount of ear wash solution into your dog’s ear canal, taking care not to force the bottle into the ear itself.
  7. Massage the base of the ear for 30 seconds to distribute the solution through the ear canal.
  8. Soak up any excess cleaning solution with cotton wool, then wipe around the ear once again. Continue to wipe around the ear until the cotton wool comes out clean. Be careful not to force the cotton wool into your dog’s ear canal. Always use cotton wool balls instead of Q-tips, as these can be uncomfortable to the dog, and in extreme circumstances they can even damage the ear.
  9. Repeat this process with the other ear. Ensure you do not use soiled cotton wool balls from one ear to the next.

Remember you should also follow any additional directions on the bottle of your chosen ear wash solution, and you should always use formulations that are specifically designed for dogs. You might find this task easier with an extra person by your side to help you hold the dog in place throughout the process, and it also might be useful to invest in an Otoscope, which is ideal for checking canine ear health before cleansing.

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